In baseball, losing patches are pretty much unavoidable, but in the 20-game high school season a dry spell can mean the difference between playoff contention and better luck next year.
After losing their first three Northwest Conference games, the Blaine baseball team is in a hole, said head coach Sean
Linville, but the good news is the problem is not on the mound.
“Our pitchers have done a good job, but we’re having a whale of a time getting any sort of offense going,” Linville said. “We can’t seem to score runs.”
Blaine lost to Burlington-Edison 6-3 at home March 28 then fell to Lynden-Christian 6-5 on March 29. Next, the Borderites lost to the Nooksack Valley Pioneers 3-1 on April 1.
At Nooksack, Blaine senior Zach Rector started on the mound and pitched the entire game. For five innings, he held the Pioneers to two hits and no runs. In the sixth inning, Nooksack put together a string of hits that led to three runs. The third hitter in the batting order roped a triple and was driven in by a single from the next batter. A couple of subsequent errors in the field led to two more Nooksack Valley runs.
Rector was able to end the inning, and in the seventh, Blaine battled to get back in the game. The Borderites scored one run before Nooksack’s Brandon Gwinner retired the side and the game.
“We had numerous chances to score runs, but we didn’t,” Linville said. “It’s tough to put that kind of pressure on your pitcher.
With all that, Rector did a great job. If we could sign up for that kind of pitching every game, we’d take it in a second.”
Blaine is on spring break, but the baseball team had practice scheduled for the first half of the week and played a double-header April 3. The Borderites faced La Conner at 1 p.m. and South Whidbey at 4 p.m., but neither game was a conference matchup.
The South Whidbey game was to make up a game against Darrington that was rained out.
“We make sure we go out of our way to get all 20 games in, because if we miss one that’s 5 percent of the season,” Linville explained before the double-header. “It should be a fun day.”
Scores from the double-header games were unavailable at press time.
The team has Thursday, April 4 through Sunday, April 7 off for spring break, then takes on Anacortes at home Monday, April 8.
“In baseball, you go through stretches where things don’t connect for you,” Linville said. “We’re going through that right now. We’re getting people on base, but we’re not getting them home. We’re getting good pitching, but we’re making errors in the field. Hopefully, we can start to connect the pieces and get some conference wins.”
Blaine’s overall season record is four wins, five losses and their conference record is no wins, three losses.