Glencoe beats Banks, tunes up for Metro run
The Crimson Tide swept across the Glencoe Invitational at Hillsboro Stadium last Thursday, March 29, and Friday, March 30.
The Tide defeated Lake Oswego, Canby, Gresham and finally Banks 9-0 in the tournament finale Friday night. But it wasn't what they did, but rather how they did it, that has Glencoe head coach Jason Eastman excited for what's to come with the Metro League season, which starts Wednesday, April 4, at Southridge.
"We needed these two days," said Eastman. "Every team I've had, we need to find ourselves and see who we are. We have a lot of the same group back, but this is a different team and these four games made a lot of difference for us. In these two days, we became a team."
Glencoe finished 14-2 and shared the Metro League crown with Westview last season. They return key players like first-team All-Metro pitcher Izzy Womack, second-team All-Metro juniors, shortstop Morgan DeBord and center fielder Jensen Becker, and all-state and Oregon State Player of the Year catcher Ash Bailey. But despite the returning firepower, Eastman knows every year and every team is different and that creating a positive team chemistry while assimilating new and young talent around his core is vital to overall success.
"We've had some internal adversity early on," Eastman said. "We have strong young ladies on this team, with very strong personalities, so it's not always about line drives and taking ground balls, but more about becoming a family, and that happened in these last four games."
The host Crimson Tide opened with somewhat narrow 5-2 wins over Lake Oswego and Canby, but they seemed to hit their stride in a 14-0 win over Gresham, then closed out with an easy 9-0 victory Friday night over Banks.
DeBord and Womack each had three hits versus the Braves, and Becker led the team with three RBIs, all of which came on a second-inning three-run homer to right field.
In addition to her three hits, Womack shut Banks down in the circle, allowing just three hits while striking out nine and walking one.
"Izzy was great tonight and these last two days," said Eastman. "She's found a nice groove."
The 4A Braves, after suffering a difficult error-filled defeat to Aloha just prior, stepped up their play against the high-powered Tide, but they were simply overmatched by the 6A juggernaut.
Glencoe scored easily in the first inning when DeBord singled to start the game, moved to second on a Becker sacrifice bunt, then stole third before scoring on a Banks error.
But it was in the second when the Tide effectively iced the game.
Womack led off with a double to left, Megan Gaskin sacrificed her to third, and then, following a Nicole Eckhardt walk, sophomore Emma Ware doubled to center field to make it 3-0 before Becker's home run cleared the bases and made it 6-0 two batters later.
The Tide got two more runs in the third and capped their scoring with a towering solo homer by Bailey in the sixth before Womack set the Braves down in order for the win in the seventh.
With the victory, Glencoe improved to 7-2 on the season, with losses to West Albany and Clackamas as their only blemishes. Eastman noted the losses as part of the growing process and said it's adversity like that that aids in becoming a more cohesive unit. He's seen that happen over the past few weeks and is expecting a strong showing from his girls when their league season starts versus Southridge.
"It's going to be a dogfight," said the coach. "You have to bring it every night in this league, and we're ready. But we need to play great defense, have timely hitting and strong pitching. It's that simple. I don't know where were going to be, but these nine non-league games got us ready."
Glencoe's Wednesday game at Southridge is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.