It’s not everyday you get to kick off a season of Northwest Conference (NWC) competition with an “awesome game.”
That’s how coach Alisa Burk described Blaine’s performance in an away softball game against Lynden Christian April 7. The Borderites made a comeback in the seventh inning to win 9–7.
Blaine started the game with a home run. Leadoff hitter Lexi Greguski battled with the Lynden Christian pitcher for ten pitches before knocking the 11th pitch out of the park.
“That really set the tone for us,” Burk said. “We played strong in the first five innings.”
Mikayla Deming hit the first out-of-the-park home run of her high school career in the third inning. It was a two-run homer and an opposite-field line drive that “just screamed out of the park,” Burk said.
Blaine carried a 4–1 lead into the sixth inning, but that’s when the Lynden Christian bats came to life. “We didn’t make errors; we just couldn’t quite make plays. For whatever reason, we struggled to get three outs,” Burk said. The Lyncs scored six runs in the sixth inning to go ahead 7-4.
Alexis McElwain pitched the first three innings and Hannah Kiele pitched the fourth, fifth and two-thirds of the sixth. Burk brought McElwain back into the game to get the final out in the sixth. Trailing by 3 runs, the Borderites got down to the business of scoring runs.
“All of a sudden we decided to go nuts at bat,” Burk said.
Baylee Foster hit a double and advanced to third base on a past ball. Riley Miller drove Foster home with a single and then stole second base. Selena Rogers-Pai next hit a fly ball to the right-center gap for a triple that tied the game. Jolee Russell got to first base on an error, and with two runners on, two outs and the game tied at seven, Lyric Berry stepped to the plate. She battled through a seven-pitch at bat before knocking a double to left field that sent Rogers-Pai and Russell around to home plate.
Blaine took the field and McElwain retired Lynden Christian’s four, five and six hitters with a strike out, pop out and ground out respectively.
Burk said it felt good to beat Lynden Christian on their home turf, especially after the Lyncs handed the Borderites a 7–1 loss at their last meeting.
“We definitely owed them something after last game,” she said.
On April 4, Blaine won a back-and-forth battle against Royal City that went to nine innings. Royal pitcher Seila Jenks pitched all but the last inning, when the Borderites piled on seven runs to win the non-conference away game 16-9.
The next day, Blaine lost to Everett’s Cascade 6-3. Burk said a major reason for the loss was that Borderites didn’t score until the sixth inning. Harping on that fact may have led to the early jump-start the Borderites got with Greguski’s leadoff home run against Nooksack Valley.
“We’ve been very goal oriented this season and we’ve done a good job of identifying what we need to work on and fixing it,” Burk said.
Blaine will face Nooksack Valley in an away game Thursday, April 10. The Pioneers are the defending 1A state champions.
“It’s going to be a very tough battle for us,” Burk said. “We’ve been able to play with them pretty well in the past, so we know what we’re facing. We just need to make sure our pitching is on key. We’ll be able to hit against them as long as we’re calm and confident – but not overconfident – at the plate.”
The game begins at 4:30 p.m.