Sports

Bremerton hard-ballers looking to find a groove

Above, Bremerton pitcher Eli Olson fires off a pitch in Monday’s 12-5 loss to Klahowya. Below, Bremerton’s AJ Angle fouls off a first-inning pitch at Legion Field.  - Wesley Remmer/staff photos
Above, Bremerton pitcher Eli Olson fires off a pitch in Monday’s 12-5 loss to Klahowya. Below, Bremerton’s AJ Angle fouls off a first-inning pitch at Legion Field.
— image credit: Wesley Remmer/staff photos

Team hangs tough against Klahowya, but falls 12-5.

Just when it seemed Bremerton’s baseball team was on track for a much-needed victory against the Klahowya Eagles, the sky and the Knights’ pitching staff fell apart Monday at Legion Field.

After jumping out to a 5-0 lead with three runs in the bottom of the first, and two more in the bottom of the third, BHS fell into what has been a losing trap all season — sloppy defensive play — and lost against the Eagles, 12-5.

“We made several mistakes out in the field,” said first-year coach Ken Plowman, who has harped on his team all season to batten down the hatches in late-game situations. “We’ve had trouble with consistency all year.”

All was well for BHS early in the game as the Knights capitalized on four consecutive first-inning walks by Klahowya starter Jordan Green, pushing a run across the plate without needing a hit.

Klahowya reliever Eric Eley replaced Green with one out and the bases loaded. Eley struck out the first batter he faced but yielded a two-run double to Bremerton’s Derek Bennett, making the score 3-0.

BHS added to its lead in the third, plating two more runs, and appeared to have the game under control up 5-0 heading into the top of the fourth.

But there’s no such thing as an easy victory, especially for a struggling team in the midst of a five-game skid.

“They started to hit the ball,” Plowman said of Klahowya, which chased Bremerton starter Eli Olson out of the game in the fifth.

Klahowya’s bats heated up, the weather cooled down, and rain, wind and sleet pounded the field as the Eagles pounded BHS pitching.

Klahowya trimmed the lead to 5-2 in the top of the fourth and smacked in four runs an inning later off new pitcher Scott Burt, taking a 6-5 lead.

Two runs in the sixth, and four more in the seventh, gave Klahowya the eventual 12-5 victory.

Klahowya’s Darell Newman ended the game 3-for-4 with four RBI.

“(We’re) just not doing the little things it takes to win a ball game,” Plowman said of Monday’s game. “We have good practices, we play the first four innings strong.”

But the Knights committed four errors against Klahowya, a causing factor in the loss.

“Again, we didn’t do the little things,” Plowman said. “We threw the ball around.”

Plowman also cited the struggles of Bremerton’s baseball team in recent years — the team managed only three total wins in the past two seasons combined — as a hurdle the team must overcome.

“(We) have the ability to compete in this league,” he said. “It’s more a mental thing, really. We need to not accept losing.”

The Knights’ struggles are not for lack of hard work, however, as the team practiced every day during spring break.

“We’re doing our best as coaches to get this thing turned around,” Plowman said. “As we all know, sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward.”

And as a team loaded with young players, the future is nothing but bright for Plowman’s team.

“We’ve got a nice group of freshmen and sophomores,” he said. “We’ll more or less get them prepared for next season.”

On Tuesday, Sequim (3-3) bested the Knights 11-1. Josh Fisher started for BHS, pitching well, but the Sequim bats proved too big for Fisher and company.

Bremerton hosts Olympic at 4 p.m. Tuesday, then travels to Klahowya Thursday for a 4 p.m. rematch.

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