EAST BREMERTON — The Trojans were looking to build momentum going into a Friday showdown with Port Angeles after two and a half weeks without playing a game, and the players responded.
Olympic rapped out 11 hits and the pitching duo of Dani Snyder and Morgan Kroesser combined to allow three hits in a 9-1 triumph over North Kitsap.
“We are coming off two and a half weeks of no games, so our pitchers weren’t quite as sharp as we would have liked,” Olympic head coach Jessica Cabato said. “But they got the job done.”
Snyder threw the first four innings and gave up just two hits and walked one batter while striking out three. Kroesser pitched the final three and gave up a run on one hit and one walk.
“As we get into the postseason, our expectations of them will be a little higher,” Cabato added.
Snyder and Kroesser had some help — the Olympic defense was sharp and clean all game long. Allanah Mitchell made two highlight-reel catches in center field; one in the second to take away an extra base hit from Mackenzie Wagner, and a diving catch in the gap in the fourth to prevent one, possibly two, North Kitsap runs.
Even the routine plays, of which there were many — despite scoring only one run, North Kitsap put plenty of balls into play — were handled with poise, strength and confidence, especially on the part of third baseman Kaira Cabato and shortstop Kiki Mitchell, who saw a combined nine chances in the field.
Olympic’s first three hitters — Kiki Mitchell, Ashlyn Morris and Molly Gates — were a constant nuisance on the bases. The trio reached base 10 times in 12 plate appearances and scored eight runs. Mitchell reached twice on bunt singles and legged out a triple in the fifth; Gates walked three times and later drove in two with a double; and Morris picked up three singles and stole two bases.
Clean up hitter Katelyn Graf was the beneficiary, picking up three RBI. Morgan Kroesser, who batted sixth, went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI, and Snyder also drove in a run with a third-inning single.
“We’ve won a lot of our games off of big hits, “Cabato said. “This time we strung some things together, had a few more people involved and did not rely on the big bats as much.”
Lamara Villiard drove in North Kitsap’s only run in the sixth. Leadoff hitter Alicia Goetz singled and then advanced to second and third on wild pitches. Villiard then drove a single to right to bring her teammate home.
Olympic returns to the Fairgrounds today for a game in the Battle of Bucklin Hill rivalry with Central Kitsap, then welcomes Port Angeles from the Olympic Peninsula on Friday at 4:15 p.m. The Roughriders currently sit in first place, and the last time these two teams met, it was a sloppy, high-scoring affair.
Olympic 9, North Kitsap 1
NK 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 1 3 2
Oly 2 0 1 3 0 3 x — 9 11 0
WP: Snyder LP: Smith
North Kitsap — Smith 7 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 6 K.
Olympic — Snyder 4 IP 2 H, BB, 3 K; Kroesser 3 IP, H, R, ER, BB, 2 K.
North Kitsap — Villiard 2-3, RBI; Lawson 1-3; Goetz 0-2, BB, R.
Olympic — Gates 1-1, 2B, 3 BB, 2 RBI; K. Mitchell 3-4, 3B, 2 R; Morris 3-3, 2 SB, 3 R; Graf 1-3, 3 RBI; Kroesser 2-4, 2B, RBI; Snyder 1-3, RBI.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.