The Rangers will face last-place Douglas College in a home-and-home series to end the regular season this weekend

BREMERTON — The Olympic College Rangers broke a seven-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over first-place Everett last Saturday, splitting the Northwest Athletic Conference doubleheader at Knights Field.

The much-needed win was also timely in terms of the Rangers playoff aspirations. Olympic is clinging to the hope for one of four North Division spots to the NWAC Baseball Championship, but each loss puts OC at a disadvantage. 

Ben Kohler leads off third base as Everett pitcher Brycen Allen winds up for a throw in an NWAC baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Knights Field in Bremerton. Everett won 5-4.  (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Ben Kohler leads off third base as Everett pitcher Brycen Allen winds up for a throw in an NWAC baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Knights Field in Bremerton. Everett won 5-4. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

The Rangers, 6-14 in the North, 18-24 overall, sit in sixth place. OC traveled to Everett Sunday and lost both games, 7-1 and 11-0 in seven innings. Olympic will face last-place Douglas College for a home-and-home doubleheader to finish the season Saturday and Sunday. The Rangers could get some help from third-place Bellevue as it plays Shoreline, who sit in fifth place, in a doubleheader, but OC needs to win out.

The Rangers biggest downfall last weekend was their inability to bring runners in at crucial moments. That’s something OC has struggled with the last half of the season.

“Number one, you credit a good pitcher,” OC coach Ryan Parker said. “Number two, sometimes guys get into pressure situation and they start thinking too much and they can’t get the bat off the shoulder or just kind of not looking for the right pitch in the right spot.

“It’s such a mental game and when you allow the situation to be bigger than what it really is it makes it even harder.”

Saturday started with an edge-of-your-seat opener as the game remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. 

That’s when Tanner Clabaugh singled with one out, Kade Kupihea matched it with another single and Ben Koler walked to load the bases. 

Olympic College's Kade Kupihea cheers toward the Rangers dugout after getting a hit against Everett in a NWAC baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2015, at Knights Field in Bremerton.  (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Olympic College’s Kade Kupihea cheers toward the Rangers dugout after getting a hit against Everett in a NWAC baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2015, at Knights Field in Bremerton. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

Scott Gunther kept the rally going with a timely hit to deep left-center field that scored Clabaugh and Kupihea for a 2-0 lead. Everett answered in the top of the fifth on a Tyler McClain home run to cut OC’s lead to 2-1. Olympic took advantage of a mistake by the Trojans when Caleb Manual scored on a passed ball to make it 3-1.

But Everett kept it close as the Trojans scored in the sixth, 3-2, and then picked up a big hit on Nolan Smith’s two-run home fun for its first lead, 4-2.

Now down 5-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth after giving up another run, Olympic’s Clabaugh rallied the Rangers with a leadoff double to right and Kupihea reached on an error and Clabuagh advanced to third.

Koler got enough on a pitch from Everett’s Ayden Adams to send the ball deep enough to center field to score Clabaugh easily from third. Unfortunately, the Rangers weren’t able to bring in any more runs as Gabe Smith shut down OC in the ninth to preserve the 5-4 win.

“That’s the thing, they’re a good team,” Parker said of Everett. “And not that I think we did, but you can’t ever assume that it’s over. I don’t think we did that. You just have to continue to stay with the approach that worked and go from there.”

The biggest difference was the 14 runners left on base for OC. 

OC’s Jared Scott was tagged with the loss, despite giving up two earned runs in six innings with six hits and striking out five. Gunther finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs, Drew Gallegos had three hits and Clabaugh finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double.

Everett struck first in the second game, getting a run in the second on a RBI pop up to center field by Marcus McCannel off OC starter Kyler Olsen. 

Jared Scott of Olympic College pitches against Everett in an NWAC North Division baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Knights Field in Bremerton.  (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)
Jared Scott of Olympic College pitches against Everett in an NWAC North Division baseball game Saturday, May 4, 2019, at Knights Field in Bremerton.
(Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

But that would be it as Olsen shut down the Trojans getting them to hit into groundouts or pop up. Olsen went seven innings for the win, his second of the season, scattering four hits, one earned run, five walks and a strikeout. 

Olsen had some help from his teammates when Zachary Wong singled in Jacob Denney to tie, 1-1.

The Rangers came right back in the sixth after Gunther drew a walk and stole second before advancing to third on a balk. With one out, Gallegos reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Gunther for a 2-1 lead.

And that would be all OC needed. 

Kekoa Gabriel entered in relief in the eighth and pitched a two-hit shutout to secure the win.

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