LA GRANDE, EASTERN SOFTBALL IN PLAYOFF FIGHTS
La Grande stays in playoff position with Baker split
BAKER La Grande's Amanda Marcum drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the Tiger softball girls won a critical game Thursday to stay in playoff position.
The split with a solid Baker team also helps the girls' confidence. Baker (12-4 in Greater Oregon League) and La Grande split four games this season.
La Grande is now 9-7 in GOL play with four games left against Mac-Hi and Ontario. Ontario (8-8 in GOL) swept Vale Thursday, and gained a game on the Tigers for third place and the league's final playoff slot.
Coach Nicole Christian thinks the season will come down to La Grande's final doubleheader against Ontario May 17. Ontario has to play two games against first-place Riverside first.
"We needed to get one (win) against Baker to stay ahead," said Christian.
Christian said the La Grande girls hit the ball hard at times against the Bulldogs, but there was a stiff wind and the gusts kept knocking down the Tigers' drives to the outfield.
"There was one I was sure was in the gap, then the wind went whoop" and the outfielder got to it," she said.
La Grande scored two runs in the first inning in game 1 on an RBI double by Meghan Henderson and an RBI single by Funkhouser.
But, the Tigers were shut down the rest of the game.
Baker scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth on back-to-back doubles to take the lead.
In game 2, Baker got ahead 1-0, but La Grande came back with a run in the fourth on a Krystal Gore RBI.
In the top of the seventh, Danielle Tams got on base on a walk. Marcum then drove her in with a clutch double to give La Grande a 2-1 lead. The Tigers shut down the Bulldogs in the bottom of the inning to win.
Henderson, the catcher, was a big star on defense, throwing out two base runners trying to steal second, and another base runner trying to swipe third.
La Grande 200 000 0 2 5 3
Baker 000 012 0 3 8 1
Caldwell, Marcum (6) and Henderson; Boyer and Craig. WP Boyer. LP Marcum.
La Grande hits Marcum, Funkhouser, Gore, Goss, Henderson. 2B Henderson. RBI Henderson, Funkhouser.
La Grande 000 100 1 2 8 3
Baker 001 000 0 1 4 1
Caldwell and Henderson; Boyer, Barker (4) and Craig. WP Caldwell. LP Barker.
La Grande hits Funkhouser 2, Marcum, Goss, Henderson, Gore, Caldwell, Chadwick. 2B Caldwell. RBI Gore, Marcum.
Eastern softball women split two; season still alive
PORTLAND The Eastern Oregon softball women's season is alive for at least another day after a 4-1 win over Oregon Tech Thursday in the second round of the NAIA Region 1 Softball Tournament.
Eastern (23-14) was facing elimination after losing its first game of the day to No. 16-ranked Southern Oregon 4-2.
Beth Hull hit her fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot, to account for Eastern's scoring.
In the second game of the day, Eastern fell behind 1-0, but stormed back thanks to another home run from Hull and an RBI single from Amanda Heuberger in the fourth inning.
Eastern added a pair of insurance runs in the fifth on a two-run, bases-loaded single by Adrienne Fullmer.
Eastern faced Southern Oregon again this morning. The Raiders were beaten by No. 1 seed Simon Fraser Thursday afternoon 8-0.
If Eastern wins that game, the Mountaineers probably have to win an afternoon game against Simon Fraser to advance out of Region 1.
Simon Fraser (31-3) is the No. 2-ranked team in the NAIA. Simon Fraser will likely advance out of the region whether it wins the tournament or not. So, if the two teams meet in the championship, Eastern will have more to play for.