Softball beats mid-season slump

Published on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 by Ian Ferguson

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After a couple mid-season losses, the Blaine softball team is back in the groove with two wins at home and a win on the road. The Borderites defeated Meridian 9–3, Friday Harbor 12–4 and Sehome 6–3.

The April 25 Meridian game could have ended early when the Borderites were ahead 9–1 in the fifth inning with runners on 
base and no outs. Two runs would have invoked the 10-run mercy rule, but the Trojans made the plays to end the inning and went on to score two more runs of their own.

Blaine scored eight runs in the second inning and one in the fourth. Riley Miller hit 2-3 with two runs, an RBI and a walk. Both Lexi Greguski and Mikayla Deming hit 2-4 with one run each.

Alexis McElwain pitched five innings and earned the win for Blaine, and Hannah Kiele finished out the last two innings.

“McElwain threw really well,” coach Alisa Burk said. “She didn’t get strikeouts, but she produced a lot of weak grounders and we were able to get outs. Our defense was on. We got ourselves out of a couple bases loaded situations.”

In their next game on April 28, the Borderites took it to the Friday Harbor Wolverines, who had faced Meridian earlier in the day at Pipeline field to make up a rained-out game from earlier in the season. McElwain, Kiele and Jolee Russell pitched for Blaine.

“Our goal was to save Lexi [McElwain], but we had some trouble locating the ball,” Burk said. McElwain came in to pitch in the fourth inning. She threw four strikeouts and three walks. Kiele had two strikeouts and two walks, and Russell threw three strikeouts and three walks.

Blaine’s defense was “decent,” Burk said, with only three errors to Friday Harbor’s five, but the biggest positive of the day for her was the batting.

“Our bats woke up today,” Burk said.

Greguski hit 2-4 with three runs, two RBI and a walk. McElwain was 1-2 with two RBI and a walk, and Deming went 2-4 with a run and three RBI.

Overall, Burk said it was a solid performance but not the team’s best, with a couple weak spots that need work. Nevertheless, the win was appreciated – especially at this point in the season.

“We’ve said all along we want to beat the 1A’s, but at this point every conference game is huge. We want to have the best possible seeding to make our lives easier in district playoffs,” she said. “We had a bit of a losing streak in the middle of the season, but we changed our routine and got our heads right. We came out Friday and whooped ‘em, and came out today with another big win.”

The Borderites made it three in a row when they traveled to Sehome the next day and won 6–3.  McElwain hit a three-run home run in the first inning and picked up the win pitching for Blaine.

“She’s our ace, and she’s gotten super strong this year,” Burk said. “When she’s on, she’s dominant and she can be mentally tough as well.”

Blaine’s next game is at home versus Squalicum Thursday, May 1 at 4:30 p.m. The team will travel to Burlington-Edison for a non-conference game Friday, May 2. The JV will host a tournament with Orcas Island on Saturday, May 3. The time for the Saturday games is yet to be determined.