After missing their first three games due to inclement weather, the Wallowa Valley boys baseball team celebrated their opener with twin victories over the Baker High School JV squad. The doubleheader took place in Baker City on Friday, March 22 with the boys bringing only 12 players to the battle. The game schedule conflicted with an FFA event.
Wallowa Valley took the first game 9-7 with Trace Collier getting the win in relief while Gus Ramsden earned a save as the closer. The team has yet to find a permanent scorekeeper, so individual stats were unavailable.
The second game saw more of the same as Trace Collier again got the win as he pitched the innings four, five and six. Sophomore David Salim earned the save in the seventh inning as the team scored nine runs in the last two innings to seal the final victory. Gus Ramsden led the team offensively and defensively over the duration while encouraging younger players while taking a leadership role on the field.
“It was a good start,” said coach JR Collier. “The biggest story for us is we actually haven’t practiced outside yet. Our first time on the field this year was at the game.” He added that the day before the games the team managed about a half hour of fly ball practice on the grass at the Enterprise Little League fields.
“Going in knowing we literally hadn’t done any any base-running or full outfield or situational infielding, we’re really happy to come out with wins,” Collier said. He added that the indoor practice may have actually helped because it forced the squad to concentrate on fundamentals such as ball handling and hitting.
“Everybody hit well; even though we fell behind in the middle of both games,” Collier said. “We didn’t have any infield errors in either game.” He also said “the squad has a very motivated pack of freshmen and sophomores who were a pleasure to watch.”
Although the scores don’t indicate it, the squad played “small ball,” which saw the team moving runners by well-placed bunts. “We played functional baseball, and it worked,” Collier said. “It was great to see because it was effective, and the kids did what they needed to do.”
The boys next play three games at the Grant Union Les Schwab Tournament in John Day starting versus Bandon on Thursday, March 28 and running through March 30.