Cody Nagle was starting to tire in the intense, playoff atmosphere of Blaine's showdown with Lynden, Friday, April 29, at Lynden High School. With both teams clinging to the hope of snagging the fifth and final playoff position for the 2A class in the Northwest Conference (NWC), Nagle was sparkling through five innings, clinging to a 2-0 lead, having only given up one hit and one walk.
Nagle was given a spark of energy in the top of the sixth inning, when Parker Wallace stroked a deep drive to left field that went off the Lynden outfielder's glove and over the fence for a solo home run.
“I was getting pretty tired,” Nagle said. “But I really kicked in after Parker’s homer.”
After a pitching change, Blaine drew three consecutive walks to load the bases in the inning, and Luke Feenstra took advantage with a RBI sacrifice fly to add a fourth run. The two runs were more than enough as Nagle finished the game with a sterling performance and 4-0 complete game shut out.
“It was a pretty big game for us,” Nagle said. “I was getting a lot of first-pitch strikes, which is important for me.”
The numbers for Nagle are more the stuff of a staff ace than the emergent number two pitcher for the Borderites. Nagle's shut out was on 97 pitches, surrendering only three hits, one walk and striking out nine.
The Borderites should have given Nagle an even bigger cushion to work with. Blaine ran themselves out of big innings on three occasions during the game.
Aside from the base running errors, Blaine’s offensive execution in a close game was nearly flawless. The Borderites opened, scoring in the fourth inning, manufacturing a run on two hits and an error, with Todd Freeman getting a RBI sacrifice fly.
Again, in the fifth inning, Blaine took advantage of Lynden mistakes getting their second run on a walk, a passed ball, and a Lion error, with Todd Bird getting an RBI single.
While Lynden committed four errors in the game, Blaine's defense was crisp. “I was very pleased,” Blaine baseball coach Gary Clausen said. “We played very good defense behind Nagle.”
The victory was Blaine’s fourth consecutive win. After a very short turnaround, Blaine had to travel to Squalicum to make up a game rained out earlier in the week. The Storm punished Blaine starter Nate Trueblood, as he gave up nine hits, including a grand slam by Squalicum starting pitcher Karl Shilhanek, as the Borderites lost 12-1, Saturday, April 30, at Squalicum High School.
The combination of the short break between games and the fact that the Lynden game had such significance played a strong factor. Shilhanek got the win only giving up one unearned run on four hits.
The Lynden game left Blaine in an enviable position, though. With only a non-classification game with lightly regarded Nooksack, Blaine is a full game ahead of Lynden for the final playoff spot in the NWC 2A with a 5-4 record. The Borderites are 9-9 overall.