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Home arrow Opinion arrow La Grande sweeps rival Bulldogs 4-3, 9-1

La Grande sweeps rival Bulldogs 4-3, 9-1

The La Grande baseball team might have got its swagger back this weekend. Or at least coach Mark Lanman is hoping so.

The Tigers picked up a sweep of rival Baker Friday, taking the opener 4-3 on a Hayden Albrecht walk-off hit before rolling to a 9-1 victory in 
Game 2.

“We needed these games,” Lanman said. “Baker was out to get us. We pitched well and played good defense all day.”

Game 1 was exactly what you’d expect from a La Grande-Baker match-up.

Baker took an early 1-0 lead after scoring a run in the first inning. That lead held until the fourth inning.

Buck Arnoldus led the inning off with a single before Tyson Wicklander drew a walk. Derrick Peasley followed with a hit by pitch to load the bases, and Erik Jacobs tied the game on a sacrifice fly.

An inning later the Tigers took the lead after Jordan Rogers led the inning off with a single and eventually came home to score on a wild pitch.

But Baker responded in the sixth inning when an RBI double by Braden Phillips tied the game, then an RBI single by Kody Younger put the Bulldogs on top, 3-2.

That led to a thrilling seventh inning.

With La Grande trailing by one run, Garret Avila got on base to start the inning, then swiped second and third base to get the tying run 90 feet away.

After Jake Chamberlain drew a walk, Arnoldus tied the game with a sac fly while also advancing Chamberlain to third base.

That brought Albrecht to the plate with a chance to win the game. The senior didn’t hesitate and jumped on the first pitch he saw, bringing Chamberlain home and lifting the Tigers to victory.

“It’s awesome. I just anticipated and watched. I knew he (the pitcher) was throwing first- pitch curve balls,” Albrecht said. “This is huge for us.”

“He needed that,” Lanman said of Albrecht’s at bat. “That’s big for his confidence.”

Albrecht finished with a pair of RBIs for the game. Arnoldus had a team-high three hits, while Wicklander added two hits.

Avila started the game on the mound and went 5 2/3 while striking out four, but Josh Gambill picked up the win in relief, striking out one.

La Grande rode that momentum into Game 2, where the Tigers jumped all over the visiting Bulldogs.

Baker once again took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but that would be all the damage it would induce in this one.

An Avila RBI double got the Tigers on the board in the bottom of the first, then a Rogers sacrifice fly gave LHS a 2-1 lead.

It was smooth sailing from there, as La Grande added another run in the third, three in the fourth and three more in the sixth to cruise to victory.

Rogers had three RBIs in the win, while Avila added two. Logan Lankford, Chamberlain and Albrecht each had one. Jacobs finished three for three at the plate.

Kaleb White got the win on the mound, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing three hits and striking out three. Rogers sat down four in relief.

“Momentum-wise this was huge for us,” Lanman said. “These guys have the ability.They just have to have confidence in themselves. The other day Coach (Todd) Nice told them (the players) ‘You guys gotta have some swagger.’” So maybe they got some swagger after today (Saturday).”

The wins improve              La Grande to 3-3 in the Greater Oregon League, while Baker drops to 2-4. La Grande will host McLoughlin Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.

 that starts at 1 p.m.

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