POULSBO — The Vikings returned to action after a two week break from games Wednesday. There was a little rust early, but they settled down and defeated third-place North Mason, 4-2, in an important league game.
Solid pitching and smart base running were the keys to victory against the Bulldogs. Leadoff hitter Jared Reister manufactured two runs with some savvy moves on the basepaths and Logan Chmielewski got the starting nod and tossed five solid frames.
“We ran the bases phenomenally today,” head coach Jeff Weible said. “I thought that was the difference in the win.”
Reister led off the game with a single and moved up to second on a wild pitch. He then forced an overthrow to get to third base and came home on another wild pitch to score the first run of the game. In the third, he was able to move up from second to third on a long fly ball hit by Issac Richardson and then again scored on a wild pitch.
Nick Alexander and Colton Bower each delivered RBI-singles to provide the rest of the offense.
“Those are little things that we focus on and talk about all the time,” Weible said.
Meanwhile, Chmielewski went five innings on the mound, giving up just five hits and two earned runs. He issued only one free pass, to the second-to-last batter he faced.
The lanky right-hander has the chance to earn some important innings as pitching depth becomes important the longer the season goes. A three-sport athlete, Chmielewski does not spend much of his year pitching, but spring break gave him some time to get into the swing of things.
“That gave me time to rest and get dialed in,” Chmielewski said.
Issac Richards came on in the sixth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. Bower also struck out a pair and earned the save with a scoreless seventh.
North Kitsap now has some momentum heading into Friday’s game with Port Angeles. Richardson, the team’s ace, is expected to get the starting nod.
The two teams are tied at the top of the Olympic League standings with 5-0 records. Memories of last year’s 9-8 loss to the Roughriders are still fresh in the minds of the returning players.
The Vikings lost their grip on a large lead in the final innings, though they were able to get some revenge with a 9-2 win over Port Angeles in the district playoffs.
“Going to PA is always tough,” Weible said. “Both games last year we had them beat and kind of imploded.”
North Kitsap 4, North Mason 2
NM 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 — 2 6 2
NK 1 1 1 0 0 1 x — 4 5 2
WP: Chmielewski LP: McCormick SV: Bower
North Mason — McCormick 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 5 K; Kimball .2 IP, K.
North Kitsap — Chmielewski 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 2 K; Richardson IP, 2 K; Bower IP, H, BB, 2 K.
North Mason — Kimball 1-4, RBI; Haegle 0-3, RBI; Deardorff 1-3, R; Collins 2-3, R; McCormick 1-3; Fisher 1-3, 2B.
North Kitsap — Reister 2-3, 2 R, SB; Alexander 1-2, RBI; Bower 1-3, RBI; Gowin 1-3, R; Schuchart 0-1, 2 BB; Brockett 0-1, BB, R.