Sports

BlueJackets embark on long road voyage

Kitsap’s Kevin Corrigan successfully finishes a pick-off play of Spokane’s Carl Uhl in the first inning of the BlueJackets’ 9-0 loss to the RiverHawks.   - Photo by Jesse Beals
Kitsap’s Kevin Corrigan successfully finishes a pick-off play of Spokane’s Carl Uhl in the first inning of the BlueJackets’ 9-0 loss to the RiverHawks.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

While it wasn’t the send off the Kitsap BlueJackets were looking for, the squad will have plenty of opportunities to climb the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League ladder over the next 12 days.

Despite falling 9-0 to the Spokane RiverHawks (3-3) in the series’ rubber match on Wednesday at Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields, BlueJackets (6-5) coach Matt Acker remains optimistic that his ball club has the tools to triumph.

“They had good pitchers on the hill,” Acker said of Spokane starter Jeremy Hefner and reliever Dustin Willis. “But we need to make better adjustments. We need to have guys step up. It’s time to perform.”

Finally playing with a complete squad, Acker said it is nice to have more options, but also means more time to evaluate the new players.

“It makes it easier,” Acker said. “It’s easier for the coaches. But now we have to reevaluate.”

The reevaluation process began with the Spokane series, in which Kitsap fell 2-1 Monday before winning 1-0 Tuesday.

In the 9-0 loss, Acker said that while the BlueJacket batters do need to make more adjustments, it is the time of the season that teams start to click. Just ask Spokane, as the RiverHawks scored all their runs on 16 hits and two errors.

“Everybody in this league, if you look at the scores, they’re low,” Acker said. “It’s that metal-bat swing in a wood-bat league. And we have the talent to do it. We just need a breakout game.”

Kitsap scattered just two hits, with Hefner giving up just one in eight innings for the win. He also struck out 10.

BlueJacket starter Kyle Cline, one of the team’s most effective pitchers, lasted five innings, giving up four runs as Spokane simply found holes to place shots.

Acker said Kitsap relievers tried to nibble too much when the team was already down.

“Hopefully we learned a lesson (Wednesday),” Acker said. “When you’re down, throw to produce outs. That’s simple baseball.”

With the next nine games on the road, in the middle of an 18-games-in-19-days block, Acker said the team is welcoming the trip.

“I’m glad we have this trip at the beginning of the season,” Acker said. “It’s like I just asked the guys, ‘Who wants to play pro ball?’ Everyone raised their hands. Well, that’s what you have to do in the minors.”

The BlueJackets went to Kelwona yesterday for the first of three games before also traveling to Spokane and Wenatchee. The team comes back on Sunday, July 2 against Moses Lake, the WCCBL’s newest team.

The BlueJackets host a Fourth of July Fireworks show, put on by Boomtown Fireworks of Poulsbo and sponsored by Corey Signs, in the finalgame of the span. Tickets for the Fourth of July game and fireworks show, and all BlueJackets games, are available at the Kitsap Mall information booth or via telephone at (360) 479-0123.

Short hops

Kitsap’s Brad Boyer (University of Washington) will miss the remainder of the summer season with ankle surgery from an injury suffered in Bellingham last weekend. To replace him on the roster, Kitsap has permanently called up Josh Meeker of Olympic College and South Kitsap High School ... Acker said the team plans to use Mike Tachell and John Fugett in save situations, with Tachell saving games in which right-handers start and Fugett picking up saves from the lefties. Both have two saves right now. Acker also said Joe Hagen and Kyle Hansen could earn opportunities ... Catcher Anje Sramek was given some time off when the BlueJackets called up Tacoma Cardinals catcher Jake Owens (Linn-Benton Community College (Albany, Ore.)). Sramek, who has a pre-existing fracture in his catching hand, experienced severe swelling, triggering Benik Corporation’s Tim Baumgartner to make Sramek a special brace.

BlueJacket Briefs

Monday, June 19

SPOKANE 2, at KITSAP 1

The Spokane Riverhawks broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the eighth inning when Carl Uhl singled home Greg Biagi for the eventual game winner. Aaron Bronson got a no-decision after pitching a three-hitter in 5 2/3 innings, with the only run scoring unearned when Cale Ort, who reached on an error by Adam Brown, was driven in by Shawn Gizynski. After Spokane starter Chase Powell was pulled after four scoreless innings, the Jackets got to reliever Sean Finn when Danny Meier scored on a Stephen Herzog single. Herzog leads Kitsap with 10 RBI. Finn still earned the win with Dustin Willis getting the save for Spokane.

Tuesday, June 20

At KITSAP 1, SPOKANE 0

The BlueJackets struck back in the battle of pitching duels on Tuesday, winning 1-0 despite mustering just two hits. Spokane nailed just five hits. Kitsap’s run came in the third inning when Jamie Nilsen (Central Washington University) drove in Brian Rittereiser (Washington State University). Ross Humes (1-0; WSU) pitched five shut-out innings while Matt Rossman, Sean Greer, Mike Tachell and John Fugett each pitched one inning. Fugett got his second save.

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