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Knights get the job done at Troy
"Bremerton High School baseball coach Mike McKnight will be the first to admit that his team isn't going to lead the Olympic League in hitting, or in run production.But if the Knights play the way they did against Olympic Friday afternoon at the frigid Fairgrounds, there's no reason why they can't compile a bunch of wins.That's our game, McKnight said after Bremerton's 5-3 victory, which vaulted the Knights over Olympic into the No. 3 position among the league's quintet of Class 4A teams at 6-2 (going into Tuesday's home contest against Port Townsend). We don't score bunches of runs, maybe three, four, five a game. But we've got guys who go out and take care of business. We play defense and get decent pitching, and that puts us in a lot of games.McKnight didn't mention clutch hitting. But along with Derek Winderl's gutsy seven-hit pitching and the Knights' errorless defense, the key hits are what pushed B-Town over the top.That's because Oly's pitching and D were every bit as good as Bremerton's.Both those guys (Winderl and the Trojans' right-hander, Ernie Parsons) pitched great, said Olympic coach Nate Andrews, whose team took a 6-3 league mark to Sequim for Tuesday's round of games. We played pretty well in the field. The story is that they hit the ball when they needed to. They got the clutch hits, and we didn't.Winderl helped his own cause with the Knights' biggest hit, an RBI single in the sixth that drove in Josh Walesby with the go-ahead run. Earlier, Alex Marza had tied the game on an infield out by Walesby after singling and moving around on a pair of wild pitches.Bremerton added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by pinch hitter Joey Lynch.Then Joe Bollinger relieved Winderl and set the Trojans down 1-2-3 to preserve the victory. That was the same Bollinger who tripled in one run and scored another on Walesby's bloop single in the fourth, when the Knights took the lead for good, 2-1.This is the closest thing we have to a rivalry game, said McKnight, so it meant a lot to our kids. I'm proud of the way they played. I'm proud we kept our cool.Not all of Bremerton's clutch performances came on offense. Winderl pitched his way out of a hellacious jam in the bottom of the sixth, after allowing Olympic to score two runs and load the bases with nobody out. In order, he got Jordan Duncan, Adam Winger and Charlie Webb to strike out looking to keep the Knights' advantage from shrinking even more.The effort certainly impressed the man it defeated, Oly's Andrews.He threw brilliantly, Andrews said of Winderl. He had great control and poise. For him to strike out the side the way he did (in the sixth) was quite an accomplishment. He talks with his arm, and I like that in a pitcher.Parsons was nearly as good, striking out eight Knights. But he struggled with his control in the later innings, walking four - two of which came around to score.That's all part of Bremerton's game plan, McKnight said.We'll get some guys on base and move them around to score a few runs, he said. As long as we don't get ourselves into a big hole, we'll be all right.For the first three innings, it looked like Parsons was out to prevent the Knights from having any baserunners, as he put them down in order the first time through the lineup. Meanwhile, his teammates got him a first-inning cushion when Jessie Pamaran doubled and scored on the first of two doubles by Austin Hendershot (who was 3 for 3 on the day and drove in two runs).Bollinger, who played the first six innings at shortstop, had two of Bremerton's seven hits, and Walesby finished with two RBIs.Andrews agreed with McKnight that the visitors made the most of their scoring opportunities, and added that was his own team's biggest failing.We left six or seven runners on base, and we normally don't do that, he said. We normally do a good job of getting a few runs across.But credit Bremerton, he added. They did what they had to do.Just another day's work for McKnight's crew. "