TIGER GIRLS BATTLE BAKER, ELEMENTS TO SPLIT
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
The La Grande softball girls rebounded from a heartbreaking 1-0, 10-inning league loss against a solid Baker squad Thursday by beating the Bulldogs in the nightcap 3-0.
La Grande pitcher Amanda Marcum threw a two-hit shutout in the second game as Krystal Gore drove in two runs.
In the first game, La Grande hurler Megan Caldwell matched Baker fireballer Heidi Boyer pitch-for-pitch in a classic pitchers' duel played in bitterly cold wind and rain. Neither team was able to score until the game went to the tiebreaker format in the 10th inning.
Caldwell struck out 11 batters and gave up six hits and just one walk. Boyer struck out 10 and gave up three hits. Despite the miserable conditions, the game was extremely well played, as neither team made an error.
Baker came in to the game ranked No. 5 in the state. The Bulldogs last week swept Riverside, a ranked squad that was considered the "team to beat" in the Greater Oregon League coming in to the season.
La Grande is now 3-3 in GOL play (4-6 overall). All three of those league losses two to Riverside and one to Baker have been by a single run.
Coach Nicole Christian thought the girls did a great job bouncing back from that first game. She said the La Grande girls knew if they wanted to have a chance at postseason, "no way we could get swept by Baker. It was huge for my girls to come back when they did."
In a tiebreaker format, the inning starts with a runner on second base. Baker scored in the top of the inning via a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball.
In the bottom of the 10th, La Grande was able to get its runner to third, but they couldn't knock her in.
"That was a really, really good game," Christian said. She said the game didn't really come down to the 10th inning and the passed ball because La Grande had several chances all game to score and win, but the Tigers were never able to get a timely hit. In fact, in the sixth, the Tigers got a runner to third and in the seventh they put a runner to second, and they were not able to score.
In the second game conditions improved somewhat as the rain and wind let up.
La Grande's bats warmed up with the weather, as the Tigers got on the scoreboard right away. Des McCoy got on base on a walk, Meghan Henderson hit a single, and Jennifer Funkhouser drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
In the fourth, Henderson hit a triple and came in to score on a Gore hit.
In the sixth, Gore drove in another run when she tripled and scored Funkhouser, who had been on base with a single.
La Grande has a busy week ahead of it, and its postseason positioning will depend greatly on its next four league games. The Tigers play two games at Mac-Hi Tuesday, two non-league games Thursday at Hermiston then they host Ontario for two games April 26.
Baker 000 000 000 1 1 6 0
La Grande 000 000 000 0 0 3 0
Boyer and Brookshire; Caldwell and Henderson. WP Boyer. LP Caldwell.
La Grande hits Gore, Funkhouser, Caldwell.
Baker 000 000 0 0 2 1
La Grande 100 101 0 3 5 3
Barker and Brookshire; Marcum and Henderson.
La Grande hits Henderson 2, Gore 2, Marcum. 3B Gore, Henderson. RBI Funkhouser, Gore 2.