Sports

Win against Klahowya slims Eagles’ baseball lead. Kingston narrows gap in 2A Oly League title hunt

Kingston’s Theron Rahier tries an unconventional slide into second base as Klahowya’s Brandon Neet attempts to make the tag Friday. - Aaron Managhan/staff photo
Kingston’s Theron Rahier tries an unconventional slide into second base as Klahowya’s Brandon Neet attempts to make the tag Friday.
— image credit: Aaron Managhan/staff photo

The Kingston Buccaneers didn’t waste any time picking up where they left off.

After the Kingston baseball team had to forfeit two Olympic League wins self-reporting a player’s expired physical recently, the Bucs found themselves exactly two games back of Klahowya for the top 2A spot in the Oly League.

That made Friday’s road game against the Eagles all the more important.

“It was real huge,” Kingston coach Scott McKay said. “We knew we were down two to them. The forfeits were one of those things we knew we had to overcome.”

And the Bucs did in a big way.

Kingston topped Klahowya 14-5 Friday at KSS, jumping on Klahowya starter Eric Eley for eight runs in the first two innings. That also made the win especially nice for Kingston, as Eley shut down the Bucs in a 3-1 nine-inning complete game on April 15.

“That was pretty amazing I thought,” McKay said of Eley’s last outing against the Bucs. “But the kids hit him well. They didn’t try to do too much.”

The win leaves Kingston (10-7 overall, 8-6 in league) back just a game of the Eagles (9-8, 9-5) with just a handful of games left. The Eagles played North Mason (5-10, 5-8) Monday and Port Townsend (1-17, 0-13) Tuesday, but results were unavailable at press time. Kingston battled Sequim (8-6, 7-6) yesterday, but results were unavailable at press time. The Bucs will finish the regular season with a home game tomorrow at 4 p.m. against Port An geles (14-3, 12-2), while Klahowya too has one more game Thursday at home against North Mason.

While the loss hurt, Klahowya coach David Neet said his squad could use a little break.

“Our pitchers are tired,” Neet said after the loss. “It’s the end of the season. We’ve had to play four games a week for a couple weeks in a row. We knew pitching would be an issue coming into this game.”

The hit train rolled on for the Bucs, as Kingston added five more runs in the top of the sixth and the final run in the seventh en route to 19 hits. The Eagles trimmed the lead to 8-4 before Kingston surged ahead for good.

“The kids, they wanted this game,” Neet said. “But obviously, (Kingston) wanted it more.”

Despite the loss, the Eagles have been on a tear of late, reeling off seven straight wins to climb to the top 2A spot in the league.

“The season has been going good,” Neet said. “We’ve been kind of looking at the season in thirds. The first third was miserable. We could never get on track.”

Klahowya started the year off slowly thanks to injuries and weather, falling to 2-7 before reeling off seven straight wins before the loss.

“You have to really find yourself as a team,” Neet said of coming out of the slump. “We were able to do that. That’s how we put together that nice seven-game win streak.”

It didn’t hurt that young players, particularly lefty Kurtis Pitcher, who plays the position of his namesake, stepped up.

“The emergence of Kurtis Pitcher has really helped our team,” Neet said of the lefty who fired back-to-back complete games last week. “Kurtis has been a pleasant surprise.”

Add that to budding confidence and the Eagles are ready for the postseason.

“They showed confidence. You could see it building every game,” Neet said. “It really was blossoming at the right time. I really think it was learning how to win without players. That’s what got us back on track.”

While the team’s ace in Rusty Devitt has returned, he’s yet to return to the hill. Other injuries and departures left other holes to fill.

But Klahowya so far has risen above the challenges in the hunt for the top 2A spot and first-round bye in the West Central District III Tournament, which takes place at Legion Field in Bremerton this year.

“That’s my favorite field,” Neet said. “I’d much rather be in the bleachers that first day watching our next opponent than playing.”

And with another win, they just might get that chance.

“The kids still feel like there’s a lot of season left,” he said.

Olympic

The Olympic Trojans drubbed Port Townsend 11-1 on Friday in five innings, using a 10-run third inning to improve to 14-3 overall on the season (12-2 in Oly League play). The Trojans are still tied for the overall Olympic League lead with Port Angeles, which beat Sequim 9-3 Friday.

In the win, the Trojans got offense from all around, with Chris Campbell and Bryan Deszell each swinging 2-for-3 clips. Campbell hit a triple and drove in two while Deszell doubled and finished with four RBI. Michael Ormiston drove two in and Tyler Marshall went 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Riley Crow picked up another win for the Trojans, improving to 6-0 on the season.

The Trojans travelled to North Mason Tuesday, but results were unavailable at press time. Oly next hosts Bremerton Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving-sponsored game.

“The goal is to continue making students and adults aware of the dangers and consequences of drinking while under the influence,” Oly coach Nate Andrews said.

The game will also be broadcast on ISPN Sports by Kevin Mac at www.ispnsports.com. The broadcast will begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be replayed at 10 p.m. that night and on Friday.

The game is an important one for Oly as well.

“Potentially, the game could decide the league championship and the seeding to districts,” Andrews said.

Central Kitsap

The difference between second and third was just this close for Central Kitsap.

The CK baseball team (14-5 overall, 9-5 in league play) needed to sweep Bellarmine last week to secure second place in the Narrows League Bay Division. After shutting our the Lions (12-5, 10-4) 4-0 Wednesday at home thanks to a complete-game effort from Casey Bohlmann, the Cougars fell 8-7 in 11 innings in Tacoma on Friday in a tight battle.

In the win, Glen Hewey stepped up big with a two-run homer. While he also drove a run in the Friday game, it wasn’t quite enough. In the narrow loss, CK drilled 10 hits to Bellarmine’s nine, including a 3-for-5 effort from Bohlmann that included two RBI. Caleb Brown drove in three in the loss.

CK could have still claimed the No. 2 seed with a win Monday against Foss. If CK won and Bellarmine lost yesterday against North Kitsap, then CK would take the No. 2 spot into the league tournament. Results of those games were unavailable at press time.

Narrows League tournament play begins Thursday.

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