By COREY KIRK
The Baker boys soccer team, playing for the first time in 17 days, earned its first win of the season, routing Fruitland 7-1 on Tuesday, Sept. 14 in front of a home crowd at the Baker Sports Complex.
“It was nice, definitely a good confidence booster beating a team like that,” junior co-captain Diego Quintela said. “But also (we) just can’t let it get to us. After every goal it’s 0-0 again.”
With such a long interval since a 2-1 loss to McCall on Aug. 28, Baker, which improved its record to 1-2, has spent a lot of time on the practice field.
Coach Victor Benites said a top focus for the Bulldogs has been their conditioning.
“We did a lot of running,” Benites said. “We ran a mile every day no matter what, and at the end we did sprints at the end of the practice. That seems to help the team stay fit and go back and forth.”
Tuesday against the Grizzlies from Idaho, Baker started hot from the opening, with senior Gus Terteling scoring just four minutes in.
Midway through the first half, the Bulldogs added to their lead with goals from sophomore Riley Martin at 20 minutes, and from Quintela just two minutes later.
Near the end of the first half, freshman Alan Bedolla found the net to give Baker a 4-0 lead.
“I feel good, happy,” Benites said. “That’s what I wanted. I wanted them to go out and feel how to win games. I told them that if you are on the field, you want the ball. Any chance you take on the ball, one touch and you shoot it, goals will come to you.”
Despite Baker’s sizable lead at halftime, Benites wanted to be sure the Bulldogs’ midfielders were in the right places on the field in the second half.
“As soon as we lose the ball or they take a shot and we come back, it’s a lot better for a player to run forwards then backwards,” Benites said. “When you come back, you always want to start midfield and up again. You’ll be able to play against any team that way.”
The Bulldogs kept their focus in the second half, as Quintela notched two more goals, the first two minutes in and the second at 23 minutes.
Freshman Aldo Duran also scored to boost Baker’s lead to 7-0.
Although Quintela was happy to complete the hat trick with his third goal, he said he was more excited to assist teammates.
“I don’t care about my personal goals, I care about my assists if I can get them, or when my teammates score, which I was trying to get them to do,” Quintela said. “It’s a good feeling seeing them score.”
Wearing the yellow armband with the title “captain” comes with a responsibility that Quintela and fellow co-captain Wyatt Hawkins don’t take lightly.
As Benites substituted some younger players toward the end of the match, the captains yelled their support for their teammates.
That pleased Benites.
“If you have a captain like him (Quintela), not be selfish, he had an open shot there and he wanted to pass it to the freshman kid,” Benites said.
Fruitland prevented the shutout with a goal with about six minutes remaining.
After the strong performance, Benites is confident his team can compete with any of their future opponents.
“This is probably going to improve their confidence,” he said. “If we keep playing the way we are now, we can stay with any team, no problem at all.”
Baker will travel to Pendleton on Monday, Sept. 20 to take on the Buckaroos at 4:30 p.m.
Baker’s girls soccer team, after winning its previous two games, fell 12-1 at Fruitland on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Brooklyn Jaca scored Baker’s goal.