Central Kitsap, Bremerton teams hit the diamond

Eagles catcher Morgan Euzarraga prepares for the season Tuesday. - Mike Baldwin/staff photo
Eagles catcher Morgan Euzarraga prepares for the season Tuesday.
— image credit: Mike Baldwin/staff photo

It’s time to dust off the bases, lace up the cleats and take to the mound as Central Kitsap and Bremerton baseball and fastpitch teams start their seasons this week. The Central Kitsap High School baseball team is moving on without two of its 2010 stars, one of which was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, both Bremerton High School programs are looking to turn their fortunes around after sluggish performances last year. Klahowya Secondary School has two new head coaches and the Olympic High School fastpitch team hopes to make a trip to the postseason with a deep roster and healthy senior class.

Olympic Trojans baseball

Coach: Nate Andrews, 11th season

Last year: 15-7 overall (11-5 league)

Top returners: Christopher Campbell, senior, pitcher and utility hitter; Patrick Middleton, senior, shortstop; Joe Stevick, senior, pitcher and first baseman.  Top newcomers: Danny Sullivan, senior, second baseman and pitcher; Devin Atalig, senior, catcher; Ryan Skoubo, senior, pitcher; Spencer Hansen, senior, pitcher, first baseman and outfielder.

Outlook: Andrews’ team lost all but two consistent starters after having a strong senior core in 2010. The team is highly inexperienced, but the longtime coach sees his team improving with each game this season. The Trojans are coming off a No. 2 Olympic League seed in the district tournament last season, where they beat Auburn Mountainview High School, but fell to top-ranked Mount Rainier High School in a winner-to-state game.

Klahowya Eagles baseball

Coach: Dan Zuber, third season

Last year: 6-14 overall (5-11 in league)

Top returners: Clark Rose, junior, pitcher, catcher and outfielder; Joe Valley, senior, pitcher and outfielder; Brad Harstad, senior, third baseman; Jacob Burton, sophomore, second baseman; Thomas Conmay, senior, pitcher; Robbie Campos, junior, pitcher and first baseman; Daniel Veach, senior, catcher and outfielder; Patrick McGuire, senior, shortstop. Top newcomers: Josh Ganowski, sophomore, pitcher and outfielder.

Outlook: Zuber returns as head coach of the Eagles after leading Klahowya in the school’s first two years of existence. He takes over for David Neet, who led the team to a state tournament appearance two seasons ago. Zuber said Tuesday that he’s thrilled about returning to the program. He added that he always planned on returning to coach at the high school level, and the position opened once Neet resigned last year. The team returns a strong class of seniors hoping to compete this postseason.

Central Kitsap Cougars baseball

Coach: Bill Baxter, 18th season

Last year: 15-7 overall (10-3 in league)

Top returners: Josh Sontag, junior, pitcher and infielder; Josh Kriefels, senior, outfielder; Jonathan Fergus, junior, pitcher; Brett McDonald, senior, outfielder; Brandon Bynum, senior, outfielder. Top newcomers: Eric Braun, sophomore, first baseman and pitcher.

Outlook: The Cougars have tough shoes to fill after four consecutive trips to the state tournament, and the losses of Drew Vettleson and Tyler Baumgartner. Nonetheless, Baxter believes the Cougars will be a fun team to coach this season. The roster is full of young, but solid talent.

Bremerton Knights baseball

Coach: Rob Tomlinson, second season

Last year: 3-17 overall (2-14 in league)

Top returners: Devin Garcia, senior, third baseman and pitcher; Max Hayes, senior, first baseman; Conner Wales, junior, catcher and utility; Eli Fultz, sophomore, pitcher and first baseman; Kaden Tomlinson, sophomore, second baseman and shortstop. Top newcomers: Theo Robinson, sophomore, outfielder; Dylan Garcia, freshman, outfielder; Nick Torres, freshman, third baseman and pitcher.

Outlook: Tomlinson returns for his second year with the Knights, who are trying to earn their first winning season since 2001. The coach said he has a very young team that will surprise some people this spring. Bremerton will do so with three seniors, but strong sophomore and freshman classes are behind them. The Class 3A school is hoping to stay competitive in the Olympic League standings with its inexperienced crew of ballplayers.

Olympic Trojans fastpitch

Coach: Dusty Anchors, third season

Last year: 6-14 overall (6-10 in league)

Top returners: Kira Varadey, senior, second baseman; Linzee Orteza, senior, outfielder; Christina Bigelow, sophomore, pitcher; Jamie Berry, sophomore, pitcher; Ashley Wright, junior, third baseman. Top newcomers: Sydney Thompson, junior, catcher and shortstop; Arianna Christen, sophomore, outfielder.

Outlook: The Trojans will field a young team this season that includes two sophomore pitchers and the addition of Thompson, who transferred from North Kitsap High School. Olympic has a deep roster as long as they remain healthy.  The team currently has 15 varsity players, which will be crucial if the Trojans want to compete in the postseason, Anchors said. He wants his team to make a statement early and not wait until the last day of the season to fight for a playoff spot.

Central Kitsap Cougars fastpitch

Coach: Bruce Welling, 20th season

Last year: 17-8 overall (12-4 in league)

Top returners: Jenna Bartlett, senior, infielder; Kari Fetters, junior, catcher; Ally Meigs; Cynthia Proby; Amanda Clark; Taylor Romero. Top newcomers: Caylee Coulter, Victoria Lee, Brianna Millermon, Anisa McNeal, Ali Mandak, Kryssa Mach, Mailia Stonhill, Mary Barga, Kiaya LeTexier.

Outlook: The Cougars have a strong blend of veterans and new additions to this year’s squad. Welling said this week that the team has the capability of competing well again in the Narrows League this season. The team is coming off a good season, but Welling is hoping to return the girls to the state tournament.

Bremerton Knights fastpitch

Coach: Michael Chase, third season

Last year: 3-16 overall (2-14 in league)

Top returners: Samantha Villalobos, senior, shortstop; Alyssa Lillybridge, senior, outfielder; Jillian Hughes, senior, second baseman; Katie Sawyer, junior, catcher; Rachel Pratt, junior, pitcher. Top newcomers: Too soon to tell.

Outlook: The Knights continue to build with younger talent this season. Bremerton won three games last year, but are showing improvement after dropping 64 straight games from 2005 to 2009.

Klahowya Eagles fastpitch

Coach: Maureen McNulty, first season

Last year: 12-6 overall (10-6 in league)

Top returners: Morgan Euzarraga, senior, catcher; Megan Shultz, senior; Jackie Hornbeck, senior; Courtney Snellenberg, senior. Top newcomers: Madison Woods, freshman; Samantha Moore, freshman; Amanda Shultz, freshman.

Outlook: McNulty enters her first season with the program that qualified for districts last season and earned a double-digit win total in the Olympic League. The 2A team will be strong and deep this year with a four top seniors competing.

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