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LET IT GO: La Grande Rain Roofing pitcher Tanner Mellinger releases one of his pitches against West Albany Sunday at Optimist Field in the American Legion baseball Northwest Class "A" regional tournament. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
LET IT GO: La Grande Rain Roofing pitcher Tanner Mellinger releases one of his pitches against West Albany Sunday at Optimist Field in the American Legion baseball Northwest Class "A" regional tournament. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Both La Grande and West Albany played an ugly game Sunday.

Unfortunately for La Grande, West Albany was less ugly, especially defensively, and came away with a 15-13 victory that knocked the host team from the American Legion Class "A" Northwest Regional Tournament at Optimist Field.

"It was an ugly start for both teams," West Albany coach Don Lien said. "It was an identically played game. Both teams made their share of mistakes."

How about seven La Grande errors, four that led to West Albany's eight-run first inning?

"Defense was going to win that game," La Grande coach Wes McAllaster said. "That was probably our Achilles' heel, errors."

Offensively, La Grande took advantage of West Albany's mistakes, which came not in the form of defensive errors but as lapses in communication and anticipation, problems that plagued La Grande, too.

For example, in the fourth inning a single by Dollen Stroup scored Corey Royal. Shane Slover advanced to third, but went ahead and stole home because West Albany wasn't paying attention.

The loss spoiled a solid offensive game for La Grande, which got 14 hits, including three doubles by Jason Smith and two more by Stroup. Smith had two RBIs while Stroup had three.

Smith's two-run double in the first inning opened the scoring, and Tyler Davis followed with a run-scoring single.

West Albany, the Oregon state champs, got to pitcher Tanner Mellinger quickly thanks to four La Grande errors in the first inning. Mellinger gave up six hits in the inning, but went one-two-three on five pitches in the second.

By then, La Grande had added three more in its half of the second. Stroup doubled home a run, Mellinger grounded home a run, and a West Albany error brought home another one.

Stroup's double-play grounder scored a run in the third, and another West Albany error tied the game 8-8.

Two more La Grande errors in the third, combined with RBI-singles by Tim Costain and Tyler Roberts, gave West Albany a 12-8 lead.

That didn't last long. John Schmidt grounded home a run in the fourth, and Stroup singled home a run right before Slover stole home. Zack Glasser singled home the tying run.

La Grande finally regained the lead in the seventh. After Stroup led off with a double, Glasser sacrificed him to third, but nobody was covering home, so Glasser scored.

Four-straight singles by West Albany added three more runs in the seventh, and this time West Albany held on to its lead. La Grande had the bases loaded with two outs in the ninth, but Jerrod Kollaer struck out Jeremy George to end the game.

McAllaster was at a loss to explain his team's uncharacteristic performance.

"A lack of concentration, I don't know. A lack of anticipation, maybe that was the answer, I don't know," he said. "We allowed them to have a few extra runs.

"I was proud of them. They battled, especially after (West Albany) came back. I still feel like we're one of the better teams here; we just didn't play like it today."

La Grande 332 400 100 — 13 14 3

West A. 804 000 30x — 15 15 7

Mellinger, Thomas (4) and Slover; Kollaer, Boydston (3), Kollaer (7) and Hall. WP — Kollaer. LP — Thomas.

La Grande hits — Thomas 2, Stroup 3, Glasser, Mellinger, Smith 3, Davis 2, Royal, Slover, George. 2B — Smith 3, Stroup 2. RBI — Stroup 3, Mellinger, Smith 2, Davis, Schmidt. SB — Davis, Glasser, Slover, Mellinger Royal.

West Albany hits — Ardaiz, Costain 2, Sim 2, Roberts 3, Boydston 2, Arnold, Kollaer, Jones, Hall, Cannon. 2B — Sim. 3B — Boydston. RBI — Costain, Sim, Boydston 2, Arnold, Jones, Cannon. SB — Kollaer, Ardaiz.

La Grande 15, Glendive 4

With the bases loaded in the fifth inning, Tanner Mellinger was thinking home run Saturday night.

"I'm always thinking home run when I get up to the plate," Mellinger said. "I just swing and when the ball goes, it goes."

It went off Mellinger's bat to beyond the left center field fence and capped an eight-run inning that secured La Grande's lone victory of the tournament.

