The Caitlin Dudley era of softball ended with a resounding thump on May 28 in Selah. After winning a thrilling 5-4 win over Cheney, the Blaine softball team ran into a familiar foe in eventual 2A state champion Woodland; the same team that defeated the Borderites last year at state.
One year later, the result was the same as Woodland pounded Dudley and the Borderites 12-2 in five innings. In the nightcap, Blaine was eliminated from trophy contention with an 11-2 loss to Selah in the consolation bracket.
The Borderites found state to their liking early on. After spotting Cheney a two run lead in the first, Blaine raced out to a 5-2 lead in the next two innings led by Amanda Moore and Samantha Wallace. Blaine’s disruptive number one and two hitters combined five for eight with Moore stealing two bases. However, Cheney rallied and kept the pressure on Dudley in the top of the seventh inning with Blaine nursing a three run lead, loading the bases. Coach Tim Esposito called for an intentional walk of Cheney’s top hitter, trimming the Blaine lead to two.
Cheney plated another run to cut the lead to one with two outs. Cheney singled again and catcher Natalee Sellers tagged out the runner trying to score from second on a throw to the plate to end the game.
In the second game, Woodland got out to an 11-0 lead on the Borderites before losing pitcher Taylor Trueblood responded with a two run homer to make it 11-2. Trueblood failed to prevent Woodland from scoring in every inning however and the game was called in the fifth after they had scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings.
The decisive loss seemed to deflate the Borderites significantly in a winnable game against Selah in the consolation bracket. With Dudley back on the mound, the teams were tied after three innings. However, the game got away from Blaine in an avalanche of five Borderite errors and 17 Selah hits leading to a season-ending 11-2 loss.
Dudley, the lynchpin of Blaine’s two consecutive runs to state graduates next month along with six other seniors. Coach Esposito will be counting on the experience of Natalee Sellers and pitcher Ashley Bolick to lead a young Borderite team next season.