La Grande continued its dominance of Baker during the pandemic-abbreviated baseball season with a doubleheader sweep of the Bulldogs on Saturday, May 8 in La Grande.
The Tigers (9-1) have won all six of the games against Baker this season.
Baker, meanwhile, is 6-6 and has not lost to a team other than La Grande.
Baker had a chance to get off to a fast start in the opening game Saturday, loading the bases in the top of the first with one out.
But La Grande starter Riley Miller struck out the last two batters to end the threat.
“We didn’t get the timely hitting that we needed early in the game to keep that momentum going,” Baker coach Tim Smith said.
Miller breezed from there, allowing just five hits while striking out seven in the five-inning game.
After Baker failed to capitalize at the plate, the Bulldogs’ defense committed two errors in the bottom of the first as La Grande scored eight runs and chased starter Andrew Zellars.
“We had defensive errors behind Zellars that could have gotten us out of the inning and made it not so big,” Smith said.
Silas Carter, who isn’t part of Baker’s regular rotation, went 2.2 innings in relief and allowed four runs.
“Silas threw well, he threw well the night before against La Grande in the JV game, he did a great job for us,” Smith said.
La Grande scored at least three runs in every inning, and the game ended 18-0 when Baker failed to score in the top of the fifth.
Baker played much better in the nightcap, taking a brief 4-3 lead in the top of the fifth.
“It was the best game we played against them so far,” Smith said.
Baker’s leadoff hitter, Hayden Younger, got on base to start the game, and after advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt, he scored.
“We executed very well,” Smith said.
La Grande rallied with six runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 9-4 lead, and the Tigers added a couple of insurance runs in the sixth to claim the 11-4 win.
Mason Van Arsdall, Zander Arriaga and Cody Skidgel — batting third, fourth and fifth — each had two hits for Baker. Arriaga drove in a run.
“Cody Skidgel finally started to swing the bat,” Smith said. “Zander and Mason had two hits. I just think the top of our order did what they needed to do.”
Van Arsdall got the start on the mound and he held La Grande to just three runs through four innings before the Tigers broke out in the fifth.
“We played good defense behind Mason,” Smith said. “Mason threw really well. We had one bad half inning, it was just a couple of defensive errors, and we couldn’t overcome that,” Smith said.
Baker will conclude its season by playing host to the combined team of Joseph, Enterprise, Wallowa and Elgin Wednesday, May 12 at 6 p.m. at the Baker Sports Complex, then traveling to Nyssa on Saturday, May 15 for a doubleheader starting at 10 a.m. PDT.
“It will be a good week for us, hopefully we can get back on track, and get in the win column and end this thing on a positive note,” Smith said.