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Lady Braves wear pink for breast cancer fundraiser

Banks and Tillamook roll out special pink jerseys for a Cowapa League doubleheader
by: Chase Allgood, Banks teammates Natalie Larsen (left) and Madison Soper cheer from the dugout during last Friday’s doubleheader against Tillamook.

Banks picked up two wins over Tillamook last Friday to maintain its spot atop the Cowapa League softball standings, but the victories were less about what the Lady Braves did on the field and more about what they were wearing.

Banks sported special pink jerseys and Tillamook wore white jerseys with a pink logo as the two rivals teamed up to support breast cancer awareness, selling T-shirts and raffle tickets to raise money for the

Susan G. Komen Foundation.

'It went really well and I think everyone had a lot of fun,' said Banks head coach Jenny Compton, who helped get the pink jerseys approved by the OSAA.

'A lot of people in the stands were wearing pink shirts, and the Tillamook fans, players and coaches really supported the idea and had a lot of fun with it. It was a really great event.'

The idea to wear pink first surfaced during basketball season, but the girls were not allowed to wear pink uniforms in an OSAA-sanctioned contest.

It popped up again during softball season, and Compton started checking the rules and making phone calls to see if the Lady Braves could wear pink jerseys during a game. Once it was approved, Compton set out to find an opponent, and she found an eager participant in league rival Tillamook.

In addition to their one-off jerseys, Banks sold pink T-shirts at the game and ran a 50/50 raffle, with half the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The Lady Braves also raffled off two pink softballs that were thrown out as ceremonial first pitches before the game by Loni Wren and Lori Godfrey, two local women who are breast cancer survivors.

'I haven't added it all up yet, but we raised several hundred dollars,' Compton said of the fundraiser. 'It's definitely something we would do again.'

On the field, Banks won the first game of the doubleheader by a score of 5-0, and the Braves rolled to a five-inning, 15-0 win in the second game. The sweep capped a busy week that also included a 10-0 win over Seaside on Monday and a 2-0 victory over Astoria on Tuesday, keeping the Lady Braves in a tie with Yamhill-Carlton for first place in the league standings.

Banks (14-4, 8-1) has one game this week against Scappoose and two against Seaside, which will lead them into next Tuesday's showdown with Yamhill-Carlton, a game that will likely decide the regular-season league championship.

'We've been doing a nice job this year of just looking at the next opponent or the next practice. There hasn't been a lot of talk about looking ahead, which is good,' Compton said. 'We're just trying to enjoy where we are, and if there are little bumps in the road then we have to remember that it's not the end of the world.'

The Lady Braves hit a few bumps early in the season when they lost three games in a row to Henley, West Salem and Sunset, but since then they have gone 10-1, with their lone loss coming in a doubleheader against Yamhill-Carlton.

That means the winner of next Tuesday's rubber match would gain the upper hand in the league standings, and also earn the first-place tiebreaker in the event of a tie.

Still, Compton doesn't want her team looking too far ahead.

'It's looking like that's going to be a big one, but we've got to focus on Scappoose and Seaside this week. You can't take anything for granted,' she said. 'Overall, I think things are really looking good right now. I feel like we've been having a lot of fun, and the game needs to be fun.

'If you're having fun, then you're more relaxed out there and less likely to make a mistake.'