RAIN ROOFING CLAIMS STATE TITLE
By The Observer
PORTLAND The seven-mile bus ride from the motel to the baseball diamond told the entire story.
La Grande Rain Roofing put on their game faces early Monday, focused on the task at hand and returned home from David Douglas High School with the American Legion Class A State Tournament title following a 10-5 pasting of Ashland.
Like our last game at district, today was our best game all around, said Wes McAllaster, who coaches the La Grande team made up of 16- to 18-year-olds.
Its quite an accomplishment to be a state champ at any level, he added.
La Grande (26-9) heads to Powell, Wyo., where it will play the second seed out of Washington Friday in the first round of the Class A Regional Tournament.
Adam Kleck, who started Rain Roofings state-tournament opener Thursday with a complete game, came within two-thirds of an inning of going the distance on the mound again.
Kleck had only two strikeouts and allowed seven hits, but managed to pitch himself out of several holes throughout the title contest.
I pitched decent, Kleck said. I got out of three or four tight jams and only gave up one run until the ninth inning.
La Grandes defense helped back Kleck up with crucial plays. One came in the opening inning after Kleck walked the leadoff Ashland batter. On the next play, shortstop Zach Glasser initiated a double play.
The next two batters hit a single and double, but the final one hit out to Kleck.
Four times in the first five innings, Ashland stranded two runners on base as La Grandes defense came up with outs when it needed them.
Rain Roofings offense sprang to life in the third inning. Kleck opened with a double to left/center field. After stealing third base, Kleck scored when Glasser hit into a ground out.
La Grande added a run in the fourth when Jason Smith drove in Ty Mellinger.
In the fifth, Drew Fischer got on base when he was hit by a pitch. Tanner Abel followed with a single to left field. Dollen Stroup drove in Fischer and made it to first safely on an error, and Mellinger singled to left field scoring Abel.
Two errors led to Abel scoring again in the seventh inning for a 5-0 La Grande lead.
The eighth inning proved pivotal as La Grande scored four runs on three hits and one Ashland error. Smith and Abel had one-run singles and Fischer added a one-run double.
Shane Slover drove in Mellinger in the ninth inning on a single after Mellinger hit a double.
Ashland, which entered the game with only four losses this season, one coming Saturday against La Grande, didnt score its first run until the seventh inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ashland scored four runs, including a three-run home run that drove Kleck from the game.
It was 10-1 in the ninth and (Kleck) got tired and gave one up, McAllaster said.
Glasser came in to seal the victory. After walking his first batter, La Grandes defense turned a double play to end the contest.
Mellinger had three hits to pace La Grande. Abel and Thomas added two hits apiece, and Smith had two RBIs.
Fischer was named the tournament MVP after he tallied 11 RBIs, nine hits, three doubles, two home runs, two steals and one triple during the five-day event.
It was an honor, Fischer said. I was really surprised it was me (selected). There were a lot of guys worth of it.
LG Rain Roofing 001 120 141 10 11 2
Ashland 000 000 104 5 7 5
Kleck, Glasser (9) and Slover; Decker and George. WP Kleck. LP Decker.
La Grande hits Mellinger 3, Abel 2, Thomas 2, Slover, Smith, Kleck, Fischer. 2B Fischer, Mellinger, Kleck. RBI Smith 2, Slover, Mellinger, Glasser, Stroup, Abel, Fischer. SB Abel, Thomas, Kleck.