Hardballers score spots on AKC team

Others earn All-Metro nods for their top-notch play this year.

After last year’s season fell short of expectations, the Bainbridge baseball team rebounded to make it just one game shy of the state tournament.

The Spartans went 11-5 in the regular season, just missing out on a Metro League Mountain Division title.

They then made it through a tough Metro League tournament to place third and earn a winner to state game.

But they lost in eight innings to Issaquah, who then went on to surprise several other ranked teams and win the 3A state title at Safeco Field.

For their efforts this season, nine Spartans made the All-Metro team.

Chad Kakela was a second team selection while Tanner Bogardus, Michael Heald, Kauika Peleti and Taurean Yamada were honorable mentions.

Four Spartans also made the All-Kitsap News Group team.

The All-Kitsap County teams are compiled by the sports writers for the Bainbridge Island Review, the Bremerton Patriot, the Central Kitsap Reporter, the North Kitsap Herald and the Port Orchard Independent.

Candidates for the team are nominated by the writers for their respective areas. The nominees are then voted on by the writers, with the top vote-getters making the teams.

Two honorable mentions are selected from each school for each sport.

The teams include the best players from area schools that not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their team as well.

The starters

Pitcher: David Stilley, Central Kitsap – Despite pitching with a torn ligament that would require Tommy John surgery the week before the Cougars played in the state playoffs, Stilley still put up great numbers, going 4-1 with a 0.79 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings.

Pitcher: Kelly Wells, North Kitsap – Wells was a bona fide No. 1 starter for the Vikings this year, compiling a 7-2 record while posting a 1.82 ERA in the regular season.

Perhaps his most prolific performance of 2007 came when his team needed it the most, tossing a complete game against Graham-Kapowsin in a district playoff, allowing just three runs and 10 hits in a contest that clinched the Vikings a berth in the state regional playoffs.

Pitcher: Tal Glass, Bainbridge – The senior and former member of the 2001 Bainbridge Little League All-Star team that went to the World Series was the ace on the mound for the Spartans this season, going 4-1 with a 1.37 ERA and 18 strikeouts versus just seven walks.

He was one of the keys in Bainbridge’s drive to the playoffs this season, earning him a second team All-Metro League selection.

Pitcher: Brad Johnson, South Kitsap – When South Kitsap, which won 10 of its last 13 games, needed a quality win, Johnson usually was on the mound.

The junior had a 6-3 record with a 1.86 ERA and also had 37 strikeouts while allowing 16 walks in 60 innings.

Pitcher: KJ McLean, Central Kitsap – With Stilley not 100 percent, the Cougars needed an arm to rise up along side him.

McLean, the team’s leader in wins out of the bullpen a year ago, filled that role as he went 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA.

In 36 2/3 innings, he also struck out 54 batters, holding the opposition to a .196 average.

Catcher: Joe Benish, North Kitsap – Benish not only was the best catcher in Kitsap County, but was arguably one of the top players in the entire state.

He finished his senior campaign with the highest batting average on the team (.441), 24 RBI, and a team-high six home runs for North. Benish’s .831 slugging percentage was far and away one of top percentages in the entire state.

Viking opponents didn’t like to take their chances pitching to Benish if they didn’t have to, as he finished the regular season with a team-high 12 walks.

First baseman: Caleb Brown, Central Kitsap – While CK’s arms did an outstanding job in vaulting the Cougars to state, it was the high-octane offense, fronted by Caleb Brown, that drubbed opponents throughout the year.

Brown swung at a .438 clip for CK, belting six homers and driving in an astronomical 29 RBI.

While Brown also scored 19 runs, his solid glove helped anchor down CK’s solid infield defense.

Second baseman: Tyler Sartor, South Kitsap – The junior hit leadoff all season for the Wolves and finished with a team-best six doubles and 14 stolen bases. He also hit .341 with a home run, six RBI and a triple.

Shortstop: Trace Jordan, Bremerton – The Bremerton senior was a diamond in the rough for the three-win Knights, providing the team’s most consistent bat, strongest glove and top source of leadership.

Jordan, who also competed in district tennis this spring, hit .360 with 18 stolen bases, flashing one of the league’s top gloves up the middle of the infield.

Third baseman: Rusty Devitt, Klahowya – Devitt played multiple positions for the Eagles this season, proving to be just as vital for Klahowya at the plate and on the mound in their return to state.

Offensively, Devitt hit .417 with 15 runs, 13 RBI and seven steals. As one of the Eagles’ top arms, he went 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA, no-hitting North Mason in a loser-out district game.

Devitt also struck out 56 batters in 34 innings, while striking out just six times in 48 at bats himself.

Outfielder: Andy Smith, North Kitsap – Sophomores rarely make the kind of impact that Vikings centerfielder Andy Smith did this season, showing the entire league he belonged in his first year as a starter.

The left-handed leadoff hitter finished with a .431 batting average and scored a team-high 29 runs for North. He also had a team-high 12 stolen bases.

Smith’s speed in the outfield enabled him to possess incredible range, allowing him to track fly balls most outfielders couldn’t get to.

Outfielder: Colin Bowman, Bainbridge – The junior was solid as the leadoff man for the Spartans this season, batting .419 with an .481 on-base percentage, 16 runs, 13 stolen bases, five doubles, two triples and ten RBI.

He also ran down many a fly ball in the outfield, helping him earn a second team All-Metro selection.

Outfield: Brad Durham, Central Kitsap – Durham was another reason CK’s offense was able to bring a high-powered attack game in and game out.

He hit .431 and tied Brown for the team lead with six homers. Durham also drove in 20 runs, scoring 14 himself.

Also a senior, Durham was another key cog in CK’s state run.

Utility: Ronnie Purser, Olympic – Like his Olympic League counterpart Devitt, Purser was another that exceeded both on the mound and in the batter’s box.

The Trojan senior was the team’s ace, finishing 4-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 42 2/3 innings. Purser also swung his bat to the tune of .397, scoring 13 runs and knocking in 11 RBI.

Utility: Aaron Smothers, South Kitsap – One of the league’s top catchers, Smothers was one of three Wolves who hit better than .400 this season with a team-best .433 batting average.

Smothers also had four doubles, a home run and 17 RBI and finished with a team-high .583 on-base percentage.

The Wolves’ quarterback during football season, SK head coach Jim Fairweather said he also was a leader behind the plate and became the first catcher to call every game in the coach’s four-year tenure.

Coach of the year: Bill Baxter, Central Kitsap – Baxter entered this season with a group of seniors that had come close to advancing to state throughout their high school careers, only to fall short each time.

But this season, Baxter helped inspire his players to make the leap, vaulting CK back to the state tournament for the first time since 1996.

The Cougars finished the season with the Narrows League crown and an overall record of 17-6, riding a 14-game winning steak into the postseason that wasn’t halted until the team’s regional-round loss to Bothell.

Also stellar

Utility: Colin Feldtman, Bainbridge – The sophomore filled in where he was needed in the field (at second base and in the outfield) and on the mound, where he dominated with a 2-1 record with three saves and a ERA of 0.70. He ran off a streak of 15 2/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs.

Feldtman also contributed with his bat to the tune of a .479 average, a .575 on-base percentage, 14 runs, five doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI. He earned a first team All-Metro League selection.

First baseman: Robbie Stevenson, Bainbridge – The senior, another member of the 2001 Bainbridge Little League All-Star team, was a three-year starter on varsity for the Spartans.

He batted .400 with a .458 on-base percentage, scored 15 runs and batted in 20.

Stevenson was a second team All-Metro League selection.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates