All-county team stacked with Wolves

They had plenty of ups and downs, twists and turns and highs and lows.

But now that the 2005 high-school baseball season has come to a close, the awards for those deserving few are rolling in, and South Kitsap is getting its fair share.

The Wolves are well-represented on the second annual Kitsap News Group All-Kitsap County Baseball team, as four players were named to the starting lineup with two more earning honorable mentions.

The team was voted on by sports writers and photographers of the KNG family of papers and is made up of academically eligible players from all the high schools in Kitsap County.

It was the middle of the Wolves’ defense that brought them back from the brink of elimination to another trip to the West-Central District tournament and the players that led South to 13-7 record are here as well, led by a group of juniors that will look to have South back in the playoffs again next year.

First teamers include juniors Kyle Pease, Andrew Thatcher and Zach Jacob, and senior Dan Dillard, while honorable mentions went to Matt Hudson and Doug Franz.

All-Kitsap County Baseball Team

• 1B — Alan Stabler, Central Kitsap: Stabler’s big bat helped lead CK back into the postseason. The power-hitting catcher/first baseman co-led the Cougars, and area teams, with four blasts while driving in 19 RBI. He also hit .380 to boot.

• 2B — Dan Dillard, South Kitsap: As solid as they come, Dillard made just two errors all year while batting .377 and driving in 19 runs and batting second for the Wolves. One of the few seniors who played every game, he led by example.

• 3B — Jordan Prince, North Kitsap: Though he may have lived in the shadow of his brother Jared, the Viking third baseman holds up very impressive numbers of his own — a .500 batting average, the team high, with 17 RBI through the regular season.

• SS — Zach Jacob, South Kitsap: The slick-fielding junior batted .414 and led the Wolves with 12 extra-base hits. Jacob also drove in 19 runs and had an on-base percentage of .589. He will be a key figure for South next year.

• OF — Chris Williams, North Kitsap: Following last season, the junior wasn’t sure if he was going to play this year. Encouraged to work hard in the off-season by his peers, however, led to a .367 batting average, 23 runs scored and 15 RBI in the regular season.

• OF — Kyle Pease, South Kitsap: The speedy centerfielder made some spectacular catches this season while providing some key hits as well. Pease collected eight extra-base hits, including three home runs, hit .400 and drove in 19 runs from the Wolves leadoff position. The Wolves will be looking for more of the same next year.

• OF — Issac Solaita, Klahowya: The five-tool player with strong speed and great defense led the Eagles to a share of the Nisqually League regular-season crown, in large part thanks to his .432 batting average. With a cannon for an arm, the Eagles were able to keep several runs off the board with his throws.

• C - Marcus Curtis, North Kitsap: Curtis kept the cleanup role he’s had for the past two years and used it to belt in 17 RBIs, tied for second only to Jared Prince on the team.

• P - Jared Prince, North Kitsap: The MVP of this team, he was North Kitsap’s biggest threat and his opponent’s worst enemy both on the mound and at the plate. Prince’s baseball talents lit up other squads with a .458 batting average and 21 RBIs to lead the team. On the hill, he was equally dominant, striking out an average of nine batters a game. He’ll likely get plenty of innings next year when he suits up for the Washington State Cougars.

• P - Andrew Thatcher, South Kitsap: He’s a crafty left-hander who came up huge for South this year when Matt Hudson struggled early. Just a junior, Thatcher constantly confused opposing batters with a nasty curveball that helped him go 6-2 on the year. Will be the go-to guy next year.

• P - Zac Brown, Central Kitsap: The CK pitcher/outfielder went 5-1 for CK this season, helping take the Cougars into the West Central District tourney. To go along with his 28 strikeouts in 31 innings and his 3.16 ERA, Brown helped his own cause by slugging four homers.

• P — Ronnie Purser, Olympic: Just a sophomore, Purser excelled on the mound for the Trojans this season. He went 4-1 with an ERA of just 2.33 to help lead Oly’s late season run. Purser should help the Trojans turn the corner and return to the playoffs next season.

• UTL — Shea Baumgartner, Olympic: Baumgartner was huge for Olympic this year, swinging a .375 clip for Oly while blasting four home runs. Along with his solid infield defense, Baumgartner would be a welcome addition to any Narrows League club.

• UTL — Jordan Henry, North Kitsap: The starting shortstop’s second half of a stellar season was capped with a two-for-four, five RBI performance versus Kentlake at state that saw the Vikings come up just short in their first round game. He was also batted .395 on the season.

Honorable Mentions:

• Nick Bankus, Olympic: The outfielder and pitcher put together strong seasons on both sides, hitting .465 for the season with 18 RBI. On the mound, Bankus overcame a lack of run support early in the season to post a respectable 3-4 record with a sparkling 2.02 ERA, mowing down 67 batters in just 45 innings.

• Travis Tobin, North Kitsap: The senior batted leadoff for the Narrows Bridge Champion Vikings all season long, scoring 20 runs and a team-high 16 stolen bases.

• Matt Hudson, South Kitsap: he was the man last year but struggled with his control for much of the first half and got very little run support in the second. Still, Hudson went 5-5 and proved how good he could be with some great outings to finish the year.

• John Taylor, Olympic: The Trojan third baseman provided outstanding defense, while also leading the team in RBI with 22. Taylor was also a source of senior leadership for Olympic.

• James Lane, Central Kitsap: He is ranked in the top 70 players in the class of 2005 by Baseball Northwest and went 5-3 on the mound for CK this season. His strikeout-to-walks ration was great, whiffing 55 while walking just 10 in 44 innings of work. He also posted a 2.86 ERA to lead the Cougars.

• Doug Franz, South Kitsap: Playing multiple positions this year, he provided solid defense wherever he ended up in the field, be it at catcher or first base or right field or third base. He hit .333 with six RBI.

• Tyler Owens, Central Kitsap: The Cougar third baseman always seemed to come up with timely offense, driving in his share of crucial runs. With four long balls, Owens co-led area players while also providing solid range and an accurate throwing arm.

• Sean Loitz, Bremerton: The Knights’ catcher was a bright spot in a dismal season for Bremerton. With a strong arm and a no-nonsense attitude behind the plate, he helped Bremerton triple its win count.

• Derek Solaita, Klahowya: The Eagles’ shortstop and brother of outfielder Derek, provided just as much of a spark on both sides of the ball. Defensively, Solaita had several smooth diving catches to rob opponents of base hits. And like his brother, he also hit in the .400s for the Eagles. He should continue to develop into one of the Nisqually League’s finest ball players.

• Brandon Bennett, Klahowya: The Eagles catcher knows how to manage his pitchers. That’s because when he wasn’t behind the plate sharing the duties with Jeff Young, he was on the mound. In 27.2 innings of work, Bennett fanned 20 batters en route to a 4.55 ERA, helping take KSS back to the playoffs

• Justin Rash, Bremerton: The Knights’ ace on the hill, Rash has a long way to go as he was just a freshman this year. But with time on his side, and a lot of work under his belt, Rash should bounce back strong to help Bremerton to continue to improve.

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