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Braves well-represented on Cowapa League all-star squad

Another excellent spring on the softball diamond yields a bounty of postseason awards and honors

It takes a whole bunch of players to lift a team to a state championship in softball, so it should come as little surprise that a number of Braves have picked up late-season honors for their work on the diamond.

In all, eight Banks players were named to the Cowapa League all-star squad and five of them picked up all-state nods as well. In addition, Braves leader James Wise was named both league and Class 4A coach of the year for steering his team to the state title in his first year as head coach.

Three holdovers from last year’s state runner-up team led the way — both at the top of the lineup and in terms of accolades. MaKenna Partain, Keegan Wise and Mary Schorn were all named to the Cowapa all-league team proper as well as to the all-state first team. Partain picked up her fourth consecutive conference player of the year award and was also named Class 4A player of the year for the third time in her career.

The team’s shortstop and leadoff batter, Partain posted impressive numbers in her final season of high school softball and was a go-to leader for the Braves. She recorded a .585 batting average as well as a .636 on-base percentage. Impressively, she recorded 35 RBIs batting in the leadoff spot, to go along with 55 hits — including 13 doubles, seven triples and seven home runs. She also scored 53 runs, drew 11 walks and stole 19 bases. On defense, she had 47 put outs and 40 assists, to go along with a .946 fielding percentage.

Schorn had been a key player in her first two years at Banks, but as a junior, she turned into one of its anchors. The second baseman led the Braves with a .634 batting average and posted a .670 on-base percentage. Hitting in the No. 3 spot, Schorn put up 45 hits, including 16 doubles and four triples. She also had 41 RBIs, 30 runs scored and eight walks. Amazingly, she did not strike out even one time this spring.

On defense, Schorn finished with 45 put outs, 15 assists and a .968 fielding percentage.

Keegan Wise stepped into a more prominent role for the Braves this season, especially on offense, where she batted second in the order. The sophomore center fielder posted a .512 batting average and .606 on-base percentage. She came up with 41 hits, including eight doubles, a triple and a home run. She also produced 18 RBIs, scored 37 runs, walked 16 times and stole 25 bases. Defensively, Wise recorded a .976 fielding percentage to go along with 40 put outs and an assist.

The honors didn’t stop there either, as Katie Ragsdale, Michaela Shaw and Hannah McCourt were named to the Cowapa all-league team proper, and Alyssa Rogers and Shakayla Snyder earned honorable mention nods. Additionally, Ragsdale and Shaw were voted to the second team and third team all-state, respectively.

Ragsdale was one of several returners who flourished playing a bigger role for the Braves this season than in past ones. The junior right fielder hit at a .407 clip and had a .462 on-base percentage to provide some pop a bit further down in the lineup. She put up 24 hits over the season, including seven doubles and two triples. She also scored 15 runs and walked six times.

On defense, she had a .944 fielding percentage and had 16 put outs and an assist.

In arguably one of the top storylines this season, Shaw emerged as the team’s ace in the circle and was the winning pitcher in the state championship game. Just a freshman, she posted a 9-1 record and a 2.45 earned run average. She allowed 33 runs (25 earned) and walked 25 to go along with 45 strikeouts. She also posted a .409 batting average in 24 plate appearances.

Also a freshman, McCourt recorded .410 batting and .430 on-base percentages, respectively. A utility player this season, she put up 34 hits, including seven doubles, two triples and three home runs. She also drove in 24 runs and scored 20 others.

Snyder took over full-time catching duties for Banks this season and flourished, batting .355 with a .456 on-base percentage. She recorded 27 hits with six doubles, a triple, four home runs and 29 RBIs. On defense, she had a .990 fielding percentage.

Rogers was another junior who completely took over a position, hers coming at third base. She hit for a .263 average and had a .341 on-base percentage. She posted 20 hits, with 7 doubles, as well as eight RBIs, 17 runs scored and nine walks. She also starred on defense with 46 put outs, 10 assists and three double plays.

As for James Wise, he led the Braves to their fourth overall state championship and first since 2013 after taking over for Jenny Compton earlier this year. Getting a somewhat inexperienced team to jell quickly, Wise piloted Banks to an impressive 23-3 record and his team ended the season on a seven-game win streak, going 21-1 over its final 22 games. The team’s only losses this spring were to McLoughlin — which ended the regular season ranked No. 1 — No.2 Scappoose and No. 4 Gladstone.

And of course, Wise’s Braves won the biggest prize of the season, that big blue trophy, and they unseated two-time defending champion McLoughlin in the state final to do it.