POULSBO — Errors.
“That’s the game right there,” Vikings coach Jeff Weible said summing up North Kitsap’s 8-6 loss against rival South Kitsap Tuesday.
The Vikings didn’t do the little things they needed to do in order to come up with a victory, committing six errors and yielding six unearned runs as the Wolves edged to a win at North Kitsap High School.
“Sometimes there are good losses, and there are bad losses. This was a bad loss today for us,” Weible said. “(South) did what they had to do to win the game. They made the routine plays.”
In the bottom of the first inning, the Vikings jumped out to a 3-0 lead. North started the game with three consecutive hits, the biggest off the bat of senior Joe Benish (2 for 4, 3 RBIs). The steady senior catcher blasted a two-run home run over the wall in right field off of South Kitsap starter Brad Johnson, giving his team a three-run cushion.
“We jumped on them right off the bat,” Weible said. “We ended up letting them off the hook with all of the errors we had.”
The top of the second inning was probably one of the most dismal performances of season thus far defensively for the Vikings. When the it was over, they had committed four errors, allowed five runs (all unearned) and trailed South 5-3.
In the bottom of the second, North responded to the challenge knotting the contest at 5-5. Kyle Loescher scored North’s fourth run of the game when Derek Goodall (2 for 3) was caught in a pickle between first and second base. Loescher recognized he had an opportunity to score at the plate. He made a beeline toward home beating the throw from the shortstop with ease, cutting the Wolves’ lead to one run. Benish singled home Andy Smith, tying the game at five apiece later in the inning.
South took advantage of another North error in the top of the third, adding two runs to extend its lead to 7-5.
With one out in the top of third, Weible inserted Tyler Sullivan into the lineup to replace starting pitcher Kelly Wells. Wells had a decent showing, allowing just one earned run in 2 1/3 innings of work.
Sullivan immediately made his presence felt on the hill, allowing South to score just one run the rest of the way while racking up seven strikeouts. He kept the game close, giving North an opportunity to rally in the bottom of the seventh.
The Vikings trailed the Wolves 8-5 and had one last chance mount a comeback, and they made a valiant attempt.
The bottom of the order kept the Vikings alive. North’s eighth and ninth hitters reached base getting North back to the top of its order. Leadoff hitter Andy Smith placed a Texas leaguer type of fly ball that landed between South’s shortstop, left fielder, and center fielder. The timely hit scored Goodall from third base, slicing South’s lead to 8-6. After a Jesse Cummings strikeout, North stalwart Benish became the potential tying run at the plate. He ripped a line drive to the left side of the field but South’s third baseman snatched the potential double before it could leave the infield. South closer Collin Monagle got North’s Kramer Uvila to ground out to third base to end the game.
The Vikings host Mount Tahoma High School at 3:45 p.m. Monday at North Kitsap High School.