BAKER — Adam Henry continues to stay upbeat despite a slow start for his Baker School baseball team.
Even in the losses, the Gator coach sees the positives, but he knows if the Baker is to start winning the Gators will have to cut down on their mental and physical mistakes.
Tuesday night it seemed as if the baseball gods were smiling on the Gators as they hosted Freeport in a District 3-1A game.
Baker was up 3-0 heading into the sixth inning, but the baseball gods are a fickle group. The Bulldogs rallied from behind to take a 5-4 win.
"We've got to know what to do before the baseball is hit -- that's the key," Henry said after another game where unearned runs sank his team. "It's everybody doing it. The mental errors are killing us.
"We just have to go back to the basics."
For five innings the Gators could do little wrong.
Starting pitcher Austin Hicks had held Freeport scoreless, with just three hits. And, after a slow start, the Gator offense came up big in the fifth inning, pounding out four hits and scoring three runs.
Travis Farmer started things with a single to left.
That's when the fun began for the Gators. Henry rolled the dice and called for Farmer to steal second. When Bulldog second baseman Ryder Newman moved over to cover the base Baker's Jacob Nixon slapped a hit in the hole vacated by Newman moving Farmer to third.
The scenario was repeated as Alan Weidenhammer and Mason Lowery each found a gap between first and second base. Weidenhammer's hit scored Farmer and Lowery's base hit scored Nixon.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Kyle Davis scored Weidenhammer and marked the end of the game for Freeport starting pitcher Bailey Miller. Miller was replaced by Dillon Bates, who got the Bulldogs out of the inning without any further damage.
Things went south on the Gators (1-5, 0-2) in the top of the sixth as Hicks began to tire and the Baker defense got a little shaky.
Freeport scored three unearned runs due to three Gator errors to tie the game at 3-3.
Morgan Hardee and Noah Simmons had the only Bulldog hits in the inning as Hardee, Haden Brown, who walked, and Newman, who reached on an error, scored.
Hicks faced Bates, who was safe at second on an infield hit and a Gator error, in the top of the seventh before seeing his night come to an end.
Jake Rainey replaced Hicks and face three batters. Rainey gave up a hit, a walk and struck out a batter. Bubba Ellis followed Rainey and gave up a single before being lifted for Weidenhammer.
Weidenhammer got the final two outs of the inning, but the Bulldogs managed to score twice in the seventh to grab a two run lead.
Baker managed a run in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn't enough.
With one out, Lowery struck out, but was able to reach first when the ball got past Bulldog catcher Tyler Head. Lowery stole second base and scored on a Jonathan Gatewood hit, but that was all the offense the Gators could muster as Freeport held on for the win.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.