By Gerry Steele
Baker's post-season softball chances are hanging by a thread following the Bulldogs' Greater Oregon League doubleheader at La Grande Friday.
Baker led in both games only have La Grande rally for a 9-7 win in the opener, and a 9-8 8-inning win in the nightcap.
The teams entered the twinbill tied for second in the GOL with 5-5 records. Now, La Grande sits alone in second with a 7-5 mark. Baker (5-7) now must wait to see if its OSAA ranking is high enough to earn an at-large berth in the Class 4A state playoffs later this month.
"We just couldn't close the door; couldn't close the door," said Baker coach Al McCauley.
In the first game the teams were knotted at 3-3 after three innings.
Baker scored twice in the second inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from Taylor McAdams and Danielle Freese.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the top of the third on a solo home run by Sierra Howerton.
Baker added three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to build a 7-3 lead.
In the fourth, Michelle Freese wrapped a two-run single, and another run scored on an error.
In the fifth Abi Smith reached on an error and eventually came around to score.
La Grande then answered with six runs in the bottom of the sixth to earn the win.
La Grande forged a 6-0 lead in the second game before Baker battled back.
The Bulldogs scored three runs in the third and four in the fourth to take a 7-6 edge.
In the third, Kayla Davis led the way with two RBIs. Darion Grove added an RBI single.
In the fourth, Michelle Freese laced a three-run homer, and McAdams added a run-scoirng single.
La Grande answered with single runs in the fourth and fifth to regain an 8-7 advantage.
Baker tied the game at 8-8 with a run in the top of the sixth.
Grove singled with two outs, and scored on a single by Davis.
La Grande scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth on a Baker error and an infield bunt.
Baker had other chances to add to its run total, but didn't capitalize.
Two Bulldogs reached third base in the first inning, but neither scored. Another Baker runner reached third in the fifth but was stranded.
The Bulldogs then had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth but the next two hitters flew out.
Baker 0 2 1 3 1 0 0 - 7
La Grande 1 2 0 0 6 0 x - 9
Shankle, Howerton (5) and Ellis. Avila and Humphreys. WP - Avila. LP - Howerton.
Baker hits - Howerton, M. Freese 2, Smith, McAdams 2, D. Freese 2. Baker RBI - Howerton 2, M. Freese 2, McAdams, D. Freese.
2B - McAdams, D. Freese. HR - Howerton.
Baker 0 0 3 4 0 1 0 0 - 8
La Grande 4 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 - 9
Howerton and Ellis. Lawrence and Humphreys. WP - Lawrence. LP - Howerton.
Baker hits - Howerton, M. Freese 2, Grove 3, Smith 3, Davis 2, McAdams 3, D. Freese 2, Shankle, Ellis. Baker RBI - M. Freese 3, Grove, Davis 3, McAdams.
2B - M. Freese, McAdams. HR - M. Freese.