By AARON MANAGHAN
Ken Plowman is always up for a good challenge.
Now, after coaching the Bremerton junior varsity baseball team last year, he’s embarking on what he called “the biggest challenge of my life.”
“I really enjoyed the sophomores I had on the team last year,” Plowman said of taking on the varsity job at BHS this year. “I saw the possibilities, the opportunity to move up with ‘em. I’m taking on the biggest challenge of my life here. I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge.”
With former Bremerton coach Joe Whitsett returning to his alma mater Central Kitsap as an assistant coach, Plowman said he wants to continue what Whitsett began.
“Coach Whitsett got things started at Bremeton and I’m going to try to continue,” he said.
After winning just two games last year and three across the past two, the Knights have no where to go but up. And with a solid core of young talent, Plowman thinks the Knights will compete on the field.
“We’ve definitely taken that on as a team challenge,” Plowman said. “We want to keep a positive image in the dugout, support each other as a team. We really do believe we can come out here and compete.”
Eli Olson is back on the hill for the Knights as one of the team’s few seniors.
“He’s the team captain,” Plowman said. “He’s our role model and our leader.”
Noel Fredrick will join Olson on the mound this year as well as in the leadership department.
“He’s another that’s a senior,” Plowman said. “He’s going to be one of the team leaders.”
Ryan Kopp also will pitch some for the Knights, while Plowman said Scott Burt will be the team’s primary arm out of the bullpen.
“He’s gonna be used in our reliever role,” Plowman said. “Scott’s a great kid. He’s really working. He goes above and beyond.”
Joel Brockman and Troy Miles will also have prominent roles for BHS.
Having already become familiar with the team’s large young core as the JV coach, Plowman said he was able to hit the ground running.
“That’s helped quite a bit,” he said. “Knowing a good amount of the kids, I know what to expect.”
And that knowledge is everything when working with the team’s freshmen and sophomores.
“We are excited about the freshmen and sophomores coming up,” he said. “I feel like we have a good core group of sophomores. It’ll be exciting bringing them along.”
But for Bremerton to turn little successes on the field into wins, Plowman said his team will have to overcome a lot.
“I’m looking forward to seeing our
team step up and face the challenge,” Plowman said. “We’ll battle through the tough times and keep building the foundation.”
The team took the field for the first time last Saturday at the Central Kitsap Jamboree, falling 4-1 in a three-inning game to Klahowya and 10 -0 against CK. But for the first time out, Plowman was happy with his scrappy team.
“Overall, I was pretty happy with what we’re seeing,” he said. “We’ve got some things to work on. But that’s what this jamboree is all about. It’s fun getting out here.”
The South Kitsap Wolves blanked BHS, 7-0, amidst rain, clouds and wind Monday night in Bremerton’s regular-season opener. SK scored five runs in the bottom of the third, giving Wolves starting pitcher Adam Douty more than enough run support. The Knights managed only one hit in the five-inning game.
On Wednesday, the Knights gave up three runs in the top of the seventh — and final — inning, letting a 3-2 lead slip away against Shelton.
BHS grabbed the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth, with two runs, but Shelton’s 12 total hits finally caught up with the Knights’ pitching staff.
The varsity hardballer’s (0-2) host Port Angeles at 4 p.m. Monday, then travel to Kingston Wednesday for a league game.