EAST BREMERTON — South Kitsap grabbed an early lead in an old-school matchup with Central Kitsap and held off a late Cougars rally.
It was another day on the diamond in which the Wolves received contributions from all over the roster as they jumped out to a 7-2 lead. Central Kitsap chipped away over the final four innings, but South Kitsap came out on top, 7-6.
Jacob Duarte, Rylen Bayne, Hunter McKlosky, P.J. Moritz and Blake Ballew all recorded multi-hit game and Blake Bingham gave them a solid start on the mound. Duarte led the way with three RBI.
“That’s what we love about this group,” said South Kitsap head coach Marcus Logue. “Different guys are stepping up every game.”
This game was originally scheduled for the new turf field at Central Kitsap High School, but it has not yet to be completed. Two teams with long baseball histories in Kitsap County — and two of the best teams in Kitsap this year — facing off certainly have been an appropriate way to christen the field. However, it appears the Cougars will not play at CKHS at all this year.
Bill Baxter, in his 26th and final season as the head baseball coach at Central Kitsap due to a school district policy change that does not allow athletic directors to coach, was hoping he’d get to lead his team onto the new field for the first time.
“It’s disappointing, no doubt,” Baxter said. “But what can you say; it needs to be done right, we don’t want to rush it.”
Instead, the game was played at the Fairgrounds. The Wolves, fresh off a late-inning comeback win over Rogers the previous night, got off to a hot start.
South Kitsap’s first run of the game came in on a throwing error on a ground ball with two runners on. Jacob Olsen laid down a bunt and the throw to first was wild allowing Nathaniel Beers to round third and score. Bayne then picked up an RBI-single and a third run came home on a balk. McKlosky then laced a single into right to chase in a fourth run.
Duarte drove in the final three runs, picking up RBI-singles in two consecutive at-bats in the fourth and fifth innings.
“We gave them some runs, some opportunities,” Baxter said. “We got into too many hitters counts against a good team, they’re going to bang it.”
The Wolves left a couple of runners stranded in the fifth after taking a 7-2 lead and also loaded the bases in the sixth, but came away empty-handed. Those missed opportunities would loom large as Central Kitsap came charging back over the second half of the game.
“I think we could have put more up, we had some runners on and we were a little tentative,” Logue said.
Bingham rolled along, retiring the first even batters he faced. He hit a speed-bump in the fourth inning as Nate DeSchryver drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Kaden McDowell launched a triple to center field to score another, but Jeriah Blake came on to strand McDowell at third.
“Bingham pitched really well for us today,” Logue said. “That was good to see, he ate up some innings.”
Central Kitsap continued to close the gap little by little. An RBI-double by Carson Wiler in the fifth cut the lead to 7-3.
The Cougars then tacked on another in the sixth on John Corley’s second hit of the game scoring Kade Coombe, who had doubled to get himself into scoring position.
In the seventh, Wiler and DeSchryver recorded one-out singles and Coombe walked to load the bases. McDowell hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring Central Kitsap within two. Justin Baldoria walked to load the bases and then Corley hit a grounder to third that was mishandled to bring home another run. But McKlosky induced a fly out to center to end the game.
“I like the way they battled, they never gave up,” Baxter said. “We had some great at-bats.”
South Kitasp 7, Central Kitsap 6
SK 0 4 0 1 2 0 0 — 7 13 1
CK 0 0 0 2 1 1 2 — 6 11 1
WP: Bingham LP: DeSchryver SV: McKlosky
South Kitsap — Bingham 3.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K; Blake 2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, K; McKlosky 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, ER, 2 BB.
Central Kitsap — DeSchryver 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; McDowell 2.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, K; Flaugher IP, H, K.
South Kitsap — Duarte 2-5, 3 RBI; Bayne 3-4, RBI, 2 R; McKlosky 2-3, 2 BB, RBI, SB, R; Moritz 3-5; Ballew 2-3, 2B, BB, R;