In an action-packed weekend, the Blaine softball team battled its way to a third-place finish in the 1A District 1 tournament and earned a berth to the Tri-District Tournament.
The Borderites played four games, beginning with a win over Meridian (19–2) and a loss to Lynden Christian (5–1) on May 16, and continuing with overpowering wins over Friday Harbor (10–0) and Coupeville (20–4) on May 17.
Lynden Christian shut down the Borderite offense that was otherwise unstoppable over the weekend. Blaine outscored its opponents 47–14, but could only score once in the Lynden Christian game.
“We had a hit here and there, but we couldn’t string them together to drive in runs,” said head coach Alisa Burk.
Riley Miller hit an RBI double to drive in Daphne Pugh for Blaine’s only run of the game. Alexis McElwain pitched all seven innings.
The Borderites were able to shake off the loss and win two games the following day. The first game, against Friday Harbor, was a win-or-go-home scenario.
“We came out knowing that we had to win, but we still came out a little slow,” Burk said. Blaine surged ahead in the fourth inning with four runs, and went on to end the game in five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule. Hannah Kiele and Lyric Berry shared pitching duties.
“Defensively, we played solid. We had a shortstop collision on the base path when a runner clipped Baylee Foster and we had to bandage up her eye. She showed some toughness and didn’t miss a single play. The first thing she said was, ‘Coach, don’t take me out,’” Burk said.
Later that day, the Borderites steeled themselves to play Coupeville, a team that had beaten Nooksack Valley 3–2 in their previous game.
“We thought it would be a challenge, but we handled them pretty well,” Burk said. “I have to give credit to their pitcher; she pitched all weekend so she was sore. She got hit by two hard line drives and kept pitching.”
McElwain pitched the whole game and netted four strikeouts, and the Borderites didn’t hold back on the other side of the plate. Miller hit 3–4 with three runs and three RBIs, Berry hit 3–4 with four runs and an RBI, Baylee Foster hit 3–4 with two runs and four RBIs and McElwain hit 3–5 with a run and three RBIs.
“We definitely put the pressure on them, and they had to rotate pitchers so we took advantage of that,” Burk said.
The Borderites will play the No. 4 seed from District 3 on Saturday, May 24 at Janicki Fields in Sedro-Woolley. That team is likely to be either Bellevue Christian or Vashon Island, but it won’t be certain until the teams from that district complete their regular season.
Regardless of who the opponent is, Burk said the strategy will be to play Borderite softball, one inning at a time.
“I think it’s an advantage to play a team you know nothing about because you can focus on your own game,” she said. “We can focus more on Borderite softball when we take the emphasis off the other team and put it on ourselves.”