La Grande’s Jacie Howton slides home to score a run in the first inning against Klamath Falls Tuesday. (MIKE WEBER/The Observer)
La Grande Little League softball team wins state title
SCAPPOOSE — The La Grande 9-10-year-old softball all-star team made history Tuesday, winning the state championship with a 10-0, five-inning decision over Klamath Falls in Scappoose.
The state title is a first for a La Grande 9-10-year-old softball team.
“It feels great. It’s a great win,” pitcher Allie Brock said after getting the win in the circle.
Brock pitched all five innings, allowed no hits, struck out 15 and capped off a tournament in which La Grande pitching allowed just two runs.
“Our pitching was simply dominant,” La Grande coach Brian Wiggins said.
“We played really good defense, and our catchers threw out a lot of baserunners. Teams were fearful to run on us.”
For the tournament, La Grande pitchers threw 29 innings, recorded 78 strikeouts and allowed three hits.
“I just had to remember to stick to my form,” Brock said. “My form carried me all the way. I go into every game thinking I’m going to win.”
La Grande also had its bats working.
La Grande outscored its opponents 72-2 in six games.
Including the district tournament, La Grande outscored opponents 94-2.
“I always said our pitching will keep us in games, but we were able to score enough runs to put teams away,” Wiggins said.
Against Klamath Falls on Tuesday, La Grande put up one run in the first inning, three in the second and one in the fourth.
But it was a five-run fifth inning that put the 10-run rule into effect and ended the game.
“When that 10th run crossed the plate, it was like a light bulb turned on,” Wiggins said.
“They realized they had reached their goal, that they were the best.”
Jacie Howton, Sophie Bell and Rilyn Kirkland each had two hits against Klamath Falls.
Gracie Neer and Jayde Wiggins recorded one hit.
Howton finished the state tournament with a .571 batting average and an .826 on-base percentage.
Hafer hit .450, McKaylee Orton hit .428, MacKenzie Hood finished at .400 and Bell had a .352 average.
And while Brock capped off the tournament, she wasn’t the only stellar pitcher.
Hafer pitched a no-hitter in a 10-0 win over Hood River in pool play, and Hafer and Brock combined for a no-hitter against Lents, a team from Portland.
Howton also contributed to La Grande’s success in holding teams scoreless.
“This is just a special group of girls,” Wiggins said. “It was a total team effort. All the way through, everybody did their part. To see the players grow this season was really special.
“My assistant coaches, Mike Brock and Shane Kirkland, were huge. The parents were great. It’s a lot of time and commitment. All the hard work definitely paid off.”