Blaine stops Falcons

Winding up in the first inning Thursday, Ben Schultz tries to pitch his way out of a jam that started with a hit batter and eventually sent Blaine
Winding up in the first inning Thursday, Ben Schultz tries to pitch his way out of a jam that started with a hit batter and eventually sent Blaine's first runner home on a bases-loaded walk.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

Sometimes, it just slips away.

In a two-game series against Blaine this week, the Falcon boys met a team with nearly equal baseball skills and an edge in the luck department. Coming into the series with an 8-4 record, the South Whidbey boys were looking for a few more wins to provide padding as playoffs approached, but came up empty handed after losing a 2-1 road game to the Borderites Tuesday and a 5-4 heartbreaker at home Thursday.

In Thursday's game, things started shakily for pitcher Ben Shultz. After hitting a Blaine batter on his first pitch of the day, loading the bases, then walking the Borderites' first run home, he managed to escape the inning after allowing three runs. Though he settled down and pitched the remainder of the game -- he shut them down completely through the next five innings -- those first three scores were enough to keep the Falcons behind through the seventh inning.

The Falcons had trouble coming up with timely hits, leaving three base runners stranded twice. In the seventh inning, they had one last chance to come back. But after bringing one runner home and putting two more on base, they could not get the hit they needed and exited the game with the tying and winning runs left high and dry.

Tuesday's game was longer and more painful. Falcon ace Bryan Wenker went toe to toe Blaine hurler Laird Dicki for eight innings as both kept the game scoreless through five. The Borderites managed a run in the sixth, then were matched by the Falcons in the seventh, pinch runner Conley White came home from third on a two-strike Dane Guetlin ground ball to send the game into extra innings.

But in the ninth, Blaine pushed the game winner, taking advantage of two walks and a weak ground to score.

The Falcons are now 8-6 in North Cascades Conference action and 9-6 overall. Next week, the Falcons will start district tournament play in Mount Vernon. They play their last home game of the season Monday at 4:30 p.m.

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