Banks falls to Scappoose at home 9-6
Softball, like most sports, is a game of momentum. A hit, an error, or sometimes a close call can alter the outcome of a game hanging in the balance. But while the Banks Braves and Scappoose Indians squared-off Friday, May 4, with a league title likely hinging on the outcome, and there were a couple questionable calls, ultimately it was just too much Scappoose and not enough Banks that resulted in a 9-6 Indians win, and put Scappoose atop the Cowapa League standings and in the catbird seat for a league title with just four games remaining.
"You'd like to go back and say those were momentum killers, but in the end we needed to hit better and we definitely could've fielded better," said Banks head coach James Wise. "If we do that, maybe it's a different game."
With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth inning and two Scappoose runners on base, Hadley Enos singled to right field and after the go-ahead run had scored, a second runner was waved to the plate and was beaten home by Halle Vandomelen's throw from right field. But the runner was called safe after veering far from the baseline to avoid the tag, setting-off a wave of vitriol from the home Braves crowd and an ensuing argument with Wise. The call ultimately stood and the Indians would go on to score two more in the inning and blow open a game both teams were desperate to win.
"It was a good game and both teams played hard and really well," said Scappoose starting pitcher Nicole Dougherty. "My team was really excited and I'm sure Banks was as well. There was a lot riding on this game, and we gave it everything we had and the score reflected how we played."
Scappoose carded 18 hits in the game and finished with five players tallying multiple hits. Gabie Krueger and Taylor Johnson had four hits apiece, Enos added three, and Dougherty and Hannah Galey ended with two to pace the Indians' offensive attack.
"We hit the ball really well today and the whole team really stepped it up," said Scappoose head coach Nicole Feakin. "I'm very proud of them."
Meanwhile, the Braves managed just eight hits before a three-hit seventh inning resulted in four runs to make the score more respectable. But while it would've been easy for Wise to make excuses, he owned the loss and said it really just boiled down to execution in all aspects of the game.
"I think that hitting wise we're trying to do too much with the ball, and defensively we can't let balls squeak through the infield," Wise said. "We have to make plays. They were getting to balls that we were struggling to get to and that ended up being the difference in the game."
The Indians struck first, getting two runs in the top of the first inning before Banks got one in their half. In the second, the Braves put two runners on base with just one out, but scored just one run before having a second thrown out at the plate following a wild throw to first base on a Noel Herb ground ball, leaving the score locked 2-2 headed to the third.
Neither team would score again until the controversial fourth, where Scappoose would open-up a 6-2 lead and hold it until the seventh — where they added some insurance.
After two quick outs to start the inning, Johnson singled to center then scored on a subsequent Galey triple to the centerfield wall to make it 7-2. Then Galey scored on an Enos double and Payton Fisher singled her in, and when it was all said and done the Indians led 9-4 and appeared cruising to an easy win. But not to be outdone, the Braves scored four of their own in their half of the seventh, and put the tying run in the on-deck circle before a Madi Graham groundout ended the game.
Now, with a one-game lead and just three league games remaining, Scappoose holds all the cards in the race for the Cowapa League title and Dougherty is confident her team can seal the deal.
"We definitely need to maintain our focus and stay on top of things," Dougherty said. "But some of the pressures gone and now it's just a matter of finishing it off."
And where does Banks go from here?
"I explained to the girls that in the long run were eyeing a bigger prize," Wise said. "Sure, it would've been nice to be league champs and maybe get a better seeding going into the playoffs, but I'm so confident in this team that I know we can go on the road and get wins.
"We've done well on the road this year and you never know how things will work out when it comes to state."
Banks seniors Keegan Wise and Mackenzie Davis led the Braves with three hits apiece.
The Braves are scheduled to host Seaside, Valley Catholic and Sweet Home in a nonleague affair before finishing the regular season at Astoria May 11.
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