POULSBO — The North Kitsap Vikings are good hosts, but they may have taken courtesy one step too far Wednesday afternoon.
The Vikings committed seven errors, including four in an overwhelming four-run sixth inning, and helped hand a win to the Port Angeles Roughriders, 10-3.
The miscues overshadowed a solid pitching performance by starter Peder Rauen, who gave up seven runs, only three of which were earned.
“We pitched well,” said head coach Steve Frease, who noted that reliever Chris Carlsen also pitched well in his inning-plus of work. “We just didn’t defend well.”
The Roughriders (4-0 L, 4-1 overall), one of the most potent offensive teams in the Narrows League, got off to a fast start by scoring two runs in the first inning. That inning was helped by an error in center field, the Vikings’ first of the game, but more followed. The Roughriders scored one run in the fourth and one in the fifth, then exploded for four runs in the sixth, aided by three errors in three at bats — a misplayed ball at shortstop, a fumble by an outfielder, and a miscue at third.
The errors damaged the effort of Rauen, who also struck out three Roughriders in his 5 1/3 innings, and of the offense, which was kept off base by Port Angeles starter Grant Smithson, who struck out nine Vikings.
The Vikings only scored one run while Smithson was on the mound; that was when Jacob Freiboth hit an RBI single in the fourth to score Brian Leibold, who earlier had bunted his way to first.
North also scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Patrick Gilbert hit an RBI double, and reliever Nick Borchers walked Freiboth with the bases loaded to briefly extend North Kitsap’s hope.
But the Vikings fell 10-3 to drop their record to 2-5-1.
Port Angeles coach Randy Steinman said, “We didn’t hit the ball as well as I’d like us to, but we capitalized when we had to.”
Steinman knows he always faces a tough test with the Vikings, but said the miscues tilted the game towards the Roughriders: “If a team gives us extra opportunities, we’ll take advantage,” he said.
Viking coach Frease was pleased with the pitching and a few fine defense plays the team did make, but he knows they’ll have to improve defensively to win more games.
“Port Angeles is a pretty good club,” Frease said. “They beat us because we didn’t take care of the ball.”