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Little Leaguers go to state
SCAPPOOSE — The La Grande 9-10-year-old Little League all-star softball team opens the state tournament today against West Salem/Keizer at 4 p.m. in Scappoose.
La Grande will then face Hood River and Lents on Saturday, followed by Willamette Sunday. The top four teams from pool play advance to Monday’s semifinals.
“As a team we are anchored by a couple of outstanding pitchers,” assistant coach Mike Brock said. “We hit the ball as well as anybody and play good defense. We have a catcher that erases base runners like a kid that didn’t study for the big math test, and role players willing to jump in where they’re needed and give it their all. I expect the girls will do well.”
La Grande is coming off the District 3 Tournament held in John Day. The team went 3-0 en route to the district title.
In the tournament opener, La Grande defeated Milton-Freewater, 10-0, behind a 12-strikeout, one-hit effort by pitcher Allie Brock. In the second game, La Grande held off Pendleton, 2-0, behind an 11-strikeout, one-hit game by Jaiden Hafer.
In the tournament championship, La Grande beat Grant County, 10-0. Brock pitched a no-hitter, striking out 14.
Jayce Howton led the team during the tournament with a .777 batting average. Brock hit .500 for the tournament followed by Jaiden Wiggns at .333 and Sophie Bell at .300.
Kenzie Bowen chipped in with a .285 average, followed by Hafer, Sadie Horn and Rilyn Kirkland at .250. Gracie Neer did not collect a hit in the tournament, but she did boast a .750 on-base percentage. McKenzie Hood and McKaylee Orton also found ways to help the team by reaching base and scoring runs, according to Brock.