North Mason escapes BHS with baseball victory

Bremerton’s Scott Burt sends a shot back to the mound during Wednesday’s  narrow 2-1 loss at the hands of North Mason . - Wesley Remmer/staff photo
Bremerton’s Scott Burt sends a shot back to the mound during Wednesday’s narrow 2-1 loss at the hands of North Mason .
— image credit: Wesley Remmer/staff photo

The bats fell asleep Wednesday afternoon at Legion Field.

The Bremerton nine lost, 2-1, in nightmarish fashion against North Mason.

Despite a complete-game, 10-strikeout performance from Eli Olson, allowing only one earned run, the Knights couldn’t find a way to plate more than a single run.

“We struggled up at the plate,” assistant coach Kevin Dotson confirmed postgame. “We need some run support.”

Visibly upset by the outcome and frustrated by his team’s recent struggles at the plate, coach Ken Plowman applauded Olson.

“Eli has pitched like a champion all season and we haven’t supported him,” Plowman said, referring to the team’s inability to generate runs. “He’s a champion, he’s an uncommon athlete.”

Olson worked a shutout through three but yielded an RBI triple in the top of the fourth, giving the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead. An unearned run in the fifth made it 2-0.

“I felt good,” Olson said of his gem. “My curve was snapping hard today.”

Accurate with his fastball and in command of the curve, Olson rarely fell behind in the count.

He called “first-pitch strikes” and “getting to throw what you want when you’re ahead” in the count as two reasons for his success Wednesday.

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the sixth, still close thanks to Olson’s arm, Bremerton had an opportunity to get back in the game.

After back-to-back singles by Olson and Joel Brockman put runners on first and second with one out, Noel Frederick flied to center. A two-out Troy Miles dribbler to third was then bobbled by NM’s third baseman, potentially loading the bases, but Brockman took a sharp turn toward home and was tagged out in a pickle.

“He over-ran the base,” Dotson explained of Brockman’s base-running on the play.

An inning later in the bottom of the seventh, the Knights sparked another rally, this time putting runners on second and third with one out.

But on a Shane Monday RBI single to left, freshman Max Hayes tried to score from second to tie the game. The throw beat him and he was tagged out, ending the rally.

“We’ve been in this game long enough to know there are ups and downs,” Plowman said the Knights’ struggles. “Sooner or later, we’ll get the breaks.”

And while the loss hurts, Plowman is determined to right the ship.

“We realize Bremerton has a reputation (for losing) and we’re desperately trying to change it,” he explained. “What goes around, comes around.”

With two games left to play, the Knights hope to grab at least one win as a momentum booster leading into next season.

“We’ve got a lot of young, talented players who know what’s expected,” Dotson said, offering a positive outlook on the team’s future. “We very easily could be .500 with a little run support.”

Olson, a senior, hopes too that the team can forge ahead and translate competitiveness into victories.

“It’s fun being a teacher out here when you have knowledge and can use it for positive things,” Olson explained his standing on the team, emphasizing his teammates’ needs to work on hitting.

“It’s just pitch selection. You have to go up there with a plan,” he said. “You gotta hit your pitch, not the pitcher’s pitch.”

The Knights host Peninsula at 4 p.m. Tuesday — the home finale — and visit Olympic at 4 p.m. Thursday.

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