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Mud Dogs center fielder Isaiah Cranford successfully steals second base during the bottom of the second inning in La Grande’s 14-7 win over Baker Tuesday at Pioneer Park. (CHRIS BAXTER/The Observer)
Fourth-inning outburst propels La Grande to win
The La Grande Mud Dogs only needed seven hits to score 14 runs en route to a 14-7 victory over Baker Tuesday at Pioneer Park.
While La Grande and Baker originally agreed to play a doubleheader, the teams later agreed to play one nine-inning game instead. Baker had played six games in a tournament last weekend. None of the five Baker pitchers who threw against the Mud Dogs could establish their command, as the Mud Dogs were walked 17 times.
“Baker struggled on the mound a bit,” Mud Dogs head coach Parker McKinley said. “They had trouble finding the strike zone, and we were able to take advantage of it today. We didn’t start chasing pitches out of the zone, and didn’t get anxious. We were able to capitalize when they struggled.”
After going down 1-0 in the second inning, the Mud Dogs (3-0 overall) responded with an eight-run explosion in the fourth inning to take control of the game. Alec Cranford, who played his first competitive baseball game since suffering a knee injury just over a year ago in the Class 4A state baseball tournament, got the scoring started with a RBI single, sending his brother, Isaiah, home.
“It felt great to be out on the field,” Alec Cranford said. “I feel really healthy. I was scared of turning my knee and re-tearing my meniscus, but after this game. I’m feeling a lot more confident about my knees.”
Isaac Chamberlain scored the final run of the inning after Garrett Vaughn was hit by a pitch. By the time the fourth inning was over, the Mud Dogs had taken 20 at bats.
McKinley said he opted to have four pitchers throw during the game to prepare his players to throw this weekend in the Woodbat Classic in Spokane, Wash. McKinley said Jake Workinger did a great job on the mound as the starter, throwing two strikeouts without giving a walk in three innings.
“I was feeling pretty confident heading into today, and since I had pitched to them earlier in the season, I knew if I kept the ball down in the zone I would do well,” Workinger said.
Vaughn, Alec Cranford and Ray Jimenez all recorded two hits for the Mud Dogs, while 10 out of the 11 Mud Dogs who played scored a run. Vaughn, Aaron Goss, Ryan Adams and Brad Bell each scored two runs for the host.
Baker outhit La Grande by a 10-7 margin, while the visitors committed three of their four errors in the decisive fourth inning.
Both of La Grande’s American Legion baseball teams will be back in action this weekend, as McKinley will take both into the Spokane Tournament beginning Friday.