EAST BREMERTON – There is still a baseball team wearing blue and playing baseball at the Fairgrounds, but the players are a little younger and sport navy and red uniforms rather than blue and gold or silver.
The Kitsap BlueJackets are inactive this year, as is one of Kitsap County’s longest-running American Legion teams, the Olympic Tigers. This leaves Kitsap AA as the only game in town this summer in Central Kitsap, though there are select teams that largely play outside the county and the Tigers hope to be back next year.
The team is coached by Crosspoint Academy manager Derrin Doty, and it represents Silverdale Post 109. After years of coaching travel, Doty has enjoyed the relatively less intense schedule of legion baseball and coaching his sons DJ and Thunder, who played varsity for Crosspoint this year.
“Both of my boys get to play, which is awesome for me,” Doty said.
The rest of the roster is generally short on varsity experience, consisting mostly of freshmen and sophomores.
Aside from the Doty brothers, Kingston’s Nickyle Tucker and Garrett Sitting Dog are on the club, as is Klahowya’s Logan Prater. Andrew Zetty played junior varsity while trying to make his way onto a deep Central Kitsap team this past year.
The team is currently just under .500 at 7-9, but the inexperience did show on June 26 against River Ridge AA.
Five errors in the field and a few missed opportunities at the plate resulted in an 11-1 loss at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
“We’ll be teaching a lot after this game,” Doty said. “You just have to know your situations.”
DJ Doty got the start for Kitsap and gave up two hits and two walks over the first 2 1/3 innings, but the defense behind him was sloppy.
River Ridge scored a run in the first inning on an overthrow as Sam Flynn stole second. Flynn went to third and then home as the ball was misplayed in center field.
Alex Noll opened the second inning with a double and eventually came home on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Noll drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk as part of a three-run third inning.
Kitsap scratched out its only run in the third when Ethan Quitevis reached on an error, stole second and eventually came around to score. The contest was still within reach, but the floodgates soon opened for River Ridge.
Flynn and Keianu Trinidad opened the fifth with back-to-back walks, and Noll followed with a single to score one run. Cameron Erdmann then singled to load the bases, and the next run came home on an error at second base. Zavien Brewer then struck the big blow with a two-run single to cap a six-run fifth.
Meanwhile, Kitsap had runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth, but never came up with a rally. Jacob McKeel singled in the fourth to give Kitsap runners at first and second with two outs, but Quitevis’s hard grounder resulted in an out to end the inning.
In the fifth, Sam Demianiw drew a walk and DJ Doty followed with a single to give Kitsap another first-and-second situation with two outs. But River Ridge pitcher Josh Prouty came up with a big strikeout to end the game.
Like Kitsap, River Ridge mostly had junior varsity players in the lineup and had struggled in league games this season. But a few mistakes ended up making a big difference.
“These guys have only won three league games all year, so they were ripe for the picking,” Doty said.
Kitsap AA plays most of its home games at the Fairgrounds, Ridgetop Middle School in Silverdale and Knights Field in Bremerton. Its regular season schedule continues through the middle of July. The Washington state AA legion tournament begins July 28.
River Ridge AA 11, Kitsap AA 1
Ridge – 1 1 3 0 6 – 11 6 2
Kitsap 0 0 1 0 0 – 1 4 6
WP: Prouty LP: Doty
River Ridge AA – Prouty 5 IP, 4 H, R, 0 ER, 2 K.
Kitsap AA – Doty 2.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K; Prater 1 2/3 IP, H, K; Zetty .1 IP, 3 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, K; Demianiw .2 IP, K.
River Ridge AA – Brewer 2-4, R, 2 RBI; Noll 2-2 2B, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI; Erdmann 1-3, R; Flynn 0-3, BB, 3 R; Conway 0-1, 2 BB, 2 R.
Kitsap AA – Tucker 1-2, SB; Doty 1-3; Griego 1-1, SB; McKeel 1-1; Quitevis 0-1, R; Demianiw 0-0, BB.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.