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Grace Neer (2) lobs the ball across the plate against an Ontario hitter at Sam Marcum Field, La Grande on Thursday, April 7, 2022. La Grande’s softball team swept the visiting Ontario Tigers 13-2 and 15-1.

LA GRANDE — The La Grande softball team topped Baker/Powder Valley in consecutive shutouts on Friday, May 13, improving to 15-6 on the year and 11-1 in league play. The Tigers are currently ranked No. 2 in the OSAA 4A state rankings with just two non-league games remaining this season.

La Grande relied on strong pitching performances to win 2-0 and 18-0 in the doubleheader.

Game 1: La Grande 2, Baker/Powder Valley 0

La Grande and Baker/Powder Valley remained scoreless through the first three innings, until runs in the fourth and fifth innings tipped the scales for the Tigers.

Starting off the bottom of the fourth, Carlee Strand hit a solo home run to put the first run on the board and give La Grande a 1-0 lead.

One inning later, Carlee Jensen hit a sacrifice-fly to score Brielle Hood and extend the Tigers’ lead to 2-0.

Grace Neer pitched a gem, throwing a seven-inning shutout. The senior allowed only two hits and struck out 18 opposing batters.

Game 2: La Grande 18, Baker/Powder Valley 0

In game two, La Grande wasted no time at all taking control of the game.

The Tigers scored 13 runs in the first inning and five in the second to walk away with a three-inning victory.

Seniors Neer and Kinzy Bowen both led the game with three RBIs and three runs each. Jensen went 3-3, hitting two RBIs and scoring three runs. Avery Myer, Marti Anderson, Nessa Porras and Strand each hit two RBIs in a strong offensive output by La Grande.

The Bulldogs had no luck against Strand, who pitched three scoreless innings. She allowed only two hits and recorded eight strikeouts across nine total outs in the game.

Coming off the victories over Baker, La Grande will host top-ranked 2A school Grant Union/Prairie City at 4 p.m. on May 17. The Tigers will then close out the season at Pendleton/Griswold at 4:30 p.m. on May 20, before starting their playoff push.

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