Vikes take out the Spartans in season opener Monday

North Kitsap fastpitch team’s biggest strengths this year would be its mix of experienced seniors and talented sophomores.

POULSBO — Before the season even started, it was apparent that one of the North Kitsap fastpitch team’s biggest strengths this year would be its mix of experienced seniors and talented sophomores.

Sophomore and reserve player Melody Griffin drove home that point — literally and figuratively — when she broke open the deadlocked Bainbridge-North Kitsap opener Monday in the bottom of the sixth with a double to right center.

“We put (Griffin) on the spot and brought her off the bench,” Vikes’ coach Dan Kolda said. “She took one look at it and capitalized on the first pitch.”

“I had a ball right down the middle and I knew we needed to score some runs,” Griffin said. “So, I just put all my power behind it and swung away.”

The Vikings never looked back, beating the Spartans by a count of 4-1 and demonstrating “out of the gates,” as coach Kolda said, that North Kitsap will be a formidable mix of youthful talent and experience.

Viking pitcher Heather Case, league co-MVP a year ago, also took the opportunity to pitch a complete game, giving up only one run and striking out 10 batters en route to the win. She also went 2 for 3 at the plate, hitting a single and a triple.

“(Case) sent the message today that she’s ready to play ball,” Kolda said.

The win is also a reversal of season’s past, when Bainbridge has started with the upper hand, Kolda added.

“As an opening game Bainbridge has had something on us the last couple of years,” he said. “We really wanted to beat the mojo they had on us.”

Injuries to Bainbridge’s first and second hitters Amber Bond and Amanda Szarzynski didn’t help matters for the Spartans. Bond was hit in the elbow by a pitch in the first inning and Szarzynski was also struck in the elbow by an errant throw to third by catcher Alexis Hugar in the second.

“The distractions of the injuries … knocked us off a bit kilter,” said Bainbridge Coach Steve Nelson.

North came out firing from the start in the bottom of the first. After a Rachel Kramer walk, sophomore Coreena Stout hit a single through the gap at short to land the first Viking run. NK would eventually load the bases, but a force out at home with a ground out and strike out got the Spartans out of the inning.

Bainbridge struck back in the top of the second, with a single and stolen base by Hugar. Spartan Carrie Parsons took first on a North error that scored Hugar.

Both teams had their chances in the middle innings, but neither capitalized until North Kitsap’s 6, 7 and 8 spots came to bat in the bottom of the sixth.

Right fielder Molly McCluskey drew a walk to start things and off the bench came Griffin for the Vikings. Belting the ball to right-center field, the sophomore scored McCluskey all the way from first.

NK got insurance runs when Chrystal Camus layed down a bunt to score Griffin and Lindsey Ericksen later scored Camus from third. Bainbridge grounded out three times in the top of the seventh to end the ball game.

The North Kitsap fastpitch team will travel to Bainbridge Island and take on the Spartans for another contest today, beginning at 3:30 p.m. And the game plan for today’s game?

“We’re going to beat ‘em,” Griffin said.

More in Sports

NK's Angel Chavez (8), a junior forward, and Jackson Reeves (12) rush back to defend to keep Clover Park from scoring a breakaway goal. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
NK wins in soccer, softball

North Kitsap is still alive in the District 2/3 2A boys soccer… 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

Cade Orness had 7 assists in the game for third place.
NK boys place 3rd at state

Now that’s more like the Vikings North Kitsap fans know and love.… Continue reading