EAST BREMERTON — Rust and rainouts were no match for the competitiveness of Ryan Hecker.
North Kitsap’s senior ace quieted a potent Olympic offense, striking out 10 batters over five innings of work and allowing just one earned run in guiding his team to a 13-1 victory on April 18 in an important game that kept the Vikings’ perfect league record intact.
“Ryan’s obviously a pretty savvy, dominant pitcher,” North Kitsap head coach Jeff Weible said. “The weather has been a factor. We haven’t been able to get him on the mound for a while so for him to come out and throw an important game like this says a lot about him and his competitiveness.”
Hecker had only thrown four innings coming into the game against Olympic. He was injured during the basketball team’s state playoff game and a rainy two weeks in mid-April caused a number of postponements. But the University of San Francisco commit showed little tarnish against a good team.
“I felt good,” he said after the game. “I was a little sore getting to the end. It felt like I ran out of gas a little bit but I just pushed through it. I had great defense behind me and my catcher caught a great game … I thought it was an overall good performance as a team.”
His mistakes were few. Olympic generated its only run of the game on an RBI-single by Keaton Dean. Evan Turnquist had reached base with a one-out double to right field. Dean then drove him home with an opposite-field base hit.
In the first inning, Hecker stranded Elijah Trottman at second after the latter reached on an error and moved up on a passed ball. He fanned the next two batters to end the inning.
The Trojans threatened again in the fifth as sophomore Charlie Hennessey worked a leadoff walk. He then stole second and had Vikings shortstop Isaac Richardson not been there to dive far to his left for the wide throw, Hennessey may have very well made it to third. But Hecker induced two popouts and recorded another strike out to keep the Trojans off the board.
At the plate, North Kitsap was held scoreless until the third inning when Hecker helped himself with a two-run single, finishing 2 for 3 with the bat with two walks. Kyle Green also drove in three runs as part of a 2 for 3 game.
Unfortunately for Olympic starter Cale Dower, he didn’t have a lot of help in the field behind him. The Trojans commited four errors, which helped North Kitsap blow open the contest.
“He pitched well enough to give us a chance,” Trojans head coach Nate Andrews said, “but we just didn’t score enough runs.”
Dower exited the game after five, but things didn’t get any better for the Trojans as the relief pitchers struggled with their command. The last two Olympic pitchers combined to hit four batters and allow six runs to provide the final lopsided score.
“I was really proud of my kids of how unselfish we were about taking pitches,” Weible said. “We have a slogan on our team, ‘Value 90 feet.’ That’s what we mean about it; it doesn’t matter how you get that 90 feet—if you get walked or a hit or get hit by a pitch … obviously, it takes a little courage to stand there and get hit by a ball, but our kids did a fabulous job of that today.”
— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JMooreKDN.