Blaine’s baseball team practices last week at Pipeline Fields. Photo by Jeremy Schwartz
Despite the graduation of Kyle Olason, the team’s star left-handed pitcher, Blaine high school baseball coach Gary Clausen is confident in the crop of three seniors he hopes will make up the core of this season’s team.
Pitcher and center-fielder Todd Bird, catcher Dustin Dhanani and shortstop Andrew Miller will all be returning for their third years of high school baseball after gaining some good experience last season, Clausen said.
All three have lettered for at least two years and bring a great deal of skill to the field, he added.
“Those three will kind of be the nucleus of what people remember we have,” Clausen said.
Blaine went 6-7 in Northwest Conference (NWC) play last year, making it to the district playoffs, but was not able to secure a state title.
Olason was the conference strikeout leader last year.
Though Olason has moved on, Clausen said the team has skilled pitching returning this year. In addition to Bird, Clausen said junior left-hander Nate Trueblood, who lead the Borderites to a surprise win against dominant Sehome late last season, should be a force to reckon with this season.
While pitching seems to be in the bag for the Borderites, Clausen said the team has plenty of areas in which they need to improve. He said each player has been told to focus on one area in which to better themselves.
As a whole, Clausen said the team needs to improve its throwing, where the Borderites encountered most of their errors last season. Specifically, Clausen explained he will run the players through drills that improve their foot position when throwing.
He said it’s easy for a player to forget about his legs when throwing the ball.
“[The drills] are designed to get a kid to know about his legs,” Clausen said.
When it comes to the competition, Clausen said Sehome will once again be the team to beat. Sehome went on to win the NWC regular season title last year and finished the season with a 12-1 conference record.
“I’m sure everyone will favor them to win it [again],” Clausen said.
Blaine’s first conference game of the year will be on March 23 against Mt. Baker, a team mostly filled with sophomores last year but who, Clausen said, should really be able to swing the bat this season.
Before Mt Baker, Blaine will play four non-conference games.