Profile: North Kitsap All Stars pitcher Jayla Moon

Profile: North Kitsap All Stars pitcher Jayla Moon

North Kitsap’s Jayla Moon is on the mound, staring down another batter. Strike one.

LITTLE BOSTON — North Kitsap’s Jayla Moon is on the mound, staring down another batter.

She takes in a few deep breaths, then lets a pitch fly.

Strike one.

During practices and before taking the mound, you might catch her doing a little dance. “You never go up to the mound nervous,” she said.

Strike two.

“She’s just a great kid that works really hard,” her coach, Jordan Armistead, said. “The plays she has on the mound are something you just don’t typically see in a kid that young.”

Strike three.

Her hard work paid off on June 24 with a rare accomplishment in baseball or softball: A no-hitter. But here’s the kicker: Jayla’s perfect game occurred during an All Star tournament, featuring the best youth softball players in the Little League district. And it’s only Jayla’s second year on the mound.

Oh, and lest we forget: Jayla’s 10 years old.

“Twelve batters got up to bat, and 12 batters were struck out,” her mother, Mandi Moon, said. “Not many pitchers, in general, can say they’ve thrown a perfect game. It’s close to unheard of.”

Jayla also contributed at the plate in that game against Key Peninsula. Jayla hit a single, two doubles, and two triples. North Kitsap won the game in four innings, 32-0. (That is not a typo.)

North Kitsap followed that win up with a 26-1 defeat of Sequim on June 25 and a 14-2 win over Bainbridge Island on June 27. North Kitsap played Gig Harbor for the championship at 6 p.m. June 29 at Snider Park. Results were not available at press time.

“Her team is amazing,” Mandi Moon said. “They’ve been really successful this year and it’s super exciting.”

Of her daughter, Moon said, “What I love is she doesn’t realize pitching a perfect game is a huge deal. She’s a very amazing girl.”

Indeed.

Jayla has played softball for six years, and plays almost year-round with regular and select teams. Softball sometimes overlaps with her winter basketball schedule. She successfully juggles as many as four nightly softball practices with homework, family and friends.

Jayla started pitching last year. “I saw them pitching and I wanted to try it,” she said. “When I did, I just felt it.”

The second-year pitcher’s speed and accuracy have dramatically improved over her first season on the mound.

“She’s really competitive,” her mother said. “Every pitch almost, you’ll see her using focus techniques. She steps off the mound and takes a deep breath.”

Jayla is working on pushing harder off the mound to create more speed with her pitch. “It’s not all the arm,” she said of pitching. “It’s mostly your legs pushing off the mound.”

She wants to play for the University of Washington one day, and said the hard work is worth it.

“It’s about getting up every morning and doing good in our games,” she said. “It all pays off.”

Looking ahead to the championship game against Gig Harbor, Jayla was confident.

“My coach gave me an option to start or close the game,” she said. “I chose to close. I like to close the game so I know how the hitters will be.”

However, Jayla knows the game is about the team. “It’s about the teamwork. [And] I think our team’s pretty strong.”

Armistead said of the team, “In the time we’ve had, we’ve really come together. They’ve worked hard, battled the heat and responded quickly. It’s been really fun to be a part of.”

Wears ‘28’ for her late aunt

Jayla’s draws inspiration from Florida Gators player Delaney Gourley, but she plays for her late aunt, Sarah Jones, who passed away in October at the age of 28.

Jayla wears the number 28 on her jerseys and tank tops as a tribute to her aunt, who in high school played for the North Kitsap select team.

“My sister watched her games and helped with her pitching,” Moon said. “She was really close to her. Taking that passion with her to the field has definitely helped her.”

Jayla added, “I’ll be number 28 for the rest of my sports [career], because it’s special.”

— Sophie Bonomi is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Contact her at sbonomi@soundpublishing.com.

Profile: North Kitsap All Stars pitcher Jayla Moon
Profile: North Kitsap All Stars pitcher Jayla Moon

More in Sports

Sarah Hoyt delivers an RBI in the sixth inning of a 14-12 win over Gig Harbor. (Mark Krulish |Kitsap News Group)
South Kitsap outslugs Gig Harbor, 14-12, to improve to 5-0

South Kitsap’s bats have been hot all season long. Entering Monday’s game… Continue reading

Kendall Becker of North Kitsap is safe at home ahead of the tag against Port Angeles. Pierre LaBossiere/For the North Kitsap Herald
PA comes from behind to beat NK in softball

North Kitsap led or the game was tied most of the contest,… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Alyssa Cullen (front) takes the baton from Genesi Funston in the 4x200 relay. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK’s Cullen wins 4 events at meet with Bainbridge, CK

Alyssa Cullen may have lost out on her junior year track season,… Continue reading

Jaxson Gore (22) makes the throw to complete the double play against Central Kitsap. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Not pretty but NK beats CK 12-6

Friday’s matchup between two 4-0 teams wasn’t as clean as you’d might… Continue reading

Ty Orser rounds third to score the tying run for South Kitsap against Sumner. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
South Kitsap rallies past Sumner, 6-2

Strong pitching, sound defense and timely hitting — it’s a strategy as… Continue reading

Bainbridge's Damoni Mckenna-Greenawalt and North Kitsap's Angel Chavez sprint for a loose ball. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bainbridge boys shut out North Kitsap in soccer

Bainbridge broke open a fast-paced, physical match with North Kitsap in the… Continue reading

<em>Coach Ron Allen and the Piranha’s kick things off with some practice laps.</em>		Ken Park/North Kitsap Herald
Piranha’s return to Poulsbo pool

They swam outdoors, even went to Fife to train

Lillian Pruden puts a shot past the Kingston blockers during North Kitsap’s final volleyball match of the season. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK spikes Kingston in battle of top teams

North Kitsap and Kingston finished first in their respective Olympic League divisions,… Continue reading

Chandler Lindstrom catches a 63-yard touchdown for Central Kitsap against Sequim. (Michael Dashiell/Sequim Gazette)
Week 5 Olympic League Football Roundup

Bainbridge 28, South Kitsap 14 PJ Miller’s 2-yard touchdown run in the… Continue reading

Bainbridge running back Jack Mielke spins his way into the end zone in the Spartans’ 28-14 win over South Kitsap on Friday night. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bainbridge ends football season with romp over SK

Bainbridge legend Tom Paski and assistant coach John Fox once promised to… Continue reading

North Kitsap running back Kelly Wanzek bursts through the line during Thursday night’s win over Olympic. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
North Kitsap caps perfect season with victory over Olympic

Normally, an undefeated season ends with with a victory at the Tacoma… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Maddie Pryde tries to put a shot past Central Kitsap’s Allie Baldridge in Tuesday night’s match. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
North Kitsap falls to CK, will share top spot in Olympic League South

North Kitsap was looking to extend its perfect season on Tuesday night… Continue reading