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BlueJackets begin long haul out of WCCBL cellar
The Kitsap BlueJackets (8-13, 5-11) snapped a five-game losing streak to begin the team's climb out of the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League cellar on Friday, topping the Wenatchee AppleSox (12-6, 9-6), defending WCCBL champs, 8-7 on Friday in Wenatchee.
The BlueJackets broke out offensively, racking up 14 hits in the win to overcome four errors.
Ross Humes (Washington State University) continued his dominant summer season, having yet to give up a run in 20 innings, to earn his second win.
The BlueJackets, led on offense by Brett Kaluza (University of Washington) and Jamie Nilsen (Central Washington University), rocked Wenatchee starter Matt Fields for six runs, five earned, in 4-2/3 innings pitched. Fields, a Gonzaga University pitcher, was last week's WCCBL Player of the Week.
Things looked bleak for the BlueJackets early.
After Kaluza hit a lead-off double and advanced to third on an error, Danny Meier (University of Portland) brought him in on a sacrifice fly. But the 1-0 advantage wasn't safe for long.
In the bottom of the first, errors also hurt Kitsap.
After Wenatchee's Brent Wyatt reached on an error and stole second, Marcus McKimmy drew a walk from Kitsap starter Aaron Bronson (Green River Community College). A passed ball advanced them to second and third respectively. After another walk to load the bases, Dustin Colclough hit an RBI single to score Wyatt and keep the bases packed. Hawkins Gebbers then reached on a fielder's choice that scored McKimmy. Another fielder's choice by Justin Whitehall scored the third and final run of the inning for the AppleSox.
Down 3-1, Kitsap went to work in the third, with Doug Buser (San Jose Community College) and Adam Brown (Charleston Southern University) each slapping singles. A Kaluza single scored Buser and a Nilsen single loaded the bags. After another Meier sac fly, Kevin Corrigan (Western Oregon University) also sacrificed a run home.
The back-and-forth continued until the Sox built a 7-6 lead heading into the top of the ninth.
After Kaluza walked and was out on a Nilsen fielder's choice, the Sox brought in closer Nick Haughian. Josh Meeker (Port Orchard; Olympic College) reached on an error and stole second, putting runners on second and third for Brian Burmester (University of Iowa). Burmester ripped a clutch, 2-run single that would be the game winner.
Bronson and Sean Greer (University of California-Riverside) pitched a combined 3-2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on just five hits. Because of errors, only two of those runs were earned.
The win also wrapped up a nine-game road trip for Kitsap, in which the team went 2-7.
Kaluza finished 4-4 with three runs and an RBI while Nilsen was 3-5 with two runs and an RBI. Meier, Corrigan and Burmester each had two RBI for Kitsap.
Humes (2-0) entered the game in relief, working the final 5-1/3 innings, allowing just two hits, walking one and striking out nine. He is the only eligible WCCBL pitcher left to not allow a run.
Saturday, July 1
It took one bad inning to sink the BlueJackets on Saturday.
In the rubber match with Wenatchee, JT Heaton (Missouri Valley College) made the start and allowed five runs, four earned, in one inning of work.
The BlueJackets could never quite recover offensively.
Trailing 5-0 in the top of the fourth, Burmester drew a walk and moved to second on a Buser ground-out. Meier singled, moving Burmester to third, and proceeded to swipe second base. Burmester was just out at home, caught between third and the plate on a Meeker fielder's choice. Catcher Anje Sramek (Hawaii Pacific University) was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Brown, who ripped a three-run double to left field.
That was as close as the Jackets, which left 12 runners stranded, would get.
The BlueJackets did have the bases loaded with one out in the top of the eighth, but Nilsen grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Paul Dickey got the win for Wenatchee, giving up three runs in five innings. Heaton fell to 0-2 in the loss.
Kitsap got some needed relief from the pen however as Matt Rossman (UC-Riverside), Greer, John Fugett (Lafaytte University) and Mike Tachell (Missouri Valley College) teamed up for seven innings and just one run. Tachell finished the game with two strikeouts in his inning. Tommy Milone got his first save for the Sox.
Kaluza was 2-2 with three walks in the contest, while Brown finished 1-2 with three RBI.
Sunday, July 2
The BlueJackets returned home for the first time since June 21 on Sunday, falling to first-year franchise Moses Lake (7-10, 6-10) 4-2.
In a tight game, Moses Lake built a 3-0 lead before Kitsap closed the gap in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Facing Pirate starter Nate Remer, Buser started things off with a walk. After Meier and Corrigan got out, Stephen Herzog lifted a two-run shot out of left field for hte second BlueJackets dinger this season. It wasn't enough however as Moses Lake added an insurance run in the eighth.
Kyle Cline had another strong outing for a no decision, giving up two runs in five innings with three strikeouts. Ted Gjeldum and Joe hagen gave up two runs over two innings with Gjeldum (1-3) saddled with the loss. John Fugett and Mike Tachell closed out the game. Remer improved to 1-1 with the win.
The Pirates and BlueJackets battled Monday and Tuesday with results unavailable at press time.
The Bellingham Bells come to town on Friday, with tickets still available for the 7 p.m. contest at Kitsap Fairgrounds Ballfields. Tickets for all Kitsap games are available at the Kitsap Mall information center or by phone at (360) 479-0123.