March 15, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

PENDLETON A late rally Thursday wasnt enough for the La Grande Tigers to overcome the Pendleton Bucks in their season-opening baseball game.

Pendleton built a 5-0 lead and held on for a 5-3 victory in the non-league game between former Intermountain Conference rivals.

We were a little tight, La Grande coach Dennis Young said. Overall we looked pretty good. We have just a few things to work on. The kids put forth a really good effort.

La Grandes sixth-inning rally got going when Tanner Abel singled home Aaron Thomas. Drew Fischer walked, then Andy Van Sickle doubled to score two more runs.

Thomas was 3-for-4 at the plate, while Van Sickle had two hits.

Van Sickle also had a good game in the field at shortstop.

He really stood out tonight and did a really good job, Young said.

Van Sickle almost had another hit in the fourth inning, but his laser shot was caught by the Pendleton shortstop.

If he doesnt make that play, then we score a run and we tie the game going into the fifth inning, Young said.

La Grande will play Pendleton again Tuesday at Optimist Field in La Grande.

La Grande 000 003 0 3 6 3

Pendleton 001 310 x 5 11 2

Ingerson, Mellinger (5) and Slover; Jio, Sweet (7) and Wells. WP Jio. LP Ingerson (0-1). Sv Sweet.

La Grande hits Thomas 3, Van Sickle 2, Abel. 2B Thomas, Van Sickle. RBI Abel, Van Sickle 2. SB Fischer.

LHS softball team blanked 7-0

PENDLETON One bad inning, not to mention seven errors, hurt the La Grande Tigers in their season-opening 7-0 softball loss Thursday to Pendleton.

We were good until the fifth inning, La Grande coach Nicole Christian said. The fifth inning was what killed us. One thing led to another.

La Grande gave up five Pendleton runs in that frame. A couple of missed fly balls and a miscommunication in the infield contributed to Pendleton breaking open the game.

I mixed up the lineup a little bit, but they were just routine mistakes, Christian said. The outfield did really well. Backing up a little bit was a little problem, but they made some great catches out there.

La Grandes Stephanie Kirkeby went 2-for-3 at the plate and Amanda Marcum got the third of La Grandes three hits against pitchers Kari Kinnaman and Anna Wilcox.

Our bats werent there hitting-wise as a team, Christian said. Obviously we didnt work enough on offense.

La Grande will get another crack at the Bucks when Pendleton travels here Tuesday.

La Grande 000 000 0 0 3 7

Pendleton 000 151 x 7 5 1

Kinnaman, Wilcox (6) and Quesenberry; Caldwell, Maier (5), Marcum (5) and Kirkeby. WP Kinnaman. LP Caldwell (0-1).

La Grande hits Kirkeby 2, Marcum.