Banks comes from behind for a 5-4 playoff victory and a return trip to the Class 4A state semifinals
That was a close one.
In a Class 4A softball state quarterfinal last Friday at Banks, the Vikings of Mazama gave the Braves everything they could handle twice taking leads and threatening again in the seventh inning before the home team summoned single tallies in the sixth and seventh innings to rally for a thrilling 5-4, come-from-behind victory.
Madison Seed got to play the hero in the seventh, hitting a walkoff single to left-center with the bases loaded to punch her teams ticket to the state semifinals.
Afterward, Banks coach Jenny Compton described her teams resolve by pointing out the bright pink sign with black lettering hanging in the home dugout.
Thats sort of been our mantra this last week, is Adversity can only be overcome by the strongest. Pack your bags. Its time to hit the road, Compton said, reading from the sign. That was kind of the thing we came up with last weekend when we found out we were going to have to be traveling down to South Umpqua (for the first round).
Today weve had other adversity ... These girls just really power through and figure out no matter whats coming their way, they can come together ... and figure out a way to overcome.
The win propelled the ninth-seeded Braves (23-3) into a semifinal showdown on the road against No. 4 Henley on Tuesday. Results of that game were not available at press deadline.
I think it makes you want it even more to prove that were not a No. 9-ranked team, Hannah VanDomelen said of the Braves playoff seeding.
We are the No. 2 team in the state, and I think we are proving ourselves each game that no matter how close it gets that we are the No. 2 team in the state, and were going to make that to our advantage.
For much of Fridays game, though, victory was not a guarantee, especially after No. 16 Mazama (17-10) seized the momentum with two runs in the first.
Lynzee Wortman and Amber Lease knocked Banks pitcher, VanDomelen who seemed a little unsettled early on for hits in the games first two at-bats, and Wortman eventually scored during a rundown between third base and home. Kaylee Pinner followed up shortly with an RBI single to center field to put the Braves in an early hole.
The Banks offense started to find some traction in the second inning against Wortman, VanDomelens counterpart in the circle.
Kindel Bailey, the teams No. 8 hitter, pulled a run back with an RBI single to center that scored Seed, who had led off with a single. Tiffany Snyder also scored on a fielding error by Mazama first baseman Pinner on a grounder by JoJo Wren. Pinner was able to recover the ball in time to tag first base for an out, but Snyder had no trouble tying up the score at 2-2.
The Braves seemed to pick up steam in the third, when VanDomelen retired Mazama quickly and in order, and Snyder knocked an RBI single to right to plate Katie Ragsdale, Madison Sopers courtesy runner, for a 3-2 lead.
But the Vikings who had remained in the Portland area for two days after upsetting No. 1 Yamhill-Carlton 3-0 on May 28 showed they were not ready to return to Klamath Falls without a fight, retaking the lead after a crucial call went their way.
With one on and Sydney Allison batting, Banks appeared to turn a 1-6-3 double play. But the officiating crew ruled that Banks shortstop MaKenna Partain had pulled her foot off of second base too early, so the Braves only got the out at first.
Mazama capitalized immediately, getting an RBI triple from pinch hitter Anna Sheadel to tie the game. The visitors then retook the lead when Samara Allred, their No. 9 hitter, sent an RBI single to center.
Neither team could get much going on offense until the sixth, when, with two outs, Mary Schorn finally connected on a pitch she liked from Wortman, launching a curving ball deep into left field for a sliding triple that scored Bailey from second.
Early in the game, Schorn had hit two balls in nearly identical fashion but both pulled foul. This time, the freshman second baseman kept the ball in play, tying the game going into the final inning.
I was thrilled when I hit three, Schorn said. All my emotions were just everywhere.
That did not mean it was smooth sailing for the Braves from there, however.
In the seventh, Mazama put two runners on with no outs and loaded the bases with two outs before VanDomelen induced a groundout to first to keep Banks even heading into its final stint at the plate.
Thats my mound, and Im going to own it and ... win every battle with each hitter, VanDomelen said about what she was thinking during that sequence. And I think I accomplished that.
After that emotionally charged half-inning, the junior also displayed composure leading off in the bottom half, reaching base on an error when Allexis Hubble bobbled her hit and VanDomelen beat out the throw to first.
Partain followed with a finely placed bunt single, and then Soper was intentionally walked by Wortman to load the bases.
Seed then ended the drama when she smashed that single into the outfield, helping send Banks to its third straight state semifinal appearance, and fourth trip in five seasons.
(I was) a little stressed out, because bases loaded, I needed a hit, said Seed, a junior outfielder.
As for Compton, she didnt have a doubt it was coming.
I just knew that somehow, some way, we were going to come up with it there in that last inning, she said.