Scappoose battles to the end at Banks
Monday's baseball game between Banks and Scappoose was good for both teams.
It was just a little better for the Braves.
The higher-ranked Braves had to battle to the wire before they could finish off the Indians 2-1 at Banks High School.
"Great game," said Scappoose coach Mike Reed, whose team left two runners on base in three of the seven innings. "It's always a battle when we play Banks. Most of the kids have grown up playing against each other."
Pitchers Dalton Renne of Banks and Breeler Mann of Scappoose kept opposing batters largely off-balance in a game that hung in the balance until the final out — a grounder to shortstop with the tying run at second baase in the top of the seventh.
"It's good to be in a close game," Banks coach Joe Baumgartner said. "This is good for both teams. We'll both benefit by it.
"It wasn't our tightest game, but Scappoose played really well. I feel fortunate to come out on top."
Renne, a senior right-hander, struck out 10 and walked one. Mann, a junior left-hander, had five strikeouts and two walks.
Each starter threw 85 pitchers and allowed five hits, with Mann posting his first complete game of the season.
"Dalton threw really well and Breeler threw really well," Baumgartner said.
Mann and junior designated hitter Quincey Cleveland each had two hits for Scappoose.
Junior Dakota Bunn hit safely twice for Banks.
Banks took the lead in the second inning, with Bunn leading off with a single, beating out a grounder that made Indians second baseman Jordan Buchanan go well to his left. With two out and Bunn on second, junior Thomas Cook drove in Bunn with a hit to center.
"Dakota's hit started it off for us, and I knew with his speed he was going to score," Cook said.
The Braves added to their lead in the third inning. Trask Applegate, a junior, drew a one-out walk and went to second on a hit batter. Bunn singled on another liner to center to load the bases, and Applegate then scored on a ground ball to short by senior Blaine Herb.
Banks came into Monday's contest averaging 10 runs per game, but its defense and stingy pitching have been at least as important.
"We've thrown strikes, haven't walked many batters and played pretty good defense," Baumgartner said. "You get a little timely hitting with that and it usually equates to being successful."
Scappoose kept things interesting throughout the 92-minute clash, though, and got on the board in the fifth. Mann made it to first base via an error and scored on senior Jerad Toman's double to right.
Toman, the leadoff man in the Scappoose order, was ahead 3-0 in the count, then waited for some heat from Renne. Toman took advantage on a 3-1 delivery.
"I was sitting on a fastball and waiting for him to throw it," Toman said.
Renne, who has bounced back from a hard fall and injury at the state basketball tournament, relied heavily on a wicked curveball to garner the win.
"I struggled locating the fastball. Usually I don't throw that many curveballs, but I had to today," Renne said.
Reed said the Indians "tried to get up in the box and take that away from him, but we didn't do a good job of that. ... And we just couldn't put the ball in play when we needed to."
It was Renne's third start of 2018, and he admitted to getting a little tired in the seventh inning. But the magnitude of the moment helped him pull through.
"My arm's not 100 percent yet energy-wise, but I had a little adrenaline going at the end," he said. "A one-run game gives me a little more fuel."
Renne said he has recovered from his basketball injury — the Cowapa League Player of the Year landed hard on his left side and suffered a concussion on a dunk attempt in the Class 4A semifinals.
"It's good to be back out there," he said. "I'm back to where I should be."
In the third inning on Monday, after giving up a leadoff walk followed by a single, the Braves and Baumgartner huddled on the mound. Renne then struck out the next three batters to escape any damage.
"Coach said 'Just get back focused, attack the hitters and throw first-pitch strikes,'" said Renne, who did just that.
In the fifth, with runners on second and third after Toman's RBI double, Renne got the third out with another K — on two curves and then a fastball — all swung at and missed.
"I like to compete, and that was a moment where I had to be a bulldog and pound the zone," Renne said.
The two teams were scheduled to meet again Thursday at Scappoose, weather permitting.
After Monday's game, Banks was atop the tough Cowapa League at 3-0. Valley Catholic was 2-0, Astoria 1-1 and Scappoose 1-2 in the first four.
Overall, Banks was 10-1 and ranked fourth in 4A, with its only loss 6-2 to No. 2 North Marion.
Scappoose was 7-6 and ranked 12th.
"It sucks that we lost today, but it was a fun game," Mann said. "We played against a good team and some great players."
The Braves walked off the field Monday with a nine-game winning streak.
"Any win is really good, and we're starting to get a winning mentality and play as a team," Cook said. "It's not just individuals anymore.
"There are some teams gunning for us, but we have really good potential. As long as we keep playing together, we'll do good."