For one last time, Sam McCauley, Spencer Smith and Spencer Shirtcliff donned the purple-and-gold uniform to represent the Baker Bulldogs on the baseball diamond.
But the trio of recent BHS graduates gathered not at the Baker Sports Complex, but at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer, home of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, a Class A minor league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants.
The Volcanoes invited 108 graduates from the Class of 2020 from across the state to play a series of games last weekend, a consolation of sorts after players statewide lost their senior baseball season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Volcanoes were great with social distancing, they had us all wear masks in the dugouts and 250 fans were able to watch the game spread out,” said Tim Smith, Baker varsity coach, and Spencer Smith’s dad.
On Friday, the bats were red hot for the Bulldogs as members of Team Ryan Vogelsong. McCauley led the way going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Spencer Smith drove in a pair of runs and had a stolen base, and Shirtcliff added two hits. Team Vogelsong lost 14-8 to Team Brandon Crawford.
Saturday morning Team Vogelsong faced Team Joe Nathan, and McCauley was on the mound. He had a strong outing, allowing two runs and striking out six in four-plus innings, including striking out the side in the second inning. His bat also remained hot with three hits, including a triple.
Shirtcliff had a hit and stole two bases.
But again the Bulldogs’ efforts weren’t enough, as Team Vogelsong dropped the second game to Team Nathan, 4-3.
But the weekend wasn’t about wins and losses.
Coach Smith said he felt thankful to be able to coach this trio who have been teammates since they were boys.
“It was very emotional,” Coach Smith said. “It was very neat to see them play one more time as a Bulldog after coaching them for the last seven-eight years.”
The season isn’t quite over for the threesome, though. They’re members of the Barley Brown’s Brewers 18U team that will compete in a tournament Thursday through Saturday at La Grande.