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Bend breaks BlueJackets
With series sweep, Bend owns tie-break on Kitsap.
This isn’t how the Kitsap BlueJackets wanted to see the 2008 season come to a close.
True, three games remain between the Jackets and Spokane, a series that kicked off last night. But after losing to Bend 6-5 on Thursday, the games are now mere formality.
Tied with Bend (Ore.) for second place in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League’s West Division, not to mention tied for the final playoff berth in the West, the BlueJackets were in favorable position to put distance between themselves and the Elks, with Bend traveling to Kitsap this week for a three-game series.
But after Bend swept the Jackets with a 3-2 win Tuesday, an 8-4 victory Wednesday and a 6-5 win Thursday, the Jackets (18-21) now trail the Elks (21-18) by three games with two left to play (results of last night’s game were unavailable at press time).
So while Kitsap hosts Spokane (18-20) for three more games, with Bend having to face East Division leaders Wenatchee (22-17), the outcomes are indifferent, with Bend having locked up the tie-break with a 4-2 season edge.
In the series opener with Bend, Kitsap jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Bucky Aona grounded into a bases-loaded no-out double play that scored right fielder Kyle Baskett, whose single kicked off the opening rally.
Bend didn’t answer until the sixth and seventh, when they put up three runs across the two frames, kicked off by a solo homer from the bat of Bend’s David Bentrott.
Kitsap started to rally back in the bottom of the seventh. After Max Kwan singled and reached second on a wild pitch, both Aaron Johnson and Cody Bartlett struck out. But Keegan McCamment, pinch hitting for Jordan Shadle, drove in Kwan on an RBI single to left. Baskett then singled up the middle. The drive ended when Shane Colbert, pinch running for McCamment, was nailed at third for the final out.
Kitsap would record just one single the rest of the way.
The loss spoiled another strong effort out of Sequim native Chad Wagner, who lasted six innings while allowing just one run on six hits, walking three but striking out five. Reliever David Macey (0-1) was charged with the loss.
While Wednesday’s loss was more lopsided, Kitsap again opened the game with a strong lead.
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the third, Kitsap put up four runs thanks to RBI singles from Doug Buser and Cody Bartlett, a sacrifice RBI from Lawson Hipps and another run when Brandon Decker scored on an error.
The lead didn’t last, however, as the Elks responded with five runs of their own in the top of the fourth. Kitsap put men on base, out-hitting Bend 10-9, but couldn’t get clutch hits in the loss.
But it was Thursday’s providing the true heartbreak.
After Bend burst out with four runs in the top of the first inning, Kitsap answered with four of its own, proving the fight for the season would indeed be a scrappy one.
The teams went back and forth, with Bend building a 6-4 lead through four innings. Kitsap scored another in the fifth, but it was too little, too late as the teams went scoreless the rest of the way.
Baskett finished the game 2-4 for Kitsap, while Central Kitsap grad Aaron Johnson was 1-for-4 with a double.
Kitsap enters game two against Spokane at Lobe Fields at the Fairgrounds at 7 tonight. Tomorrow’s season finale is at 1 p.m.