Borderites baseball qualify for state tournament after back-to-back wins

Blaine first baseman Josh Fakkema tags out an Anacortes runner on May 16. Photo by Janell Kortlever

Blaine first baseman Josh Fakkema tags out an Anacortes runner on May 16.
Photo by Janell Kortlever

By Oliver Lazenby

The Borderites’ varsity baseball team continues to win games when it really needs to.

The Borderites had to win back-to-back games in the 2A Northwest District Tournament on Monday, May 16, to keep their season alive. Though both opponents, Anacortes and Archbishop Murphy, had higher playoff seeds than Blaine, the Borderites pulled off two upsets through a combination of solid pitching and hitting.

Blaine has struggled to combine those two elements all season long.

“We’re peaking at the right time,” said Blaine school district athletic coordinator Steve Miller. “That was a great performance by the kids.”

The Borderites beat Anacortes 6–1 and Archbishop Murphy, a private school in Everett, 9–2.

“We beat two really good teams,” said head coach Larry Hoffman. “Anacortes has already beat us once and shut us out and Archbishop is good every year.”

Senior Jon Starcer pitched a complete game in the Borderites win against Anacortes and allowed just two hits. Starcer has pitched phenomenally in the district playoffs; he held conference-leading Burlington-Edison to just four hits and one run in Blaine’s first district tournament game.

Blaine outperformed Anacortes at-bat, getting eight hits against undefeated pitcher Joe Brennan. Chase Abshere, Jalen Kortlever and Anthony Ball all drove in runs.

Sophomore pitcher Jon Gunderson started the second game and junior Eric Davis finished it. Hoffman said the game wasn’t Gunderson’s most precise outing, as he walked nine Anacortes hitters, but he got

Jon Starcer celebrates after a Blaine win.  Photo by Janell Kortlever

Jon Starcer celebrates after a Blaine win.
Photo by Janell Kortlever

key outs when the team needed them.

Blaine scored one run in the second inning, one in the third, four in the sixth and three in the seventh on RBIs by Abshere, Kortlever, Ball, Josh Fakkema, Brendan Riddle and Gunderson.

Blaine will play its first 2A State Tournament game this Saturday against Fife at Civic Field in Bellingham. It’s a single-elimination game and the winner advances to the quarterfinals. Fife was undefeated in regular season conference games this year. They lost to the eventual state champions Centralia in state quarterfinals last year.

“I don’t know much about them,” Hoffman said. “I’m assuming we’ll have our hands full, but we had our hands full over the last week and managed to come out on top.”

Miller noted a big turnout from Blaine fans and supporters at Monday’s games, and he expects a big crowd in Bellingham this Saturday.

“It will be huge, believe me,” he said.
Saturday’s game starts at 10 a.m. at Civic Field. Tickets cost $9 for adults, or $6 for students and seniors. Lynden also made it to the 2A State Tournament and will play Centralia at 1 p.m. at Civic Field on Saturday.

If Blaine wins the Saturday morning game, they’ll play again in the afternoon against the winner of a Lynden-Centralia game.

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