May 03, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

BAKER CITY The La Grande Tigers started the second half of their Greater Oregon League softball season the same way their started the first half.

Baker and La Grande split a league doubleheader Thursday, with Baker winning the first game 2-1 and La Grande taking the second contest 5-4.

Its a brand new season. We got halfway through and we came out on top, and we figured we have to do it again, La Grande coach Nicole Christian said.

La Grande (9-7 season, 9-3 league) split with Baker the first time around but went on to lead the league at the halfway point. But the Tigers second half had been delayed by rain, particularly a doubleheader with league contender Riverside that will now be played Monday.

The Tigers will play eight games in eight days beginning with Saturdays doubleheader against McLoughlin in Milton-Freewater. The other six games are all at home.

Getting at least one win in Baker was huge, Christian said, especially after losing the first game on a two-run home run by Bakers Ashley Rino.

They knew these were big games, and they could have laid down and died after we lost the first game and got down those two runs in the second game, the coach said.

La Grande trailed 2-0 in the second game but came back behind strong hitting from Chelsea Long, Megan Henderson and Amanda Marcum.

Rinos fifth-inning home run erased La Grandes 1-0 lead.

We were up, two outs, then she went yard and it kind of took the wind out of our sail. From there we couldnt string anything together, Christian said.

Megan Caldwell pitched most of the second game, getting the win in relief of starter Erin Maier.

La Grande 000 100 0 1 6 1

Baker 000 020 x 2 7 2

McCoy, Caldwell (6) and Kirkeby; Curtis and Reno. WP Curtis. LP McCoy.

La Grande hits Kirkeby, Henderson 2, McCoy 2, Lanman. 2B Kirkeby.

La Grande 000 212 0 5

Baker 200 010 1 4

Maier, Caldwell (1) and Kirkeby; Barker, Curtis (4), Barker (6) and Rino. WP Caldwell. LP Curtis.