May 10, 2002 11:00 pm

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

There wasn't as much difference between the La Grande and Ontario Tigers on the field Friday as there are in the Greater Oregon League standings.

Ontario remained perfect in the GOL with 4-3 and 6-3 victories over La Grande

"I'm really, really proud of the way they played today," La Grande coach Dennis Young said. "These were two great high school baseball games."

La Grande (11-13 overall, 5-7 league) trailed all the way in both games, but never by much.

"We played right with them. It was just one of those things," Young said.

In the first game, La Grande had the tying run on second base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. A single by Zack Glasser had scored Aaron Thomas to make the score 4-3. Tanner Mellinger was hit by a pitch, moving Glasser to second.

The game ended when Adam Kleck's line drive was snagged by first baseman Trevor Malstrom.

"I told the kids, sometimes you hit the ball hard and don't get the result, but you still play the game the right way," Young said.

Thomas, the pitcher, held Ontario (20-3, 12-0) to just five hits, but he walked several. Three walks in the first inning led to Ontario's first two runs.

In the second game, Ontario built a 3-0 lead after the third inning, highlighted by Greg Keim's third-inning leadoff home run.

La Grande had the bases loaded in the bottom of the second with no outs but failed to score on pitcher Mike Lissman. In the third, Jason Smith and Kleck both scored on Lissman wild pitches, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Ontario added two runs in the fourth on two hits and a throwing error. La Grande got another run in the bottom of the fourth when Thomas tripled and scored on Smith's single.

After Ontario added a run in the top of the seventh, Smith led off La Grande's half with a single that got past the right fielder. Smith, who was 3-for-4, ended up on third, but he was picked off soon thereafter.

"It was one of those things where sometimes you do everything right and you don't get a win," Young said.

La Grande finishes its season Tuesday with a doubleheader at McLoughlin in Milton-Freewater.

Ontario 200 101 0 — 4 5 3

La Grande 000 011 1 — 3 9 1

Keim, Roberts (7) and Presley; Thomas and Mellinger. WP — Keim. LP — Thomas (3-2). Sv — Roberts.

La Grande hits — Thomas 2, Smith 2, Glasser, Kleck 2, Periman, Royal. RBI — Smith, Periman, Glasser. SB — Kleck, Thomas 2.

Ontario 111 200 1 — 6 8 3

La Grande 002 100 0 — 3 8 2

Lissman, Roberts (7) and Presley; Kleck and Mellinger. WP — Lissman. LP — Kleck (2-5). Sv — Roberts.

La Grande hits — Thomas, Smith 3, Glasser, Kleck, Searles, Bomberger. 2B — Smith. 3B — Thomas. RBI — Smith.