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La Grande’s Kaleb White of McDonald’s/Legacy Ford Legends delivers a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday against Walla Walla, Wash., at Optimist Field. The Legends took the opener, 4-0. (Brad Mosher/The Observer)
The McDonald’s/Legacy Ford Legends improved to 3-0 for the season by winning a 4-0 decision Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader with the Walla Walla Merchants at Optimist Field.
But the visitors got away with a narrow nine-inning win in the second game, handing the Legends their first loss, 7-6.
The split means the Legends will be going into Friday’s Pendleton Tournament against the Hermiston Heat at 10 a.m. with a 3-1 record.
Kaleb White threw a three-hit game in the opener,.
White got the complete- game victory in spite of an injury early in the game when he was batting, Legends head coach Parker McKinley said.
“He was fantastic. He got 14 strikeouts. He did a great job powering through,” McKinley said. White left right after the game with his family to have the injury checked by a doctor, the coach said.
In the first game, the Legends were able to put the ball in play, breaking a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning when Tyson Wicklander hit a grounder that Walla Walla shortstop Isaiha Standard couldn’t handle, allowing Seth Madsen to score.
J.C. Rogers followed with a hit that bounced off the Walla Walla second baseman’s glove into shallow right field after the umpire had to jump out of the way. Rogers was safe at first and scored Logan Lankford.
The 2-0 lead held until the Legends added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Joe Griffin got on base when he was hit by a pitch, then followed by stealing second and third.
Brandon Cederholm got a double, scoring Griffin from third. Cederholm scored when Madsen’s hit to center field was dropped.
That was more than enough scoring for White to get the win.
McKinley was pleased with his team’s play in the first game.
“Fortunately for us, Walla Walla had some young kids out there,” McKinley said. “They made some errors and we capitalized on them.
“The first time through, our lineup was a little slow to get started (at the plate), but the second time through, we put the bat on the ball a little better,” McKinley said.
In the second game, the Walla Walla team filled with players off the strong DeSales High School baseball program got off to a quick start.
Matt Jubb’s first-inning double scored Cam Richman, giving Walla Walla a 1-0 lead.
The Legends came back with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
Trenton Powers hit a single up the middle to score Cederholm and tie the game. Eli Wisdom followed with a grounder to second that scored Lankford and put the Legends ahead.
But Walla Walla rallied with four runs in the top of the second inning to take a 5-2 lead.
Richman hit a double to score Josh Larsen, tying the game. Standard followed with a hit that bounced off the left-field fence and scored two.
Ahead 4-2, the Merchants got a single from Adam Eskil that moved Standard to third base. Standard scored when Jubb hit a grounder and was thrown out at first.
The McDonald’s/Legacy Ford squad rallied for three runs in the bottom of the third.
Powers led the Legends with a two-out infield hit and beat the throw to first. Wisdom followed with a walk.
Kurt Boyd’s single scored Powers. Mitch Workinger’s single scored both Wisdom and Boyd to tie the game at 5-all. In the top of the fourth inning, Walla Walla used a wild pitch to score Jubb, who had gotten on base with a double, taking a 6-5 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the Legends scored when Wisdom got a sacrifice fly off Walla Walla’s relief pitcher that scored Cederholm.
Walla Walla’s starting pitcher Richman gave up three straight walks to load the bases before he was replaced.
That was the last either team would score until the top of the ninth inning when Standard scored the winning run for Walla Walla.
Standard got on base with a walk, then moved to third when Eskil followed with a double.
A walk to Jubb loaded the bases with no outs.
Jackson Kent hit into a force at second and almost turned into a double play at first, but Kent beat the throw and Standard scored what would be the winning run.
The Legends could have won the game without the extra-innings, McKinley said.
The team made some mistakes on the basepaths. In the bottom of the seventh, the Legends had Boyd on third when Wisdom flied out to center field. He stayed at third and was left on base. “If it had been hit about 10 feet deeper, Boyd would have scored,” McKinley said. It was the right call to keep him on third. “Their center fielder made a perfect throw to the plate. He (Boyd) would have been out,” the coach said.
McKinley said he thought his team had the double play that would have ended without Walla Walla scoring in the ninth. “We could still be playing,” the coach added.
The Legends will play a second game Friday at Pendleton at 2:30 p.m. against Sandy. The Legends play University, a team from Spokane, Wash., Saturday at 10 a.m. At 12:30 p.m. they play Pendleton. The championship game for the will be held Sunday. “I told the kids I want to play on Sunday and that they are good enough to play on Sunday,” McKinley said.