POULSBO — Tucker Gowin got his pitch and didn’t miss it.
The sophomore designated hitter was hunting for a fastball and found one in a clutch moment. Gowin’s second double of the game scored Max Larsen from first base and gave the Vikings a 3-2 walk-off victory over Olympic.
Larsen led off the final frame with a walk; after Kyle Green hit a deep fly ball to center that was run down by Olympic’s Taylor Andrews, Gowin stepped to the plate. On the second pitch, he blasted a ball into the left-center field gap that nearly cleared the fence. Larsen turned on the jets, rounded third and headed home. He scored standing up and the celebration was on.
“I was little nervous he was going to get thrown out at the plate,” Gowin said. “But he’s quick so we were good.”
Olympic had tied the game in the top half of the inning — Logan O’Neil opened the stanza with a double down the right field line. One batter later, he was brought home on a single by Kylen Pereira.
It was one of the few times in the game starting pitcher Isaac Richardson had been in trouble on the mound. Richardson, who has started every game for the Vikings this season, scattered eight hits and struck out six over the course of his 6 2/3 innings.
“He’s put in a lot of work, he’s a junior now, it’s kind of his time and he’s really dedicated to the game,” North Kitsap head coach Jeff Weible said.
The junior hurler has been thrust into the ace’s role — at least temporarily. Reigning Olympic League MVP Ryan Hecker is due back soon after suffering an injury during basketball season. Also missing is Jared Reister, who will not play at all for North Kitsap this season due to an injury. But Richardson said he simply gets ready to go whenever his number is called.
“It’s no big deal to me,” Richardson said. “I’ve been putting in work with [assistant coach Jared] Prince in the offseason since freshman year, and I just come out and compete.”
Richardson kept the Trojans at bay over the first four innings, allowing just one walk and three hits while the Vikings jumped out to a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Gowin pulled a line drive into the right-center field gap to score Larsen and give North Kitsap a 1-0 lead. Logan Chmielewski scored on a throwing error in the fourth to extend the lead.
Olympic got on the board in the fifth on an RBI-single by Brayden Buchanan. Richardson had allowed singles to O’Neil and Evan Turnquist, but got two quick outs and looked as though he would escape the inning damage-free. But Buchanan lined a solid single to right field to cut the deficit in half.
North Kitsap 3, Olympic 2
Oly 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 — 2 8 1
NK 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 — 3 4 2
WP: Storm LP: Dower
Olympic — Dean 2 IP, H, R, 4 BB, K; Dower 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, ER, 4 BB, 5 K.
North Kitsap — Richardson 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, BB, 6 K; Storm .1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.
Olympic — O’Neil 2-4, 2B; Periera 2-4, RBI; Turnquist, 2-4; Buchanan 1-4, RBI.
North Kitsap — Gowin 2-3, 2 2B, BB, 2 RBI; Larsen 0-2, 2 BB, SB; Robbins 1-3; Klos 1-3.