April 20, 2001 11:00 pm
GROUNDED TO THIRD: La Grande third baseman Drew Fischer makes a play during Firday's doubleheader against Baker. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
GROUNDED TO THIRD: La Grande third baseman Drew Fischer makes a play during Firday's doubleheader against Baker. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

Drew Fischer decided it was time for a good luck ceremony before La Grande teammate Preston Roe stepped up to bat.

It was the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs, runners on second and third base. The first baseball game of the Greater Oregon League doubleheader against Baker was tied 5-5.

The meeting between Fischer and Roe proved beneficial as Roe connected on a line drive to center field, sending Jason Smith home.

The 6-5 win was followed by an 11-6 loss. The split gave La Grande a 3-3 league mark and 9-9 overall.

I think weve played the two best teams in the league in Grant Union and Baker, and were 1-3 against them, La Grande coach Dennis Young said. Were going to come out (next week) and the kids will still do really well.

Roe, hitting leadoff for the Tigers, went 5-for-6 in the opener, including three RBIs.

Preston Roe stepped it up big time, Young said.

La Grande could have easily given up in the first game. The Tigers took a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the seventh inning, but Baker rallied with three runs to go ahead 5-4 after La Grande substituted Fischer on the mound for Kyle Ingerson.

Roe tied the game at 5-5 on a two-out, one-run single to center field, scoring Jason Smith.

Baker had chances to go ahead in the eighth with two runners on base and one out, but the Bulldogs hit into a double play to end the inning.

The same thing happened in the top of the ninth. Baker had two runners on with one out when a ball was hit to Fischer at third base. Fischer tagged his bag to force one runner out and then threw to first base, where Bakers runner had rounded the corner and was caught in a run down, eventually getting tagged out by Roe for another double play.

Young was pleased with the way the top of his batting lineup hit the ball. The top of the order guys had seven of our 11 hits.

Aaron Thomas and Smith added two hits apiece.

The second game was knotted at 2-2 through the top of the sixth inning, when Baker scored six runs.

We committed a couple of errors and that opened the door for them, Young said. Then, in the seventh inning when they scored three runs, errors played big in that.

La Grande ended with four errors in the second game compared to one in the first.

Its amazing what defense can do. Im a firm believer that it wins ballgames, Young said.

The Tigers tried to rally in the bottom of the sixth, scoring four runs with two outs to close within 8-6, but the Bulldogs sealed the win with the three runs in the top of the seventh.

Roe, Thomas and Abel led La Grande with two hits apiece in the second game. Roe and Smith hit two RBIs each.

La Grande travels to Burns Saturday for a GOL twin bill.

Baker 100 001 300 5 9 2

La Grande 020 101 101 6 11 1

Palmer, Crooke (9) and Goodenough; Ingerson, Fischer (7), Royal (8) and Slover. WP Royal. LP Crooke.

La Grande hits Roe 5, Thomas 2, Smith 2, Abel, Mellinger. 3B Mellinger. RBI Roe 3, Thomas, Abel. SB Roe, Abel, Fischer, Searles.

Baker 020 006 3 11 9 0

La Grande 200 004 0 6 11 4

Crooke, Valentine (7) and Goodenough; Royal, Thomas (6) and Slover. WP Crooke. LP Thomas.

La Grande hits Roe 2, Thomas 2, Abel 2, Van Sickle, Smith, Mellinger, Slover, Searles. 2B Roe, Mellinger, Slover. RBI Roe 2, Smith 2, Abel, Slover. SB Van Sickle.