by Jack Kintner
Baldwin kicks in a hat trick in playoff race
Blaine all but clinched a league play-off berth with a dramatic come-from-behind 4-3 road victory Tuesday over Meridian in a game that saw Luke Baldwin get a natural hat trick and Jake Schulte score his first varsity soccer goal.
Trailing 1-nil at the half, coach Kai Edwards told the Borderites the obvious: “This is all about getting into the playoffs. Find a way to win.” And so they did, with Baldwin scoring two minutes into the second period. Six minutes later he scored again, and again 10 minutes after that, giving him a “natural” hat trick, three goals in a row without anyone else on the same team scoring
it wouldn’t be enough without
Blaine junior Jake Schulte popping in the game winner
10 minutes after Baldwin’s
Blaine is riding a four-game winning streak into the playoffs after starting out 2 – 6.
“Things like this are happening because of hard work. We’re coming together as a team,” said Edwards, “but we’ve also got these guys now who may not start but who will go out and work as hard as they can for 10 or 20 minutes.”
The last time Blaine met Meridian they lost, but this time “we just flat out-worked them” Edwards said, “my team may not have the talent others do but no one will outwork us.”
The win puts Blaine into fifth place, well into the playoff picture, but they still must wait for Thursday games to be completed before finding out Friday if they’ll need to play a tie-breaker on Saturday to get in.
Boys golf team first out of seven schools
After a third place finish among the seven NCC schools that field golf teams in the first round, Blaine won the second of four season-ending conference matches last week at Semiahmoo Golf and Country Club. Their combined score of 417 was 11 better than league-leading South Whidbey’s 428 and puts them in third place, eight strokes behind the Falcons and 80 strokes ahead of fourth place Meridian.
In the first match, held at Shuksan, Blaine lost 12 strokes to freshman John Dudley’s disqualification for playing the wrong ball. Only the top five scores on the six man team are counted in a match, so Dudley’s DQ meant that his 82 was dropped for classmate Daniel Hartman’s 94, still a good score but one that cost the Borderites 12 of the 19 points by which they trailed leaders South Whidbey and Lakewood, tied at 415 strokes each.
“It was because of John’s respect for the game,” said head coach Steve Barthlow, “because no one else saw him. He hit a shot into the rough, found the same kind of ball he’d been playing but when he got to the green he realized it wasn’t his, so he took the disqualification. He’s an honest golfer.”
The curly-haired freshman is also fun to watch. Nicknamed “the Walrus” by coaches and team mates, Dudley winds up like a John Daley type of hitter on the tee, showing a compact and muscular wood-shopping kind of swing that explodes a lot of power straight through the ball. His form won’t get him on the golf channel until he turns pro, but it sure works, and with it he’s been as consistent and unstoppable as a Timex watch.
The next match out at Semiahmoo saw the deadly Dudley hammer hole after hole with shots so accurate his opponents might have suspected him of using a slingshot. He finished with an even 80, tied with classmate and teammate Mark Sundem, and with the win Blaine’s nipping on the heels of the first and second place squads, South Whidbey and Lakewood. They’ll next play this afternoon at Homestead in Lynden.