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McClean comes up clutch for Banks against rival Scappoose

Outfielder's two-run home run lifts Braves to 2-1 victory and 4-0 league start

This one turned – and then turned again – with two swings of the bat.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Banks' Donny McClean rounds the bases after hitting a home run during Banks' 2-1 win over Scappoose Friday.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Scappooses' Jhamante' Woods points to the sky after hitting a home run during Banks' 2-1 win over Scappoose Friday.  On a day when runs were hard to come by, when Scappoose’s Jhamante’ Woods smacked a home run off Dalton Renne in the top of the fourth to break a scoreless tie with Banks, it seemed like a pivotal moment.

If it were possible, Donny McClean created an even bigger one a few minutes later. With one runner on and no outs, the Braves senior blasted a long ball over the fence in left field to propel his team to a 2-1 victory.

With the result, Banks ran its win streak to seven games and improved to 4-0 in the Cowapa League and No. 2 in the OSAA’s Class 4A power rankings. Seventh-ranked Scappoose dropped to 8-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play.

“Earlier in the at-bat, I got lucky. I got another life. I knew I had to listen to the coaches. I had to learn from what just happened. I had to fix what I did wrong that last at-bat,” McClean said about his winning plate appearance.

“We had a hit and run-on, so I was just trying to get the ball out there and put it in play, and it just happened to be a home run. I wasn’t trying to hit it. It just happened.”

As McClean alluded, he was a bit fortunate to be in position to generate his clutch hit. Just moments earlier, he launched a J.D. Wack pitch fairly deep along the left field line in foul territory. Two Indians tried to make the catch – and both of them almost did – but instead it bounced harmlessly to the ground to give McClean another try.

McClean got all of the ball the next time he connected, plating both himself and Trevor Thiessen, who had reached base with a single.

Woods’ home run also had no trouble clearing the fence line, and the sophomore felt like, at the time, it buoyed the Indians’ cause.

“It’s just the works. Baseball, any team can be beaten on any given day,” Woods noted. “It’s just how it happens, but we felt the momentum shift when that happened and we were amped up and hyped at that point in the game.”

With Wack and Renne throwing well consistently throughout the contest, scoring opportunities were not plentiful. The Braves (10-3 overall) lost out on a golden opportunity in the second after Jake Evans led off with a single. When Logan St. Marie drew a walk a couple of at-bats later, the Braves had runners at first and third with one out.

So St. Marie took off for second base, drawing a throw in his direction, and then Evans broke for home. The umpire ruled him out on a tag at the plate, though, with those in the crowd deeming the call’s merit along partisan lines.

In the third, Scappoose put runners on second and third with one out, but then Renne struck out J.C. Gross and induced an Owen Parsons flyout to Evans in right field to end the threat.

Both teams had additional opportunities in the fourth after their respective home runs. The Braves turned a 1-6-3 double play to get out of the top half and set up McClean’s heroics. And after the center fielder’s big hit, both Evans and St. Marie singled to reach base, but Hayden Vandehey and Justin Bral struck out in back-to-back plate appearances to end the inning.

Renne went the distance in an impressive outing, scattering five hits and one walk while fanning eight. Wack was also tough over seven innings on the mound, yielding six hits and two walks while striking out five.

“We both threw really good. I left one up and Monte hit it out,” Renne said. “And then Donny hit it out, which that was big. It was kind of back and forth all night.”

On Tuesday, David Schorn gave up just two hits over six innings of work to lead the Braves to a 7-2 win against Scappoose. The senior struck out five to continue his fantastic start to the season, improving to 5-0 this spring.

“It was real tough,” Schorn said. “I know that I had defense behind me, so I was just trying to throw strikes and make them make plays.”

Renne allowed a run in the top of the seventh in relief but still earned the save.

Banks came from behind in that one as well, as the Indians scored a run in the top of the first. The Braves answered with solo tallies in the third and fourth frames, followed by two runs in the fifth and three in the sixth. Dakota Bunn paced the offense with three hits and three RBIs, and St. Marie added two hits, an RBI and a run scored.

For Scappoose, Gus Nelson threw six innings, allowing 10 hits and three walks while striking out three.

Next week, Scappoose faces off against Valley Catholic on Tuesday and Thursday. Banks will look to improve upon its 4-0 Cowapa start with games against Seaside on those same days.

“That’s good, but we can’t rely on it,” Schorn said. “We gotta keep going. We gotta keep pushing.”