Sports

BHS baseball wins first game

In a season all but lost, the Bremerton baseball team has finally delivered some good news.

The Knights (1-14) secured their first win of the year with a 5-4 nipping of Port Townsend at Legion Field on Monday to snap a season-long 14-game losing streak and gain a sliver of momentum entering Wednesday’s game against North Mason, from which results were unavailable at press time.

With the Knights down 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ryan Storey, who coach Ken Plowman said had been in a recent slump, delivered a go-ahead two-run double to put his team up 5-4.

Sophomore Max Hayes, who relieved starting pitcher Josh Fisher in the top of the fourth and pitched shutout ball the rest of the way, then closed the door in the seventh.

“Spirits were high,” Plowman said of the team’s long-awaited first win. “I think it really helps their confidence. To get that first win is really, really big for them.”

Neither confidence nor morale has been high for BHS in 2009, particularly with five players quitting the team for unidentified reasons last week. Plowman declined to comment on the situation, calling it “a touchy subject.”

But despite the roster shrinking and the losses mounting, the Knights showed marked improment Monday.

The five runs were the team’s second-highest offensive output of the season, the highest coming in a 12-11 loss to Port Angeles April 22. Save for two errors by shortstop Devin Garcia, who was cleared to play April 20 after missing the first part of the season with a broken hand, the team also played solid defense.

“We’re capable, we just hadn’t done it yet,” Plowman said. “They made some clutch defensive plays and had some clutch hitting.”

With the score 1-1 in the top of the third, Port Townsend pushed across three runs against Fisher to go up 4-1.

It looked as though the game was headed where the previous 14 had gone — down the tubes — but BHS answered with a run in the bottom of the third and another in the bottom of the fifth, cutting it to 4-3.

Plowman credited Hayes, who also pitched five shutout innings in BHS’ 7-3 loss against Port Townsend March 27, for keeping the team within striking distance. Hayes is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in nine innings against the Redskins.

“He just pitched really, really well,” Plowman said. “Max just seems to match up well against those guys.”

Plowman said a fair share of the team’s losses stemmed more from “self destruction” — errors and other mental lapses — as opposed to lacking skills. Garcia’s return should give the Knights some stability both in the middle of the order and in the middle of the field, despite his two errors Monday when he hit No. 3 in the lineup.

“He’s a lot better of a shortstop than what he showed in that game,” Plowman said of Garcia. “Normally when he gets his glove on the ball, he makes the play.”

Joel Brockman was 2-for-3 with a double and Charles Wilson was 1-for-3 with one RBI to lead BHS at the plate along with Storey, who finished 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI.

The Knights are at North Kitsap at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

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