May 25, 2001 11:00 pm
WINNING (ONLY) RUN: La Grande's Amanda mahon crosses the plate in the fourth inning after racing from first base on Kandis Wallace's triple. In the background, La Grande coach Nicole Christian points for Wallace to slide into third. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).
WINNING (ONLY) RUN: La Grande's Amanda mahon crosses the plate in the fourth inning after racing from first base on Kandis Wallace's triple. In the background, La Grande coach Nicole Christian points for Wallace to slide into third. (The Observer/C.J. GISH).

SOFTFALL: One run is all it takes for Tigers

By C.J. Gish

Observer Staff Writer

ISLAND CITY Kandis Wallace didnt realize that her fourth-inning, one-run triple would prove to be the game-deciding hit Friday.

With Amanda Mahon on first base running for Bre McCoy after McCoys single, Wallace nailed a deep shot into left field.

Mahons score gave La Grande a 1-0 win over visiting Philomath in the second round of the OSAA-U.S. Bank 3A State Softball Championships.

Eighth-ranked La Grande will host Valley Catholic at 1 p.m. Monday at the LDS Church Field.

It felt great when I hit it, Wallace said. I knew it was going into a hole (in left field). I was hoping Id get a triple out of it and I did.

It turned out to be La Grandes third and final hit of the contest in what proved to be a tight pitching duel between the Tigers McCoy and Philomaths Katie Finn.

McCoy tossed a four-hitter with five strikeouts, while Finn had 13 strikeouts.

I was very confident in my team and knew theyd back me up, McCoy said. I knew we wouldnt let them score.

Bre pitched one heck of a game and kept (Philomaths) batters on their toes, La Grande coach Nicole Christian said.

As for Finn, Christian knew she was a hard thrower. Thats the fastest pitcher weve seen this year.

Neither team got much going on offense. The Warriors (13-12) left four runners on base and La Grande (18-8) stranded four.

La Grande squandered an opportunity for a fast start. In the bottom of the first inning, Meghan Henderson made it safely to first base on a passed-ball strike three call to lead off the frame.

Henderson was thrown out shortly thereafter trying to steal second base, but Chelsea Long hit a slap single toward shortstop, followed by a Stephanie Kirkeby walk.

With runners on first and second and one out, La Grandes batters couldnt advance them. Finn struck out McCoy and Wallace to end the inning.

I was worried, Christian said. I thought that was going to be the game. A lot of times the first inning is the summary of the game.

La Grande never got a runner past second base again until Wallace had her triple in the fourth.

Even Mahon thought the Tigers offense would wake up after she scored.

I thought we were going to start jumping on (the other team) like we usually do, but we were held at that one run, she said.

Philomaths last chance to tie the score came in the top of the sixth inning. With two outs, Brittney Petty hit a ball that went under the left-field fence for a ground-rule double. The inning ended, though, when first baseman Lauren Sternfeld caught a Holly Page pop-up.

If La Grande wins Monday, it will play Wednesday against either Henley or Central. If Henley wins, La Grande will travel to Klamath Falls. If Central wins, the game will be in Island City.

Philomath 000 000 0 0 4 0

La Grande 000 100 x 1 3 0

Finn and Petty; McCoy and Kirkeby. WP McCoy (6-2). LP Finn.

Philomath hits Loveless, Schreiber, Petty, Orr. 2B Petty.

La Grande hits Wallace, Long, McCoy. 3B Wallace. RBI Wallace.

BASEBALL: Abel's two homers lift La Grande

By The Observer

FLORENCE Chalk up another road win for the surging La Grande baseball team.

The Tigers traveled Friday to Florence, where they shocked fourth-ranked Siuslaw 8-6 in the second round of the OSAA-U.S. Bank Class 3A State Baseball Championships.

The win came three days after La Grande (17-11) beat La Salle on the road in the opening round.

We had an outstanding effort today, La Grande coach Dennis Young said.

Siuslaw, trailing 6-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, scored two runs to climb within 6-3. In the sixth inning, A.J. Davidson hit a two-run home run, followed by a one-run single, to tie the game 6-6.

With the tide turning, La Grande kept its composure and rose to the occasion.

Aaron Thomas made it to first base safely on an error in the top of the seventh inning. Then Tanner Abel blasted a hit over the left-center field wall for the deciding runs.

That was a towering shot, Young said.

Everything started on the mound with Corey Royal, who allowed only one hit in the first four innings.

Corey threw outstanding. He had them pretty much under control, Young said.

Behind the solid pitching, La Grande turned on the offense early.

Abel hit a two-run homer in the opening inning for a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, Tanner Mellinger hit a one-out double, followed by a Preston Roe double that drove in Mellinger for a 3-0 edge.

The runs didnt stop there as Roe hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning.

That was pretty special. I think that was his first out-of-the-park home run, Young said.

That shot drove Siuslaw pitcher Joey Wangerin out of the game. He was replaced by Davidson.

But even Davidson had a rough time. Thomas and Abel singled and Derek Fischer made it to first on a fielders choice. Andy Van Sickle followed with a sacrifice fly to left field, driving in Abel.

The Vikings rallied in the fifth inning and Young had to replace Royal after the sixth.

(Siuslaw) really started to get to Corey. He did a great job through six innings and he didnt want to come out, but we didnt want to waste a good effort, Young said.

Thomas entered the game with La Grande leading 8-6 and he retired three straight Vikings, striking the first one out and getting two straight ground outs to end the contest.

La Grande will host its first playoff game of the postseason. The Tigers will play 10th-ranked Glide at 3 p.m. Monday at the Optimist Field.

If the Tigers win Monday, they will play the winner of the Grant Union/Henley game on Wednesday. If Grant Union wins, the game will be in La Grande. If Henley wins, the Tigers will travel to Klamath Falls.

La Grande 210 030 2 8 12 2

Siuslaw 000 123 0 6 7 2

Royal, Thomas (7) and Slover; Wangerin, Davidson (5) and Cusic. WP Royal (4-4). LP Davidson. Sv Thomas.

La Grande hits Abel 3, Roe 2, Thomas 2, Fischer 2, Van Sickle 2, Mellinger. 2B Roe, Mellinger. HR Abel 2, Roe. RBI Abel 4, Roe 2, Van Sickle.

Siuslaw hits Hunt 2, Buss 2, Rines, Davidson, Dotson. 2B Hunt, Dotson, Rines. HR Davidson. RBI Buss 2, Davidson 2, Wangerin.