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Braves rolling along in league play

Banks softball has run-ruled all of its opponents during a dominant seven-game winning streak

The Banks softball squad hasn’t had too many lemons this season, but the Braves have been trying to make lemonade anyway.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE - Banks junior MaKenna Partain takes a swing during last Friday's Cowapa League softball doubleheader against Valley Catholic.

Heading into the middle of the season with just one loss, Banks dropped the second game of a doubleheader at Scappoose 6-1 on April 17. Three days later, it fell 7-3 at Dayton, the second-ranked team in Class 3A, for its first — and to date only — losing streak this season.

Like any good coach, Banks leader Jenny Compton made sure the setbacks served as learning experiences.

“We just talked about how we handle adversity when it comes,” Compton said about the takeaway message. “Basically just a lot about when that adversity comes, how do we handle it?”

If the Braves’ run after those two losses can serve as evidence, the team handles adversity just fine.

Banks (17-3, 9-1 Cowapa) entered a Tuesday showdown against Scappoose on a seven-game win streak, having blistered its opponents during that span for 150 runs while allowing only 11. The No. 2-ranked Braves invoked the 10-run rule in all four of their games last week, defeating Tillamook 13-2 and 19-0 last Tuesday before shellacking Valley Catholic 19-1 and 14-1 on Friday.

But the team has not been content just to win, no matter how lopsided the score. Instead, the Braves have used these recent contests to get better, working on everything from catching to pitching to defense to plate adjustments — and even the nuances of base-running.

“Whatever that thing is, we have come up with a few things where we’ve been wanting to make some adjustments,” Compton said. “And our girls are really responding to those adjustments.”

The Braves have also been using recent games to both look toward the future and welcome the return of a familiar face. Sophomore Emma McCourt, who has mostly played first base this season, saw her first action in the pitcher’s circle during last week’s doubleheaders, and classmate Shakayla Snyder spelled regular catcher Madison Soper behind the dish against Valley Catholic. Soper and pitchers Hannah VanDomelen and Tiffany Snyder are all seniors, so the Braves are breaking in new players at those positions sooner rather than later.

Jojo Wren has also been making her return to the lineup in recent games. The senior outfielder broke her throwing hand in the first game of the season, but she continued to practice as much as she could with the team while the hand healed.

A couple of weeks ago, she got into a game on defense for the first time since the injury, and her playing time has continued to increase since then.

Both the Braves and No. 4 Indians (13-2, 8-1) entered Tuesday’s contest with just one league loss, so the game may well decide the Cowapa champion. (Results were unavailable at press deadline.)

When Compton was interviewed on Sunday night, she said her team was looking forward to it. After all, what is all that fine-tuning for, if not for a game like this?

“I think that the girls are ready for it,” Compton said. “They’re very motivated, and I think it’s going to be a really fantastic game, because I’m sure Scappoose is motivated as well.”


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