SPORTS by Jack Kintner
Baseball, fastpitch seasons come to a close
After playing one of the best games in the school�s history, Blaine lost their bid for the final four state championship tournament in Yakima in the second round of the southwest regional in Chehalis last Saturday, suffering a 15-6 loss to Chimacum.
�The tough part about this,� said long-term coach Gary Clausen, �is that Grant Sanders pitches one of the top five games I�ve seen in my 23 years coaching at Blaine, and I told the team that, but we sure didn�t have much time to enjoy it.�
Forty-five minutes later, after a quick lunch, Blaine took the field again for what would be their last game.
The day began with another exquisitely pitched game by left-handed senior Grant Sanders, who struck out 14 and walked only two. He also furnished his own offense by doubling in what would turn out to be the winning run in the third inning.
�It was one of the top performances we�ve ever had. His curve and change-up were both working well, but his fastball was really moving, unhittable in the later innings,� Clausen said.
In the now-it-can-be-told department, Sanders is also one of the rare high school pitchers with an effective knuckleball, �but I don�t use that in important games,� he said. Sanders finished with a 7-3 record for his senior year, and was recently selected as the Seattle Times high school athlete of the week for his outstanding play during the final games of the season, one of which he both pitched and won with his first home run of the year.
Last year when catcher Bryan Pike and Craig Anderson, league MVP at shortstop, both were lost to graduation, expectations for this season were uncertain.
The team finished 12-15 over-all for the year, �and tied for fifth in the state again,� said Clausen, �so all-in-all it�s been pretty good.� In addition to Sanders, Clausen loses two other seniors to graduation this year, No. 2 pitcher Laird Dickie (2-7) and his .306-hiting outfielder Kyle Green.
The first winning season (12-11) for the Blaine girls since making the switch to fastpitch ended on Monday in a rain-delayed finish to the six-team district tournament at Janicki Fields in Sedro Woolley.
Blaine had beaten Meridian 1-0 in their first game behind Lacy Cheatwood and Alisa Burk�s hitting and Krista Walter�s pitching before losing to No. 1 seed South Whidbey in a winner-to-state contest. They were cast into the loser�s bracket, but the rains came in Biblical torrents and the girls left for home.
On Monday the girls lost to a Mt. Baker squad that is headed for state largely on the strength of their ace pitcher Lexy Postlewait�s arm. She struck out 15 batters and walked only two in the 14 innings it took to defeat both Meridian (6-1) and Blaine (6-0).
First year Coach Rob Adams was upbeat about the year, though, and looks forward to better things as there�s only one senior on the team, Krista Walter.
Six head to state track meet
Coach Mike Grambo left Wednesday with six boys and three girls for the state track meet at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, all of whom qualified by finishing third or better at last Friday�s district meet in Sultan.
Kit Schumann won the pole vault at 12-foot-six-inches over Lakewood�s Shawn Stohrer. The relay team of Danny Le, Geoff Faulkner, Brian McCall and Rhyan Lopez qualified at both 1600 meters (third) and 400 meters (second by less than a quarter of a second), the first time Blaine has sent a team in both relay events.
Lopez also qualified in the 100 (third), Le in the 300 hurdles (second) and Faulkner in the high jump (third at five-foot-10-inches). Mongolian exchange student senior Bayartsengei Khishighori is going along as an alternate relay runner.
For the girls, Jessica Summers qualified in discus (third at 100-feet-10-inches) and both Kimberly Harmening (second at eight-feet-six-inches) and Erin Lippie (third at eight feet) qualified in pole vault.
The meet is currently under way and ends Saturday, May 31.
Three tennis players head to state tournament
Three boys won state tournament berths at last fall�s qualifying tournament in Federal Way. Coach John Freal will take his No. 1 doubles team of Grant Sanders and Hungarian exchange student Peter Moksovits along with his No. 1 singles player Scott Bianchi to the two-day tournament that starts Friday, May 30, in Yakima.
�Bianchi�s one of the two best tennis players we�ve ever had in Blaine,� Freal said.
The other is 1998 grad Alex Macheras, who finished second that year in the state singles tournament.
�We have the top three players in the state from last year returning to this tournament,� Freal continued, �which includes Bianchi, Kevin Erickson and Willis Barnes from Vashon, whom Scott has beaten at the district tournament.� Last year�s doubles champions from Connell have returned this year, �but our guys finished a strong third for the western part of the state and, like Scott, have a good draw,� Freal said, �in that they don�t play last year�s winner or runner-up in the first round.�
Middle school track: Girls finish second to Lynden, boys win conference meet
In the best finish for either team in many years, the Blaine middle school boys and girls track teams dominated their last meet of the season on Tuesday of this week, the boys winning, the girls finishing a close second to Lynden and both promising some good things ahead for Blaine high school�s track and field program.
Standout performances for the girls were turned in by eighth grader Alisha Fisher, with four personal bests including a Blaine middle school record in the long jump, another first in the 100 meter dash and in the 80 meter hurdles and second on the 4x100 relay team.
Eighth grader Melissa Galbraith remained undefeated for the season at both 800 and 1600 meters, for which she holds stadium and school records, and anchored the 4 x 200 relay to another win, marking a new personal best time by four seconds. She also got a third in the long jump. All together the girls team won six races.
For the boys, seventh grade dash man Shane Bakarich, holder of the school record in the 200 meter, had an off day but still managed a close second. He was also second in the 200 and fourth in the long jump. Thoran Colinaros got second in the 100, won the long jump and ran on the winning 4x100 relay team. Cole Avery got second in the turbo javelin and third in the shot put.
First year track coach Webster Keer said �It�s a great day when we do so well that no one can remember the last time we did this. I know it�s been a while, and I�m really proud of all these kids.