BELLINGHAM - No situation is too large for recently graduated Lynden senior Jordan Kreider.
Not as a "backup" quarterback, when he stepped up with a big game when the football team needed someone to ignite an offense that was struggling in a Northwest District playoff game against Cedarcrest on its way to a Class 2A state title last fall.
Not in the Class 2A Northwest District Baseball Tournament, when he tackled a bases-loaded no-out jam in the seventh inning of a winner-to-state, loser-out game against Anacortes.
Not when the Lions faced an early 1-0 deficit against Kingston in the first round of the 2A State Tournament at Yelm, and he hit a crucial leadoff homer to tie the game. Not 51/2 innings later, when he and his teammates clung to a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, and Kreider responded by picking up his first three strikeouts of the game to put away the 4-3 win.
Not a little over four hours later, when he hit his third home run in three games to provide the only run in a 1-0 state quarterfinal win over powerful Chehalis W.F. West.
And certainly not in the state semifinals in Yakima, when he pitched a gem against Sumner to help give his team a chance to play for an unprecedented Triple Crown with state titles in football, boys' basketball and baseball - a goal it came up just one extra-inning run short of achieving in a 7-6 loss to Archbishop Murphy.
"It doesn't matter the situation, I just focus on doing my job," Kreider said. "I try to stay calm and composed and just do what I can do. I just do my job."
Doing his job was more than enough to earn Kreider the nod as The Bellingham Herald's All-Whatcom County Baseball Player of the Year. His coach, Cory White, who directed the Lions to the state baseball title game for the first time in the program's history, was selected Coach of the Year.
White would be the first to admit he wouldn't have received the award or been a part of the Lions' magical run through May if not for players like Kreider, who went 10-2 this year, including 4-0 during the postseason, with a 1.98 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 67 innings of work.
It's an honor White's gotten to appreciate since he started working with Kreider when the young right-hander was in the eighth grade.
"It's been an absolute pleasure," White said in a phone interview. "Having the opportunity to spend time with the young man that first started playing the summer of his eighth-grade year and to be able to coach him all the way through his senior year. I've seen a lot of maturing - both physically and mentally. I've gotten the opportunity to watch him become a man and develop into a player capable of taking a team, putting it on his back and leading it to some crucial wins this year."
Though Kreider seemed to relish that role this spring, it was an opportunity he desperately missed just a year earlier when he was a junior.
Though he got off to a 4-0 start on the mound and held a sub-2.00 ERA, he was shut down midseason when he broke his arm in a motorcycle accident.
"None of the guys said anything about it, but I felt like I let them down," Kreider said. "I knew we had big plans last year, and my getting hurt really held us back. These are great guys I play with, and they never made me feel that way, but I knew how much I hurt the team. ... I knew right then I was going to do everything I could to make sure I was ready to go this spring."
That feeling drove Kreider through the offseason, inspiring him to get into the Curt Maberry Fieldhouse, though he admits he took a little time off to head to Yakima and support the boys' basketball team during its run to the state title in early March.
"That was really neat being there for that," Kreider said. "Not playing, I could really enjoy the experience, and it's always exciting when you're talking basketball and Lynden."
It's a feeling Kreider and his baseball teammates, many of whom also played for the football and basketball teams, wanted to repeat this spring.
And thanks in part to the performances Kreider had, especially during an unforgettable sunny Saturday in Yelm during the regional rounds of the state tournament, the Lions succeeded in doing just that.
"It was like every game, he impressed me a little more and a little more," White said. "The last couple of games, it was amazing how emotionally strong he was out there. He was more solid and more solid, and he made big pitch after big pitch. Then he hits a couple of home runs that I'll never forget."
Kreider said he's unlikely to forget that day, either.
The senior, who hit .294 out of the cleanup spot in Lynden's lineup with three homers, seven doubles, 17 RBI and 16 runs scored, said his future in the game in a little uncertain right now.
At this point he plans to help his father's business, Lynden Sheet Metal, by working in the metal fabrication department after he completes the summer playing American Senior Legion Baseball for Bellingham Post 7, but said his coaches have offered to help him find a place to continue playing the game if he chooses.
Right now he's armed with plenty of unforgettable moments from his playing career - a career that includes a couple of youth baseball state titles when he was 11 and 12 years old, being a part of three state championship football teams over the past four years and this spring's unforgettable run to the title game.
But what was Kreider's favorite memory from a school year filled with spectacular performances in pressure-packed situations for Lynden athletes this past year?
"You know, when we finally look back, there are a lot of things we have to be proud of," Kreider said. "I'll never forget playing for the state championship in football and baseball. Yeah, we came up a little short in that last game, and we would have liked to have gone out with a win, just like we did in football and basketball, but that was a great game. We're not used to losing like that, but getting there was an amazing accomplishment. There were so many highs and lows, and Archbishop Murphy is a great team. It's exactly the type of game you dream of playing in, and I think that will always stick with me."
Reach David Rasbach at email@example.com or 360-715-2271.
ALL-WHATCOM COUNTY TEAM
BASEBALL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
2012: Jordan Kreider, Lynden
2011: John Albert, Sehome
2010: Anthony Pitsch, Sehome
2009: Casey Locker, Ferndale
2008: Jared Vera, Sehome
2007: Jordan Chambers, Sehome
2006: Jake Locker, Ferndale
The All-Whatcom County teams and Athletes of the Year are selected by the Sports staff of The Bellingham Herald. Here is a look at the dates this season's teams will run:
Girls' tennis: Bella Hoyos, Bellingham
Boys' soccer: Heath Sowers, Ferndale
Softball: Brooke Bonsen, Lynden
Baseball: Jordan Kreider, Lynden
Girls' golf: Coming June 14
Boys' golf: Coming June 15
Girls' track and field: Coming June 16
Boys' track and field: Coming June 17
Reach DAVID RASBACH at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-2271.