Mellinger was 2-for-4 with five RBIs for Rain Roofing, which also had a seven-run third inning.

Pitcher Dollen Stroup gave up three hits and four walks while striking out five over six innings. He had been sick with a stomach virus earlier in the week but showed no ill effects Saturday night.

"It was good, other than the last two innings," Stroup said. The big lead "helped a lot. It's nice to get support from the team at the plate."

La Grande parlayed five hits, three walks and a Glendive error into seven runs in the third. Stroup hit a two-run single, Zack Glasser had a two-run triple, and Corey Royal had a two-run double. Mellinger also drove in a run with a double.

Royal had a two-run single in the fifth, then Glendive committed three errors that allowed two more runs to score. After a walk to Glasser loaded the bases, Mellinger hit a curveball over the left center field fence.

Glendive, the Montana state champs, scored all four of its runs in the fifth inning.

Kraig Zimmerman, who went 2-for-4, reached base on an error. Greg Ford singled and Ryan Lystad was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Matt Iba walked to force in the first run, and Joe Bakken was hit by a pitch to bring home the second. One fly ball later, Chase Downs' grounder scored Lystad. Iba then scored on a wild pitch.

Greg Ford's hit was Glendive's first in the game. Zimmerman singled to lead off the sixth inning, and two walks loaded the bases, but Stroup struck out Tyler Schlosser and got Ward Hilger to ground out.

Glendive also had consecutive singles in the seventh inning, by Josh Albee and Derek Ford, but La Grande again got out of the jam.

"Our bats have been our biggest key," Glendive coach Chad Jones said. "We just kind of slowed down this tournament."

Royal was 2-for-4 with four RBIs for La Grande, and Jason Smith went 2-for-2.

Glendive MT 000 040 0 — 4 5 3

La Grande 007 080 x — 15 12 4

Downs, Bakken (3), Schlosser (5) and Zimmerman; Stroup, Thomas (7) and Slover. WP — Stroup. LP — Downs.

Glendive hits — D.Ford, Zimmerman 2, G.Ford, Albee. RBI — Downs, Iba, Bakken.

La Grande hits — Thomas, Stroup, Glasser, Mellinger 2, Smith 2, Davis, Royal 2, Slover, George. 2B — Smith, Mellinger, Royal. 3B — Glasser. HR — Mellinger. RBI — Thomas, Stroup 2, Glasser 2, Mellinger 5, Royal 4, George. SB — Thomas.

Sunday's games

Richland 12, Cheyenne 1

John Tierney made a bid for MVP honors with a trio of home runs Sunday night to lead Richland, Wash., to a 12-1, eight-inning victory over Cheyenne, Wyo., at the American Legion Baseball Class "A" Northwest Regional Tournament at Optimist Field.

Tierney was almost matched by teammate Kyle Conley, who followed the third baseman in the third and fourth innings with solo home runs of his own.

Conley didn't get a chance for his third home run in the fifth inning — he was walked on four pitches.

Richland will play Mountain Home, Idaho, at 6 p.m. today, while Cheyenne faces West Albany at 2 p.m.

Tierney's first home run Sunday, a two-run blast, added to Richland's 1-0 lead in the third inning. Conley made it a 4-0 game.

Tierney and Conley both had solo shots in the fourth inning, and Tierney added another two-run homer in the fifth.

Richland 103 330 02 — 12 10 1

Cheyenne 001 000 00 — 1 5 3

Roberts, Goplen (6) and Brown, Cejka (8); Smith, Garcia (5), Bigelow (8) and

Anthony. WP — Roberts. LP — Smith.

Richland hits — Tierney 3, K.Conley 2, Gana, Roberts 2, Brown, Cejka. 2B — Roberts. HR — Tierney 3, K.Conley 2. RBI — Perez, Tierney 5, Conley 2, Roberts. SB — Mitchell.

Cheyenne hits — Garcia 2, G.Gutierrez, Gering, J.Gutierrez. 2B — G.Gutierrez.

Mountain Home 5, Sumner 3

Mountain Home got the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning to knock out Sumner, the second seed from Washington State.

