May 22, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

MILWAUKIE The La Grande Tigers needed just one big inning to win their first Class 3A baseball playoff game Tuesday.

An eight-run third propelled the Tigers past LaSalle in first-round action, 11-4, and into a second-round game Friday against Far West champion Siuslaw.

It was a good day. This was a real nice outing. The kids were just ready to play, La Grande coach Dennis Young said this morning. Everything just seemed to fall into place yesterday. We had real clutch hitting, we ran the bases real well and had real good execution.

Just about everything worked in the third. The Tigers had a 1-0 lead when Preston Roe led off with one of his four hits. After a single by Aaron Thomas, Tanner Abel doubled them both home. Drew Fischer singled before Andy Van Sickle singled him home.

That forced LaSalle starter James Compo out of the game, but the only out reliever Chris Sterkel could get was a sacrifice fly from Zach Glasser that scored Fischer.

Adam Kleck singled home Van Sickle, then advanced and scored on three wild pitches. Sterkel gave up a single to Shane Slover and walked Tanner Mellinger before he was replaced by Tim Dumas. Roe singled off him, too, scoring Mellinger. Thomas had another single before Dumas managed to get the final two outs.

On any other field, the Tigers probably could have scored more runs with fewer hits, or at least turned some of those singles into doubles.

But LaSalle, they were a real smart ballclub. They knew their field really well, Young said. They were in on their outfield. We just had to go station to station, so it took a lot of singles.

Out of 14 hits, 12 were singles. Abel had two doubles as part of his three hits. He drove in Roe with a single in the first inning and his second double scored Roe again in the fifth.

The Tigers took a 10-0 lead in the fourth inning on a textbook squeeze play.

A two-base error put Glasser and Van Sickle on second and third before Slover laid a perfect bunt that scored Van Sickle. LaSalle didnt see it coming, apparently even as Van Sickle was racing home.

Nobody on their bench even yelled squeeze, Young said.

Pitcher Kyle Ingerson went the distance for the Tigers, improving to 8-3 on the season. He gave up 10 hits and struck out only two, but he also gave up a lot of ground balls that were eaten by the Tiger defense.

Kyle scattered the 10 hits. Their hits a lot of times would come after a couple of outs, so it really didnt hurt us, Young said.

Siuslaw should be a tougher opponent. The Vikings are ranked third in state with a 19-4 record.

The game will be played at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Florence.

La Grande 108 110 0 11 14 3

LaSalle 000 301 0 4 10 2

Ingerson and Slover; James Compo, Chris Sterkel (3), Tim Dumas (3) and Weatherbee.

La Grande hits Roe 4, Thomas 3, Abel 3, Fischer 1, VanSickle 1, Kleck 1, Slover 1. 2B Abel 2. RBI Abel 4, Roe, Thomas, VanSickle, Glasser, Kleck, Slover. SB Roe, Abel, Fischer, VanSickle, Glasser.