By Pat Perkins
Observer Staff Writer
ENTERPRISE The La Grande Little League 11-12-year-old boys all-stars are going to state for the first time since 1995.
A 3-2 win Saturday over Pendleton gave La Grande the District 3 championship and a trip to Salem for the state tournament, which starts Saturday.
La Grande made any early lead hold and withstood some shaky defense to nip the defending District 3 champions at this year's district tournament.
"Everything was close. They had them all close," La Grande manager said about La Grande's undefeated run through the tournament.
La Grande jumped on Pendleton with three singles in the first inning, the third of which, by Cody McKaig, scored Anthony Nice, who had led off with a single. Taylor McIntosh grounded out to first base, but that allowed Richie Carmichael to score from third.
La Grande added a run in the second inning when Ammon Kohler and Taylor Workinger led off with walks. Kohler moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Anthony Nice, and he scored on a wild pitch.
After that, however, the offense was shut down by Pendleton pitcher Tony Schachtsick. Schachtsick retired nine batters in a row until Tylor Zacharias singled to lead off the fifth.
Carmichael, meanwhile, held Pendleton at bay on the mound. He struck out the last two batters in the first inning after loading the bases. He had a runner on third in the second before striking out the final batter.
Pendleton finally got through in the fourth, getting the leadoff runner on base by an error and scoring on another error.
In the top of the sixth, Jared Britton led off with a single and Gabe Rowe walked. After two outs that moved the runners to second and third, first baseman Josh Homan dropped a routine throw that allowed Britton to score.
Carmichael hit Alex Doherty to load the bases, but Schachtsick grounded the ball right to Homan.
Was he nervous?
"Yes, I was," Homan said after the game.
He didn't act like it, calmly walking to the bag to end the game.
"Our defense let us down in a couple of spots," Todd Nice said. "We just tried to stay positive and I think that was the difference this year."
The eight-team state tournament starts Saturday at Salem's Holland Field. La Grande will play at 3 p.m. against the District 6 champion from south central Oregon.
The District 6 tournament ends Friday in Medford.
La Grande last went to state in 1995, when it finished fourth.
Pendleton was second last year and third in 2000.
Pendleton 000 101 2 3 0
La Grande 210 00x 3 3 4
Schachtsick and Baty; Carmichael and McKaig. WP Carmichael. LP Schachtsick.
Pendleton hits Doherty, Rowe, Britton.
La Grande hits A.Nice 2, Carmichael, McKaig, Zacharias. RBI McKaig, McIntosh. SB McKaig.