Sports -- March 22, 2001

Published on Thu, Mar 22, 2001
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SPORTS

by Neil MacDonald

Jamboree was pure baseball fun
Americans carry a collective memory of baseball somewhere in the recesses of their unconscious and, if you don’t believe it, you should have been at Pipe on March 17 for Blaine’s baseball jamboree.
The scores didn’t matter. This was fun time, baseball set to its eternal leisurely pace, its timeless association with grassroots America.
A first baseman goes for a foul as a batter sends an arching snarl of ground-seeking white in a classic foul to the off-field. It just eludes the first sacker’s outstretched glove as he tries to catch the ball inches off the turf. Another classic moment in baseball’s endless memory bank.
Several clumps of fans in autumn-appropriate attire huddle in the gray toned stands. A middle-aged fellow sits in a lawn chair, his attention turned to the tempting taste of a recently acquired hot dog. Several onlookers huddle under umbrellas as the lead-lined sky sprinkles the area with a series of drips and drops trying to turn into a drizzle.
Beside the occasional droplet of rain, the air is agitated from time to time by a chorus of cliches that have echoed down the decades.
“Don’t let him off the hook!” follows when a pitcher gets ahead of a batter, then makes it 2-2 with a fastball a bit high, and a full count with a dirt-dusting sinker that may have been a slider gone astray. “Good play!” greets a player making a play worthy of reward. A batter hears “Good eye!” after checking his swing on a pitch in the dirt. The phrases are music set to baseball time.
There’s something that’s as artistic as it’s athletic as a batter hits a seeing-eye single through a rapidly closing gap between converging third baseman and shortstop.
There is something reassuring and reminding of the past when a lady goes by in a 1955 Dodgers jacket. That’s Brooklyn, not L.A. Dodgers and memories of Reese, Robinson and Roe. There’s also something reassuring about the future when a young boy pops into view draped in an enormous Safeco Field blanket.
Perhaps nicest of all is hearing Ump 1 say, “So long, Jerry, nice workin’ with yah” to Ump 2 as they walk through the parking lot at game’s end.
This was St. Pat’s day at the Pipe. Pure American, if you had the luck of the Irish to be there.

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Fastpitch: a season of seasoning
Mike Dodd’s Lady B fastpitch nine opened the 2001 season with three-inning losses to Lynden Christian and Nooksack Valley in the annual Blaine Jamboree March 17 at the Pipe.
The losses are of no consequence. This is experimental time. What is of consequence is that the very young Lady B’s lack experience and have two months of on-the-job training to turn into a reasonably competitive fastpitch squad. Their roster includes one senior, four juniors and seven freshmen. The team fielded two juniors, two sophomores and five freshmen at the jam.
It’ll be a year of learning fundamentals, honing skills and setting the basis for a seasoned side in 2002. The progress could be fun to watch. The youngsters go to Granite Falls for a March 22 set-to and host Squalicum at 4 p.m. on March 23 at the Pipe. Viva la progress!

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Neil's Notes
Smart Soccer Start
Greg Brisbon started his Borderite coaching career with a win as the Borderites opened the 2001 soccer season with a 1-0 victory over Meridian at Laurel on March 17.
The Blaine-South Whidbey game scheduled for March 15 at SW was canceled due to the school’s involvement with the state basketball tournament. It will be made up on April 7 at 4 p.m. The start time for the Blaine-Sultan game in Turktown has been changed from 3:30 to 6 p.m.

Ridnour honored
Blaine graduate Luke Ridnour was named freshman of the year in Pac-10 basketball on March 12. The University of Oregon point guard was the first UO player to win the award. Ridnour averaged 7.4 points and 3.8 assists per game as a starter for Oregon.

Semiahmoo Pair second
Semiahmoo’s Jeff Coston and Doug Campbell dropped a playoff decision to Chuck Milne and Ron Gibbons in the final round of the Wilson Shootout at Mallard Creek Golf Course on March 10 in Lebanon, Oregon. Coston and Campbell picked up $1,200, tallying a final round 64 in the three-round Chapman format tourney to finish with 195.

Franklin finsihes with a flourish in B&G classic
Charlie Franklin, Blaine’s premier post, pumped in 19 points for the West to finish second highest scorer in the East-West boys basketball game at the 15th annual Boys and Girls Club Classic for Whatcom County seniors on March 17 at Lynden high school.
Lynden Christian’s Grant Dykstra, who also played for the West, topped the scoring parade with 20. Despite Dykstra’s and Franklin’s efforts, the East won the contest 94-82.
Blaine forward Andrew Martin joined Squalicum’s Dan Kelly and Sehome’s Mike McEvoy and Brad Rhoades, with a four-point evening each.
The girl’s game was a closer-run affair. The West, coached by former Borderites Missy Holton and Heidi Collier, edged the East 51-50.
While Nooksack Valley’s Preston Vermeulen won the slam dunk competition. Franklin scored the evening’s most eye-opening, cheer-creating slam.
It involved his wedging the ball between backboard and rim, rushing rapidly toward the hoop, levitating, plucking the ball from its unorthodox perch and dunking it down the netted pathway. Nice memory on which to end a high school career.

'Cudas first in Ferndale
Three Blaine Barracudas – Gavin Reagh (165-lb. junior), Darrell Price, Jr. (95-lb. midget) and Andrew Price (70-lb. bantam) – placed first in their respective wrestling divisions at the Ferndale Mat Classic on March 17.
‘Cudas coming second were Niko Rehon (95-lb. novice), Jeremy Holdaas (75-lb. midget) and Dylan Krenz (55-lb. midget).
Barracudas’ Greg Coulter (100-lb. school bo), Jacob Humphrey (60-lb. midget), Rodney Stevens (50-lb. midget), Brandon Johnson (50-lb. midget) and Justin Dhillon (45-lb. bantam) placed third.
Coach Craig Foster’s “Wrestler of the Week” honors were shared by Holdaas, Andrew Price and Stevens.

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