Central Kitsap shortstop Fred Buckson tags out Bainbridge baserunner Theo Colgan. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap shortstop Fred Buckson tags out Bainbridge baserunner Theo Colgan. (Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group)

Bainbridge’s Garrett Aichele knocked in the go-ahead run against Central Kitsap

EAST BREMERTON — Scoring runs hasn’t been a problem for Central Kitsap early on this season, but the Cougars were only able to bring home two runs in a March 14 game against Bainbridge, losing by a score of 4-2.

“Yes, it has,” head coach Bill Baxter said after being asked if this is the most quality pitching his team has faced in the short season. “These guys have, by far, the best velocity.”

Central Kitsap faced four Bainbridge pitchers, who combined to yield only six hits. However, the staff had to go above and beyond as the Spartans also committed five errors in the field. Central Kitsap ended up leaving eight runners on base in the final three innings.

“Our pitching is pretty deep, we’ve got eight guys that we’re confident in, and they can all throw hard,” said Bainbridge coach Bill Ackerly.

The Spartans opened the scoring in the top of the first by taking advantage of a one-out walk issued to Brooks Lierle, who moved over to second on a steal. Central Kitsap starter Owen Davies got Garrett Aichele to pop out to short, but Ian Matthews brought home Lierle with an RBI-single.

Central Kitsap responded with a run of its own in the bottom half. Senior shortstop Fred Buckson, who led off with a walk, reached second base on a pickoff error. Teagan Taafe laid down a bunt to move Buckson over to third base, but the throw by Spartans pitcher Jonah Giblin sailed over the first baseman’s head, allowing Buckson to score.

Sophomore left fielder Jonathan Kussie knocked in a RBI-single to give the Spartans the lead right back in the top half of the second. But again, the Cougars tied the game with their bats. Juniors Rylee Orteza and Malo Castro drew consecutive walks and then executed a double steal with two outs and nobody on base. Buckson’s clutch single brought Orteza home.

“I never go out there and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to run,’” Baxter said. “I like the running game, I like to put the game in motion, but I also don’t like to run myself out of innings.”

It looked as if the Spartans were going to score at least another run in the top of the third inning. The bases were loaded, but Davies worked out of the jam to keep the game even at two.

Nobody would score again until the top of the fifth inning when Bainbridge’s Aichele launched a shot to left field. Tristian Barr ran up on the ball, leaped in the air but couldn’t come down with it. The ball sailed over his head and to the wall for a triple. Matthews picked up an insurance run on a sacrifice fly that brought home Aichele to give the Spartans a two-run cushion.

“The players are looking for a rhythm and we don’t really give it to them yet, because we’re moving guys around in ways they’re not used to,” Ackerly said. “So anytime you can do that and still play well enough to beat a team as good as Central, that’s a good day.”

CK had plenty of chances at the plate to mount a comeback, but couldn’t capitalize. In the bottom of the fourth, Castro placed a near-perfect bunt that straddled the first-base line. Orteza went for third base after rounding second, but was thrown out.

“We had opportunities throughout,” Baxter said.

The Cougars also found themselves with runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings with perhaps the team’s best chance coming in their final at bat.

Third baseman Reece Wood reached on a throwing error and then junior Carson Wiler followed up with a double, putting the tying runs in scoring position. But Matthews induced a ground out and then struck out the next two hitters, cementing the victory for Bainbridge.

“One thing I told my guys, if they come out here early and there’s good pitching, you better swing well,” he said. “I think we took too many first pitch fastballs … I think we need to do a better job of playing the count in our favor.”

More in Sports

Bainbridge High School athletes have been working out on campus since late September, but a sharp rise in positive cases led the district to cancel them for at least two weeks. (Review file photo)
Conditioning sessions end as COVID-19 cases rise

Most Kitsap School Districts have called off student-athlete workouts

q
WIAA lays out process for commencing a sports season

The ever-evolving world of high school sports in Washington sprouted a new… Continue reading

Courtesy photoMegan Hyte, a former Poulsbo resident and North Kitsap soccer star, is giving back to her old club, Kitsap Alliance, through her 110 brand and fundraising platform.
Former NK soccer star gives back to her old club team

In order to find the right path in life, Megan Hyte first… Continue reading

Krulish: World Series offers us a David vs. Goliath matchup

I’m a big baseball fan, so I’m always ready to watch every… Continue reading

Mark Krulish | Bainbridge Island ReviewKingston resident Jon Claymore is hoping to win the World Masters Virtual Challenge javelin competition in his age group.
Kingston’s Claymore has top World Masters Virtual Challenge javelin mark so far

At 55 years old, after millions of throws and thousands of competitions,… Continue reading

.
WIAA has new return-to-play guidelines based on county benchmarks

New return-to-play guidelines tied to Kitsap County benchmarks rather than the governor’s… Continue reading

No asterisks needed as championships still deserved

COVID-19 has changed many things in the sports world. Major League Baseball… Continue reading

Extracurricular activities will likely be on hold as long as most school districts remain in remote learning. Review file photo
WIAA releases next steps for return to play

There has been a groundswell of support for fall athletes returning to… Continue reading

Contributed photo                                Virgil and his wife, DiAnn, who were together for 63 years and married for nearly 58.
N. Kitsap coaching legend dies at age 80

He was a longtime fixture at high school baseball, football games

Bainbridge running back Alex Ledbetter tries to break away from the pile during the Spartans’ 2018 opener against North Kitsap. (File photo)
A look back at some great Week 1 local prep gridiron games

Under normal circumstances, tonight fans would have gathered at high school stadiums… Continue reading

“Strong Like Her” features American powerlifter Megan Gallagher on the cover.
Kitsap native Haley Shapley features strong women in “Strong Like Her”

Says it’s OK to have muscles if you’re female

Cross country was one of the few remaining sports that had a chance to compete this fall until the decision was made to move all fall sports to spring. (Review File Photo)
PREPS: Fall seasons officially pushed to spring 2021

Cross country, boys tennis join girls swim and dive in season 3