LA PINE — Adam Plant called Friday’s 4-1 home-field victory over No. 3 Santiam Christian a “statement game.”

“It shows that we’re back and ready to bring it home again,” said Plant, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs from La Pine’s leadoff spot. “I bet a lot of the teams in the league and the state thought we were not going to be as great but I think this a good game to prove that we’re back.”

The No. 2 Hawks, who graduated five starters from last season’s 3A state championship squad, improved to 8-2 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain Valley Conference.

“This is probably our best game that we’ve played so far and probably against the best team that we’ve played so far,” La Pine coach Bo DeForest said. “It was a good measuring stick, lets us know that we’re right there as one of the top teams in the state again. We’ve got to protect our championship.”

Freshman first baseman Teagen DeForest drove in the Hawks’ first run on a double to score Austin McKittrick with one out in the bottom of the second inning. After Alex Farnsworth singled to plate Plant in the third, Plant doubled to drive home Dylan Westbrook and extend La Pine’s lead to 3-0 in the fourth.

On the mound, Farnsworth earned the win, holding Santiam Christian to three hits and one run through six innings.

“He did a fantastic job,” Bo DeForest said of Farnsworth. “He was hitting his spots and mixed up his speeds pretty well and guys for the most part made plays behind him.”

The Eagles gave La Pine a scare in the sixth, scoring their first run and then loading the bases with one out.

But Farnsworth, who threw only 82 pitches, got out of the jam with a strikeout, his seventh of the game, and then a ground ball back to the pitcher.

“I was able to paint that outside corner and make sure that he wasn’t able to get a good pitch to hit and drive in a few runs,” Farnsworth said of his final strikeout. “It was just a matter of hitting my spots and keeping the batters off balance.”

Plant gave the Hawks an insurance run in the sixth on a double to score Westbrook.

“I think that got us back fired up and ready to take it in the seventh,” Plant said of the RBI double. “It feels good to be able to help out the team and do what I can to get that win.”

La Pine recorded 11 hits. Farnsworth was 2-for-4 and Bryce Coble was 2-for-3 at the plate.

In the seventh, Coble finished off Santiam Christian from the mound, getting the final three outs — two coming on strikeouts.

The Hawks host Joseph Tuesday in a nonconference doubleheader.

“We’re going to be strong for a while here,” Bo DeForest said, assessing the future of his program. “We have a good youth program and we’re going to be right there for a while.”

­­— Reporter: 541-383-0307, dwiley@bendbulletin.com

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