Gerry Steele
The Baker City Herald


Baker opened its 2012 baseball season Thursday with a 7-2 rain-shortened nonleague win over Grant Union at the Baker Sports Complex.

The game was shortened to five innings by a steady rain that started with the first pitch and progressively increased.

"I thought the kids executed pretty well, especially with the conditions the game was played," said Baker coach Dan Blankenship.

"I thought our pitchers threw the ball well, and fundamentally we were pretty sound for our first game."

Baker got on the scoreboard first in the bottom of the second inning.

Catcher Mason Cline opened the inning with a double, then used two Grant Union passed balls to score.

Grant Union tied the game in the top of the third on a pair of hits and two stolen bases.

Baker regained a 2-1 lead in the fourth.

Braden Phillips opened the inning with a double and advanced to third base on a Grant Union balk.

Then when Kody Younger popped out along the third base line attempting to bunt, Phillips eventually scored.

On the play, Phillips broke down the line and as the third baseman made the catch almost was tagged out. However, the tag was missed and Phillips scrambled back to third.

The Grant Union defender attempted to throw him out at third, but the throw glanced off Phillips' back and bounced into left field. Phillips was able to get up and score the go-ahead run.

Again, Grant Union tied the game in the top of the fifth. A single, wild pitch and passed ball resulted in the run.

Baker then broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the inning.

Jake Grammon opened the inning with a double. A walk to Darren Dolby and Sam Averett's bunt single loaded the bases with no outs.

Grammon later scored on a wild pitch.

Dillon Blankenship then lined into a double play. Colten Richards followed with a walk before Phillips laced an RBI single.

Cline then provided the big blow, a three-run home run over the left field fence.

"I thought Mason Cline did a great job catching for us today," Coach Blankenship said.

"He did a nice job for us behind the plate, and he hit a home run."

Cline finished the day with a double, homer and three RBIs.

Richards and Phillips each added two hits.

Averett was the starting pitcher, throwing the first two innings. Nate Baeth came on in the third and pitched two solid innings.

Caleb Custer relieved Baeth in the fifth and gained the win.

Baker (1-0) travels to Fruitland for a single game Saturday, weather permitting.

Grant Union 0



0 1

- 2

Baker 0



1 5- 7

WP - Custer. LP -Ackerman.

Home hits -Richards 2, Cline 2, Blankenship, Phillips 2, Grammon, Averett. Home RBI -Cline 3, Phillips.

2B -Cline, Phillips, Grammon. HR -Cline.