The Blaine baseball team lost two games this week, falling to the bottom of Northwest Conference standings with a 0 – 10 record.
The Borderites took on Squalicum at home April 20, losing 6 – 2 after an impressive showing from opposing pitcher Staley
Gilmore. He pitched the entire game, allowed only five hits and went 3 – 4 at the plate.
Brett Allen pitched for Blaine in his first game on the mound since mid-March.
“For taking a month off, Brett pitched well,” coach Sean Linville said. “There were times when he couldn’t locate as well as usual which you expect on the first day back, but there was life in his arm, which was encouraging.”
The Borderite offense was sluggish against Squalicum. “We couldn’t get any sort of momentum going at the plate,” Linville said. Matt Vogee hit 2 – 2 and Allen went 1 – 3 with an RBI, but the Borderites left three of five runners stranded on base.
“All around, it wasn’t our best performance. It was a game we could have won,” Linville said.
At Pipeline Field April 22, Mount Baker came back late in the game to beat the Borderites 4 – 3.
Blaine scored in the first and third innings and pitcher Zach Rector held Mount Baker scoreless for five. The Mountaineers scored one run in the sixth off an RBI single. Blaine couldn’t answer that run in its next at bat, but held a 2 – 1 lead heading into the seventh.
With two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Mount Baker went on a hitting spree, scoring three runs to gain a 4 – 2 lead. The Mountaineers were put away after third baseman Kaden Foster made a diving catch on a hard ground ball and tagged third base for the force out.
Blaine worked hard to recover the lead in their last at bat. Josh Fakkema, a freshman brought up from junior varsity for the day, led off with a big single to right center. Allen then bunted the ball too far back to the pitcher, who threw Fakkema out at second base. Tyler Kelly hit a grounder to the shortstop, and Allen beat the throw to second but Kelly was thrown out at first. That’s when Vogee stepped up and hit an RBI double to left-center field, bringing the score to 4 – 3 Mount Baker.
With two outs and the tying run on second, Rector stepped into the batter’s box for a battle with the Mount Baker pitcher. Foul, ball, strike, ball, foul and ball. Full count.
The final pitch of the game was an outside fastball, which Rector ripped in a line drive to the opposite field. Unfortunately for the Borderites, it went directly into the first-baseman’s glove to end the game.
“It was a bullet right to his glove,” Linville said. “Three feet to either side, and we probably would have tied the game. But that’s how it goes.”
The rally came too late for Blaine, but Linville said it was a positive sign that his players didn’t give up.
“After Mount Baker got those three runs you felt the air go out of the place. It would have been really easy to give up then, but we didn’t,” Linville said. “That says something about the work ethic of the team.”
Still, Linville admitted the close loss stings as the team falls to 0 – 10 in conference play, with the last two regular season games scheduled against powerhouses Lynden and Sedro-Woolley.
“We’re on a pretty big slide, and getting the win would have provided some much-needed confidence,” Linville said. “We have the ability to win the next two games, but they will be a challenge.”
Blaine faced off against Lynden April 24. Check online for scores. They play Sedro-Woolley Friday, April 26 at home.