Sports -- June 13, 2002

Published on Thu, Jun 13, 2002
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By Neil Macdonald

Pike and repeat winner Sticklin named Blaine high school’s Athletes of the Year
Seniors Ryan Pike and last year’s girls’ winner Anna Sticklin are Blaine’s 2002 Athletes of the Year.
Borderite Athletic Director Gary Clausen said Pike, who played football, basketball and baseball, had “an outstanding year in all three sports” and that “he showed great leadership in all three.”
Sticklin, Clausen noted, “had an outstanding year in basketball and soccer.” Described by more than one coach as “one of the county’s top athletes,” Sticklin was first team All-NCC in both basketball and soccer this year.
Pike’s athletic skills were showcased most prominently in basketball. He corralled 122 defensive rebounds, made 56 deflections and garnered 51 steals on defense and hit for 196 inside points at post on offense during NCC play.
He was named to the all-tournament second team at State, where he led Blaine to a fifth place finish. He pumped in 25 points and plucked off 13 boards against Eatonville in the tourney’s second game. Then scored the winning basket and blocked a last-second hoop-headed scoring attempt that would have won it for the Bulldogs in a 49-48 win over Cashmere in Game 3.
Pike’s propensity to peak at the proper moment was also demonstrated by his 24 points, 6 assists, 5 boards and 3 steals in a 63-52 Borderite win over Lynden Christian that gave Blaine the Northwest District championship.
In baseball, catcher Pike hit .317, had a 53.3 on-base percentage, stole 7 of the 8 bases attempted and recorded a .994 fielding average, helping Blaine to a fifth place finish in State and a 19-6 season’s record.
His leadership was also prominent on the football field as he quarterbacked an injury-riddled Blaine football team that was often short a key running back here and a lineman there, to a 5-4 season’s record.
An outside defender in soccer, who turned midfielder into a term of excellence, Sticklin led Blaine to third place in the NCC and a 12-6 overall soccer season.
“She has incredible focus,” Blaine soccer coach Dan Steelquist said, “and she’s a warm-hearted, caring person.”
A wing and co-captain in basketball, Sticklin was named to the media’s all-tournament second team at State, where Blaine finished fourth and where Anna’s resilience was highlighted. The gritty Sticklin came back from a head-to-floor encounter in the Kiona-Benton game, to score 16 points to lead Blaine to a 42-35 upset over 2001 state finalist Ephrata. Next day, she hit the winning basket in Blaine’s win over Woodland.
Such heroics were common throughout her season. Sticklin returned after an early season shoulder injury to get 228 points, 109 rebounds, 72 assists, 44 steals, 28 treys and a 10.4 ppg average.

Morinaka named to NCC team
North Cascades Conference soccer honors went to Blaine midfielder Yasuto Morinaka, who was named to the All-NCC first team, and sophomore midfielder Brendan Mulholland, who was named to the All-NCC second team, this past week.
Sophomore midfielder Chris Crane, who had a fine year, earned All-NCC honorable mention.
Morinaka, along with seniors Jason Dean and Alden Walcon, was also honored as Blaine’s Borderite soccer side had its annual awards night on June 4 at Blaine high school.
Morinaka, a Japanese senior exchange student, won the Coaches’ award. Walcon was the Most Valuable Player and Dean, the Most Improved Player.
Walcon, the team’s premier forward, led the Borderites in point production with 14 points on seven goals and three points on three assists for a 17-point total. Morinaka, a midfielder, was only a half-step behind Walcon with 15 points on seven goals and one assists.
Walcon scored three goals against Granite Falls, two against Mt. Baker, and singles against Nooksack Valley and South Whidbey. Morinaka scored three against MB (all coming in the season’s first Blaine-Baker game), twice against Granite Falls and solos against Lakewood and South Whidbey.
“Morinaka was our best player technically,” coach Greg Brisbon said, “He was one of the best players in the league. Without him, we wouldn’t have done as well as we did.”
“Mulholland,” Brisbon added, “was another technically sound player. The team responded when he was out there.”
The Borderites improved from a 5-11 win-loss record in 2001 to a 9-8 W-L posting in 2002. The team was eliminated in the first round of NCC playoffs, losing 2-0 to Lakewood, but it was a satisfying season for the Borderites. Blaine had a 25-17 NCC and 25-19 goals for-goals against season’s record.
They won four, lost four and outscored the opposition 11-7 in the first half of the NCC season and won five, lost three and outscored the other guy’s 14-10 in the second half..

