Willie Baker has had a lot of great moments for the Mashpee High School baseball team over the years. A talented outfielder and hitter, he’s made a lot of big things happen for the Falcons, but pitching was always something he did more in a pinch than as a specialty.
Until Wednesday, June 2.
On that night the senior put himself in the record books for the Falcons with one of the most dominant performances ever by an MHS hurler. The senior right-hander struck out 16 Hull Pirates in a 9-2 win by the Falcons on the road at Hull’s breathtaking new baseball facility.
Early on it did not look like Baker was going to last long, let alone go the distance and record all but five outs in the game by Ks. Baker walked the leadoff batter on seven pitches and then hit the next guy.
Then he settled down with two strikeouts. A pair of runs crossed on an error, but Baker struck out the next man and started to find his rhythm. He allowed a triple in the second to lead the inning off, then struck out the next three. The leadoff man in the third reached on an error, but then he fanned the side again. In the fourth the first two men reached on back-to-back singles but he battled back to get strikeout numbers 10, 11 and 12 in succession to end that inning.
In the sixth he did not strike any one. He also, for the first time in the game, did not allow a base runner in the inning with a groundout and two pop flies. In the sixth he struck out the side and he then K’d the leadoff man in the seventh before a pop-up and a fly out to center ended the game.
In all, Baker allowed three hits, one walk, and one hit batter to go along with his eye-popping 16 strikeouts. He also went 2-for-4 at the plate with a single and a triple.
At the plate the Falcons gave Baker all the support he needed in the top of the first by scoring three runs to give him a lead to work with. Colton Colleran led off with a single, and then Sean Fancher doubled to put two on for Jagger Bryant. The senior singled to tie the game. After a Baker single, Jared Barr put ahead to stay with an RBI-single.
MHS added another in the second to make it 4-1. Robert Ryder singled with one down and came around to score on an error. The Falcons got two in the fourth on RBI hits from Ryder and Bryant. In the fifth Rob Sanborn singled home a run as did Gabe Lakatos. Ryder added an RBI-single in the seventh to account for the final score.