Baker used a furious last-inning rally to beat Grant Union/Prairie City 14-10 in the Bulldogs’ season-opening baseball game Wednesday, April 14 at John Day.
Baker, trailing 10-6 entering the seventh inning, scored eight runs to take the lead.
With Cody Skidgel on the mound in relief, the Bulldogs shut out the Prospectors in the bottom half of the seventh to secure the win.
“They clawed their way back in, they had a couple of base on balls, and then we got the timely hits,” Baker coach Tim Smith said. “I really thought they showed resilience towards the end of that game.”
Baker started hot offensively, scoring four runs in the top of the fourth.
Mason Van Arsdall had one of his three hits in the inning. He ended up 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs.
“Mason swung the bat well, he went three for four, he had a double, I thought he played well like we expect him to play,” Smith said of the senior, who has signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Eastern Oregon University. “The game was kind of three parts for us offensively, we started off hot, then in a lull, then ended hot.”
Starting pitcher Andrew Zellars struck out five over three innings as Baker led 5-3. The Bulldogs still led 6-5 after five innings, but the Prospectors struck in the sixth, scoring five times to take the lead.
Hayden Younger pitched two innings of relief of Zellars, and Van Arsdall had an inning of relief.
“I thought our pitching as a whole stood out,” Smith said.
Zander Arriaga, Payton Shirtcliff and Silas Carter each drove in two runs.
With most of his athletes moving from fall sports just a week ago, Smith said he didn’t see too much rust in Wednesday’s opener. But he definitely noticed fatigue in the team the day after the win.
“I think what I saw Thursday was that we were pretty sore, our pitchers’ arms were sore, so I think that comes into play when you don’t have a full preseason,” Smith said.
Looking ahead, Smith believes the Bulldogs are ready to shine during this shortened season, especially against league opponents.
The league schedule starts today when Baker plays host to Ontario for a doubleheader starting at noon at the Baker Sports Complex.