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Offense comes alive for Banks softball in state playoff victory

Braves score early and often in 12-3 first-round win over South Umpqua

When Banks scores like this, it’s a tough side to beat.

After spotting the visiting South Umpqua softball team a 2-0 first-inning lead on Wednesday, the Braves went off five runs of their own. When the Lancers did manage to pull one tally back, Banks ticked off seven more – and it’s hard to beat a team that scores 12 runs in a game.NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: CHASE ALLGOOD - MaKenna Partain (2) and Katie Ragsdale celebrate after Ragsdale scores during Banks' 12-3 win over South Umpqua Wednesday.

The Lancers certainly couldn’t, as Banks breezed to a 12-3 victory in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. The third-seeded Braves are scheduled to make their fifth consecutive state quarterfinals appearance on Friday, when they host No. 11 Ontario in a game scheduled for 2 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

The Tigers (16-10) dealt No. 6 Elmira just its third loss this season with a 3-1 result in eight innings, also on Wednesday.

In Banks, the Braves (20-3) got off to a bit of a shaky start when they allowed those two runs in the top of the first. But they quickly rallied to tie the game in the bottom half before adding three more runs in the second for a 5-2 lead.

After the Lancers of Myrtle Creek (17-11) scored a run in the third, Banks answered with one in the bottom of the inning and two more in the fourth for a comfortable 8-3 lead. Then they really slammed the door closed in the sixth thanks to four tallies.

The top of Banks’ lineup had a lot to do with its offense, which produced 14 hits. MaKenna Partain supplied three hits and Keegan Wise had three hits and two RBIs. Mary Schorn also had a good day at the plate with two hits, two walks and two RBIs. And Katie Ragsdale also had an RBI hit, a double that drove in Schorn in the fourth.

Senior Alexis Westbrooks had two RBIs for the Lancers, the third-place team out of the Far West League.

Freshman pitcher Michaela Shaw picked up the first state playoff win of her young career and went all seven innings. She struck out only one South Umpqua batter, but she also allowed only four hits. Her defense provided great backup, recording a single error behind her.

Shaw’s opposite in the circle, Tayah Kelley, is also a freshman and fanned five.

As for Friday’s opponent, Ontario is the No. 2 team out of the Greater Oregon Conference, behind two-time defending state champion McLoughlin, which is the only common opponent it shares with Banks this spring. The Tigers lost four times to the Pioneers – 10-0 and 12-2 on April 9, and 6-3 and 6-4 on April 30. Banks dropped its decision by a 5-4 score in Milton-Freewater on April 2.