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OUT AT SECOND: La Grande shortstop Amanda Marcum hops up after tagging out a Riverside runner during the fourth inning of Friday's Greater Oregon League playoff game. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
OUT AT SECOND: La Grande shortstop Amanda Marcum hops up after tagging out a Riverside runner during the fourth inning of Friday's Greater Oregon League playoff game. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

PENDLETON — Erica Hancock is one of the best Class 3A softball pitchers in the state and she showed why Friday against La Grande.

The Riverside Pirate pitcher struck out 10 Tigers and held La Grande to three hits in a 2-0 victory at the Blue Mountain Community College field here.

The playoff game broke the tie for first place in the Greater Oregon League and gave Riverside the top seed in the state playoffs.

La Grande (17-10) will play Cascade at 3 p.m. Monday at the Mormon Church field in Island City. Riverside plays an undetermined opponent Wednesday in Boardman.


wasn't perfect — she walked three batters and hit two — but she took advantage of the umpire's strike zone and sent several La Grande batters walking to the dugout with disgusted looks on their faces.

"Erica Hancock is one of the best pitchers in the state and for us to see her four times a year is only going to help us," La Grande coach Nicole Christian said.

La Grande had won 10 games in a row and had beaten 16 GOL opponents in a row dating back to April 11.

Two of those wins were over Riverside and Hancock, a 1-0, 13-inning victory and a 2-1 win on April 18.

A pair of doubles in the first inning gave Riverside all the runs it needed Friday. La Grande pitcher Amanda Marcum walked Bree Totten before yielding a double to Hancock that scored Totten. An out later, Sara Russell's double scored Hancock.

La Grande had its chances. The Tigers had Kandis Wallace on second base with one out in the second inning. They got Marcum, the leadoff batter, to third in the fourth inning. Each time, Hancock finished the frame with a strikeout.

Then came the seventh inning. Erin Henjum led off with a single down the right field line. Des McCoy ran for her and after Danielle Tams struck out, she moved to second on Heather Hampton's single into left field.

Hancock struck out Megan Caldwell and got Meghan Henderson to fly out to second base to end the game.

"You've got to put the ball in play and … we had four strikeouts looking," Christian said.

La Grande 000 000 0 — 0 3 2

Riverside 200 000 x — 2 4 0

Marcum, Caldwell (4) and Henderson; E.Hancock and B.Totten. WP — E.Hancock. LP — Marcum (3-2).

La Grande hits — Marcum, Henjum, Hampton.

Riverside hits — E.Hancock, Russell 2, B.Totten. 2B — E.Hancock, Russell. RBI — E.Hancock, Russell.

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