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Lady Braves heartened by all-league awards

After an early playoff exit, Banks takes comfort in multiple all-league selections

Its season cut short following a stunning playoff upset, the Banks softball team was left with little choice but to bask in the glory of a remarkable regular season, which included 23 victories, a second consecutive Cowapa League championship and, most recently, the selection of nine players to the all-league team.

'It's good to have that recognition for the kids,' said Banks head coach Jenny Compton, who was also named league Coach of the Year for a second straight season.

'I like to see when the team gets recognition too, but I feel like (my award) is kind of a nod to the team, because if we hadn't won the league, I probably wouldn't have won that award.'

Unlike a year ago, when Banks went undefeated in Cowapa play and swept every major award, the main 2011 hardware went elsewhere - Scappoose senior Leslie Hancock was named league Player of the Year, and Yamhill-Carlton freshman Molly Smith earned Pitcher of the Year honors.

Still, four Lady Braves were First Team all-league selections and three more made the Second Team. Two others were honorable mention picks.

Banks junior Marla Gooding, who was last year's league Player of the Year, was a First Team all-league selection in 2011 as a utility player, and junior Melissa Masters, last year's league Pitcher of the Year, was a First Team selection as an outfielder.

Fellow junior Natalie Larsen was also a First Team all-league selection as an outfielder, as was sophomore Kaylin Vandomelen, who earned Class 4A State Player of the Year honors after a red-hot playoff run a season ago.

'They're all really strong players who remain composed from one game to the next,' Compton said of her four First Teamers. 'With these girls, you can count that something good is going to happen almost every game.'

Junior infielder Chelsie Bunn was named to the all-league Second Team, where she was joined by sophomore second baseman Riley Gerlinger and outfielder Alexis Chung.

The Lady Braves' two honorable mention selections were sophomores Aubrey Rue and Courtney Engeseth.