by Jack Kintner
Blaine’s season ends in heart-rending 7-1 loss
The Lady Bs ended their season with a winning 12-11 record
Saturday in consolation round play at Janicki Field in
Sedro Woolley, dropping a 7-1 decision to state tournament-bound
Blaine earned its way there by going 1-1 a day earlier in district play at Lynden’s Bender Fields. Sirita Lawson opened with a solid performance, pitching a 3-0 shut-out against Granite Falls. But in the second game she left early, having re-injured her wrist with a checked swing against opposing pitcher and triple threat Skagit Valley select team mate Jen Jorgensen. Reliever Ashley Sullivan bravely stepped into the breach with a 1-0 lead only to see it evaporate in a six-hit, four-run fourth inning.
The next day, another hot late May afternoon, Sullivan pitched gamely against surprising Nooksack Valley, the bottom seed in the district tournament, but a lack of defensive support and timely hitting led to seven Pioneer runs in the middle of the game. Nooksack sent all nine batters to the plate in both the third and fourth innings, leaving Blaine in the dust.
Kudos to Ashley Sullivan and Kailey Walter who took over the spot vacated by a clearly suffering Sirita Lawson. The girls could not have missed the desire with which Nooksack got themselves to the state tournament in Wenatchee and, tough as that loss was, they will be back.
Blaine sends four girls to state track meet
Julie Meaker continued her winning ways, finishing second
at the district track meet last Friday night in her new
specialty, the 400 meter run, for a berth at the state
tournament at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.
Meaker had earlier qualified for district competition with a 1:01.7 league championship win a week earlier at the same Lynden Christian facility used for the district meet. She began running the distance competitively just this year.
Meaker’s time in the district finals was a little slower, perhaps due to the heat, a full 20 degrees warmer than the previous week, as she finished just 1.7 seconds behind Sultan’s Chelsey York.
Blaine’s 4 x 200 meter relay team of Meaker, Allison Raine, Cathy Acidera and Jettie Wilce also earned a trip to the big show with a third place finish, 4.06 seconds off the winning pace of 1:46.08 set by King’s foursome. Sultan finished second at 1:49.51.
Two Blaine competitors came close but won’t make the trip. Sean Hicks found his groove with the javelin, throwing the aluminum spear well over 166'10" for a personal best that missed going to state by six inches to Nooksack thrower Kyle Mitchell’s 167'4" effort.
Blaine pole vaulting ace Erin Lippie will stay home, too, having injured her knee on her opening jump at Lynden high school three weeks ago, five days after setting her personal best record in competition with a leap of 10'9" at the Nooksack Invitational, 15 inches higher than the winning vault at districts. Lippie has gone higher than that, jumping 11'4" in practice, a leap that if duplicated in Cheney would have made Lippie a lock for a state championship.
“Lynden’s landing pad was kind of soft,” Lippie said after her injury, “and it caught my foot and I heard some pops.”
Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steve Thorpe, who also works on athletes from Western Washington University, will rebuild Lippie’s knee today at a Bellingham out-patient surgery clinic, and has told Erin that she should expect to return to competition next year. Her mom asked that get-well cards be sent to her at 8322 Blaine Road, Blaine 98230.
Blaine advances to state finals
dropping two straight games in district play 10-1 and
2-0 to last year’s second-place state
finisher Lakewood, Blaine won their first two state tournament
games to move from the original sweet 16 teams into the
final four tomorrow and Saturday in Yakima.
In the process they managed to dump the state’s consensus number one team, Ridgefield (15-3), behind Blaine sophomore Joey Paciorek’s 140-pitch seven strikeout performance on the mound. Many major league starters are pulled well before reaching that pitch count, so for Paciorek to throw that much and, in the closing frames, that well is indeed a memorable performance.
After spotting Ridgefield a two run 4-2 lead, Paciorek, Alex Abrams and Kyle Dhanani all singled in the sixth inning. Productive senior Craig Rothwell scored Paciorek with the winning run on a fielder’s choice, and then Paciorek shut down Ridgefield’s offense for the duration to preserve the win.
The second game against 13-5 Montesano, Rob Bleecker pitched a masterful four-hit shut-out as Paciorek, Dhanani and Rothwell all contributed to a three-run first inning on their way to a 10-0 win, sending them to Yakima for the final four competition. Paciorek was 3-4 in the game, including a third inning home run.
Blaine joins four very good teams at the tournament. Aside from Lakewood, who returned everyone this season from last year’s state runner-up, Blaine starts against a 20-2 Pullman team that’s ranked fourth in the state. Unranked 15-5 Chewelah starts against third-ranked Lakewood.
Golfers swinging strongly
Both Blaine golf teams are at the state tournament that
winds up today, having gone through the district tournament
at Avalon in Bow last week like sharks through a school
Blaine’s boys sent three of nine to the state tournament and won with a combined score of 92.5, 17.5 points ahead of second place Lakewood. The girls edged Nooksack and tournament medalist Jill Quinn (190) with a score of 75 points to the Pioneers’ 68.
Blaine’s John Dudley tied first day leader Kurt Kvamme of Lynden Christian for second place at 151, a stroke behind medalist Evan Needham of Meridian. Besides Dudley, Blaine also sent fifth-place C.J. Stauffer (155) and ninth-place Justin Farmer (161) to the tournament at Liberty Lake outside Spokane, a chip-shot from the Idaho border.
Blaine’s Jacob Hilliard was the second alternate to Archbishop Murphy freshman Cameron Zwaller, who earlier tied Farmer for the ninth and last state qualifying spot at 161 and then lost on the first hole of a sudden death playoff. Murphy and Lakewood also each sent three players to Liberty Lake.
Blaine’s Tegan Bukowski led the girls with third place at 187 strokes, followed by sixth place Karissa Bland (202), seventh place Lori Robertson (202) and ninth place Ainsley Nix (226).
In addition to Blaine, King sent three players and Nooksack and Archbishop Murphy each sent one. Mt. Baker’s Celine Mallahan (232) was first alternate.