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Braves trounce Mazama to advance to state final

Banks scores four runs in fifth inning to 10-run rule Vikings in semis


There was never much doubt in this one.

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: AMANDA MILES - Winning pitcher Hannah VanDomelen (left) embraces Mary Schorn after Schorn scored the Braves' 10th run in the fifth inning.

A year ago, Banks hosted Mazama in a Class 4A softball quarterfinal and needed a late-innings comeback to pull off a 5-4 thriller.

The rematch came Tuesday, when the top-seeded Braves hosted the No. 12 Vikings in the semifinal round. Banks brought its bats early, Hannah VanDomelen in the circle kept Mazama relatively punchless on offense, and the Braves rolled to a 10-0 victory in five innings.

“They’ve just been confident, relaxed, but still bringing some intensity,” Banks coach Jenny Compton noted afterward. “I think that they found a really, really happy medium, which is very, very great.”

Banks will face No. 2 McLoughlin at 4 p.m. Saturday at the OSU Softball Complex in Corvallis for the state title. The Braves (25-4) are making their third state finals appearance in four years. They won it all in 2012 and 2013, while the Pioneers (27-1) are the reigning state champions.

“I am pumped, because last year we had an upset (in the semifinals), and so I’m just ready to go play my heart out and to see how it goes,” said sophomore Mary Schorn, who scored her team’s 10th and final run on an error to push Banks over the top against Mazama.

A steady presence on both sides of the ball throughout the playoffs, Schorn provided two hits and scored two runs for the Braves (25-4) on Tuesday. Of course, none was bigger than her last one, which closed out the game due to the run rule.

Schorn scored easily after MaKenna Partain hit the ball hard at Mazama second baseman Amber Lease. Lease handled it poorly, Partain reached base, and Schorn came home, where she was greeted with a hearty embrace from VanDomelen, one of Banks’ six seniors.

VanDomelen followed up a well-played effort in last Friday’s 4-1 quarterfinal victory against Scappoose with perhaps an even better one in the semifinal. She scattered just three hits, hit one batter and struck out two.

She came to play on offense, too, finishing with three hits – including a double and a triple – three runs scored and an RBI.

Banks wasted no time in building that early lead, getting to Mazama pitcher Sydney Allison from the get-go. Madison Soper, Shakayla Snyder and Kindel Bailey all produced RBI hits in the first inning. In the next frame, the lead grew on back-to-back RBI singles by Schorn and Partain. Madison Seed made it 6-0 after three when she scored on an error.

The Vikings, meanwhile could muster little threat. The only frame in which they had more than one runner on base at the same time came in the fourth. After Anna Sheadel singled and VanDomelen hit Bret Nevala, Partain flipped a throw to Bailey at third on a fielder’s choice, and then VanDomelen struck out Abby Davis to squelch any possibility of a rally by the visitors.

The Braves scored three runs in the fifth in addition to Schorn’s. Bailey got the first with an RBI triple to plate Snyder. With two outs, VanDomelen tripled and Schorn doubled to set up the final run.

In all, Banks hit Allison, who pitched all five innings, 13 times.

The win helped the Braves exorcise some demons from last season. Though they ended the regular season ranked second in the state, they had to play as the No. 9 seed for the playoffs and lost 4-3 at No. 4 Henley in the semifinals.

“Last year, we were expected to make it there, too, and not making it was a big upset for us,” Partain said. “But this year, I think proving everybody that, hey, we can do this – we’re going to do it again – that’s just probably the best feeling.”

As for the final, in McLoughlin, the Braves face an opponent with whom they have plenty of recent history. Banks won its 2013 title 1-0 at the Pioneers’ expense. The Braves also dealt the Milton-Freewater outfit its only loss to date this season.

Back on April 4, Banks and McLoughlin both traveled to No. 3 Yamhill-Carlton for a doubleheader. The Braves won that matchup 8-1, but Pioneer ace Colette Robert was throwing her second consecutive game of the day after having helped her team turn back the Tigers 6-2 in the first game.

Based on semifinal performances, it seems that the two best Class 4A teams in the state right now are indeed the ones playing for the title. McLoughlin defeated Yamhill-Carlton 24-0 – yes, that’s not a misprint – on Tuesday to advance to its third consecutive championship game.

“I think we’re really excited,” Partain said. “We know their strengths, we know their weaknesses. I think we’re ready. That’s who we wanted in the state championship.”

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