May 13, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

ISLAND CITY All they needed was one. Instead, they won two.

La Grandes softball team swept Ontario Saturday here at the LDS Church Field 5-4 and 12-3 and earned the Greater Oregon League title in their first season in the Class 3A ranks.

It feels good. Im surprised. I wasnt expecting (to win the title), La Grande coach Nicole Christian said. The girls did really well this year.

In contrast to recent games, La Grande (17-8 overall, 16-4 league) shot out to leads in both games. The opener was crucial and, Closer than I would have liked. Of course we needed that one to clinch (the title), Christian said.

Stephanie Kirkeby and Lauren Sternfeld hit one-run singles and Chelsea Long scored on a passed ball to give La Grande a 3-0 first-inning lead.

Ontario responded with two runs in the top of the third and two more in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 edge.

In the fifth inning, Kirkeby and Kandis Wallace hit one-run singles to give La Grande the margin it needed to win.

Long had two hits and Kirkeby added two RBIs in the opener.

La Grande never trailed in the second game, taking a 2-0 lead after the first on a Kirkeby one-run single and Meghan Henderson scoring on a passed ball. Josi Kelly added a one-run single in the second inning before Ontario closed within 3-2 in the top of the fourth.

The game was sealed in the bottom of the fourth, keyed by a Kirkeby two-run double and a Henderson one-run single.

In the second game we put hits together and got it going, Christian said.

La Grande had 12 hits, led by Kirkeby and Kelly with three apiece. Henderson, Sternfeld and Bre McCoy had two each. Kirkeby also had four RBIs. Henderson added three steals and two RBIs and Kelly had two steals.

I have a young team and its awesome. Were losing five great seniors, but we have a great group coming up, Christian said.

La Grande hosts a second-round state playoff game May 25.

Ontario 002 200 0 4 4 1

La Grande 300 020 x 5 7 4

Ogawa and Moeller; McCoy, Caldwell (5) and Kirkeby. WP Caldwell (9-3). LP Ogawa.

La Grande hits Long 2, Henderson, Kirkeby, Wallace, Kelly, Sternfeld. RBI Kirkeby 2, Sternfeld, Wallace. SB Long.

Ontario 000 210 0 3 3 7

La Grande 210 531 x 12 13 2

Aronson and Ogawa; Maier, Caldwell (4) and Kirkeby. WP Maier (2-1). LP Aronson.

La Grande hits Kelly 3, Kirkeby 3, Sternfeld 2, Henderson 2, McCoy 2, Marcum. 2B Kirkeby, Marcum. RBI Kirkeby 4, Henderson 2, Kelly, McCoy. SB Henderson 3, Kelly 2, Kirkeby, Marcum, Sternfeld, McCoy.