Grand slam lifts Bulldogs in opener
Baldwin High School's Ryan Jorgensen started his senior season off with a memorable home run.
Down by one run in the seventh inning, Jorgensen cranked a grand slam over the left field wall, giving the Baldwin High School baseball team an 11-8 win over Osawatomie in its season opener Monday.
"I have never felt anything like that," Jorgensen said. "It was pretty awesome. I was just happy we were up. It was one of those, you don't feel it when you hit it, so you watch it sail over and know you hit it out."
The Bulldogs held the Trojans scoreless in the bottom of the seventh inning, securing the victory.
"It was very exciting, but a big deep breath was exhaled after we closed that win 11-8," coach Joe Serna said. "It was a big victory and a good way to start the season. I am proud of all of them for never quitting."
Sophomore Zach Durr said Jorgensen gave the team a huge lift in the win.
"It feels pretty good, because it was a team victory," Durr said. "Ryan really brought us back and gave us the momentum to win."
It was the first season opening win that Jorgensen can remember.
"It's a great win and I think the first opening day win in Bulldog history," Jorgensen said. "It feels really good."
The Bulldogs traveled to Osawatomie for their first game of the season, after their home game last Thursday was postponed to May 5 because of rain.
Baldwin fell behind 1-0 early in Monday's game, but put together a rally in the third inning with three runs.
Osawatomie answered back later to tie the game at 3-3. Then the Trojans hit a grand slam to take a 7-3 lead in the fifth inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, Baldwin strung together a few hits and runs. Junior Nick Papps hit a triple that scored three Bulldogs. One more run scored to tie the game at 7-7 before the Trojans batted.
"I tried for the cycle, but home runs aren't easy to hit," Papps said. "I was really proud of myself, because I have never had a day like this before. I just wanted to come out, hit the ball and have a good game."
Osawatomie added one run in the bottom of the sixth to take an 8-7 lead heading into the final inning.
Senior Troy Gilges started the final inning for the Bulldogs. Gilges was hit by a pitch. Then Durr and senior Rusty Flory were walked, loading the bases for Jorgensen.
Before Jorgensen went to bat, Serna gave him some advice.
"We were taking a strike at that time and I saw he was coming up," Serna said. "He asked if we were still taking a strike and I said, 'everybody but you big boy.' He got a big smile on his face and I think it kind of took a little pressure off of him. He went up there, saw a fastball and drove it."
Jorgensen hit the first pitch deep over the left field wall for a grand slam. Serna said he had confidence in Jorgensen.
"RJ (Jorgensen) is a good hitter; he just has to believe he is a good hitter," Serna said. "He is a senior and he can't put too much pressure on himself, because then his year won't be very fun."
Durr continued his work on the mound in the seventh inning. He helped the Bulldogs hold the lead for the win.
"I just pretended like it was 0-0 in the first inning and focused in on the batters," Durr said.
Jorgensen was proud of how the team fought back to get the win Monday.
"It was a sweet comeback, because no one gave up and we all put forth the effort to win," Jorgensen said. I think this will give us some momentum heading into this next week."
Papps led the Bulldogs with five runs batted in, as he 2-for-4 with a triple. Senior Cory Wright was 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Jorgensen had the other four RBI.
The Bulldogs next game is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against De Soto. It will be a doubleheader.
Serna said Monday's win was good for team morale, but bad for momentum.
"It's kind of a sweet and sour victory, because we play today and then we are off until Tuesday," Serna said. "We've got to figure out how to keep this momentum in practice all week."