Banks will travel for state playoffs

According to the OSAA Class 4A power rankings, Banks is the second-best softball team in the state. The only problem is that the Lady Braves are also the second-best team in their own league.

Banks (21-3) finished as Cowapa League runner-up this season to rival Yamhill-Carlton (23-1), which nabbed the No. 1 ranking and top seed for the state playoffs, which begin today. Since all league champs are guaranteed a first-round home game — and since there are eight leagues in Class 4A — that bumped Banks from No. 2 in the power rankings to No. 9 in the playoff seedings.

“It is what it is,” Compton said. “No system is perfect. There are always going to be flaws. I think the intention with this is to allow all the league champions to host a playoff game, and I don’t have a problem with that.”

The Braves will go on the road today to play No. 8 seed South Umpqua (17-8), the Far West League champion, at 4 p.m. A victory would send the Braves to the second round of the state playoffs, where they could potentially face a rematch against Yamhill-Carlton, one of only two teams to beat Banks this season.

“No matter how things are laid out, that’s what you need to do,” Compton said of her team’s possible playoff path. “If you want to be state champion, you’ve got to be able to beat anyone, anywhere, at any time. That’s the mentality we have.”

More honors for Pacific’s Roberts

Of all of the accolades that Pacific infielder Rachel Roberts has received this season, none is bigger than her selection as a Second Team Division III All-American by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

The national coaching organization announced the 2014 All-American team last Wednesday evening at a banquet held in conjunction with the NCAA Division III softball national championship in Dallas, Texas.

Roberts is Pacific’s first softball All-American since the university transitioned to Division III membership for the 1998-99 year, and the first since Vallie Wells was named to the NFCA NAIA All-American team in 1998.

“One of the rewards of being a coach is watching the growth and development of players,” Pacific head coach Tim Hill said. “Seeing the level that Rachel has attained after her first two years at Pacific has been very gratifying and extremely fun to watch.

“And what pleases me most is that she has absolutely earned this award. She gives 100 percent in practices and in games. She is constantly looking to improve and she is open to all instruction. Amazingly, she is not a finished product. She still has room to grow.”

All-American status completes a sweep of potential honors for the Pacific sophomore. She was elected by conference coaches as the 2014 Northwest Conference player of the year, she was a unanimous selection to the All-NWC first team and was one of two Pacific players named to the NFCA Division III All-West Region first team.

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