By GERRY STEELE
Baker and Gladstone battled through a pair of pitcher's duels Saturday to split a nonleague softball doubleheader at the Baker Sports Complex.
Baker (3-1) won the opener 6-2 before Gladstone (3-6) bounced back to take the second game 2-1.
In the opener, Baker took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
Sierra Howerton led off the inning with a double. An out later Howerton scored on a single by Darryn McCauley.
McCauley then advanced to third on another single by Danielle Freese. Freese then attempted a walkoff steal of second. With Freese in the rundown, McCauley stole home for the second run. Freese was eventually tagged out at second for the final out.
Gladstone cut Baker's lead to 2-1 with a single run in the second inning.
Baker then went up 3-1 in the fifth.
Howerton rapped a one-out triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Tasha Nelson.
Gladstone added its second run in the top of the sixth. But Baker answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Jessi Stephens walked to open the inning. Freese then reached base on an error. Both scored on a double to right-center field by Darion Grove. Grove added the third run on another Gladstone error.
McCauley pitched the complete-game win in the circle, allowing six hits. McCauley struck out nine and walked one.
In Game 2, Gladstone used two unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning to get the win.
In the inning, the Gladiators had three hits and two walks. But it was two Baker errors that allowed the runs to score. Further damage was avoided when Baker left-fielder Sarah Shankle made a running catch in left-center field for the third out.
Baker's defense had come through in the clutch an inning before.
Gladstone loaded the bases with none out. But a diving catch by Stephens at second base, a fly ball to right and a pop up to short ended the threat.
Baker scored its lone run with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Howerton reached on a double and came all the way around to score on an infield single by Nelson. Nelson advanced to third on a single by McCauley, but was picked off base for the final out with Stephens at the plate.
Howerton got the start in the pitching circle, and took the loss after pitching into the fourth inning. McCauley came on in relief in the fourth.
Baker returns to the diamond Tuesday for a single nonleague game against Pendleton at the Sports Complex.
0 - 2
x - 6
Kirchem and Muller. McCauley and Ellis. WP - McCauley. LP -Kirchem.
Gladstone hits -Muller, Kirchem 2, Dudley, Dean, Feb. Gladstone RBI -Kirchem, Feb.
Baker hits -Howerton 2, McCauley, Freese, Grove 2. Baker RBI -McCauley, Grove 2, Nelson.
2B -Kirchem, Howerton, Grove. 3B -Howerton.
0 - 2
0 - 1
Dudley and Muller. Howerton, McCauley (4) and Ellis. WP - Dudley. LP -Howerton.
Gladstone hits -Kirchem, Dudley 3, Ward, Winkle, Burrell 2, Muller. Gladstone RBI -none.
Baker hits -Nelson 2, Howerton 2, McCauley 2, Freese. Baker RBI -Nelson.
2B -Muller, Howerton.