by Jack Kintner
Blaine drops close one 9-7 to Sehome Thursday
Faced with a chance to take a giant step toward post-season play, Blaine played well Tuesday evening at the Pipe against a powerful Sehome nine but just missed in the last inning, losing 9-7.
They dropped into a fourth-place tie with Mt. Vernon, both now with 5-4 records in conference, but need to win at least two of their final four games to be assured of playing on into the May post-season.
“The kids played hard, they battled back, but in the end they unfortunately just didn’t hang on to it,” said head coach Gary Clausen, who nonetheless had praise for most of what happened, especially Daniel Gorze’s job in relief after Ryan Johnson got hit early, yielding five runs in the first two innings. Gorze came on in the third inning and lasted the rest of the game.
Joey Paciorek, Brandon Bleecker and Kyle Olason turned a neat 6-4-3 double play in the fourth inning to stifle a Sehome scoring threat, a possibility with the Mariners basically any time they’re not on a bus going somewhere.
Johnson got a measure of revenge late with a long RBI single, hitting in Joey Paciorek for a one-run lead in the Blaine half of the sixth when with two out Gorze walked.Paciorek then sent a long fly ball to the base of the right centerfield wall for an RBI double.
Aaron Johnson was then intentionally walked, setting up Ryan Johnson for his timely hit and a well-earned but short lived 7-6 lead. The inning ended with both the Johnsons, AJ and RJ, stranded.
In Sehome’s half of the seventh (and last) inning, a lot of little things came together for Sehome as they figured out Gorze’s fastball to put a man on third who came charging home on a long fly ball.
Despite photographic evidence to the contrary the close call at the plate went against Blaine, and gave Sehome a 7-7 tie. Two more runs gave them the 9-7 lead.
Sehome sent in their fourth pitcher of the game, Jordan Chambers, arguably one of the best AA pitchers in the state.
He guillotined the Borderites with a combination of sliders and fastballs most college players couldn’t hit with anything smaller than a garage door.
Blaine’s next game is Thursday the 19th at Bellingham. Blaine then comes back home for this year’s last home game against Lynden at the Pipe on Friday, April 20.
The poise shown by sophomore right-hander Daniel Gorze in this contest with Sehome was admirable, especially considering last week’s heart-breaker of a loss on the road to Burlington, a team that Blaine was tied with in conference standings. Burlington had a big second inning but little else as Blaine added single runs in the second, third and fifth innings to tie the score at three.
Unperturbed, the guy who’s now known as the best 0-2 pitcher in the league ground through Sehome’s order in a reliever role like a machine, and held what may indeed be the state’s best AA team at bay until late in the game.