Six from SK earn berths on All-Kitsap baseball team

It’s rare when South Kitsap isn’t a major player when it comes to Narrows League baseball, but there was a point during the 2006 season that the Wolves were barely a blip on the playoff radar.

At 4-5 overall midway through the year, the playoffs and all the accolades that come with it seemed too far out of reach. But a hot streak that saw the Wolves win nine of their final 12 games catapulted South back into the state playoff mix and helped land six players plus their coach on the third annual Kitsap News Group All-Kitsap County Baseball team.

South rebounded record-wise to finish 13-8 and advance to the round of eight and saw Zach Jacobs, Kenny Ladenburg, Kyle Pease and Andrew Thatcher named to the AKC first team while third-year coach Jim Fairweather shared coach of the year honors. Ryan Cosgrove and Josh Lousberry received honorable mentions.

The team was voted on by sportswriters and editors of the Kitsap Newspaper Group. The team is made up of academically eligible players from all the high schools in Kitsap County.

2006 All-Kitsap County Baseball Team

• 1B — Robbie Stevenson, Bainbridge: The junior was stellar at the plate with a .477 batting average, a .585 on-base percentage and a .705 slugging average with two homers and 15 RBI. Stevenson was excellent in the field as well, committing zero errors in 84 total chances at first base.

2B — Aaron Johnson, Central Kitsap: A PUMA Preseason All-American, Johnson lived up to a high billing, hitting .356 with 11 runs and team-high 21 RBI. Versatile, Johnson can play the infield with ease, often covering third when teammate Tyler Owens needed to pitch. Johnson also led CK with five homers and had a .756 slugging percentage.

SS — Zach Jacob, South Kitsap: Best fielder in the Bridge Division, Jacob hit .431 in the regular season with four extra base hits and 13 RBI and four stolen bases. With an on-base percentage of .517, Jacob committed just six errors all year at short for a team that advanced to the round of eight.

3B — Tyler Owens, Central Kitsap: Owens was the Cougars’ MVP this season and a huge reason the teamed reach No. 4 in the state at one point. Owens hit a remarkable .542 (26-48) with a .614 on-base percentage and a .854 slugging. He clubbed two triples and three homers while scoring 16 times and driving in 14. His 41 total bases led the team.

C — Joe Benish, NK: The junior was a portrait of consistency for NK in 2006, both behind the plate and in the box. He batted .400 on the season and banged out eight RBI while scoring 14 runs with his base running. 

OF — Nick Bankus, Olympic: An injury during football season also ended Bankus’ competitive skiing and threatened his baseball season, but he made his return to the diamond, hitting .364 to become Oly’s career leading at .401.

OF — Kenny Ladenburg, South Kitsap: Batted .314 in the regular season with an on-base percentage of .500 and scored 15 times as the Wolves’ leadoff man. Great glove for a team the made the round of eight.

OF — Xavier Mancha, Olympic: Mancha swung a .328 clip for the Trojans this season, leading the team with 20 hits and 26 total bases.

UTL — Jordan Prince, NK: Recorded 11 RBI while carrying a .512 batting average over the course of the season. In the field, Prince served as one of North’s top pitchers and used his glove at both third base and shortstop.

UTL — Kyle Pease, South Kitsap: Pease batted an even .300 with eight extra-base hits, nine RBI and six stolen bases in the regular season from the No. 2 spot. He also won two games and saved three without giving up a run as the team’s relief pitcher. Was a big part of the Wolves state run.

P — David Stilley, Central Kitsap: Stilley emerged at the forefront of the future of the CK baseball team when he went 3-0 with a save and a 1.93 ERA in 29 innings.

P — Zac Brown, Central Kitsap: While Brown’s senior leadership was an integral part of CK’s season, he backed it up on the mound, going 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA.

P — K.J. McLean, Central Kitsap: Making the squad as a reliever, McLean finished at 6-0 with a 2.70 ERA. If a starter faltered, CK could confidently rely on the reliever that struck out 40 batters in 23 1/3 innings. 

P — C.J. Hall, Bainbridge: The senior had a solid year on the mound despite a 2-3 record with a 2.38 ERA with 31 strikeouts. He also hit .278 with one home run and 14 RBI.

P — Andrew Thatcher, South Kitsap: A record of 4-3 with an ERA of 4.37 doesn’t tell the story. He either won or pitched well in every big game all season long, especially when the team needed him most.

Co-coaches of the year: Jim Fairweather, South Kitsap; and Bill Baxter, Central Kitsap — Despite a rough beginning that included getting swept by then-winless Olympic, Fairweather kept his team focused on one goal: Making a state run. At one point South was 4-5 but went on to win nine of its final 12 games, qualify for the state tournament and make the round of eight. While Central Kitsap folded late in the season, Baxter helped the Cougars realize their potential in starting the season 17-3 en route to the Narrows League Championship.

Honorable Mention

Jordan Nakaya, North Kitsap, first base: Throughout the season Nakaya’s composure calmed the Viking infield from his first base position.

Ryan Cosgrove, South Kitsap, outfielder/DH: Came on strong after missing multiple games in the middle of the season. Batted .452 with five extra base hits and drove in 11 runs in the regular season.

Caleb Brown, Central Kitsap, first base — Brown showed his full power potential this year, belting three homers and driving in 20 runs for the Cougars.

Patrick Whalen, Olympic, shortstop: Easily the deepest position in the county this season, Whalen displayed a great ability to not only get on base, but advance afterward.

Josh Horst, Bremerton, pitcher: On the mound, Horst kept the Knights’ foes in check with a 2.60 ERA and earned the team’s lone victory with a commanding performance in the season finale against Shelton.

Jordan Green, Klahowya, outfield — At the forefront of the young Eagles is Green, an athletic center fielder with a strong bat and good athleticism who can easily play the other spots as well. 

Matt Frazee, Bainbridge, second base: The senior made his mark in the field (one error in 65 total chances) and at the plate, sporting a .380 batting average, a .516 OBP, a .640 slugging percentage.

James Smith, North Kitsap, shortstop: Stepping into the Viking spotlight as a sophomore, Smith belted five home runs to lead the Vikings in that category this season.

Josh Lounsberry, South Kitsap, first base: A steady if not solid defender at first, Lounsberry hit .372 over the course of the season and drove in 12 runs.

Daniel Zylstra, Central Kitsap, shortstop: Another of CK’s young core, Zylstra hit a cool .340 for CK while showing a great glove up the middle.

Jason Bernett, Olympic, catcher: Bernett was the only Trojan to reach double digits in both runs (12) and RBI (11). He hit .274 and led Oly with two homers.

Eli Olson, Bremerton, third base: Spectacular on defense, the sophomore hit .360, stole 10 bases and gave Bremerton fans hope for the young team’s future.

Chris Miller, Klahowya, catcher: One of the better defensive catchers, Miller also has potent offense.

Brenden Gent, Bainbridge, third base: He made history with his two grand slams in one inning this year, but it was just one part of a great year, as he hit .407 and drove in 26 runs.

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