BAKER CITY - The Milton-Freewater Blazers lost two tough games here Tuesday.
The Blazers faced the ‘AAA' Team Rudi in the first game of the day, losing 11-4.
The Blazers are under 17, while most Triple A teams are 17-20, said coach Mike Garcia.
"Obviously our young men were a little intimidated at the beginning, but I was really proud of what they were able to accomplish against a higher-level team of athletes," Garcia said.
Six of Team Rudi's starters are high-school graduates, he said.
"The Blazers came out and did a fine job against a quality team," he said.
Jordan Leinbach pitched the first four innings for the Blazers.
"He's a 15 year old, going to be a sophomore, did a fantastic job against Baker City's batting order," Garcia said. "We got a quality start, and Lupito (Salazar) came in to finish. They got a few runs here and there, but for the most part we did a fantastic job."
They lost a 6-4 heartbreaker in the second game, to the ‘A' Team Rudi.
Baker hadn't posted points since the third inning, when they were up 4-1. The Blazers came back, scoring in the fourth, fifth and seventh to tie it heading into the bottom of the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Baker got a runner on with two outs, one strike and two balls. But Blazer pitcher Brandon James, who pitched the complete game for the Blazers, let one get away and Colten Richards slammed a two-run homer, ending the tie and the game, 6-4.
"That's hard to fight," Garcia said. "It's happened three times so far this year. It's hard. We have a chance - but those things happen."
The Blazers and Team Rudi were tied on hits, errors and walks.
"That tells you it's a tight ballgame," Garcia said. "We had a couple more Ks than they did, but everything else is pretty balanced.
"I thought our team played extremely well," he said. "We talked a little about having the confidence builder from the first game with the older team - it certainly did carry over and it's indicated in the closer game."
Although James threw the hit that ended the ball game, he had a solid day from the mound, Garcia said. He threw about 85 pitches on the day.
"I decided to leave him in," Garcia said. "It was his game to win, as he was pitching so well. There was just the one pitch, and obviously the Richards kid had a two-run homer.
"It was one bad pitch that caught too much of the plate," he said. "James did a fantastic job through seven innings. He was extremely strong.
The Blazers are 11-12 at the halfway point of the season.
"As a team, we're certainly getting better," Garcia said. "We'll continue to get better, and that's what this whole thing is put together for. We have a lot of development and work, and we'll continue to work extremely hard to get to the second half of the season on a good note."
The Blazers play at Goldendale in a 3 p.m. doubleheader Monday.
M-F 100 010 2 - 4 4 4
Baker 312 410 x - 11 4 0
Lienbach, Salazar (5) and Salazar, Cuellar (3). Gorrel and Richards.
HR - Baker: Marcum.
Hits - M-F: Sheets, Salazar 2, Cuellar. Baker: Freese 2, Everson 2, Blankenship 2, Marcum 3, Richards, Gorrel 2, Cline 2, Dolby.
M-F 100 110 1 - 4 10 0
Baker 031 000 2 - 6 10 0
James and Cuellar. Freese, Everson (5) and Richards.
HR - Baker: Richards.
Hits - M-F: Partney 2, Sheets, Salazar, Cuellar 2, Romaro 2, Garcia, Quaempps. Baker: Freese, Everson, Richardson, Richards, Everette 2, Choise, Turner.