MVP, hitting award goes to Craig Anderson
Craig Anderson was the Most Valuable Player and the hitting award winner for 2002 as Blaine’s baseball team celebrated its annual awards night on June 4 at the Pizza Factory.
The Coaches Award went to Ryan Pike. Grant Sanders was the Inspirational award winner and Kyle Dhanani, the Most Improved award recipient.
“Anderson is obviously our leader,” head coach Gary Clausen said, “I think he’s the best ballplayer in the Conference.”
Anderson demonstrated both consistency and power at the plate, leading the Borderites in the big three offensive categories: batting average (.442), slugging average (.714) and on base percentage (.714) and was tops in hits (34), doubles (12), total bases (55), runs scored (38) and stolen bases (20). When he wasn’t worrying pitchers, Anderson was filling in adequately as a closer for the Double B’s, posting a 3.57 ERA.
Clausen, noting that Pike was the obvious candidate for the Coaches Award, said, “At the beginning of the year our catcher (Nick Miller) was hurt. He went to Pike and asked him to take the job. Pike came to me and said he would try to do his best. He did and he did it well.”
It goes without saying (but not without writing) that a player as dedicated to the team as Pike richly deserves the award and others, too (see Athlete of Year story).
Speaking of Sanders, another team player, Clausen said, “He was a real pleasant surprise – the way he came on in pitching. He’s vastly improved and a real competitor on the mound. His hitting was down early in the season, but it picked up in playoff time.”
Sanders became the arm of the B’s, winning six of seven decisions, compiling a 0.89 ERA, striking out 61 and walking 18 for a better than 3-to-1 K to W ratio (2-to-1 usually gets you an “A”). Sanders had a .311 batting average, .525 slugging average and .571 on base percentage. He stole 14 bases on 15 attempts for a 93 percent certificate of theft. He pitches, hits, runs, doesn’t jump tall buildings at a single bound, but Sanders is Mr. Inspirational.
Clausen enthused about Dhanani, the Borderites Most Improved winner, noting. “He has great skill with hands and bat. He had to pick up a lot of things real quick – and he did.”
Dhanani’s rapid rise along the learning curve was reflected in the freshman’s starting every game for the Borderites. Dhanani was particularly parsimonious at the plate, collecting seven hits, eight sac’s, nine RBIs and 14 bases-on-balls – rather promising for a freshman.

Neil's Notes
Seconds for Jorgensen
Blaine pro Chris Jorgensen shot 68-70 – 138 to finish 11 back of winner Bob Conrad of Bellevue and tie Ryan Nelson of Keiser, OR for second at a Cascade Golf Tour Pro-Am at Camas Meadows on June 4-5. Jorgensen and Nelson each earned $900.

Ridnour Reigns
Blaine grad and University of Oregon sophomore point guard Luke Ridnour was named UO’s Doyle Higdon Memorial Trophy winner. The trophy is given for excellence in athletics, scholarship and citizenship. Ridnour also received an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American this past week.

Post Script
Blaine Post 86 was defeated 6-5 by Meridian at Laurel on June 7. Grant Sanders doubled and tripled in a losing cause. Other Post 86 AA junior American Legion baseball games:
May 22 – Sehome 3, Blaine 1 at Sehome. Laird Dickie went the distance in losing cause. Grant Sanders doubles for Post 86.
May 23 – Blaine 5, Ferndale 2 at the Pipe. Jordan Snow got the win, went 2-for-2 at the plate with a double and single.
May 30 – Richmond 2, Blaine 1 at Richmond, B.C. Dickie went 2-for-2 and Chris Kleman doubled as Post 86 was held to 3 hits.
June 5 – Blaine 2, Richmond 1 at the Pipe. Sanders hurls a complete game for the win. Dickie goes 2-for-2. Kyle Green scores winner from third in the front end of a double steal attempt. Post’s other runner is nailed at second.
June 6 – Squalicum 4, Blaine 2 at Pipe. Sanders and Kleman drive in a run each..

Steckler, Trennepohl named to All-NCC first team in fastpitch
Five Lady B ballplayers – Holly Steckler, Jynessa Trennepohl, Alisa Burk, Kristina Francis and Lacy Cheatwood – won North Cascade Conference All-League fastpitch awards on June 5.
Steckler and Trennepohl were named to the All-NCC first team. Alisa Burk was selected for the All-NCC second team. Francis and Cheatwood gained All-NCC honorable mentions.
Blaine’s five All-NCC winners, along with Kaylyn Bird and Krista Walter, earned more honors at the Borderite fastpitch team’s annual awards night on June 5.
Sophomore outfielder Steckler and senior infielder Trennepohl were co-Most Valuable Player Award winners. Steckler also won Blaine’s leading hitter award. Her .405 batting average and hit total of 30 broke Francis’ 2001 record totals of .393 and 22.). Trennepohl hit .393, led the Lady B’s in RBIs with 14 and tied Steckler for the team lead in doubles with four.
Sophomore infielder Burk won the Clutch Player Award. Burk hit .357, drove in 11 runs and scored a team record 21 runs (eclipsing Francis’ 2001 mark of 20). Burk, who posted a .500 slugging average over the season, led the Lady B’s in extra-base hits – getting three doubles, two triples and a home run.
Francis won the Leadership Award – a performance rendered even more remarkable considering Kristina is both a sophomore and the Lady B’s backstop. Francis hit .292, was second in plate appearances with 72 at-bats, and made only one error playing the most difficult and demanding defensive position on the field.
The Lady B’s personal pitching machine, Krista Walter, won the Coaches Award. Krista, who was 9-11 on the season, set a team record for league and season wins (her seven league and nine season victories eclipsing her own records of five and six, respectively).
Walter, a junior right-hander, also set a school record for strikeouts, tallying 89 to pass her 77 record total of 2001.
The Lady B named Bird was the Most Improved Award winner. Kaylyn, a freshman, played infield, hit .262 and drove in 11 runs. Sophomore outfielder Cheatwood won the Most Inspirational Award, posting a .310 batting average, driving in eight runs and scoring 12 runs.

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