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FOCUS: Lauren Sternfeld was 4-for-4 and had three RBIs in the first game against Ontario Thursday. (The Observer/Pat Perkins).
FOCUS: Lauren Sternfeld was 4-for-4 and had three RBIs in the first game against Ontario Thursday. (The Observer/Pat Perkins).

ISLAND CITY — With eight-straight Greater Oregon League softball wins, the La Grande Tigers are in a position to defend their title.

Wins seven and eight came Thursday against Ontario, which came into the game in a three-way tie for first place with Baker and Riverside.

La Grande's 10-6 and 7-4 victories at the Mormon Church field, however, moved the eighth-ranked Tigers from fourth to at least second in the GOL standings.

While La Grande moved to 8-4 in the GOL, it evened its overall record at 9-9, the first time the team has been at .500 since the second game of the season.

Ontario (5-5) didn't make it easy.

"They're one of those teams that hang around. There's a reason they've got a win from everybody else but us. You give them that little door, and they can take advantage of it," La Grande coach Nicole Christian said.

In the first game, La Grande had 3-0 and 6-3 leads but made defensive errors that allowed Ontario to tie the game both times.

It wasn't until a Megan Caldwell double scored Amanda Marcum in the fourth inning that the Tigers had the lead for good. La Grande added three runs in the fifth, all with two outs and two of them on a single by Lauren Sternfeld.

Sternfeld was 4-for-4 in the game, with Caldwell going 3-for-3. Both players had three RBIs.

In the second game, La Grande led 5-1 before Ontario got three runs in the top of the fifth — on five Tiger errors. In the sixth, La Grande added two insurance runs on another single by Sternfeld.

The errors weren't fatal this time, but Christian knows the defense has to improve.

"We made a couple of errors on defense, and coming up next Thursday against Baker, we can't have that," she said.

Ontario 032 100 0 — 6 5 5

La Grande 330 130 x — 10 12 4

Heck, Aronson (2) and Ogawa; McCoy, Caldwell (4) and Henderson. WP — Caldwell (5-6). LP — Aronson.

La Grande hits — Henderson, Long, Marcum 2, Sternfeld 4, Caldwell 3, Wallace. 2B — Henderson, Caldwell. RBI — Sternfeld 3, Caldwell 3, Wallace.

Ontario 010 030 0 — 4 4 3

La Grande 102 202 x — 7 9 7

Ogawa and Gonzalez; Marcum, Caldwell (5) and Henderson. WP — Marcum (2-1). Sv — Caldwell (2).

La Grande hits — Henderson 2, Long 2, Sternfeld, Caldwell 2, Lanman, McCoy. 2B — Henderson. RBI — Sternfeld 3, Long.

— From Observer staff reports

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