Lynden won its first Class 2A Northwest District baseball title in 14 years, and Blaine stunned two higher seeded teams under loser-out pressure to join the Lions in the regional round of the 2A State Tournament.
Lynden’s efficient 4-1, three-pitcher win over Cedarcrest on Monday, May 16, moved the Lions into a regional semifinal against Centralia at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Joe Martin Field.
The best combined hitting and pitching of Blaine’s season gave the unheralded Borderites a sweep of Anacortes 6-1 and Archbishop Murphy 9-2. Blaine will face Fife at 10 a.m. Saturday at Joe Martin.
If Lynden (18-3) and Blaine (15-9) both survive, they will meet the same afternoon for a spot in the state’s Final Four.
“It’s beyond what I thought we were capable of before the season started, but we kept improving,” Blaine coach Larry Hoffman said. “And we have one of the toughest districts in the state. I’m extremely proud of each and every one of the kids.”
Senior Josh Fakkema, a team leader, put it this way: “This is amazing. It’s overwhelming to grasp, to get my head around.”
Senior right-hander Jon Starcer (6-3), who stifled Burlington-Edison 2-1 in Blaine’s tourney opener May 7, followed up with a gem just as impressive against Anacortes, which did not get its first hit until the sixth inning and finished with only two.
“I was just in the zone, having fun and seeing us come together as a team,” Starcer said. “I set (Anacortes) up with my fastball and used my off-speed stuff for the outs.”
When Blaine scored its six runs in the third through fifth, 12 of 17 hitters had positive at-bats.
LYNDEN 4, CEDARCREST 1
Lynden sophomore Trevin Hope pitched four innings, junior Jared House threw two and freshman James March pitched a scoreless seventh to hold Cedarcrest to six hits. Jordan Wittenberg and Anthony Garcia doubled to lead off the first and second, respectively, and scored on ground outs by Hope and Dawson Ohligschlager. Hits by Garcia, Jordan Holmstrom and Rylan Severson in the sixth produced the final two runs.
“I thought if our pitching was good, we had a title shot,” Lynden coach Cory White said. “Our pitching today consistently controlled the zone and prepared us well for regionals, since we will need to have four pitchers ready to go.”
The Lions gave up only five runs in three tournament games, convincing White that “our combination was strong pitching, good defense and timely hitting. We played well throughout the tournament.”