LA GRANDE’S KELLY WALKER was one of two seniors honored Wednesday when LHS hosted Fruitland. The teams split the non-league doubleheader. CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
The La Grande softball team had to settle for a split with Fruitland Wednesday in a non-league contest. The Lady Tigers took the opener 3-2 in nine innings, but fell in the second game, 6-1.
“The first game we played some great ball,” coach Kevin Kohr said. “We played simple softball and mixed in some great plays. But then we lost focus a little in the second game.”
La Grande was able to strike for two runs in the first inning of Game 1 after Madison Elliott scored on a wild pitch, followed by an RBI single by Kori Clipfell.
But the Lady Tigers’ bats went to sleep after that and Fruitland was able to get one run in the fourth and another in the fifth on a home run to tie the game.
Neither team was able to get much going after that until the ninth. Jenny Tracy got on base with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch.
That set up an opportunity for Denise Comfort to end things with a base knock, and the junior came through, roping one into left field to lift the Lady Tigers to victory.
“She did a great job, kept the nose on the ball. Her and Jenny talked about it before hand. ‘You (Jenny) get on I’m (Denise) going to score you,” Kohr said.
Kelly Walker got the win, going all nine innings and striking out seven. Tracy finished three for five, while both Elliott and Clipfell had two hits apiece.
But Game 2 didn’t go as smooth for the La Grande.
After Fruitland got an early run in the first inning, the Lady Tigers responded in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Walker.
Then in the fourth inning, the Grizzlies were able to blow the game open.
Fruitland was able to take advantage of errors by LHS to score five runs on just two hits to take a 6-1 lead.
“It’s a snowball effect,” Kohr said of the errors. “We just couldn’t get that third out.”
La Grande stranded runners in each of the last three innings as Fruitland pulled out the win to earn a split.
“Fruitland is legit. They did a great job of keeping us off balance at the plate,” Kohr said.
Emily Lawrence took the loss, striking out three in seven innings of work. Tracy and Walker both had a pair of hits for LHS.
Prior to the game, La Grande honored its two seniors, Tracy and Walker.
“Those are going to be some big shoes to fill. Both of them are great kids, great teammates. They are both going to be successful in whatever they decide to do,” Kohr said.
La Grande had lost five straight games entering Wednesday and are now 6-11 overall. The Lady Tigers will host Ontario Saturday starting at 2 p.m.