POULSBO — It was all about the number 17 for North Kitsap.
Seventeen days had passed since the Vikings took the field and they erupted for 17 runs in their mammoth victory over Bremerton, including a long fourth inning in which they sent 17 batters to the plate. It was more than enough to secure a victory and a season sweep of the Knights on April 16.
North Kitsap’s first 13 batters reached base during that lengthy inning, eventually scoring 12 runs en route to the 17-3 victory. And much of the damage was done in two swings off the bats of Peter Klos and Kyle Green.
With the bases loaded and nowhere to put him, Klos clobbered the ball to left-center field. Everybody scored, including Klos himself, who, after sliding into third base on a triple, jumped up to sprint home on a throwing error.
The following two batters reached base to bring up Green. He unloaded for a monster three-run dinger to left field. When the ball left his bat, there was no doubt it was going to clear the fence.
“I didn’t even know I made contact,” he said after the game. “It felt amazing.”
The Vikings have a tradition of passing a kraken (helmet) to whoever they thought was the player of the game after each game, win or lose. Klos, who had possession of the kraken for the last 17 days, passed it on to pitcher Jordin Robbins for his five-inning, three-run performance on the mound.
“I felt good,” Robbins said after the game. “My arm has been a little shaky this year and now that I got a chance to start, it was feeling great … I just went out and hucked.”
Robbins lost just one batter to a walk in the fifth inning. That was to Bremerton cleanup hitter Hector Infante, who stole both second and third base. The junior came home on a throwing error. However, the proceeding two hitters recorded outs to solidify North Kitsap’s mercy win.
The final score was eerily similar the previous contest these two teams played when the Knights suffered a 16-1 loss on March 16. Until the offensive explosion in the fourth inning, though, the game was much closer.
Bremerton senior Preston Jones gave up five runs in the second inning, but escaped damage in the first and third. Although his command was certainly not as sharp as he would have liked, he worked hard to keep his team in the game. Jones was relieved after surrendering a few hits, a walk and committing a balk to begin the fourth inning.
“He’s one of the hardest-working guys we’ve got,” Knights head coach Steve Dickey said. “[Jones] is just a sponge … There wasn’t a whole lot of hard contact off of him until late. I was impressed with him, I thought he had a pretty good outing.”
Offensively, though, Bremerton seemed to have made strides since the last time it took on the Vikings, as was noted by both head coaches. The Knights have cut down on their strikeouts and made solid contact far more frequently. They ultimately recorded six hits off North Kitsap pitching and scored three times — twice in the third and once in the fifth.
“We’ve been working hard on offense, shortening our swings and making contact,” Dickey said. “Today, we only had four strikeouts where at the beginning of the season, we were double-digit strikeouts all day long.”
The Vikings now prepare for a home matchup against Olympic High School. When these two teams previously played each other, NK won a close, 3-2 ballgame on a walk-off double by Tucker Gowin. Tensions were high, Klos said, and he expects another competitive contest when the two clubs meet for a 4:15 p.m. first pitch on April 18.
North Kitsap 17, Bremerton 3
BM 0 0 2 0 1 — 3 6 2
NK 0 5 0 12 x — 17 12 3
WP: Robbins LP: Jones
Bremerton — Jones 3 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 6 BB, 2 K; Isenhart 1/3 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB; Harmeling 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
North Kitsap — Robbins 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
Bremerton — Infante 2-2, BB, 2 R, 2 SB; Jones 1-3, 2 RBI.
North Kitsap — Richardson 2-3, BB, RBI, 3 R; Green 2-3, HR, 5 RBI, 2 R; Hecker 2-3 HBP, RBI, 2 R; Gowin 2-2 BB, RBI, R; Schuchart 1-3, RBI, R; Robbins 0-1, 3 HBP, RBI, R; 2-4, 3B, BB, 3 RBI, 2 R, SB; Fisher 0-2, 2 BB, 2 R.