DEFENSE HURTS IN NON-LEAGUE LOSSES
Defense hasn't been the La Grande Tigers' strength lately, especially in Tuesday's baseball doubleheader against the DeSales (Wash.) Irish.
Fortunately for the Tigers, the 10-8 and 4-1 losses at Optimist Field were non-league, giving La Grande (10-10) a chance to work on its problems before a pair of Greater Oregon League games Saturday at Vale.
"Defensively we weren't very intense and didn't make the plays," La Grande coach Dennis Young said. "That's kind of been our bug-a-boo. We've had some good pitching performances and haven't been able to back it up defensively."
In the first game, pitcher Kenny Haggerty held DeSales to four runs before the fifth inning. That's when Haggerty gave up four walks and four singles that the Irish turned into five runs and a 10-7 lead.
"I probably went a little bit long with Kenny. That may have made a difference in that," Young said.
In the second game, Alex Arritola held DeSales to six hits, but the Tigers committed six errors. That came on top of five errors in the first game, including one in DeSales' five-run fifth.
La Grande's offense was hot and cold in the two games. The Tigers' first six batters had hits in the first game, giving La Grande a 4-3 lead. Aaron Thomas tripled, doubled and singled his first three times at bat, and Jason Smith and Zack Glasser each had three hits in the game.
Thomas and Glasser had the only hits in the second game, and those didn't come until the sixth inning. Thomas led off with a single. After he stole second base, Glasser doubled to right center field to bring him home.
La Grande's playoff hopes may rest on the team being able to shore up its defense. La Grande is 4-4 in GOL play, tied for fourth with Mac-Hi and a game behind Baker for the final state playoff spot.
"Lately we've been giving teams extra outs and when that happens, they've been taking advantage," Young said.
DeSales 301 050 1 Â— 10 10 4
La Grande 421 000 1 Â— 8 14 5
Hall and Conner; Haggerty, Royal (5) and Moore. WP Â— Hall. LP Â— Haggerty (3-1).
La Grande hits Â— Thomas 3, Smith 3, Glasser 3, Mellinger 2, Kleck, Searles, Moore. 2B Â— Thomas, Smith, Searles. 3B Â— Thomas, Smith. RBI Â— Smith 3, Glasser 2, Mellinger, Searles. SB Â— Mellinger, Kleck, Searles.
DeSales 001 102 0 Â— 4 6 1
La Grande 000 001 0 Â— 1 2 6
Conley and Conner; Arritola and Moore. WP Â— Conley. LP Â— Arritola (1-2).
La Grande hits Â— Thomas, Glasser. 2B Â— Glasser. RBI Â— Glasser. SB Â— Thomas, Glasser, Royal.
Â— From Observer staff reports