Blaine catcher Dustin Dhanani tags out a Lynden Christian runner during Tuesday’s game at Pipeline Fields. Photos by Jeremy Schwartz
The Lynden Christian (LC) Lyncs broke Blaine’s baseball team’s two-game winning streak on Monday with late-inning scores that capitalized on key Borderite errors.
The loss put the Borderites’ Northwest Conference record this season at 2-1 and improved the Lyncs’ record to 1-2. Blaine came off of a 4-3 Friday win at Sedro-Woolley and a 6-1 victory at home last week against Mount Baker.
The cold of Monday’s game at Pipeline Fields was a factor in Blaine’s late-inning performance, head baseball coach Gary Clausen said in a phone interview.
He said the Borderites may have been focusing on the temperature rather than where the ball was heading.
“You have to play through the adversities, including the weather,” Clausen said.
The game started off on a positive note for the Borderites, with Blaine first baseman Luke Feenstra catching the first Lyncs batter out at first and Borderite left-hander Nate Trueblood striking out two LC batters to end the top of the first inning.
A line drive from Blaine center fielder Todd Bird in the bottom of the first hit the right cheek of Blaine’s Jonathan Martinez at first and sent him to the ground. Fortunately, it was just a glancing blow and Martinez was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Blaine was the first to score in the bottom of the second after the Lyncs pitcher walked Borderite shortstop Andrew Miller. An LC outfielder caught a pop fly from Blaine catcher Dustin Dhanani, which ended the second inning. Blaine lead 1-0 with three left on.
Blaine kept the runs coming in the bottom of the fourth with two RBIs from Bird, sending Miller and Trueblood home, making the score 3-0. The Lyncs answered Bird at the top of the fifth with a homerun, bringing the score to 3-1.
After the LC homer, Clausen put pitcher Cody Nagle in for Trueblood. Clausen said he wanted to save the Borderites left-hander for Friday’s game at Burlington-Edison, plus Trueblood seemed to be starting to wear a bit.
A litany of errors in the top of the sixth, including a bobbled pass from Nagle and a missed catch from Feenstra, lead to two LC runs, which tied the score at 3 apiece.
Clausen said the Lyncs were simply more able to execute at the plate than the Borderites.
“Lynden Christian didn’t really make any mistakes,” he said. “They were more disciplined than we were.”
A Lyncs suicide squeeze play after a bunt lead to one more run for LC, bringing the score to 4-3. Bird was able secure a diving catch on a high-arching hit to centerfield to bring the top of the sixth to a close.
Blaine managed one run from Trueblood at the bottom of the sixth, tying the score at 4.
At the top of the seventh, LC capitalized on a Blaine error at third base to send a runner home, bringing the score to 5-4.
The Borderites had to get two runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a victory, but two quick outs for Blaine’s Parker Wallace and Nagle and an out at first for Feenstra after a 2-2 count at bat ended the game for the Borderites.
The Borderites next travel to Burlington-Edison to take on the 2-1 Tigers at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 1.
Photos by Jeremy Schwartz