FORTWALTON BEACH— First-year Baker School baseball coach Adam Henry knows it will probably take time for his team to grow into a cohesive unit.
Henry is the Gators' third head coach in as many years.
Many of Class 1A Baker’s weaknesses were exposed Monday as the Gators opened the 2014 season against 7A Fort Walton Beach.
The Vikings pounded out eight hits, drew five walks and had two batters hit by a pitch in a 13-0 win over the Gators. And for good measure, the Gators committed four errors.
On the other hand, Baker had just two hits and five base runners in the game that was called in the fifth inning on the 10-run mercy rule.
Henry didn’t have to look far for teaching points for the Gators.
“We’ve got to work on (not making) errors for one thing,” he said. “We've got to work on hitting the fast ball. We’ve just got to work on getting better all the way around.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
In reality, the game was close for three innings.
Mason Lowery started on the mound for the Gators (0-1) and held the Vikings (1-0) without a run in the first inning.
Even when Lowery struggled in the second inning, allowing three runs, it was more because of walks than hits. In fact Fort Walton Beach’s only hit of the inning was on a bunt single.
The Vikings scored another run in the third and broke things open with a 9-run fourth. Twelve batters marched to the plate in the inning and Fort Walton Beach connected on seven hits to put the game away.
Baker batters struggled all night against Viking starting pitcher Casey Werhahn. Werhahn held the Gators to just two hits and walked three batters in the win.
Austin Davis and Bubba Ellis each had a hit for the Gators.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.