August 12, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

PORTLAND With a team loaded with hot bats, its been La Grandes pitching that has given the American Legion baseball team its big boost.

Rain Roofing scored two more wins over the weekend, beating Ashland 4-3 Saturday and McKay 13-3 in seven innings Sunday, to advance to todays Class A state championship contest.

The game will be at noon against Ashland, which came back through the consolation bracket, here at David Douglas High School. If Rain Roofing loses, a second game will be played immediately following with the winner advancing to the regional playoffs in Powell, Wyo., starting Friday.

We need to come out, take care of business and get this game done, La Grande manager Dave Mellinger said of todays noon title game. Then we need to pack our bags and get ready to go to Wyoming.

La Grande (25-9) used stellar pitching performances from Jimmie Baynes Saturday and Aaron Thomas Sunday.

Baynes went the distance against Ashland, allowing five hits and striking out nine batters in eight innings.

Jimmie pitched his best game of the year. It was great timing coming against Ashland, La Grande coach Wes McAllaster said. He was a pleasant surprise. He got stronger as the game went on. It was the first time he went eight innings this season.

Thomas followed in the McKay contest by giving up only two singles through five innings before giving way to Zach Glasser in the seventh.

That was huge for us to get an outfielder (in Thomas) coming in and pitch like that, McAllaster said. Then Zach came in and shut down (the final batters) in six pitches.

Rain Roofing will have Adam Kleck and Corey Royal on hand today when it faces Ashland. The tournament rule requires pitchers to pitch no more than 12 innings in three days.

La Grande used a nine-run fifth inning to blast past McKay. After starting slowly, building a 3-0 lead through four innings, Rain Roofing loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth.

Tanner Abel belted a single to drive in two runs, followed by a Ty Mellinger two-run single. A McKay error scored two more runs and the scoring was capped when Drew Fischer hit a three-run triple.

Ty Mellinger paced La Grande in the contest with five RBIs and three hits, including two home runs. His first homer came in the fourth inning for a two-run shot. He added a solo home run in the sixth inning.

Glasser, Abel and Thomas added two hits apiece, with Abel and Thomas hitting two RBIs. Fischer had three RBIs.

Dollen Stroup scored the game-winning run against Ashland off a Ty Mellinger sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Stroup advanced to second base off a throwing error and followed by stealing third. Mellinger hit him in for the go-ahead run, breaking a 3-all tie.

Errors made the Ashland matchup closer than it should have been.

La Grande grabbed a quick 3-0 first-inning lead off a Dollen Stroup two-run homer and an Abel one-run single.

Ashland tied the contest in the fifth inning, scoring runs in the third, fourth and fifth, to make the game 3-all. Two runs in the fourth and fifth innings came off three La Grande errors.

If we dont commit those errors, (Ashland) only scores one run, Dave Mellinger said.

La Grande had five errors in the contest, but was able to hold off Ashland behind Baynes strong pitching performance and nine Rain Roofing hits.

Glasser and Thomas had two hits apiece, and Stroup added two RBIs.

Sundays game

McKay 000 003 0 3 5 2

La Grande 001 291 x 13 11 0

Wenger, Peterson (3), Smith (6) and Riddell; Thomas, Glasser (7) and Slover. WP Thomas. LP Wenger.

La Grande hits Mellinger 3, Glasser 2, Abel 2, Thomas 2, Smith, Fischer. 2B Glasser, Slover. 3B Fischer. HR Mellinger 2. RBI Mellinger 5, Fischer 3, Smith 2, Abel 2, Glasser. SB Thomas, Abel.

Saturdays game

Ashland 001 110 000 3 5 1

La Grande 300 000 01x 4 9 5

Rowe, Meeks (6) and George; Baynes and Slover. WP Slover. LP Meeks.

La Grande hits Glasser 2, Thomas 2, Abel, Fischer, Stroup, Mellinger, Kleck. 2B Glasser. HR Stroup. RBI Stroup 2, Mellinger, Abel. SB Kleck, Abel, Stroup.