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The Braves build a healthy lead then hang on for an 8-6 win over the Indians at Banks High.

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Banks' Keegan Wise runs the bases during the Braves' game against Scappoose April 10 at Banks High School.There are always two sides to an argument, and following Banks' softball win over Scappoose, both the Braves and Indians had a vastly different perspective on how things did and should play out.

Banks built an early lead, widened it midway through the game, then hung-on as Scappoose pulled uncomfortably close with five runs in the seventh inning before ultimately falling to the Braves 8-6 Tuesday, April 10 at Banks High School.

"That first six innings is what we should look like going forward," said Banks head coach James Wise. "That last inning is the ugly side of being a younger team."

But while Wise lamented his team's final inning effort, Scappoose head coach Nicole Feakin saw things differently, bemoaning everything that preceded the seventh, while hanging her hat on her team's last stand.

"We came out really strong in the last inning and that's the way were used to playing," Feakin said. "We pride ourselves in hitting the ball and we just weren't doing that today."

Twice the Indians threatened prior to the seventh, but on both occasions Banks thwarted their effort and left the visitors for the most part emptyhanded. Scappoose loaded the bases twice, once without and out, and on another occasion with but one, only to get a single run in the process and failing to gain on a sizeable Braves lead.

"The runners left on base was a big difference in this game," said Feakin. "We need to work on executing in that situation and not let the umpires take things out of our hands."

The Braves were led by co-captain Mackenzie Davis who finished 2-for-4 with a single, double and RBI. In addition, five of Banks' starting nine had multiple hits.

"We're definitely hitting the ball well and that was a concern coming from the Tillamook games because we were facing a little slower pitching," Wise said. "We thought it might take a bit to catch up to this speed, but the girls loaded up and hit the ball, which is nice."

STAFF PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Banks' Michaela Shaw hurls a pitch during the Braves' game against Scappoose April 10 at Banks High School.After Scappoose pitcher Jenna Hatcher put Banks down in the first, the Braves responded with the game's first run in the second when Kaylin Hernandez scored on a Halle Vandomelen bloop single to right.

Banks struck again in the bottom half of the third, when following a Michaela Shaw single to center, pinch runner Kaylen Storms scored on a Davis double down the left field line. Then after a Keegan Wise single to left, Storms scored on an Emma White sacrifice fly to right and the Braves led 3-0.

Neither team would muster an attack in the fourth, but Scappoose started the fifth with three consecutive singles by Sara Mills, Gabie Krueger, and Taylor Johnson, and appeared poised to close the gap on the seemingly vulnerable Braves. But like a gift from the softball gods, Indians senior Hadley Enos grounded sharply to Vandomelen at second, leading to a home-to-first double play, then following a walk to Hannah Galey which again loaded the bases, Payton Fisher struck out looking and Banks got out of the inning unscathed and still nursing their three run lead.

"Turning a double play on that was really just us being aggressive," said Wise. "I really like to allow them to be as aggressive as possible, but then try to control that between innings by teaching and talking about things like that. But when we're not thinking and playing aggressive like that, those are the results."

And it's hard to argue with them.

Banks blew things open in their half of the fifth, getting five runs on four hits, two walks and two Scappoose errors, with the key blow being a two-out Madi Graham single to right field that made the score 8-0.

Scappoose again threatened in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, only to get a single run when Megan Dews scored on a Mills single before a strikeout and subsequent ground ball ended the Indians' threat - until the seventh when things got interesting.

Trailing 8-1, Scappoose got consecutive hits from Galey and Fisher to start the inning, both of whom scored on a Dews double. Unfortunately for the Indians, Dews was thrown out trying to stretch her hit to third, but Hatcher singled, and after the inning's second out, Mills hit safely, Gabie Krueger tripled, then following a Taylor Johnson single to center, the score was 8-6 and Scappoose had the tying run at the plate. But Hadley Enos ended the game with a pop-up in foul territory just beyond first base, and the Braves had their narrow win, while the Indians were left with "what ifs" regarding missed scoring opportunities.

Wise was happy with the win and the continued growth of his burgeoning team, but talked afterwards about it remaining to be a work in progress – especially in the field.

"The mistakes…they're teaching moments and we're still moving kids around," said the coach. "But we're getting familiar with the new defensive sets and trying to communicate and work together. And we're getting there."

Feakin however was noticeably frustrated with the bulk of her team's performance, but isn't panicking before Thursday's rematch with the rival Braves.

"We didn't start out playing Scappoose ball like we normally do, and left way too many runners on base," said Feakin. "We just need to play like we did in that last inning and we'll be fine."

Scappoose was led by Dews who finished the game 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Mills also had four hits, while Krieger added three hits, including a triple for the Indians.

The two teams are set to square-off agains Thursday, April 12 at 5 P.M at Scappoose High.


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