LA GRANDE SOFTBALL QUALIFIES FOR PLAYOFFS
ISLAND CITY The La Grande High School softball girls were efficient yet aggressive on the base paths and in the field Thursday, showing the passion to dive after foul balls and take the extra base.
These are all hallmarks of a playoff team, and that's what the Tigers are after sweeping Mac-Hi 6-1 and 5-0.
It was La Grande's fifth win out of its last six, and the sweep propelled the Tigers to 11-7 in the Greater Oregon League, clinching a postseason berth.
La Grande will play either Stayton or Cascade on the road May 26 or 27.
Megan Caldwell pitched both victories, giving up just six hits on the day.
"They knew going in that if we swept, we'd secure a spot in state (playoffs) and wouldn't have to worry about (a doubleheader against Ontario) Saturday," said coach Nicole Christian.
Ontario and La Grande were battling over the final playoff spot, but the Tigers' sweep Thursday ended the suspense. Ontario at 8-10 in GOL is now out of it.
Christian was impressed by how many of her players were diving after balls. Catcher Meghan Henderson nearly made a spectacular catch on a foul pop-up, and center fielder Des McCoy did make a great diving catch in center field on a sinking line drive to rob Mac-Hi of a hit.
"They were diving left and right. They wanted to make the great play today. It was nice to see them getting dirty for balls," Christian said.
Caldwell was deuces wild in game 1. She had two hits, scored two runs, stole two bases and gave up just two hits on the mound.
Jennifer Funkhouser had a double and an RBI, while Danielle Tams had two RBIs and Kylee Lanham had one.
In game 2, Tams had a double and two more RBIs. She also scored a run, while Amanda Marcum scored a run and drove in a run.
Caldwell pitched a four-hit shutout for her second win of the day.
La Grande's last regular season games begin at noon Saturday at home against Ontario.
Mac-Hi 000 100 0 1 2 1
La Grande 011 202 x 6 7 2
Burlingame and Contrares; Caldwell and Henderson. WP Caldwell. LP Burlingame.
La Grande hits Caldwell 2, McCoy, Funkhouser, Goss, Tams. 2B Funkhouser. RBI Tams 2, Funkhouser, Lanham.
Mac-Hi 000 000 0 0 4 1
La Grande 101 201 x 5 6 0
Pruax and Contrares; Caldwell and Henderson. WP Caldwell. LP Pruax.
La Grande hits Tams 2, Marcum, Goss, Lanham, Wolford. 2B Tams. RBI Tams 2, Lanham, Marcum.