Sports

Spring was a season of firsts for Bremerton

It launched in typical Puget Sound style — spectacularly soggy — so the forecast for the 2009 spring sports season was, well, gray.

Rain: when will you subside?

Fields, courts and track: when will you dry?

And athletes, ever-so-patient athletes: don’t quit! The season’s going to start soon, hopefully.

Yes, that thought process is commonplace, at least for a writer whose job hinges upon sports; every year, the spring sports season is slopped over with rain, forcing games to be delayed, cancelled and rescheduled.

It’s a torrential headache.

But once the ’09 precipitation packed up, it was evident this spring sports season would be different. In fact, it emerged — and held steady — as a season of firsts.

The Bremerton fastpitch team entered the season winless since 2005. No math necessary. With a few early losses to open the year, the losing skid reached 64 games.

But the Lady Knights pounded Port Townsend 16-3 on March 28 to end the slide. They went on to beat rival Olympic and Port Townsend again to finish the season with three wins, a modest total yet a sign of progress.

Another first: the Bremerton boys soccer team advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 1991, ending nearly a 20-year-streak. The Knights, under second-year coach Randy Lund, defeated Yelm 3-0 in a district playoff play-in game before losing to Franklin Pierce, 5-1.

With the team’s top two scorers set to return — junior Matt Olson and freshman Nick Riders — set to return, the Knights could make a return trip in 2010.

Here’s a good one: BHS boys basketball coach Casey Lindberg coached another sport for the first time — girls tennis. While he faced a to-be-expected learning curve, Lindberg directed the Lady Knights to a .500 season, even helping the doubles team of Breanna Casias and Courtney Wasserburger reach the district tournament.

BHS junior Jarell Flora, who also plays basketball, qualified for the Class 3A state track and field championships in the 400-meter race, placing sixth — in his first year on the track and field team.

And the city of Bremerton, for the first time in its colored history, now calls itself home to professional soccer thanks to the arrival of the Kitsap Pumas, who play at Memorial Stadium and are undefeated through five games in their inaugural season in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (USL PDL). The club will host a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game, another first, June 9.

However, there also were a couple not-so-great firsts, such as longtime BHS golf coach Chuck Huhta losing his program after 20 years. It was eliminated prior to the school year for budget purposes.

And for the first time in nearly a decade, King’s West athletic director Dan Dittmer won’t return to the school where he turned a non-existent track and field program into a legitimate Class 2B contender. He announced his resignation a month ago and he’ll be missed for much than his “quotability.”

For better or worse, it certainly was a spring to remember.

So it is in the spirit of firsts we say farewell to the spring season and look forward to what should be a great summer in Bremerton sports.

Congratulations, too, to the soon-to-be-graduated seniors, who, fittingly, will leave the halls of BHS and KW for ... the first time.

See you on the field.

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