EAST BREMERTON — North Kitsap lives to fight another day after rallying for six runs in the final three innings against Eatonville.
The Vikings trailed 3-0 until the bottom of the fourth inning when the offense finally put two runs on the board and then took the lead with a four-run sixth inning to advance to a winner-to-state game at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Franklin Pierce against Sequim.
They nearly lost a golden opportunity to score in the sixth after loading the bases with no one out. Leadoff hitter Jared Reister hit a bullet right at the shortstop and then Isaac Richardson popped out.
But junior third baseman Chris Schuchart stepped up and delivered a two-run single to give his team the lead. Kyle Green then followed with another base hit to bring in two more.
“Chris has been pretty solid all year long,” said head coach Jeff Weible. “He’s a guy you want up in that situation.”
Richardson settled down after two shaky innings. He allowed a leadoff walk and then back-to-back doubles in the first inning as the Cruisers scored the first run of the game, but then induced a groundout and picked up two strikeouts to end the threat.
From the third inning on, Richardson allowed just two hits and no runs. He finished his complete game performance with ten strikeouts.
Eatonville took a 3-0 lead thanks to a couple of fielding errors. The first two batters of the second inning laid down bunts that were mishandled by the North Kitsap defense. One run would then come in on a fielder’s choice and then Richardson walked Jarod Humphrey with the bases loaded.
“We made some really bad mistakes on bunts and base running, a couple of times, was not real good,” Weible said.
But following that bad inning, the Vikings more closely resembled the team that went 15-5 in the regular season.
Tucker Gowin led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk and moved up to third on a Colton Bower double. Logan Chmielewski drove home one run with a single and Jared Reister scored Bower with another base hit, drawing North Kitsap within a run.
Saturday’s game against Sequim will see the winner get a 2A state playoff berth and move on to a 2:30 p.m. game against the winner of Steilacoom-White River for seeding. The loser’s season will be over.
North Kitsap 6, Eatonville 3
EA 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 — 3 5 1
NK 0 0 0 2 0 4 x — 6 11 2
WP: Richardson LP: Wiklund
Eatonville — Wiklund 5.2 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K; Hanly .1 IP, H.
North Kitsap — Richardson 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, ER, 3 BB, 10 K.
Eatonville — Wiklund 1-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Humphrey 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Lucht 1-3, R; Storm 1-3, RBI.
North Kitsap — Schuchart 2-4, 2 RBI, R; Green 2-4, 2 RBI; Reister 2-3, RBI, BB, SB; Chmielewski 2-3, RBI, R; Richardson 1-3, 2B, BB; Bower 1-3, 2B, R.
South Kitsap eliminated from district tournament in 2-0 loss to Kentlake
PUYALLUP — The Wolves received a strong pitching performance from P.J. Moritz, but were held scoreless by the Kentlake duo of Anthony Elston and Colton Baker. The loss brings their 2019 season to an end.
Moritz deserved a much better fate. He pitched all seven inning and gave up just three hits and two unearned runs. The junior right-hander also didn’t walk a batter and struck out 13.
South Kitsap loaded the bases in the first inning with two outs, but could not bring a run home. Duarte opened the bottom of the sixth with a double and was able to get to third with one out, but was again stranded.
Kentlake 2, South Kitsap 0
KL 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 — 2 3 0
SK 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 2
WP: Elston LP: Moritz
Kentlake — Elston 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 5 K; Baker 2.2 IP, H, 3 K.
South Kitsap — Moritz 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 13 K.
Kentlake — Larson 2-3, 2B, R; Elston 1-2; Engman 0-3, R.
South Kitsap — Canton 2-3; Duarte 1-3, 2B; McKlosky 1-3; Fazio 1-3.