Jackets defend home field

Kitsap’s Stephen Herzog becomes the second of four BlueJacket batters (seven total) hit by pitches in Sunday’s 5-3 win. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kitsap’s Stephen Herzog becomes the second of four BlueJacket batters (seven total) hit by pitches in Sunday’s 5-3 win.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

The Kitsap BlueJackets are learning fast that winning can be painful.

Just two games removed from losing first baseman and fan favorite Brian Burmester to a concussion, the BlueJackets beat the Everett Merchants of the Pacific International League 5-3 on Sunday in a game marred by plunked batters.

Seven batters were hit a total of eight times in the non-league game. Kitsap’s Danny Meier was plunked twice. None appeared to be intentional or serious.

Despite the battles in the box, the BlueJackets came out on top to go 3-1 in the squad’s opening weekend at Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields.

“It’s a good start,” BlueJackets assistant coach Joe Dominiak said. “Anytime you win a ball game it feels good. It’s a win. It makes the kids more positive, makes them want to come out to the ball park. It’s nice to get a little taste in their mouths.”

After defeating Tacoma (2-8) on opening day 4-3, the BlueJackets (3-1) fell by the same margin on Friday after Tacoma catcher Jake Owens ripped a pitch Kitsap closer Mike Tachell (Peninsula High School) left up in the zone for a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.

And while it was a blown save for Tachell, he and the BlueJackets bounced back to beat Tacoma 6-3 in the series’ rubber match and topped Everett Sunday. Tachell earned saves in both contests.

“A fluke is what happened there,” Tachell said of the Friday homer. “I just hung a pitch. That won’t happen again.”

While Tachell said it was certainly a mistake he doesn’t make often, he did say it was nice to bounce back with two strong outings.

“It feels good,” Tachell said. “The chemistry of the team is really good this year. Everybody is picking everybody up.”

Kitsap got strong starting pitching from all three of its starters over the weekend. Those kind of efforts will be crucial, Dominiak said. He said the team will rest before Wednesday’s game against Skagit.

“We’ll just give them a couple days off to recoup,” Dominiak said. “Four games in four days takes its toll on the body.”

Short hops

Brian Burmester made his return to the sidelines on Sunday, his first game back with teammates after a severe collision at home plate in Thursday’s opener sidelined him with a concussion.

“I don’t remember the actual play,” he said. “But I remember how I got on base now. It’s baseball. It happens.”

The collision left Burmester with a series of stitches above his left eye. He had a doctor appointment Monday to get the stitches removed and to determine his timeline for return ... Josh Meeker, a South Kitsap grad who played with Tacoma in the opening series, got the call up Sunday, as did Justin Larkin, another familiar face from last season’s team ... Kitsap hosts the PIL’s Skagit Eagles today 7 p.m. at Kitsap Fairgrounds Balllfields. Kids 12 and younger get free admission with a paying adult.

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