October 28, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

Seth Penningtons hat trick helped lift the La Grande Tigers to a 9-1 win Saturday over Grant Union and their second consecutive Eastern Oregon League soccer title.

Pennington scored La Grandes first two goals in the games first 13 minutes, then added his third goal midway through the second half.

The guys played well. We picked up our intensity again, La Grande coach Jessy Watson said.

La Grande (12-1 overall, 9-0 league) has won 12 straight going into todays regular season finale at Ontario, which Watson expects will give the Tigers good competition going into the state playoffs.

La Grande will host a playoff game Nov. 6.

Watson had been concerned about the long layoffs between games late in the season. The Tigers had not played since a 2-1 win Oct. 18 over Riverside and will have eight days between todays game and the playoffs.

Were going to have to have some good, hard practices, Watson said.

La Grande had an 8-0 lead when Grant Union scored late in the game.

Casey Sheehy made it 3-0 in the 17th minute, then Greg Schuft added a goal seven minutes later.

The second half opened with a goal by Scott Baxter, then Schuft got his second goal of the game and 27th of the season in the 59th minute.

Ten minutes after Penningtons goal, Kaylon Dunn beat his defender for a goal. Johan Soderlunde scored in the games final minutes.

Pennington has 13 goals this season.