Baker was down to its last strike, but that was a long way from its last hope.
The Little League baseball all-stars had been behind multiple times during their previous three games in the state tournament at Holland Youth Park in Salem.
But the situation was more precarious Tuesday night for the 10- to 12-year-olds.
They trailed Del Norte 9-6 entering the final inning, and Baker’s first two batters went down quickly.
Baker’s last hope was Paul Hobson, and he was down to his last strike.
Hobson fouled off three straight pitches before singling to left. Hobson advanced to second on a passed ball, then scored on Isaiah Jones’ single to cut Del Norte’s lead to 9-7.
After Hudson Spike was hit by a pitch, Kaden Conklin singled to score Jones and narrow the lead to a single run.
But Baker couldn’t maintain the momentum, and the comeback fell one run short.
The 9-8 loss ended Baker’s season.
“We had a great season,” said Kevin Logsdon, one of Baker’s coaches. “It’s a pretty unique group of kids.”
Logsdon said the team’s ability to come back from deficits in previous games gave him confidence clear to the final out Tuesday.
“It was a tough way to go down, but it was a character- builder for sure,” he said. “The kids just played hard.”
Logsdon said Conklin, who pitched the first four innings, “pitched the best I’ve ever seen him.”
Tuesday’s game started much differently than Baker’s 10-5 win Monday over Hollywood-Rose City.
Instead of falling behind early, Baker started fast.
The all-stars scored five runs in the bottom of the first.
Jaxon Logsdon led off with a double, then scored on Hobson’s single to left.
After an out, Spike singled to move Hobson to third. Hobson and Spike later scored on the same wild pitch to give Baker a 3-0 lead.
Conklin followed with a triple, and he scored on an error by the Del Norte catcher.
After a strikeout, Giacomo Riguerio tripled to left and scored on a wild pitch to give Baker a 5-0 lead.
Del Norte didn’t flinch, scoring five runs of its own in the top of the second to tie the score.
Baker scored once on Hobson’s double in the second to take a 6-5 lead, and that score remained until Del Norte scored twice in the fifth.
Baker 10, Hollywood-Rose City 5
Just as they did during their opening win over Klamath Falls on Saurday, the Baker all-stars started badly, spotting Hollywood-Rose City a 3-0 lead after one inning.
But starting pitcher Thomas Smithson settled down after that, holding Hollywood-Rose City scoreless over the next 2 2/3 innings.
Baker’s offense, meanwhile, revved up.
I n the second inning Conklin tripled and scored on a passed ball to cut the lead to 3-1.
Jaxon Logsdon led off the thir d inning with a sing le. Hobson doubled and Isaiah Jones hit an infield single to load the bases with no outs.
After Logsdon scored on another wild pitch, Conklin drove in the tying run with a fielder’s choice.
Baker took the lead for good in the fourth inning on Logsdon’s two-run home run to left field. Conklin drove in another run with a single, and Baker led 6-3 after four innings.
Hollywood-Rose City narrowed the lead to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but Hobson quickly erased that run with a leadoff homer in the sixth.
Isaiah Jones and Spike hit consecutive singles, and Conklin then put the game away with a three-run homer to center field that pushed Baker’s lead to 10-4.
Hollywood-Rose City scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the sixth, but Logsdon, who r elieved Smithson on the mound with two outs in the fourth, induced a line dr ive that leftfielder Resean Jones nabbed for the final out.
Baker 0 1 2 3 0 4 — 10
Rose City 3 0 0 0 1 1 — 5
Baker hits — Logsdon 2, Hobson 2, I. Jones 3, Spike, Conklin 3, Riguerio, Chandler 2. Baker RBI — Logsdon 2, Hobson, Conklin 4.
Del Norte 0 5 0 0 2 2 — 9
Baker 5 1 0 0 0 2 — 8
Baker hits — Logsdon 2, Hobson 2, I. Jones, Spike, Conklin 2, Riguerio 2, Rudi. Baker RBI — Hobson 2, Conklin.