Baseball's postseason fate depends on how they respond during key moments

Published on Wed, May 1, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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The Blaine baseball team finished their regular season with no wins and twelve losses in Northwest Conference (NWC) play, but based on the 1A Northwest District Playoffs brackets the Borderites have a glimmer of hope for wins in the postseason.

The Borderites faced the Friday Harbor Wolverines at an away game in the first round of district playoffs May 1 (check online at the for the score). The Borderites will play either South Whidbey or Mount Baker in the second round. The Borderites beat South Whidbey 8–3 at a home game April 3, and are 1–1 against Mount Baker this season.

As always, no outcome is predetermined and speculation means little, but head coach Sean Linville said his team has the 

potential to compete with any team in 1A Northwest District, and that winning will come down to performing in those key moments when the game is on the line.

“If you look at our season, yeah, we didn’t win any conference games, but we never got blown out either,” he said. “Our goal was to be competitive in every game and we definitely were. We lost a lot of close games where the outcome came down to a couple of key plays, and if we can do a better job of coming through in those moments we’ll have more success in the postseason.”

Their last game of the regular season, played at home against Sedro-Woolley April 26, was a prime example of a game that came down to key moments.

“We were tied 2–2 in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out, but we couldn’t get the runs,” Linville said. The Borderites left 11 runners on base and lost 4–2 against the team with the second-best NWC record.

“We got nine hits, we were hitting the ball pretty well, but when it came time to win the ball game we just couldn’t get it done,” Linville said. “To Sedro-Woolley’s credit, they got some clutch hits in the seventh and that’s usually what it takes to win games.”

Brett Allen started on the mound against Sedro-Woolley. He allowed only two hits through the first six innings, and also led Blaine at bat, going 2–4 with a run and a stolen base.

“Allen pitched a fantastic game. It was a game that we could have won. We pitched well and we hit well, but when the game was on the line we couldn’t find a way to break through. That’s kind of been the story all year,” Linville said.

Looking back on the regular season, Linville said he’s been happy with his team’s pitching performance, but that Blaine’s offense has usually been too sluggish to win games.

Through the regular season, Zach Rector pitched 38 innings in six games with a 2.39 ERA and 33 strikeouts. Myles Peltier pitched 15 innings in four games, with a 1.87 ERA and 8 strikeouts.

At bat, Matt Vogee led the team in the regular season with a .354 average, hitting 23 times in 65 at bats. He scored 15 runs, hit five doubles and nabbed seven stolen bases.

With a fairly even field in Northwest District 1, Linville said he’s confident his team’s competitive play will begin to pay off.

“We’ve had a chance to win almost every ball game we’ve played this season,” he said. “We haven’t given up the big number of runs that a lot of other teams have. We’ve struggled on offense, but there’s improvement there too. If you look at 1A, it’s very even top to bottom, so if we can continue to play as hard as we have, and be successful in those moments when the game is on the line, I think we understand that these are all winnable games. It won’t be easy, but we have to find a way to win those key battles.”