April 19, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

BOARDMAN La Grande made a strong statement Thursday when it knocked off third-ranked Riverside on the road and moved into the Greater Oregon Leagues top spot.

The Tigers softball team beat Riverside 4-1, 4-2, improving to 5-1 in the GOL and 5-3 overall.

We really surprised (Riverside), La Grande coach Nicole Christian said. We played awesome. It was the best ball Ive seen us play as a team.

Both contests boiled down to defensive errors. Riverside committed seven, including five in the second game.

Neither team scored until the sixth inning in the first game. The Tigers struck first, scoring all three of its runs in the top of the sixth behind RBI singles from Megan Henderson and Kandis Wallace. Chelsea Long scored from third base on an overthrown ball.

In the second game, La Grande scored two runs in the second and third innings to take a 4-0 edge.

Henderson led off the second inning with a double, followed by a Wallace single. Henderson scored off a Lauren Sternfeld single and Wallace followed off a Maria Carmichael single.

Kylie Lanman hit a one-run double, and Stephanie Kirkeby added a run-scoring single in the third inning.

La Grande outhit the Pirates in both game, picking up nine in each contest. Wallace had three hits in the opener. Marcum and Henderson added two apiece in the second game.

Bre McCoy remained perfect on the mound with her third win of the season. McCoy gave up nine hits in the first game, but Riverside managed to cross home plate only once.

Riverside started to hit her a little bit in the fifth and sixth innings, and I asked (McCoy) is she could (finish) it, Christian said. We decided if she could get the first batter out (in the seventh), she could stay in.

Riversides leadoff batter hit a pop-up out, followed by a ground out and a strikeout to end the game.

Megan Caldwell was just as impressive in the second game. Caldwell allowed three hits and one run in seven innings.

La Grande hosts McLoughlin Saturday in GOL doubleheader action.

La Grande 000 003 0 3 9 1

Riverside 000 001 0 1 8 2

McCoy and Kirkeby; Hancock and Totten. WP McCoy (3-0). LP Hancock.

La Grande hits Wallace 3, Long, Ely, Marcum, Mahon, Henderson, Sternfeld. RBI Wallace, Henderson. SB Wallace, Ely.

La Grande 022 000 0 4 9 1

Riverside 001 010 0 2 3 5

Caldwell and Kirkeby; Hancock and Totten. WP Caldwell (2-3). LP Hancock.

La Grande hits Marcum 2, Henderson 2, Wallace, Lanman, Sternfeld, Kirkeby, Carmichael. 2B Marcum, Henderson, Lanman. RBI Sternfeld, Carmichael, Kirkeby. SB Wallace.