BlueJackets can’t catch Bend

The Kitsap BlueJackets started off their second home series of the season Tuesday against the Bend Elks.

The Kitsap BlueJackets started off their second home series of the season Tuesday against the Bend Elks.

The BlueJackets had just come off a road series at Bend’s home stadium in which they took one of three games.

The West Coast Wood Bat League, a summer league for college baseball players, is split into two divisions: north and south. Both Bend and Kitsap play in the southern division.

The two consecutive series between the teams pitted the division leader, Bend (9-4), against the lowest placed team, Kitsap (4-9).

For the first few innings of Tuesday’s game, it appeared each team had a reason for their current standing. The Elks roared off to a strong start, loading the bases on BlueJacket starting pitcher Monty McCasland in the first two innings.

In the first, McCasland was able to escape by striking out two consecutive batters. In the second, McCasland scooped up a ball hit weakly down the first base line and tagged out the runner.

The first base and home plate umpires originally made conflicting calls on the tag and while McCasland held the ball at first a baserunner advanced from second to third, scoring on the next play.

Bend put up 2 more in the third and a fourth the next inning to go up 4-0. The BlueJackets finally got 2 back in the bottom of the fourth when Daniel Jewett hit a deep line drive for a single, bringing in both runners in scoring position.

But that rally was short-lived, as the Elks banged out four runs the next inning off a solo shot by Cullen O’Dwyer and a three-run home run by Tanner Ring.

At that point, Kitsap relieved McCasland from the mound, replacing him with Cody Thompson, who would get out of the inning without any further trouble.

Thompson went on to shut out the Elks line-up in the last four innings.

The BlueJackets started to rally after the botched fifth inning. They put up 2 in the sixth, and 1 in both the seventh and eighth, bringing the score within range: 6-8.

The rally stalled in the ninth, though, as Elks closer Nick Highberger gave up only one hit and put down the BlueJackets in a short final inning.

The BlueJackets return home for two series Monday, June 24, and stay through June 30.