BHS baseball swings into history
After a history making case of first-game jitters, the Baldwin High School baseball team bounced back Thursday to show the Bulldogs can, indeed, play the game mapped out on a diamond.
To record history, the Bulldogs were easily dispatched 13-1 by the Ottawa Cyclones in their first game ever. But, it was a different story in the doubleheader nightcap, as BHS had the tying run on third base with just one out in the last inning before falling 8-7.
"It was two different games," said Brian Ash, BHS baseball coach. "The first game was jitters and nervousness. They bounced back in the second game and focused better. I was proud of that."
Other than the Bulldog's first hit and first run, both produced by junior Ryne Jackson in the fourth inning, the first game was forgettable. A three-run home run by Ottawa's Brian Guilfoyle in the bottom of the fifth inning closed the book on that 10-run-rule shortened game.
But, then there was the second game. It looked like more of the same when Ottawa went up 4-0 in the bottom of the second. However, this time the Bulldogs answered. They scored four runs of their own in the top of third to tie it up.
Ottawa contributed to that with a defensive let-down. Three straight errors led to a Baldwin scoring opportunity, but a Bulldog runner was thrown out a home. Still, two runners remained on the base paths. Junior catcher Cal Heinrich drove them home with a single.
After another single by senior first baseman Caleb Mason and a passed ball to move Heinrich and Mason to second and third, senior second baseman Tyler Trowbridge stroked another two-run single to knot the score at 4-4.
However, that tie didn't last long. In the bottom of the fourth, Ottawa put another four runs on the scoreboard to go up 8-4. Aiding in that cause was a pair of Bulldog errors that didn't help matters.
"I was a little disappointed in our defense," said Ash. "That's something we need to take pride in."
But he also took pride in the fact the Bulldogs didn't give up. Instead, they chipped away at the lead, scoring single runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Jackson provided two of those runs with a pair of RBI doubles, one in the fifth and the other in the seventh. The sixth-inning run scored on a fielder's choice after singles by left fielder Ricky Woodbridge and shortstop Andrew Hannon.
In the seventh, Mason opened with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Jackson then crashed his second one-run double. A sacrifice moved Jackson to third with the tying run. However, a pair of strike outs ended the threat and left the Bulldogs with the 8-7 loss.
The offensive show in the second game, led by Jackson and three hits from Mason, pleased Ash.
"We actually hit the ball well," he said. "We had 13 hits in the second game."
The first-year coach wasn't dismayed by the performance, either.
"We've got some talent, some guys that can get the job done," said Ash. "Ottawa is a good team. It was a good measuring stick for us. I don't think we're too far away from being a good team.
"Hopefully, we got the first-game jitters out of the way," he said.
Jackson took the loss on the mound in the first game and Hannon, despite six strikeouts, was the losing pitcher in the second.
In a scheduling quirk, the Bulldogs won't play this week, but will return to action with their first-ever home game Tuesday against Eudora. Game time at the field just north of the high school is 4:30 p.m.
"It's kind of good and kind of bad," Ash said of the layoff this week. "We can focus in on some things we need to work on. We'd really like to keep playing, but we'll have a good week of practice."