Sarah Smith tossed a shutout against White River in the district tournament. North Kitsap won three of its four games to qualify for state. (Jacob Moore/Kitsap News Group)

Sarah Smith tossed a shutout against White River in the district tournament. North Kitsap won three of its four games to qualify for state. (Jacob Moore/Kitsap News Group)

North Kitsap returns to state tournament for the first time since 2006

The Vikings defeated Lindbergh, White River and Fife before falling to Port Angeles in the championship

LACEY — After a strong showing at the district tournament, the North Kitsap fastpitch team has qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2006.

The Vikings won games over Lindbergh, White River and Fife to reach the district championship game. Although they lost that match, 6-1, to Port Angeles, North Kitsap took home the No. 2 seed from District 3 and will face East Valley Spokane at noon on May 25 at Carlon Park in Selah in the first round of the 2A state tournament.

North Kitsap has showcased its offensive and defensive talent throughout the season, but it hasn’t always come together at the same time. The district tournament was an opportunity to show opponents that the team could piece it all together, and the players didn’t shy away from that opportunity.

The day started with a convincing 10-1 win over Lindbergh.

Junior pitcher Sarah Smith dazzled with her changeup as she punched out 11 in a masterful complete-game performance. The only Lindbergh run came home on an error in the sixth inning.

“We tried to hold off on throwing [the changeup] for a while just so hitters don’t get used to it,” Smaaladen said. “But once it’s on, it’s on.”

Alicia Goetz set the tone by leading off the postseason and the game with a home run. Teammate Lamara Villiard doubled in a run later that inning to give North Kitsap a 2-0 cushion.

And the defense behind Smith was otherwise sharp. Right fielder Kelsey Johnston spoiled a potential hit by diving forward and going down to the ground to reel the ball in for an out. Even Eagles fans tipped their caps for the spectacular web gem.

“It was a fabulous catch,” Smaaladen said.

Smaaladen picked Genevive “Gen” Keller as the offensive MVP of the game for the way she attacked pitches at the plate. Keller racked up singles in the fifth and sixth inning and then rapped a double in the seventh.

Smith went back to the circle in game two against an excellent White River team that annually does well at the district level — they had made it to state the previous seven years in a row. But on this day, the Hornets were no match for the Vikings as they took an extra-innings, 1-0, decision to clinch a state berth.

North Kitsap scored its only run of the game on a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Goetz led off with a single before freshman Brianna Hoffman moved her over on a sacrifice bunt. A passed ball gave Goetz third base. With one out, all she needed was a fly ball to score the go-ahead run. Iyreland Lawson delivered.

She sent a towering fly ball to the outfield that was more than deep enough to score Goetz. And just like that, the Vikings had the first and only lead of the game.

Meanwhile, Smith struck out four and the defense behind her once again excelled. The highlight was a gem by Goetz, who took a sure double away from White River’s Peyton Wallen in the right-center field gap as she leapt up to snag a line drive to end the game and cue the tears of joy.

Everyone in the dugout emptied onto the turf to celebrate. There was nothing but screams of excitement, joyful cries and smiles all around. It had been 12 years since North Kitsap was last represented in the state softball tournament.

“Oh my gosh,” Smaaladen said following the White River game. “It’s a little bit surreal right now.”

Without the pressure of needing to win, the Vikings were able to relax against Fife and came away with a 9-0 victory. Smith and Mackenzie Wagner combined to pitch the shutout.

The game featured a home run by Lawson that gave North Kitsap a healthy 7-0 lead. Smith and Wagner combined to strike out eight while the defense continued to flash the leather.

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap Daily News. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @JMooreKDN.

More in Sports

Makayla Stockman winds up to pitch for the Vikings. Steve Powell/File Photos
NK girls make it to state the hard way

Competitions took place last weekend to see who would advance to the… Continue reading

Senior catcher Colton Bower was a big reason for NK’s success this season. He will be on scholarship to play for Washington State University next year.
NK baseball stunned in 1st round at state

North Kitsap’s baseball team won over 20 games and only lost a… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading

NK baseball team keeps winning

North Kitsap The Vikings beat Columbia River in baseball 10-7 and Ridegefield… Continue reading

Kingston goalie Carter Krantz jumps up to make a save under crowded conditions against Olympic. Krantz and the Bucs shut out the visitors 1-0. Krantz’s booming kicks also were a powerful offensive weapon for the Bucs, keeping Olympic on the defensive side of the field. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston’s defense blanks Olympic in soccer

Kingston has a strong defense, and it needed every bit of it… Continue reading

Kaden Schaefer of Kingston signs a letter of intent to play college soccer, while brother Zander, 5, looks on with admiration. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Buc scores college soccer scholarship

Once Kaden Schaefer got to high school, he started to think maybe… Continue reading

Ian ‘J.R.’ Ritche
Outdoor prep sports spring into action

The Bainbridge Spartan baseball team returns one of the top pitchers in… Continue reading

Owen Scheer tees off for Bainbridge in a match at Kingston. Steve Powell/Bainbridge Island Review Photos
BI, Kingston split golf matches

Bainbridge In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Viet Tran of Kingston follows through on his second shot after missing the numerous sand trips off the tee on Hole 1 at White Horse Golf Club. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston splits golf matches against Bainbridge

Kingston In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Junior captain Elise Walters was the medalist for Bainbridge in the match against Sequim. Lucy Rector/Courtesy Photos
Defending champs start year with win over Sequim

The Olympic League defending champion Spartans started off the season last week… Continue reading