NK grinds out victory against a formidable foe

POULSBO — The game of fastpitch comes naturally to North Kitsap’s Jenneke Oostman. The steady sophomore hurler had one of her best games of the season, but it didn’t show as she calmly walked off the mound after fanning the final Tides batter in the Vikings (6-1 overall) 4-1 win Narrows League rival Gig Harbor Wednesday afternoon. When it was all over, she’d pitched a complete game, fanning 10 Tides batters in the contest.

POULSBO — The game of fastpitch comes naturally to North Kitsap’s Jenneke Oostman.

The steady sophomore hurler had one of her best games of the season, but it didn’t show as she calmly walked off the mound after fanning the final Tides batter in the Vikings (6-1 overall) 4-1 win Narrows League rival Gig Harbor Wednesday afternoon.

When it was all over, she’d pitched a complete game, fanning 10 Tides batters in the contest.

Under sunny skies, Oostman showed the Narrows League what she was made of as she helped the Vikings to their sixth win of the 2007 season.

“The hardest thing is staying mentally focused and staying relaxed,” she said. “I took a lot of deep breaths and concentrated.”

Vikings coach Bill Hobaugh stuck with Oostman even though she was showing signs of fatigue down the stretch.

“We knew she was getting tired. We were hoping she would suck it up, and she did,” Hobaugh said. “She wanted to win. You could see it in her face.”

Oostman gave up eight hits in the game, but the defense behind her made sure they didn’t translate into a barrage of runs.

“I know I can depend on them,” she said. “That’s nice when you’re a pitcher.”

Hobaugh agreed with her assessment.

“We made the plays when we had to,” he said. “We have been working hard at practice and its paying off.”

Hobaugh said he was impressed with the squad’s ability to win a nail-biter against one of the premier pitchers in Washington.

“We just hung in there today,” he said. “We can win those close games and we did it today. Their pitcher (Elise Karscig) is one of the best pitchers in the state and we scored four runs on her.”

Jordan Jewett led that effort, going 2-for-3 (triple) and scoring two runs for NK. Jewett’s speed on the basepaths paid off in the bottom of the third inning.

With the Vikings clinging to a 1-0 lead, Jewett found herself in a pickle between second and third base after a Josie Ball ground ball to Gig Harbor’s third baseman. Jewett found way to get to third base, sliding safely underneath the third baseman’s tag. A few plays later Karscig threw a wild pitch, allowing Jewett to score from third to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.

Ball came up huge for NK, finishing the contest with 3 RBI. Her final RBI sealed the game for the Vikings. Ball ripped a line drive down the left field line in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Kendal Peiguss from second base and extending NK’s lead to 3-1. Hannah McCluskey doubled later in the fifth, scoring Ball for the Vikings’ final run.

The Vikings make the trek to Tacoma Monday, facing off against the Wilson Rams. Game time is slated for 3:30 p.m.