North baseball embarks on Narrows Bay division in 2007

POULSBO — During the offseason, members of North Kitsap Viking baseball played in and picked up Babe Ruth state championships while some even made a trip to the Babe Ruth World Series. Now, they bring that confidence to the NK diamond. “They expect to win and they expect to be successful.That’s a big part of the game is just believing,” NK head coach Jeff Weible said. “A lot of them have put in the time and have earned the right to win.”

POULSBO — During the offseason, members of North Kitsap Viking baseball played in and picked up Babe Ruth state championships while some even made a trip to the Babe Ruth World Series.

Now, they bring that confidence to the NK diamond.

“They expect to win and they expect to be successful.That’s a big part of the game is just believing,” NK head coach Jeff Weible said. “A lot of them have put in the time and have earned the right to win.”

“The attitude is that we want to win,” said senior catcher Joe Benish. “We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got the sophomores and the junior World Series team. And we’ve got the speedster in Andy Smith. This year, it’s going to be a battle for varsity positions from the start.”

Not only will the Vikings fight for their place on the field, once there, each game will also be a test. Joining the Narrows Bay division this year, any slack has been pared from North’s schedule. Almost from the get-go the Vikings will be facing league opponents in each contest.

They start off the season at a non-league jamboree in Shorewood Saturday, followed by a trip to Foss High School in Tacoma March 13. Then the Vikes host Foss March 14.

Much of the 20-game season is set up in that fashion, as North will face most NL teams in a back-to-back doubleheader format. And while the new schedule has intensified and deleted match-ups with smaller schools like former Viking rivals Port Angeles, North looks forward to the challenge.

“(The league) is tougher but we’re actually more excited to have consistent competition,” Benish said.

While most of last year’s strength at the plate is returning, Benish said the Vikings will be minus slugger Jim Smith who hit six home runs last year. He will miss the season due to team rule violations. Weible is hoping the rest of the team will be able to pick up the slack, but that won’t be known until the Vikings take the field.

“Most of the guys we are counting on have probably gotten 10,000 swings in the off-season, but there’s nothing like coming out and hitting against a live pitcher,” Weible said.

Though the team has only been able to practice outside three times since the beginning of spring sports Feb. 28, the Vikings have plenty of pitchers to swing against.

Left-handed junior Jordan Tucker — who pitched on and off last season battling recurring injuries — will take the mound in earnest, Weible said, along with sophomore Tyler Sullivan and junior Jamaal Smith, senior Kelly Wells and a host of other potentials.

“We have a lot of pitchers,” Weible said. “I don’t know that we have any kid that will come out and just dominate a team, although I think a couple of them have that capability.”

And if they play to their potential, the Vikings also feel confident they have the ability to finish in the top realm of their division.

“I think it’ll be a race for the top-three spots,” Benish said. “We’ve just got to take it one game at a time.”

More in Sports

Hank Aaron, photo courtesy of Flickr
Remembering the Sports Icons who passed away in 2021

Hank Aaron, John Madden among those who died

Former North Kitsap High School three-sport standout Shawn Deeds (1989-91) will be inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame in February. Courtesy photos
Kitsap Sports HOF inductees announced

Includes NK 3-sport standout Shawn Deeds; 2001 Bainbridge LLWS team

North Kitsap reacts after Evelyn Beers hit the game-winning shot at the final buzzer. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK girls beat BI on final shot

At the end of the game, there were plenty of cheers for… Continue reading

Cade Orness (10) drives to the hoop and puts up a short runner against James Carey (23) of Bainbridge. Breno Oguri (11) and Everett Moore (21) also defend. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK demolishes rival Bainbridge

It was supposed to be the battle of the Titans. It was… Continue reading

Kingston’s Dakota Standley (12) drives the baseline against a Crosspoint double team. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photographs
Kingston gets by Crosspoint again

Twice last week the Kingston boys basketball team beat Crosspoint of Bremerton.… Continue reading

Baugh
Vikings makeVB all league

Bainbridge High School volleyball player Allie Wildsmith has been named the Most… Continue reading

Jonas La Tour of North Kitsap was the league MVP last spring. File Photo
Winter prep sports previews

North Kitsap boys basketball; Kingston wrestling

BI, NK face off Friday night

North Kitsap and Bainbridge Island’s boys basketball team face off in an… Continue reading

With the strong winds, Viking quarterback Colton Bower (2) was more effective running the ball in the first half. Here Quinn Knivila- Ruchie (52) and Jesus Mares (53) block for him. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photographs
Wind, rain, Lions knock NK out of playoffs

It’s hard enough to beat the second-ranked team in the state playoffs… Continue reading

Viking quarterback Colton Bower was named MVP, again, of the Olympic League. File Photo
Bower MVP, again; 11 others also honored

Gee, wonder who the Most Valuable Player is in the Olympic League… Continue reading

Logan Sloman catches a touchdown pass. Nancy Treder/File Photos
NK gridders advance to 2A state semifinals

North Kitsap High School is on its way to the state Class… Continue reading

Maddie Pryde is one of the standouts on the Viking team. File Photo
Anacortes knocks N. Kitsap girls out at state

North Kitsap’s girls volleyball team stunned Washington in three sets Friday in… Continue reading