HERMISTON, LA GRANDE HANG ON TO EARLY LEADS
By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
The winning teams Tuesday at Optimist Field scored early and held off late rallies.
La Grande won the first game of the non-league baseball doubleheader 10-8, while Hermiston won the second game 12-10.
In both games, the winning team had a big early lead that dwindled as the game went on.
"We've kind of been up and down offensively and today was an up day," La Grande coach Dennis Young said.
"It just shows that we can compete with anybody. Hermiston had been ranked in the top 10. We've just got to continue to believe that we can win ballgames."
The Tigers had a 9-2 lead in the first game but gave up six runs in the fifth inning. Starter Matt Haggerty gave up four walks in the inning, the only walks he gave up all game.
Haggerty ended up with the win after Kyle Bomberger came in and got a strikeout to end the inning. Bomberger recorded three more strikeouts and got the save.
Aaron Thomas went 4-for-5 in the first game with an RBI and two stolen bases. Codi Periman drove in two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a sacrifice fly, and Kelly Moore had two RBIs with a triple in the fourth inning.
In the second game, La Grande trailed 8-1 after 2fi innings but didn't stay down for long. Three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings brought the Tigers within two at one point, but Hermiston increased its lead to 12-7 going into the bottom of the seventh.
With one out, Bomberger and Jeremy George walked. After a strikeout, Aaron Thomas singled to load the bases. Jason Smith's single scored Bomberger, and Zach Glasser's single scored George and Thomas. Corey Royal walked to reload the bases, but Hermiston got a strikeout to end the game.
"We had the bases loaded, had scored three runs, but just couldn't quite get those two guys in to tie it, or the three in to close it," Young said. "We never could quite get over the hump in the second game."
Still, Young was pleased with how his players responded to being down by seven runs.
"We got down there a little bit and scored some runs and scored some more runs and it got kind of contagious and the kids believed they could win," he said.
Young hopes his team's offensive ups and downs level out more in the up range.
"Sometimes you don't get the result that you think you should get," he said. "You get a lot of hard-hit balls that don't turn into hits and some that weren't hit very hard that were hits. You still go out and work hard at doing the right thing and those hits will come."
La Grande will renew its Greater Oregon League season with a doubleheader Saturday at Optimist Field. First pitch is at 1 p.m.
Hermiston 101 060 0 8 8 4
La Grande 311 410 x 10 8 1
Malinberg, Rasmussen (4), Hoyt (6) and Henderson; Haggerty, Bomberger (5) and Moore. WP Haggerty (3-0). LP Malinberg. Sv Bomberger.
La Grande hits Thomas 4, Smith 2, Periman, Moore. 2B Thomas. 3B Periman. RBI Thomas, Smith, Glasser, Royal, Periman 2, Moore 2. SB Thomas, Smith, Glasser 2.
Hermiston 125 112 0 12 8 2
La Grande 013 300 3 10 8 4
Murray, Peters (5), Skogley (7) and Henderson, Cordova (3); Arritola, Thomas (3), Glasser (7) and Moore. WP Murray. LP Arritola (1-1). Sv Skogley.
La Grande hits Thomas 2, Smith, Glasser 2, Searles, Moore 2. 2B Smith, Glasser, Searles. RBI Smith 3, Glasser 2, Royal, Searles, George. SB Smith, Glasser, Royal.