The Philomath High School baseball team played for the first time in 16 days on a trip to the other side of the state for a doubleheader against two opponents with winning records. The host school, La Grande, defeated the Warriors 5-0 behind a strong pitching performance and then Baker downed Philomath 2-1 on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh.
The Warriors dropped to 6-8 overall with the pair of losses and if Mother Nature cooperates, plan to resume the conference season this week with a three-game series against Sisters — at home on Tuesday and on the road for two on Thursday. In league play, Philomath is tied for first place in the loss column.
La Grande, sitting at No. 4 in the OSAA rankings but sporting the best record in Class 4A at 16-1, got a stellar performance from senior pitcher Devin Bell, who threw a complete-game two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts and no walks.
The Tigers broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with three runs. Bell, Nick Bornstedt and Braden Carson all had one-run hits to put the home team on top. La Grande added two more in the fourth with Bell launching a two-run home run.
The Warriors threw senior Cameron Ordway (2.2 innings pitched, seven hits, one walk, five strikeouts) and junior Brayden Shenk (3.1 innings pitched, two hits, no walks, three strikeouts) in the loss.
Ordway had both of Philomath’s hits with a 2 for 3 effort on singles in the first and third innings. The only other base runners were Carson Gerding in the third when he was hit by a pitch and Ordway in the sixth when he reached on an error.
Bell went 3 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs and Jace Schow was 2 for 4 for the Tigers (16-1).
In the second game, Philomath faced Baker in a low-scoring contest that featured good pitching and defense. Senior Skylar Brolin allowed just four hits and one walk with six strikeouts in an 88-pitch performance for the Warriors and was just two outs away from a shutout when the Bulldogs pulled it out.
The final inning opened with a line-out to left field but Baker got a runner aboard on a hit by pitch. The next batter, Silas Carter, followed with a clutch line drive to right field that ended up as an inside-the-park home run.
Philomath’s bats overall remained quiet in the second game as they had been in the first. Ordway led off the sixth with a single, advanced on a wild pitch and then scored from second when Baker’s pitcher committed an error on a pickoff attempt.
Senior Logan Carter led Philomath hitters with a 2-for-3 effort, including a double.
Cole Hester went 2 for 2 offensively and Hudson Spike allowed five hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 6-2/3 innings for Baker (9-8).