Sports

CK, Olympic bounced at state

CK slugger Caleb Brown smashes a shot for one of his four hits in the Cougs’ regional stay this weekend. He’s one of four CK seniors. - Photo courtesy of Kerri Ferate
CK slugger Caleb Brown smashes a shot for one of his four hits in the Cougs’ regional stay this weekend. He’s one of four CK seniors.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Kerri Ferate

Cougars make it to regional final before exit.

EVERETT — It’s never fun to lose, especially at the top level.

But for the Central Kitsap baseball team, consolation can be hard as the Cougars tied the program’s top finish in winning their regional-round opener before falling in the quarterfinals at the 2008 4A WIAA State Baseball Championships Saturday.

“You can’t complain about that,” CK coach Bill Baxter said.

In just the program’s fifth state berth (second straight), CK jumped on Mountlake Terrace in the opening round, winning 11-5 at Everett Memorial Stadium.

CK couldn’t keep it going against Snohomish however — last year’s state runner-up — in falling 9-2 in Saturday’s night cap. The tournament is single elimination.

“We gave it everything we had,” Baxter said. “We didn’t leave anything on the field.”

That’s just one of many reasons Baxter said he was pleased with his squad, finishing as one of the top eight 4A teams in the state. Still, with a team loaded with talent, Baxter said he thinks his squad could just as easily still be playing at Safeco Field this weekend.

“I felt like we could still be playing,” Baxter said. “By no means did I feel we were outmatched by anyone. We proved that the first game up there.”

In the opener, Casey Bohlmann went the distance, shaking off a rocky start in which Mountlake Terrace scored four runs in the first three innings. CK broke out offensively in the fourth inning with five runs, posting five in the seventh to lock up the win.

Caleb Brown went 2-for-3 for CK, scoring twice and driving two in, while Casey Bohlmann went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs. Nate Roberts went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI, while both Glen Hewey and Drew Vettleson batted the same clip, each scoring twice. Hewey added an RBI.

In the second game against Snohomish, which topped Puyallup 9-3 in the opening round, CK fell behind early as starter Roberts had to exit with cramps in the first inning. With high temperatures across the region Saturday, Baxter said both teams had problems keeping players hydrated.

“We were shoving water down the kids’ throats,” he said.

Allen Hewey came on in place of Roberts, but Snohomish put up six runs in the first three innings, taking the wind out of CK’s sails.

“It’s hard when you get behind right away,” Baxter said. “You lose some of that adrenaline.”

CK fought, scoring two late, but Aaron West pitched a complete game for the Panthers. Brown went 2-for-3 with a double, triple and an RBI for CK, while Dan Zylstra, Vettlseon and Howie McDonald each hit 1-for-3, with both Vettleson and McDonald stroking a double.

But with the final out ending the careers of seniors Brown, Zylstra, Will Morris and Glen Hewey, Baxter said it was an tough close to a great season.

“It was so emotional Saturday after it was all over, saying goodbye to all the guys,” he said. “It was hard. I’m gonna miss their sense of humor, their willingness to work hard and their competitiveness. But that’s what’s nice too.”

Nice in that with so many returners, Baxter said the small senior core has been able to instill those traits in the returning players.

“It’s a good feeling,” he said, knowing so many returners will be back. “It’s a really good feeling. You can’t replace guys like Caleb and ‘Z’ and Will, but it’s nice to know we have guys that will step up. Those guys are going to want to come back and compete hard next year.”

While only four seniors leave the team, they do so with an impressive list of accomplishments, twice helping CK win the Narrows League title, twice advancing to state and compiling a 55-18 record across the past three seasons (20-7 this year).

“That’s a pretty good resume to take with you and a pretty good legacy to leave behind,” Baxter said.

With a number of fans making the trek to Everett for the games, Baxter said it will all play into what will go down as something worth cherishing.

“It was neat to see our fans giving their support, the parents,” he said. “It was just a wonderful experience for the kids. It’s sad it’s over, but what a great memory they’re gonna have.”

Olympic

CENTRALIA — Well, Olympic got everything it expected out of Kelso.

The Trojans (19-5) knew they’d be underdogs against 23-1 Kelso, featuring Trevor May, regarded as one of the top prep pitchers in the state.

And while Riley Crow, who entered the game undefeated at 9-0, took the hill for the Trojans, the sophomore couldn’t keep Kelso off the board, as errors also contributed to the 5-0 loss.

Kelso scored four runs in the second and another in the third, but Oly mustered just four hits of their own off May. Only two of the runs against Crow were earned.

Chris Campbell had half Oly’s offensive production, going 2-for-3 in the loss.

Olympic graduates just three in seniors Bryan Deszell, Paul Varner and Michael Ormiston.

With a large core returning, the Trojans could be poised for another state run next season.

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