Baseball moves on to post-season play
by Jack Kintner
Blaine senior left-hander Grant Sanders picked the last inning of the last game of the regular season on Tuesday to hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot off senior fastballer Bryce VanKooten of Meridian. Sanders broke a 2-2 tie and then struck out the side in the Meridian half of the inning for a two-hit, ten strikeout gem that sent Blaine into the district playoffs this weekend in Mount Vernon. Meridian�s loss eliminated them from post-season play.
Playing at Meridian, Blaine scored twice early and nursed a 2-0 lead into the sixth, when Sanders appeared to tire.
For the second time in two games he threw a wild pitch allowing Meridian to score from third, in this case tagging out the tying run himself at the plate only to drop the ball. The run counted, and as Sanders walked back to the mound Blaine Coach Gary Clausen reminded him to �stay within himself,� that is, stay balanced in his delivery.
Whether it was that comment, Sander�s determination or both, the game changed completely. Sanders quickly retired the side, and then Laird Dickie led off the seventh inning with a walk.
Batting second in the inning, Sanders took the first pitch for a called strike and then tagged VanKooten�s 0-1 fastball to the opposite field and out of sight. Sanders and senior Kyle Green both went 2 for 3 for the game, and as a pitcher Sanders finished the regular season with a record of three wins and three loses.
In summing up the season and preparing for post-season play, 23-year head baseball coach Gary Clausen said this year has been a �real Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing, with some good games and some games we�d just as soon forget. Of our eight losses in league play, six were by one run, so we know we�re competitive.�
Blaine loses three seniors this year, Clausen said, �but we�ve got only two returning juniors on this year�s team so it will still be young. Joey Paciorek�s eligible next year.�
Paciorek, an 8th grader, is the nephew of Blaine resident and former Seattle Mariner left fielder Tom Paciorek, and his father played in Japan.
�Baseball�s in his blood,� Clausen grinned.
Blaine plays Lynden Christian on Saturday in the first game of post-season play. The teams will play at Sherman Anderson Ball Field at 10 a.m. in Mount Vernon, Washington. If Blaine wins, they play Nooksack at 4 p.m.; if they lose, they play Tuesday at a time to be announced.
To get there, head south on I-5 and take the Kincaid exit west through the stoplights to the four way stop at Cleveland. Turn left (south) and the field is seven blocks down on your left.
Golf team scoring well in leagues, two players invited to tournament
Results of Blaine�s golf team so far this season are as follows:
April 17 at Shuksan, league match: Blaine 220, Lakewood 240, Meridian 231, and Mt. Baker 231.Kevin Farmer 39, Doug Goldsby 40, Travis Black 44, Justin Farmer 47 and CJ Stauffer 50.
April 23 at Raspberry Ridge, league match: Blaine 199, Meridian 229, and Nooksack Valley 241. Kevin Farmer 37, Doug Goldsby 38, Justin Farmer 38, CJ Stauffer 41, and Travis Black 45. Kevin Farmer earned Medalist Honors.
April 29 at Semiahmoo , non-league match: Sehome 384, Lynden 411, Blaine 440 and Mt. Baker 448. Played 18 holes in this match. Kevin Farmer 78, Doug Goldsby 87, Justin Farmer 88, CJ Stauffer 89, and Jacob Hillard 98.
May 1 at Semiahmoo, league match: South Whidbey 217, Blaine 220, Lakewood 235, and Nooksack Valley 270. Kevin Farmer 38, Justin Farmer 41, Doug Goldsby 43, CJ Stauffer 49 and Jacob Hillard 49. Kevin Farmer earned medalist honors.
Coach Steve Barthlow said South Whidbey is the only league team to beat Blaine this season. �In the first match we played against them they beat us by 28 strokes on their course. This time we were able to close the gap three strokes on our course.�
On May 2 at the Skagit Golf and Country Club, Kevin Farmer and Doug Goldsby received invitations to participate in the prestious Egbers Invitational Golf Tournament, one of the top tournaments held in the state, Barthlow said.
�I have been very pleased with the effort thus far this year,� he said. � Justin Farmer, who played on the JV team last year, has been scoring very well thus far.