Banks gains some confidence with a 3-2 win over the league-leading Indians
First-year Banks baseball coach Brian Ackerman had an interesting message for his team before they prepared to face No. 1-ranked Scappoose last Tuesday, and it had nothing to do with strategy or game-planning for the rival Indians.
'I told them, 'We're not going out and playing against Scappoose, we're just going out and playing the game of baseball,'' Ackerman said. 'I've been preaching to them all year that we're as athletic as any team in the state. I believe this team can play with Scappoose, Astoria or anybody in the state if we play baseball the way we know we can.'
The Braves certainly did that last Tuesday, scoring three runs in the first three innings, then holding off a late rally to beat the Indians 3-2.
Silas Riccarddi singled home a run in the bottom of the second to give Banks a 1-0 lead, and senior Bubba Brown bashed an RBI triple in the second, then came around to score on a throwing error.
Staked to a three-run lead, starting pitcher Devin Wyckoff held Scappoose scoreless until the sixth inning, then pitched his way out of a jam in the seventh to earn the win. With one run already across the plate and the bases loaded with two outs, Wyckoff induced a game-ending pop-up to shallow left field, preserving the upset victory.
'We kind of jumped on them early, and I think that gave Devin some confidence and it gave the team some confidence that we could play with a team like Scappoose,' Ackerman said.
'Coming into the game Scappoose had just knocked off Astoria, the defending state champions, so we knew they were good. This was a big win for us.'
Banks' luck didn't extend to Thursday's game against Scappoose, as the Braves were limited to just four hits in a 5-0 loss. Shea Rue contributed most of those hits, going 3-for-3 in the loss, which sunk Banks into a three-way tie for first place in the Cowapa League at 3-1.
Devin King started on the mound for Banks but ran into trouble early, walking the first two hitters he faced and giving up a run in the top of the first inning. He finished the game with seven walks, a season-high for a Banks pitcher.
'I'm sure he was nervous, a sophomore going up against one of the best teams in the state,' Ackerman said. 'Up until that point he had thrown really well this season, but he didn't have his best day.
'I keep telling the guys that walks will kill you. You won't win a lot of games if you're walking hitters.'
The Braves have two games scheduled this week against Seaside, one of the teams that is currently tied with Banks for the league lead.
'I'm feeling pretty confident about where we are right now,' Ackerman said. 'We're 6-5 (overall) and 3-1 in league, and we haven't played a full seven innings of our best baseball yet. That means we've got some room to grow, but it also means that if we can put seven good innings together, we can be a dangerous team.
'I think we've learned a lot so far this year. I'm excited. This team has a lot of potential.'
Banks is scheduled to host Seaside, weather permitting, on Thursday at 5 p.m.