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Hot-and-cold ’Jackets keep it going
“Streaky” probably would be the best word to describe the Kitsap BlueJackets play in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League season.
With slow bats, sloppy gloves and spotty pitching, the BlueJackets struggled to an 0-6 league start out of the gate, first getting swept by rivals Corvallis (Ore.) before dropping three in a row to Wenatchee to open a six-game road trip.
Since then, Kitsap has won eight of its past nine games, including two of three in its series against Bend Elks in Oregon.
Jordan Shadle had three of Kitsap’s 17 hits and starter Paul Dickey went seven innings to help the team to a 14-4 league win Sunday.
The BlueJackets also earned a 13-12 victory Saturday after trailing 10-1 after the third inning.
Kitsap scored seven runs in the fifth inning and combined for five in the seventh and eighth for its biggest comeback win this season.
Alec Reichle earned the win and Connor Whalen picked up the save. Offensively, Kyle Baskett was 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBI.
The series win against the Elks followed consecutive sweeps of the Bellingham Bells and Moses Lake, the team the Jackets began another series against on Tuesday at home.
The BlueJackets also host Moses Lake at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and continue the six-game homestand against Kelowna.
After scoring at least seven runs in each game against Moses Lake, the BlueJackets slammed the Bells Wednesday, hitting two grand slams in a 16-3 win.
The action started early when Max Kwan launched a bases-loaded grand slam to score Lawson Hipps, Bucky Aona and Central Kitsap product Aaron Johnson, capping a six-run first inning. Kwan finished 2 for 3 with a run and four RBI.
The Jackets then added seven more in the fourth when Keegan McCamment hit a grand slam, this time scoring Hipps, Aona and Justin Shultz.
McCamment went 2 for 5 with a run and four RBI.
Aona had a strong bat in the game as well, finishing 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBI, while starter Reichle threw five innings of three-hit shutout ball to earn his first win of the season.
Thursday locked up the series sweep with a narrow 1-0 win. Knotted up through the bottom of the eighth innings, Kitsap broke the scoreless tie in that frame when Hipps singled in Buser, who pinch ran for McCamment after he’d reached base on an error.
Closer Mike Wolford then entered and slammed the door shut, recording outs on all three batters he faced for his third save this season.
The Jackets edged the Bells 5-4 on June 24 in exciting fashion, as the game was tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Hipps reached on an error to start and moved to second when Kwan grounded out to the mound.
Shultz was then intentionally walked.
That brought up Jake Owens, who singled into left field.
Hipps tried to come in but was thrown out at the plate before Tacoma call-up Kyle Baskett, in his Jackets’ debut, singled to score Shultz, the winning run.
Baskett finished 2 for 5 with a run and an RBI. Doug Buser was 2 for 4 for Kitsap, scoring a run while stealing two bases.
Mike Wolford got the win as the BlueJackets used six pitchers in the game.
The BlueJackets wrapped up the road trip last Sunday with an 18-5 win against Moses Lake. Johnson was huge in that game, finishing 4 for 6 with five RBI, one shy of Kevin Corrigan’s team record, set in 2006.