By Jack Kintner
The depleted varsity soccer ranks saw early success turn to exhaustion and failure again Tuesday at the pipe as Lynden came back to beat the Borderites 2-1 on two second-half goals.
The Blaine side has played two games now without substitutes, and with the cold weather that has dogged high school sports this spring the pace has taken its toll. Further complicating matters, senior defenseman Danny Dougan was not at full speed having gotten spiked in his Achilles tendon during practice.
And if that weren’t enough, junior keeper Miguel Alvarez, by all odds the most improved player on the squad this year, got whacked hard enough with about 8 minutes left in the first half that he had to come out. Midfield ace Patrick “the Automatic” Mulholland took over in goal but with no subs Blaine played a man down for fully five minutes before Alvarez re-inflated enough to go back in.
Earlier Mulholland had perhaps the prettiest goal of his career, a header off a Vince Dodgson feed to put Blaine up 1-nil about 20 minutes in.
Like a good power play defense, Blaine allowed no points during the stretch but it took its toll, as when the boys came back out Lynden sensed that they’d lost their edge, and went for the jugular. Twins Jesse and Lucas Gonzales both scored, Lucas when let loose about 25 yards out with a shot that just cleared the bard and brother Jesse later with a sloppy poke on a rebound that nonetheless found the goal as well.
Blaine still will qualify for post-season play as long as either Burlington loses its last three matches or Blaine beats Mt. Baker on Thursday, April 24, in Deming. That’s because Blaine has a point on Burlington despite having the same record because one of Blaine’s losses came via a shoot-out.
“It’s definitely a game we can win,” said head coach Dan Steelquist, “as long as we keep our heads up. These guys are playing the best soccer they’ve played all year.” If so, it’s because the team is running on their hearts as well as their legs.
Borderites earn post-season play in home game Tuesday
Blaine’s baseball team earned its way into the post-season with a convincing and energetic 12-5 win over the Mount Baker Mountaineers Tuesday at the Pipe in weather that was cold enough for the fans to look more like they were ice fishing than watching baseball. It was one of those games where the Borderites added to their batting, slugging, fielding and pitching stats in great huge gobs. This team has matured over the season and is peaking at the right time for a good post-season run.
Blaine’s now 7-12 over all and 4-8 in the Northwest Conference. They’ll begin with a play-in game on Tuesday, April 29 at a spot and against an opponent to be determined.
Tuesday’s game was a lesson in control and patience. In the top of the first Blaine found itself looking at the short end of a 5-0 score, based mostly on Mountaineer Derek Johnson’s towering drive that got caught by an unusually strong east wind that hooked it out of the park. That scored three of Baker’s five runs, all in the first inning.
But Blaine came right back. Sophomore lefty Kyle Olason’s shaky start – three hits and two walks in the first inning – was left behind as he held Baker to just one more hit while giving up just two more walks for the rest of the contest.
Meanwhile, Blaine began pounding Baker’s Gage Robinson, nicking him for three runs in the first, one in the third, five in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth for 12 runs. The biggest blast by consensus came in the fourth inning with the score tied at 5. Dane Ulrich clubbed a 3 RBI double to go up 8-5 on the young Baker team, leading a charge that saw several Borderites look good at the plate as well as defensively.
For Blaine, Daniel Gorze went 3 for 4, one of them a double, and scored three runs. Jordan Freeman went 3 for 4 as well and scored once. Ben Buhler was 2 for 4 and scored twice along with getting two RBI’s. Todd Bird went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI’s. For Ulrich the double was his only hit, but what a blast it was. Olason is now 3-2 on the year and showed some good control as well as his fantastic speed and accuracy.
On the dugout wall coach Gary Classen has taped a sign, “I Can’t not spoken here.” This afternoon belonged to the Borderites, a young team that’s coming of age. They not only could on Tuesday, they did, and in fine style. Their last home game will be Friday, April 28 at the Pipe against Anacortes.
For the week of April 25
4-22 Blaine 12, Mt. Baker 5
4-18 Lynden 4, Blaine 1
4-17 Sedro Woolley 2, Blaine 0
4-16 Bellingham 7, Blaine 4
4-18 Blaine 9, Lynden 2
4-17 Burlington 2, Blaine 0
4-16 Sedro Woolley 10, Blaine 0,
4-22 Lynden 2, Blaine 1
4-17 Bellingham 5, Blaine 0
4-21 Anacortes 4,Blaine 3
4-16 Blaine 5, Sedro Woolley 2
4-22 Anacortes 402, Lynden 403, Mount Vernon 417, Ferndale 437, Blaine 452, LC 457, Sedro Woolley 463.
4-17 Sehome 248, Bellingham 246, Anacortes 184, Squalicum 164, Mount Vernon 113, Blaine 63
4-16 Blaine 86, Mount Baker 58
4-16 Blaine 114, Mt. Baker 30