For six innings, North Kitsap was the better team in their home matchup against Port Angeles, but as has happened several times in the recent past, the Roughriders came from behind in their last at-bat to get the best of the Vikings.
North Kitsap led 4-1 going into the top of the seventh inning, but Port Angeles rallied to scored eight runs, erasing a strong pitching performance from Dalton Brockett and some timely hitting and good defensive plays.
“I thought we played a pretty darn good ballgame for six innings,” coach Jeff Weible said.
But, the coach continued, “We just kind of get tight, and we have a lot of self-doubt. We don’t play with a lot of confidence in that situation. And a good team like Port Angeles, they’re going to smell blood in the water.”
Brockett, North Kitsap’s junior southpaw, kept the Roughriders off balance for five innings. He gave up just three hits and two walks — one intentional — and kept them off the scoreboard until his final inning when Jacob Felton’s RBI-double fell just out of the reach of Will Butler’s full-extension diving effort.
“He’s not the type of pitcher that will overpower you, but when he changes speeds and mixes his pitches, he’s very effective,” Weible said. “He’s kind of like Marco Gonzales, and he did a great job tonight.”
Jaxson Gore also made a pair of sparkling defensive plays, having to go to his right and make jumps throws similar to the ones Derek Jeter made famous.
And the offense woke up in the fifth inning after the Roughriders scored their first run.
Colton Bower opened the frame with a long double to the left-centerfield gap that rolled to the fence. Butler followed suit and chased Bower home with a double to the same spot. Brockett came up with a runner in scoring position and rocketed a single to the outfield to extend the lead to 3-1. Zach Edwards was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the fourth run.
Noah Sorenson came on and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning and although North Kitsap stranded a couple of runners in scoring position in the bottom of the inning, they were just three outs away from victory.
But a couple of bad hops and tough plays turned into a barrage of hits and eight runs for Port Angeles in the seventh.
“Baseball is a funny game. You can play real good for six innings, and all of the sudden the wheels fall off in one inning,” Weible said.
There’s no doubt the Vikings are going through a rough patch. They allowed Central Kitsap to come from behind in the second game of their home-and-home series, and then had to play two games against Bainbridge. North Kitsap also played the front end of their home-and-home against Port Angeles on Tuesday and were ahead 5-0, but ended up on the wrong end of an 11-6 score.
“They know it was a bad game, and their spirits are down,” Weible said, “but we’re a way better team than we’re showing right now.”
The Vikings will get a few more opportunities to turn things around before the season comes ends. Next week, they have games against South Kitsap and Sequim, and there will be a small divisional tournament for the top four teams next Saturday at Central Kitsap.
“The sun will come up tomorrow, and we’re going to get to play another game,” Weible said.
Port Angeles 9, North Kitsap 4
PA 0 0 0 0 1 0 8 — 9 10 1
NK 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 — 4 10 3
WP: Hall LP: Sorenson
Port Angeles — Vaara 2.1 IP, H, 4 BB, K; Seibel 2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER; Hall 1.2 IP, 2 H, R, ER, BB, 2 K; Bradow IP.
North Kitsap — Brockett 5 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 2 BB, 5 K; Sorenson 1.2 IP, 6 H, 8 R, 3 ER, BB, 2 K; Z. Edwards IP, H.
Port Angeles — Felton 2-3, 2B, RBI; Meadows 2-4, 2B, 2 RBI, R; Soule 1-1, 2B, RBI, 3 R, SB; Hall 1-3, RBI, R; Vaara 1-3, RBI, R; Seibel 1-3, 2 RBI, R.
North Kitsap — Shipp 2-4, 2B; Butler 2-3, 2B, RBI, R; Bower 2-4, 2B, BB, 2 R, SB; Brockett 1-4, RBI, R; King 1-2, SB; Sorenson 1-2, 2 BB; Pugh 1-3.