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LA GRANDE’S JAKE CHAMBERLAIN jumps for a ball during the second game of the Tigers’ doubleheader with McLoughlin Saturday at Optimist Field. LHS split with the Pioneers. CASEY KELLAS / The Observer
La Grande split with McLoughlin for the second time this season on Saturday. The Tigers baseball team won the opener 8-3, but let the Pioneers rally in the second game for a 9-7 win in eight innings.
La Grande is now 4-4 in the Greater Oregon League, while Ontario sits atop the league with a perfect 8-0 mark.
In Game 1, the Pioneers broke a scoreless ballgame in the top of the second when Eddie Zaragoza scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
But La Grande responded in the bottom half of the inning with a four-run effort.
Seth Madsen tied the game with an RBI single that brought home Jake Chamberlain, followed by a two-run single by Tyson Wicklander that put the Tigers on top, 3-1.
Wicklander scored on an RBI triple by Logan Lankford and just like that LHS led, 4-1.
Two innings later Wicklander added to the La Grande lead with an RBI single that scored Madsen.
McLoughlin cut away at the lead in the top of the sixth.
An RBI triple by Dylan Shuler made it 5-2, before Shuler came home to score on an error by Madsen and the Pioneers appeared to be right back in the game.
But again the Tigers had an answer in the bottom half of the inning, striking for three runs, two of which came on a double by Garret Avila and LHS was back in control.
McLoughlin got one runner in the seventh but never threatened and the Tigers picked up the win.
Wicklander finished two for two with three RBIs, while Madsen and Rogers both had a pair of hits to go along with one RBI.
Avila got the win, going four innings and striking out five while allowing two hits and one earned run.
Game 2 was of a back-and-forth affair.
McLoughlin struck for four runs on three La Grande errors in the first inning.
The Pioneers added another run in the third on a passed ball to stretch the lead to 5-0.
La Grande got on the board in the bottom of the third when Lankford drew a bases loaded walk, followed by a sacrifice fly by Avila to make it 5-2.
An inning later the Tigers tied the game with three runs.
LHS took the lead with a two-run sixth inning and looked to have all the momentum behind them.
But Mac-Hi hung around.
A run in the sixth and a run in the seventh, both following fielding errors, tied the game.
Hayden Albrecht had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh, something he did a week ago against Baker, but he flied out to center field that Jake Morris made a diving catch on to send the game to extra innings.
Pat Sheets reached on an error by Wicklander at second base in the top of the eighth.
Sheets then advanced to second on a passed ball and eventually came home to score on an RBI double by Troy Kessler to put Mac-Hi on top.
An RBI single by Willie McCoy gave the Pioneers an insurance run.
La Grande couldn’t manufacture anything in the bottom of the eighth and McLoughlin was able to steal a split with the Tigers.
Erik Jacobs, Rogers and Albrecht all had two hits for LHS. Kaleb White started the game and struck out six in five innings, while Josh Gambill was saddled with the loss.
La Grande will host Ontario Saturday at Optimist Field starting at 2 p.m. OHS swept Baker this weekend 4-2, 8-1.