The Indians come alive with a five-run seventh but fall just short against No. 6 Banks

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: CHRIS OERTELL - Scappoose's Megan Dews bunts during her team's 8-6 Cowapa League loss to Banks at Banks High School on Tuesday.There are always two sides to an argument, and following Banks' Tuesday softball win over Scappoose, the Indians and Braves had vastly different perspectives on how things played 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 at Banks High School.

"We came out really strong in the last inning and that's the way we're used to playing," said Scappoose coach Nicole Feakin, who took over as head coach following Cijay Koler's departure less than two weeks ago. "We pride ourselves in hitting the ball and we just weren't doing that today."

On Banks' side of the equation, the Braves looked at their quick start and bemoaned their inability to sustain it.

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

The loss snapped the 13th-ranked Indians' seven-game winning streak and dropped their record to 2-1 in Cowapa League play and 10-3 overall. No. 6 Banks, meanwhile, won for the fourth straight time and improved to 3-0 in league and 8-3 overall.

The Indians threatened twice prior to the seventh, too, but on both occasions Banks thwarted their effort and left the visitors mostly emptyhanded. Scappoose loaded the bases twice, once without no outs, and on another occasion, with just one, only to manage a single run in the process and failing to cut into the Braves' sizeable 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 an RBI. In addition, five of Banks' starting nine players 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."

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 Michaela Shaw singled to center and pinch runner Kaylen Storms scored on Davis' double down the left field line. Then, after a Keegan Wise single to left, Davis scored on an Emma White sacrifice fly to right and the Braves led 3-0.

After a scoreless fourth, Scappoose started the fifth with consecutive singles by Sara Mills, Gabie Krueger and Taylor Johnson, and appeared poised to close the gap on the 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 its half of the fifth, getting five runs on four hits, two walks and two Scappoose errors, the key blow a two-out Madi Graham single to right field that extended the lead to 8-0.

Scappoose again threatened in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but got just a single run when Megan Dews scored on a Mills single before a strikeout and ground ball ended the Indians' threat.

But in the seventh, things got really interesting.

Trailing 8-1, Scappoose got consecutive hits from Galey and Fisher to start the inning, and both then 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 and following a Taylor Johnson single to center, the score was 8-6 and Scappoose had the tying run at the plate.

But 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," she said. "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 their rematch with the rival Braves, held Thursday after the Spotlight's press deadline.

"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 Krueger added three hits, including a triple, for the Indians.

In upcoming games, Scappoose hosts Banks at 5 p.m. Thursday, plays at Valley Catholic at 5 p.m. Tuesday, then hosts the Valiants at 5 p.m. Thursday.

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