March 30, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

UNION Union coach Steve Robertson saw his softball team take a turning point Friday.

In only its second season, the Bobcats stepped up their play in their Eastern Oregon League-opening doubleheader against visiting Pilot Rock. The Rockets swept twin bill 5-0 and 10-6 in eight innings.

On the day, sure we made some throwing and catching errors, but it was by far the best weve played in two years, Robertson said.

Union (2-4 overall, 0-2 league) committed four errors in each contest, but didnt give in to Pilot Rocks early success in both contests.

Three errors in the opening inning of the first game led to a 4-0 Pilot Rock lead after the top of the first inning.

From there, though, Union played the Rockets toe-to-toe, allowing only one more run, which came in the fifth inning.

(Pilot Rock) jumped on us early. After that, we settled down and played well, Robertson said.

It was apparent in the second game as the Rockets took another 4-0 lead after the top of the first inning.

This time Union responded, getting four straight hits in the bottom of the first, including a two-run double from Jana Brotherton and DeeAnna Halls sacrifice fly for an RBI to pull the Bobcats within 4-3.

Pilot Rock scored twice in the top of the fourth, but once again Union rallied to tie the game 6-6 in the bottom of the third with five hits. Jennifer Sasser nailed a bases-loaded RBI single and Colbi Robertson hit a two-run double.

Its the first time in two years weve put together innings where weve stepped up, hit the ball and advanced runners, Robertson said.

(Pilot Rock) put some pressure on us, and we didnt handle it very well early, but we didnt fold. The kids played their hearts out today. Were turning the corner and proved today we can play with anybody.

Unions next JV doubleheader is at Halfway against Pine-Eagle Friday. On Saturday, the Bobcats travel to Nyssa for a league twin bill.

Pilot Rock 400 010 0 5 8 0

Union 000 000 0 0 3 4

Winks and Perrine; Sasser and J.Waite.

Union hits Prince, Hall, Weitlauf.

Pilot Rock 400 200 04 10 5 1

Union 300 300 00 6 10 4

Winks and Perrine; Sasser and J.Waite.

Union hits Robertson 2, Brotherton 2, Weitlauf, Prince, hall, J.Waite, Helmer, Sasser. 2B Robertson, Brotherton. RBI Robertson 2, Brotherton 2, Hall.