Camels, community rally for Baker

Community has thrown support behind Enderby’s Gary Baker, a midfielder/forward with the Okanagan Spring Camels

The soccer family is a large one with big hearts.

Family, friends, teams and the community have thrown support behind Enderby’s Gary Baker, a midfielder/forward with the Okanagan Spring Camels in the Capri Insurance Okanagan Oldtimers 45+ Soccer League.

Baker suffered an aneurysm on the field during a game on Monday, Aug. 1, and was rushed to hospital in Vernon, then Kelowna and now to Vancouver.

As of Tuesday morning, more than $20,000 had been donated towards a GoFundMe goal of $50,000 to help Baker, his wife and four daughters.

“We just picked Gary up this year and he’s played about five games with us; he’s a real good guy,” said longtime Camels keeper Ron Krause.

“He’s in a drug-induced coma in Vancouver and has undergone two surgeries.”

According to the GoFundMe page (gofundme.com and type Help Support The Bakers in the search engine), surgery went well and doctors managed to reduce the pressure on Baker’s brain and clamp the aneurysm to stop the bleeding.

He has already opened his eyes and can follow some of the doctor’s basic commands.

Baker, a self-employed carpenter, joined his wife, Erica, in returning to university in the past year.

The fundraising efforts are to help sustain the family through the unknown over the next few months.

It’s not known how long Baker’s recovery will take.

On the field Monday, with Baker weighing heavily on their minds, the shorthanded Camels fell 2-1 at Marshall Field to Kelowna’s Mission Cleaners in a third-place showdown.

The Camels (9-6-2) started the game with just nine players with a 10th and final player arriving 15 minutes after the start.

Following a scoreless first half, the cleaners opened the scoring four minutes into the second half from the penalty spot after one of their players was tripped inside the box.

Rick Raber tied it for the humpbacks five minutes later on a cross from Johnny Orton.

Mission Cleaners (11-4-1) got the winner three minutes from stoppage to move five points clear of the Camels.

Krause got a hand on a header off a cross but the ball went off the post and in.

Orton was named the Lincoln Lanes Man of the Match for the Camels.

In other action, league-leading Brown Benefits won their 16th game of the year, whipping Vernon Bosman Accounting 7-1 at Beasley Park in Lake Country.

The score could have been more but Bosman keeper Yogi Kongsdorf was spectacular, making several impressive saves.

Lionel Hoffman led Brown (16-0-1) with three goals.

Mark Sladen spoiled the Brown keeper’s shutout bid with a late 20-yard left footer into the top corner after a feed from Dave Howes.

Burger King Man of the Match for the accountants (2-11-4) was midfielder/defender Kerry Correia, who ran miles.

Second-place Penticton surrendered the first goal but rallied for a 3-1 win over Vernon Turn-Key Controls at Parkinson Field in Kelowna.

Bryan Schenker opening the scoring for Turn-Key (6-10-0) on a breakaway after taking a lovely feed from Ruben Cervantes and deking the Penticton keeper.

Penticton (11-1-3) led 2-1 at the half.

Turn-Key had a few chances to tie,  but the best chance was a feed into the Penticton area to Mark Wasylyk,  who made a few moves, and beat the keeper.

However, a Penticton defender slid over to stop Wasylyk’s shot before it crossed the line.

Turn-Key keeper Mike Moorlag played amazingly solid throughout, as did defender Dan Ondzik, named the Longhorn Pub’s Man of the Match.