Jimmy Hendershot was 2-for-2 with a home run for the Idaho team. Zach Simons pitched a four-hit complete game with 10 strikeouts for the win.

Sumner WA 200 001 000 — 3 4 2

Mtn. Home 010 002 200 — 5 7 0

Marquez, Childs (8) and Clerget; Z.Simons and Good. WP — Z.Simons. LP — Marquez.

Sumner hits — Childs, Shoemaker, Rawlings, Clerget. RBI — Shoemaker, Rawlings, Clerget. SB — Montgomery, Ireland.

Mountain Home hits — Kennedy, Uhl, Z.Simons 2, Hendershot 2, J.Simons, Holmes. 2B — Kennedy, Simons. HR — Hendershot. RBI — Z.Simons, Hendershot 2.

Saturday's games

Richland 16, W. Albany 2

The Washington state champs pounded the Oregon champs with 15 hits and took advantage of four West Albany errors.

Nick Cejka was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs for Richland. Greg Brown was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Tyler Cheney got the win on the mound, giving up eight hits and striking out seven.

West Albany used five pitchers but couldn't stop Richland from scoring in every inning from the third on.

Richland 002 441 5 — 16 15 0

West Albany 000 110 0 — 2 8 4

Cheney, Conley (7) and Brown; Roberts, Sim (4), Costain (4), Dvorak (6), Ardaiz (7) and Polequin. WP — Cheney. LP — Roberts.

Richland hits — Perez, Tierney, Gana, Roberts 2, Mitchell, Ehlis 2, Brown 3, Cejka, Van Reenen, Meyers. 2B — Gana, Ehlis 2, Brown, Roberts, Meyers. HR — Cejka. RBI — Tierney 2, Ehlis 2, Brown, Cejka 3, Van Reenen, Meyers.

West Albany hits — Ardaiz, Sim 2, Roberts, Arnold, Boydston 2, Cannon. 2B — Ardaiz.

Cheyenne 13, Sumner 12

A double by Matt Melander scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning, and a bloop single to right field by Charlie Payne scored what would be the winning run for the Wyoming team.

Justin Childs tripled home a run for Sumner in the bottom of the inning, but relief pitcher Jake Smith got a ground ball for the final out and the save.

Paul Garcia went 3-for-6 for Cheyenne with three RBI's and a home run. Childs was 4-for-7 for Sumner with three RBIs. Kyle Clerget also had a home run for the Washington team.

C. 050 300 210 02 — 13 12 3

S. 007 010 030 01 — 12 13 3

Wheeler, Wiljakainen (8), Smith (11) and Anthony; Rawlings, Hagedone (5) and Clerget. WP — Wiljakainen. LP — Hagedone. Sv — Smith.

Cheyenne hits — Coonts, Garcia 3, G.Gutierrez, Anthony, Gering, Melander, Payne 2, Wiljakainen 2. 2B — Melander. HR — Payne. RBI — Coonts, Garcia 3, Melander, Payne 2.

Sumner hits — Childs 4, Ireland, Britt, Rawlings 2, Clerget 2, Montgomery 2, Defazio, Dodge 2, Hagedone. 2B — Ireland, Rawlings, Dodge, Montgomery, Britt. 3B — Childs 2. HR — Clerget. RBI — Childs 3, Ireland 2, Rawlings, Clerget 2, Montgomery.

Mountain Home 12, Valdez 0

The game was close until Mountain Home erupted for nine runs in the fifth inning.

Drew Caufman was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for the Idaho champions. Brian Holmes went the distance on the mound, giving up just five hits with nine strikeouts.

Keith Hankins went 2-for-4 for the Alaskan champs.

Valdez AK 000 000 0 — 0 5 2

M.H. 110 190 x — 12 13 1

Cook, Smith (5) and K.Craig; Holmes and Good. WP — Holmes. LP — Cook.

Valdez hits — Hankins 2, K.Craig, Warkentein, Holmes. 2B — Hankins.

Mountain Home hits — Kennedy 2, Uhl 2, Caufman 2, Hendershot 2, Good, J.Simons 2, Holmes. 2B — Caufman, J.Simons. 3B — Holmes, Uhl. RBI — Kennedy, Uhl, Caufman 2, Hendershot, Good 2, J.Simons 2.


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