By GERRY STEELE
Of the Baker City Herald
The last thing Baker wanted to have happen against Weiser on a cold, windy, gloomy afternoon was to play a long, drawn out game.
But, thats exactly what happened Tuesday at the Baker Sports Complex. The teams combined for 26 runs, 18 hits (11 for extra bases), 22 walks, seven errors and two hit batsmen.
And, after almost three hours of temperatures in the mid-30s, the Bulldogs walked away with an 18-8 victory in the non-league contest.
Baker ended the game by the 10-run mercy rule with none out in the bottom of the sixth inning after Weiser pitchers walked five straight Bulldogs to score the final two runs.
Thats what I told the kids after the game. This is what happens when you dont throw strikes, said Baker coach Alan McCauley.
Defensively, we played well. If our pitchers can throw strikes and get them to put the ball in play well make the plays.
The afternoon didnt appear to be going to go Bakers way in the top of the first inning. Baker starter Bjorn Boyer walked three of the first five hitters he faced. The other two reached base on a single and after being hit by a pitch.
By the time the top of the first was over Baker trailed 5-0.
Baker bit a chunk out of the deficit in the bottom of the inning when Greg Goodenough lined a two-run double off the left field fence.
Weiser added a home run in the second to increase its lead to 6-2. Again Baker answered.
In the bottom of the second, the Bulldogs scored three runs, on a sacrifice fly by Dan Justus and RBI singles by Steve Valentine and Brian Baker. That cut Weisers lead to 6-5.
Baker took its first lead in the third inning. One run scored on an error, the other on a Valentine double.
Another Weiser homer knotted the game at 7-7 in the top of the fourth. But Baker took the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulldogs combined three Weiser errors with a two-run homer by Justus to build their lead to 11-7.
Baker then almost put the game away in the fifth. The Bulldogs scored five runs, and had two runners on when they were retired.
Wes Cooke slugged a 370-foot solo homer to dead center field to highlight the inning. Justin Merritt added an RBI triple, Valentine an RBI double, and Goodenough a sacrifice fly.
Weiser combined four walks, two fielders choices and a sacrifice fly to get one run back in the top of the sixth.
But, in the bottom of the inning, Luke Palmer, Goodenough, Cooke, Pat Taylor and Merritt drew consecutive walks to end the game. Taylor and Merritt drove in the runs with the bases loaded.
Baker hammered 12 hits in the game, three by Valentine, and two each by Baker and Taylor.
The kids are swinging the bats well, McCauley said. Offensively, we can hit with anybody.
Valentine earned the victory in relief of Boyer.
Baker opens its Greater Oregon League counting season Saturday when the Bulldogs host Vale in a noon doubleheader.
Weiser 5 1 0 1 0 1 8
Baker 2 3 2 4 5 2 18
Stayton, Grandi (4), Neill (5), Erhard (6) and Neill, Perkins (5). Boyer, Valentine (5) and Goodenough. WP Valentine. LP Grandi.
Weiser hits Goto 2, Stayton 2, Chima 2. Baker hits Valentine 3, Baker 2, Palmer, Goodenough, Cooke, Taylor 2, Merritt, Justus.
Weiser RBI Goto 2, Stayton, Sorenson, Chima 2, Stark. Baker RBI Valentine 3, Baker, Goodenough 3, Cooke, Taylor, Merritt 2, Justus 3.
2B Chima 2, Valentine 2, Baker, Goodenough. 3B Merritt. HR Goto 2, Cooke, Justus.