County shines on the diamond

Bremerton pitcher Justin Rash handled most of the pitching duties for the Knights this season and should only get better as the Knights look to jump out of the Narrows League Bridge Division cellar. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton pitcher Justin Rash handled most of the pitching duties for the Knights this season and should only get better as the Knights look to jump out of the Narrows League Bridge Division cellar.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The Bremerton Knights baseball team still has a long way to go. But after winning three games last season to improve to a 3-16 finish, the Knights showed that they are a program on the way up. The Knights still ended up in the cellar, but those three wins tripled their total from the previous year.

And with a solid core of returning youngsters, the Knights should be poised to break out of last place in the Narrows League Bridge Division.

The Central Kitsap Reporter, Port Orchard Independent, North Kitsap Herald and Bremerton Patriot have collaborated to compile the All-Kitsap County teams for boys soccer, baseball and softball. The teams include the best players from area schools that not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their team as well. The baseball team is covered below, while the softball team will be released Saturday, June 25.

All-Kitsap County Baseball Team

1B – Alan Stabler, Central Kitsap: Stabler’s big bat helped lead CK back into the postseason. The power-hitting catcher/first baseman co-led the Cougars, and area teams, with 4 blasts while driving in 19 RBI. He also hit .380 to boot.

2B - Dan Dillard, South Kitsap: As solid as they come, Dillard made just two errors all year while batting .377 and driving in 19 runs while batting second for the Wolves. One of the few seniors that played every game, he lead by example.

3B – Jordan Prince, North Kitsap: Though he may have lived in the shadow of his brother Jared, the Viking third baseman holds up very impressive numbers of his own: a .500 batting average, the team high, with 17 RBI through the regular season.

SS – Zach Jacob, South Kitsap: Slick-fielding junior batted .414 and led the Wolves with 12 extra-base hits. Jacob also drove in 19 runs and had an on base percentage of .589. Will be a key figure for South next year.

OF – Chris Williams, North Kitsap: Following last season, the junior wasn’t sure if he was going to play this year. Encouragement to work hard in the off-season from his peers, however, led to a .367 batting average, 23 runs scored and 15 RBI in the regular season. If there was a way to get on base, he found it, also leading the team in walks, with 16.

OF – Kyle Pease, South Kitsap: Speedy centerfielder that made some spectacular catches this season while providing some key hits as well. Pease collected eight extra-base hits, including three home runs, hit .400 and drove in 19 runs from the Wolves lead-off position. Wolves will be looking for more of the same next year.

OF – Issac Solaita, Klahowya: The five-tool player with strong speed and great defense led the Eagles to a share of the Nisqually League regular-season crown, in large part thanks to his .432 batting average. With a cannon for an arm, the Eagles were able to keep several runs off the board with his throws.

C - Marcus Curtis, North Kitsap: Curtis kept the clean-up role he’s had for the past two years and used it to belt in 17 RBIs, tied for second only to Jared Prince on the team. But coach Steve Frease said it’s not just the tangible stats that make the catcher the player he is.

P - Jared Prince, North Kitsap: The MVP of this team, he was North Kitsap’s biggest threat and his opponent’s worst enemy both on the mound and at the plate. Prince’s baseball talents lit up other squads with a .458 batting average and 21 RBIs to lead the team. On the hill, he was equally dominant, striking out an average of nine batters a game. He’ll likely get plenty of innings next year when he suits up for the Washington State Cougars.

Possibly Prince’s most valuable asset, coach Frease said, was his ability to understand that talent can get you nowhere without hard work.

P - Andrew Thatcher, South Kitsap: Crafty left-hander that came up huge for South this year when Matt Hudson struggled early. Just a junior, Thatcher constantly confused opposing batters with a nasty curveball that helped him go 6-2 on the year. Will be the go-to guy next year.

P - Zac Brown, Central Kitsap: Zac Brown can fire a heater. The CK pitcher/outfielder went 5-1 for CK this season, helping take the Cougars into the West Central District tourney. To go along with his 28 strikeouts in 31 innings and his 3.16 ERA, Brown helped his own cause by slugging four homers.

P – Ronnie Purser, Olympic: Just a sophomore, Purser excelled on the mound for the Trojans this season. Purser went 4-1 with an ERA of just 2.33 to help lead Oly’s late season run. Purser should help the Trojans turn the corner and return to the playoffs next season.

UTL – Shea Baumgartner, Olympic: Baumgartner was huge for Olympic this year, swinging a .375 clip for Oly while blasting 4 home runs. Along with his solid infield defense, Baumgartner would be a welcome addition to any Narrows League club.

UTL – Jordan Henry, North Kitsap: The starting shortstop’s second half of a stellar season was capped with a two-for-four, five RBI performance versus Kentlake at state that saw the Vikings come up just short in their first round game. He was also batted .395 on the season.

Coach – Bill Baxter, Central Kitsap: Baxter helped the Cougars grow into the 14-7 team they became. Expected to drop off pace after their torrid start, CK advanced all the way to the WCD

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