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Pherian Baker, Zach Riley provide spark for Moore Haven baseball

Moore Haven senior Pherian Baker scores a run in the Terriers’ 12-5 victory against Berean Christian School on March 11, 2022, in West Palm Beach. (Photo Kevin Johnson)

WEST PALM BEACH — Things might be quieter next season for the Moore Haven High School baseball team.


The Terriers won’t have friendly Pherian Baker – from the Brighton Reservation – around to encourage and lift the team up when needed. Playing in his first and last high school baseball season, the senior third baseman known as “Bear,” brings plenty of energy and life to the squad.


“He’s our pick-me-up guy. He picks up the team,” said his father Preston, who is in his first season as the team’s head coach and is also the head coach for boys basketball.


The younger Baker is not only a vocal leader for the team, but he’s also personable with opponents. In Moore Haven’s 12-5 win against Berean Christian Academy on March 11 in West Palm Beach, Baker chatted with Berean’s coach while playing third base. When he got on base, he had conversations with Berean’s first baseman.


After not playing baseball for about eight years, Baker said he’s glad he returned to the diamond as he nears graduation. He had a hit in his first game.

Moore Haven’s Zach Riley prepares to make contact against Berean Christian School on March 11, 2022, in West Palm Beach. (Photo Kevin Johnson)


No matter the results – Moore Haven was 3-6 entering April – Baker is determined to have a good time.
“It’s pretty fun. We’ve had some ups and downs,” said Baker, who is one of two Seminoles on the team; outfielder Zach Riley is the other.


Against Berean, Baker showed it was going to take more than being hit by pitches three times to wound this bear.


“Just brush it off,” he said.


Baker is wrapping up a busy sports year. He was a lineman on the football team last fall and a forward on the basketball team in the winter.


He’s also the last of four boys from the athletic Baker household to play high school sports; Ivess, Ramone and Alyke all played before him. His family also includes five sisters, including Moore Haven volleyball, basketball and softball coach Jaryaca Baker and freshman three-sport athlete Preslynn Baker.


Baker has enjoyed being able to play for his dad in basketball and baseball.


“He’s great. He’s great at everything he does. Without him, I’d be nothing,” he said.

Pherian Baker smiling is a common scene during Moore Haven High School baseball games. (Photo Kevin Johnson)


Coach Baker said he sought the coaching position when he saw that it was not being filled by anyone. He wanted to make sure there was going to be a season.


“I just wanted to give the boys something to do,” he said.


The Terriers’ win against Berean was sparked in part by the solid hitting of Riley, who batted third in the lineup. He delivered one of the hardest struck balls all game when he drilled a double down the left field line. He also had two infield singles and scored two runs.


“He’s doing good. He plays left field; today he stepped in and played second base. He’s a good kid,” coach Baker said.


Riley is among a large group of underclassmen on a young team whose other wins have come against the Village School of Naples and Pahokee.


“We’re kind of new,” coach Baker said. “We’re still learning.”

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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