Vikings bounce back, drop Abes

North Kitsap might be sitting pretty atop the Narrows League standings right now, sporting a 10-2 record most teams dream of. But it hasn’t been as easy as it looks. The Vikings stayed busy during spring break, topping rival Central Kitsap 7-2 Tuesday before stumbling to an 8-1 loss to the Cougs at home Wednesday. The up-and-down week jumped back up with a big 13-0 blanking of Lincoln (1-8) on the road Thursday.

North Kitsap might be sitting pretty atop the Narrows League standings right now, sporting a 10-2 record most teams dream of. But it hasn’t been as easy as it looks.

The Vikings stayed busy during spring break, topping rival Central Kitsap 7-2 Tuesday before stumbling to an 8-1 loss to the Cougs at home Wednesday. The up-and-down week jumped back up with a big 13-0 blanking of Lincoln (1-8) on the road Thursday.

Before the game against Lincoln, Weible said the Abes were a team that NK should beat.

“It’s a team where on paper, we should win,” Weibel said.

But nothing has been a given for the Vikings, despite the team’s strong record and solid play this season.

“It just depends on which team shows up,” Weibel added. “We challenge the kids every day to come in with a good mental approach. Sometimes they don’t. We’ve got to come in ready to go.”

But trouble came recently, with four members of the team who won’t be ready to go for some time as they were suspended for a rules violation that occurred over spring break, involving alcohol. North had already lost one of its players for the year in a separate rules violation at the beginning of the season.

“We’ve got some kids that got in a little hot water with some bad decisions,” Weibel said. “But we’ll get some of them back. They had choices to be with the team or not, and they made the decision not to be.”

The length of the most recent players’ suspension will be determined by the NKHS principal and athletic director, Weible said. They will be meeting Monday to begin the process.

“It could be the whole season, it’s just really not appropriate for me to (say) because it involves alcohol,” NKHS athletic director Trish Olson said Friday. “All we’re looking at is that its a suspension.”

Playing without the suspended players in Tuesday’s win, the Vikings held a slim 2-1 lead against the Cougars (4-5) for much of the game, breaking it open late, including 4 runs in the top of the seventh.

Catcher Joe Benish was stellar as usual both behind the plate and at it, going 2-2 with 3 runs, a homer and 2 RBI. He also earned a walk and was hit by a pitch. Andy Smith and Jesse Cummings each went 2-4, with Smith drubbing a home run and 3 RBI while Cummings added a run.

From the mound, Kelly Wells got the win for the Vikes.

Wednesday was a different story however as CK starter Andrew Duke, a senior in his first year of pitching, went the distance, scattering 7 hits and a single run.

“You’ve got to give credit to them,” Weibel said. “Their pitcher did a nice job. He threw good solid balls and got out of jams. Every time we got something going. It just wasn’t in the cards today.”

Duke was ecstatic with the win not only because it was his first complete game, but that it game against a team as good as North Kitsap.

“I never thought I’d go the whole game against North,” Duke said. “When I saw the rankings, it was pretty intimidating. But I settled down.”

The loss was a tough one for the North to swallow.

“We were kind of lackluster,” Weibel said. “We just couldn’t get anything going. But we’ll bounce back. That’s the good thing about this game; you get to play tomorrow.”

The Vikings took advantage of that opportunity in drubbing Lincoln for 12 runs in the first three innings of a make-up game Thursday. Junior JV call-up Justin Roulanaitis threw a one-hit shutout for NK, striking out five in his debut.

It’s performances like Roulanaitis’ that keep Weible optimistic.

“At the beginning of the season, if you asked me if we’d be (9-2) after the first (11), I’d say I’ll take ‘em,” he said. “We’re still in a pretty good place.”

North Kitsap is now off until Tuesday, April 17 when the Vikes will host rival South Kitsap at 3:45 p.m.

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