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Braves show moxie in Wins

Banks softball picks up two 5-4 wins late last week to move to 7-0 on the season ahead of league play


by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Banks freshman Mary Schorn throws to first base during a double play, with Southridge's Kylie Kushiyama out at second base during the Braves' 5-4 win at Southridge on Friday. BEAVERTON — With the help of her teammates, Tiffany Synder gave herself a great birthday present on Friday.

A victory against a Class 6A softball opponent.

The Braves found their bats early in Friday’s contest at Southridge, and Snyder went the distance in the pitcher’s circle, picking up two key outs with runners on base to seal a 5-4 victory.

“I was actually really excited, because I don’t know if I was actually going to pitch or not,” Snyder said about getting the start on her 17th birthday.

Coupled with a matching 5-4 win at Class 5A West Albany the day before, the Southridge game kept No. 1 Banks undefeated at 7-0 heading into the start of Cowapa League play this week.

“I thought that both Thursday and Friday were excellent games for us to have,” Banks coach Jenny Compton said. “It was nice to see a couple of really strong opponents. It certainly doesn’t hurt us to have people put runs up against us.”

Indeed, for a team that is not always pushed in 4A play, the scenarios that played out in both the Southridge and West Albany games could yield dividends down the road, because in both contests Banks had to earn the win. On Thursday against the Bulldogs, the Braves trailed 3-0 after one inning, 4-0 after two and 4-1 after five. But they rallied to score three runs with two outs in the seventh before picking up the winning run in the ninth.

The next afternoon against the Skyhawks, Banks jumped to a 5-0 lead by the third inning and then held on late for its 31st consecutive victory, dating back to last season.

Madison Soper played a key role in both games, going 3-for-7 with six RBIs. And she did that over the course of just four innings across the two contests. Against No. 6 West Albany, Mary Schorn and Hannah VanDomelen got on base with singles and MaKenna Partain reached first with an error to load the bases in the seventh.

Then Soper, the Braves’ junior catcher, delivered with a bases-clearing double to tie the game. And two innings later, her base hit plated VanDomelen, who pitched all nine innings, on what turned out to be the winning run.

“She just keeps on finding base runners on when she’s up,” Compton noted. “When the pressure’s on, she certainly can deliver.”

That’s exactly what Soper did in the first inning of the Southridge game as well, smashing a two-run home run to left-center with two outs, putting Banks up 2-0 in the first.

“I wanted to hit,” Soper said about the pitch from Kalee Mabray that she sent over the fence. “I just swung at it, and I usually don’t hit high pitches. … I was happy. It was a solid hit.”

The scoring continued for Banks in the third inning, when JoJo Wren and Schorn notched consecutive base hits, with Schorn’s coming when she beat the throw to first base after bunting. VanDomelen then sacrificed to move the runners over a bag, and Partain followed by blasting a two-RBI double to left field. She eventually came home on a rundown between third base and home plate, scoring easily when an errant throw to third glanced off the fielder’s glove.

The Braves seemed to have the game well in hand until the fifth, when they gave up four runs on a single to left field and a fly ball that Wren worked hard to snag in left field. But ultimately, it popped out of her glove. Matters got even more dicey in the seventh, when the Skyhawks put runners on the corners with one out for a potential walkoff situation.

But Snyder came up aces, striking out Mabray, Southridge’s No. 4 hitter, in three pitches and then coaxing Morgan Penn to hit into a 6-4 force out at second base to end the game.

“I know I do better under pressure, and I think we do better under pressure as well,” Snyder said.

The victory set up a showdown with another undefeated team Tuesday in conference rival and No. 2 Yamhill-Carlton. Results were not available at press deadline. Banks is home again on Friday for a doubleheader against Scappoose that starts at 4 o’clock.




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