JR Ritchie did a little bit of everything for Bainbridge in Wednesday’s game against North Kitsap.
The junior right-hander pitched five shutout innings, rapped two singles in his first two at-bats and, just for good measure, made a terrific diving catch at shortstop after his pitching stint was over.
Both he and his Spartans teammates were near-perfect in their 10-0 victory over the Vikings, their upset loss to Port Angeles two weeks ago firmly in the rear-view mirror.
“It’s been a tough couple weeks of practices,” Ritchie said. “We’ve definitely turned it around, picked up the energy a lot. We’re starting to fire on all cylinders so this is what we were supposed to be doing from the start.”
Bainbridge got on the board early, showing patience and discipline in a four-run first inning. Gabe Todd led off with a walk, and Ritchie followed with a single. Jasiah George drove in the first run with a solid base hit and a wild pitch and a passed ball helped bring across two more runs. Then Nate Deschryver followed with an RBI-single.
Meanwhile, the UCLA-commit Ritchie was able to keep the Vikings offense quiet. In five innings, he gave up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. Although North Kitsap did manage to get a runner into scoring position in each of the first three innings, Ritchie was able to get the big strikeout or induce the ground ball to allow his defense to make plays and get key outs.
The offense kept humming, adding two more runs in the second and three more in the fourth. A walk to Ritchie and a double from George set up Connor Sweeny’s sacrifice fly, and after Deschryver drew a walk, he took off for second while George broke for home and scored. Owen Rector then knocked in a run with a single, and it was 9-0. Deschryver’s second RBI of the day helped Bainbridge end the game an inning early in the sixth.
“We’ve been clean, we’ve had a lot of energy, and it shows,” Bainbridge coach Geoff Brown said. “I would say today was our best game of the season. Pitching, hitting, defense, the energy in the dugout, it was just a lot of fun to watch.”
The defense made plenty of solid plays, but got a web gem from Ritchie in the sixth. He swapped places with George, who pitched the final inning for the Spartans, and immediately got a line drive hit to him off the bat of North Kitsap’s Colton Bower. Ritchie quickly dove to his right to make the grab and take away a hit.
“Obviously, a lot of people know his talent on the mound, but a lot of people don’t necessarily give him credit for what he can do at shortstop,” Brown said. “I’m a firm believer that he could play shortstop at any Pac-12 school. He’s a special talent.”
The back end of this home-and-home matchup with North Kitsap continues Friday in Poulsbo. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.
Bainbridge 10, North Kitsap 0
NK 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 2 3
BI 4 2 0 3 0 1 — 10 9 0
WP: Ritchie LP: Bower
North Kitsap — Bower 2 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; Edwards 4 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
Bainbridge — Ritchie 5 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 8 K; George IP, 2 K.
North Kitsap — Gore 1-2, BB; Brockett 1-2; Knivila-Ritchie, 0-1, BB.
Bainbridge — George 3-3, 2B, RBI, 3 R; Deschryver 2-3, 2 RBI, R, SB; Ritchie 2-3, 3 R; Hadley 1-2, 2B, R; Sweeney 0-0, RBI, 2 BB, R; Rector 1-3, RBI.