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SHERWOOD BEATS LA GRANDE IN SEVENTH

SHERWOOD — The La Grande Tigers got a total team effort Wednesday — just not the result they wanted.

La Grande's softball season ended with a 14-13 loss to Sherwood in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs. Sherwood got the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

"We knew that we had to come in and start hitting better, but I don't think we expected that our defense was going to stop," La Grande coach Nicole Christian said. "It just looked like we hadn't been playing that long together.

"It was the whole team, though, a team effort of poor defense. I'd rather have one person have a really bad day than the whole team."

The Tigers committed seven errors, many of them on misplayed bunts. Most of Sherwood's 12 hits were bunts, Christian said.

"If I was that coach I would have bunted all day on us," she said. "They were probably the fastest team we've seen all year.

Still, La Grande came from behind twice to take the lead. A four-run third inning was highlighted by Erin Henjum's two-run double. That gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead after trailing 5-2.

Sherwood scored in every inning but the third, however, and led 11-6 after five innings. La Grande responded with a seven-run sixth. The Tigers kept the bases loaded and scored runs through three walks and a hit batter. Megan Caldwell and Heather Hampton singled in runs in the inning.

"They fought really hard," Christian said. "In the bottom of the fifth, they could have given up."

Sherwood got its first two runners on in the seventh on misplayed ground balls by the Tigers. The next batter bunted and first baseman Lauren Sternfeld made a hard tag that got her ejected from the game.

"They collided and (the umpires) said that Lauren had unsportsmanlike conduct," Christian said. "I felt like she was trying to hold on to the ball. One of them was trying to get through and the other was trying to make sure she wasn't going to get through."

The ejection took the wind out of La Grande's sails. Sherwood had runners on second and third and one out later, a double won the game.

Christian went through all of her pitchers, starting and finishing with Caldwell.

"When you have to go through four pitchers, one of them twice, you know something's not going right," she said.

Chelsea Long went 4-for-4 for La Grande. Henjum had three RBIs and Caldwell knocked in two runs.

Christian said the game's positive was the hitting.

"We didn't hit the ball well the whole season, but we started to hit the ball well at the end of the season," she said.

"Nobody feels worse than those girls," Christian added. "They really wanted that game bad, and they know that we could have had it."

La Grande 204 007 0 — 13 10 7

Sherwood 140 511 2 — 14 12 1

Caldwell, McCoy (2), Marcum (4), Caldwell (4) and Henderson; Lalayen, Gilgan (3), Lalayen (6) and Reynolds. WP — Lalayen. LP — Caldwell.

La Grande hits — Marcum 2, Long 4, Caldwell, Henjum 2, Hampton, Tams. 2B — Henjum. RBI — Caldwell 2, Henjum 3, Hampton, Tams.

 
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