By GERRY STEELE
Baker muscled its way past La Grande in a Greater Oregon League softball doubleheader at the Baker Sports Complex Friday.
The Bulldogs slugged nine home runs on the way to a 9-0, 8-5 sweep, and gained a share of the GOL championship. Mac-Hi swept Ontario Saturday to earn a share of the GOL crown as well. Baker and Mac-Hi will meet today (May 14) at 5 p.m. at La Grande for a one-game playoff for state seeding. The winner of th eplayoff game gets the GOL's No. 1 state seed, the loser the No. 2 seed.
Jessi Stephens and Tasha Nelon led the way for the Bulldogs with two homers each.
Darion Grove, Sierra Howerton, Abi Smith, Stephanie Shepherd and Taylor McAdams each added one homer.
Grove got the longball parade started in the bottom of the first inning in Game 1.
With two outs, DJ McCauley walked. Grove followed with her homer to right-centerfield.
Howerton and Stephens went back-to-back to left field to open the third inning, increasing Baker's lead to 4-0.
Nelson ripped her first homer, to left-centerfield, with one out in the fourth. Howerton then doubled and scored on a McCauley single.
McAdams opened the fifth inning by reaching base on an error then rode home on Smith's homer. It was her second home run in the past two games.
Baker's final run scored in the sixth on a La Grande error.
McCauley threw a complete-game four-hitter for the win.
Trailing 1-0 in the second inning of the second game, Baker rallied with two runs in the bottom of the inning.
After Smith drew a two-out walk, Shepherd hit the first homer of her high school career to give Baker a 2-1 edge.
Then, after La Grande tied the game in the top of the third, Baker answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Stephens started the rally with a one-out solo homer. Then, after McCauley singled and Grove flew out, McAdams slugged a two-run homer to center field. It at first appeared that the La Grande outfielder caught the ball while falling over the fence. But the umpires ruled that she dropped the ball as she hit the ground.
La Grande cut Baker's lead to 5-4 with two runs in the top of the fourth, but again Baker answered.
Grove opend the fifth with a double and two outs later came home on a single up the middle by Danielle Freese.
Nelson opened the sixth with her second homer, and Grove later added a sacrifice fly.
Howerton picked up the win, throwing into the fourth inning. McCauley threw the final 3-plus innings to earn a save.
La Grande 0
0 - 0
x - 9
Walker, Lawrence (3) and Tracy. McCauley and Stephens. WP - McCauley. LP -Walker.
La Grande hits -Tracy 2, Comfort, Blackman. La Grande RBI -none.
Baker hits -Grove, McAdams 2, Howerton 2, Stephens, Nelson, McCauley, Smith. Baker RBI -Grove 2, Howerton, Stephens, Nelson, McCauley, Smith 2.
2B -Howerton. HR -Grove, Howerton, Stephens, Nelson, Smith.
La Grande 0
0 - 5
x - 8
Walker, Lawrence (3) and Tracy. Howerton, McCauley(4) and Stephens. WP - Howerton. LP -Walker. S -McCauley.
La Grande hits -Walker 2, Elliot, Lawrence 2, Tracy 2, McDaniel-Perrine. La Grande RBI -Walker, Elliott, Tracy 3.
Baker hits -McCauley 3, Shepherd, Stephens 2, McAdams, Smith, Grove, Freese, Nelson, Howerton. Baker RBI -Shepherd 2, Stephens, McAdams 2, Grove, Freese, Nelson.
2B -McCauley, Grove. HR -Shepherd, Stephens, McAdams, Nelson.