Viking fastpitch gathers momentum into Spring Break

POULSBO — North Kitsap fastpitch played three games in three days this past week, leading up to a brief hiatus for spring break. NK will be back in action April 11 when it hosts Gig Harbor. Wednesday, the Vikings utilized an offensive deluge, coming from behind on two different occasions to beat Bellarmine. Thursday, they held on for a close win in a non-league game against Olympic. Friday, NK traveled to Olympia, but results were unavailable at press time.

POULSBO — North Kitsap fastpitch played three games in three days this past week, leading up to a brief hiatus for spring break. NK will be back in action April 11 when it hosts Gig Harbor.

Wednesday, the Vikings utilized an offensive deluge, coming from behind on two different occasions to beat Bellarmine. Thursday, they held on for a close win in a non-league game against Olympic. Friday, NK traveled to Olympia, but results were unavailable at press time.

In each of the contests, the budding Vikes showed signs of maturity, head coach Bill Hobaugh said.

“We have to build on our confidence,” Hobaugh said. “They have always had confidence in themselves, but now they are starting to believe.”

With a physical and mental foundation firmly in place, assistant coach John Ball said now it’s a matter of the team developing a collective killer instinct.

“They need that nastiness,” Ball said.

Wednesday against Bellarmine, slender center fielder Jordan Jewett was powerful at the plate as she led a 17-hit barrage for NK. Jewett collected four RBIs, going 2-4 with a double and a triple.

Bellarmine struck first in the contest with three runs in the top of the third. North responded with two in its half of the inning. Then in the fourth, the Vikings rallied with three runs, but Bellarmine answered with three of its own in the top of the fifth.

And that’s when North had enough. On the strength of a six-run fifth inning, the Vikings boosted themselves to the 12-6 Narrows League win, improving their NL record to 2-1.

Josie Ball and Laurel Patton were big at the plate — each hit 3-4. Krishelle Welch had two hits and an RBI.

In the field, North was also sound with three double plays.

“That was our goal yesterday was to have no bad innings, and that was our goal again today,” Hobaugh said at Thursday’s match-up with Olympic.

And the Vikings prevailed. After a contest that featured stiff defense, the final score read 2-1 in North’s favor.

“Being prepared mentally is almost more important than being prepared physically,” said NK catcher Hannah McCluskey. “The more prepared you are the luckier you get.”

North’s sophomore hurler Jenneke Oostman came quite prepared to Thursday’s match-up with Olympic as she pitched a complete game, two-hitter with eight strikeouts. Signs of maturity are stronger in Oostman than nearly any of her other teammates, Hobaugh said.

“She’s just a sophomore, we’ve got to remember that, she gets nervous,” Hobaugh said. “I told her, ‘When you’re nervous, just take a step back and take a breath.’ And she did it, she’s maturing.”

Inline with her confidence at the mound came poise at the plate for Oostman who went 2-3 on the afternoon. Fellow sophomore Jordan Chargulauf also hit 2-3 while Jewett went 1-2 with an RBI in the early going.

“The biggest thing in this one is that we proved that we can win close games,” Hobaugh said. “Every other game has been wild.”

Following Spring Break — March 30-April 6 — the Vikings will be back on the diamond hosting Gig Harbor at 3:30 p.m. April 11. Then NKz will face the Narrows Bridge division leaders Wilson on the road April 16 before hosting the Bridge No. 2 South Kitsap at 3:30 p.m. April 20.