ROUGH START DOOMS LA GRANDE
PENDLETON A late-inning rally couldnt erase early-game doldrums for La Grande Rain Roofing Friday.
La Grande fell 8-4 to the Hermiston Heat in the first game of the Pendleton American Legion baseball tournament.
The game looked like a route early on with La Grande (3-2) falling behind 8-0 through five innings.
Errors hurt Rain Roofing. Hermiston scored three runs in the top of the first on three hits, but used three hits and two La Grande errors in the second to go up 5-0.
Another La Grande error, coupled with two Heat hits, led to two more runs in the fourth inning for a 7-0 edge.
We had too many errors early, La Grande coach Wes McAllaster said. We didnt show up ready to play.
Some of that could have been attributed to Rain Roofing missing two starters. Tanner Abel and Dollen Stroup are both gone this weekend playing basketball.
Plus, McAllaster said the car accident in Joseph that claimed the life of Rohs Kuppinger may have been lingering in the back of the players minds. Kuppinger was an all-Wapiti League baseball player for Joseph High School.
Most of the guys didnt know him that well, but its still the loss of a life, he said.
A Heat pitching change in the bottom of the fourth inning opened the door for La Grande to get back into the contest.
With one out, Rain Roofing loaded the bases, but Jason Smith and Adam Kleck struck out swinging to end the frame.
We let (Hermiston) off the hook, McAllaster said of the fourth inning freeze.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, La Grande got things going on offense. Zach Glasser nailed a double that drove in two runs, followed by an RBI from Jimmie Baynes. Drew Fischer connected for a one-run triple that went over the center fielders head.
The rally came to an end as La Grande failed to score in the final two innings.
Glasser and Fischer had two hits apiece, and Glasser added two RBIs to lead La Grande.
Kleck went the distance, allowing nine hits. Seven of those hits came in the first four innings.
La Grande plays Pendleton at 1 p.m. today. It will also play Sunday against a team to be determined.
Hermiston Heat 320 210 0 8 9 1
La Grande Rain Roofing 000 040 0 4 6 4
Bergstrom, Sanchez (4) and Henderson; Kleck and Slover. WP Bergstrom. LP Kleck.
La Grande hits Glasser 2, Fischer 2, Smith, George. 2B Glasser. 3B Fischer. RBI Glasser 2, Fischer, Baynes. SB Smith, Thomas.