Vikings edge Wolves for first league win

POULSBO — The North Kitsap fastpitch team built a 5-1 lead against South Kitsap Monday afternoon, then watched the Wolves’ Cathy Kniess slash the lead to 5-4 with one swing of the bat. Don’t say they weren’t warned.

POULSBO — The North Kitsap fastpitch team built a 5-1 lead against South Kitsap Monday afternoon, then watched the Wolves’ Cathy Kniess slash the lead to 5-4 with one swing of the bat.

Don’t say they weren’t warned.

Vikings head coach Dan Kolda coaches Kniess on a travelling team, and he has watched the South Kitsap center fielder dismantle defenses with her bat before. “The key is to let her come to the plate with no one on base,” said Kolda, whose Vikings weren’t able to do that Monday afternoon.

Despite the threat by Kniess and the other Wolves, the Vikings used tight defense, timely hitting and a strong pitching performance by starter Shana McLaughlin to hold onto the lead and win 6-4.

The Vikings had built a 5-0 lead in the first four innings against SK starter Dawn Thomas.

Thomas retired the Vikings in order in the first inning, but hit a bump in the second when Jamie Heins dropped a single in front of the South Kitsap left fielder, then hustled to third when the outfielder let the ball skip by.

Heins came home when Melissa Allen rapped an RBI single; Allen came home herself after a single by Rachel Skinner advanced her to third and a Lisa Gilbert single let her run home.

The Vikings’ lead stood at 2-0 until the fourth, when they added three more runs.

McLaughlin, who manned the hill for NK , also helped at the plate by driving a double into right field to open the frame.

Katie Johnson, running for McLaughlin, scored on a single by Skinner; Skinner scored on a single by Stice; and Skinner scored on an RBI groundout by Heather Case.

With the Vikings lead now at 5-0, it was the Wolves’ turn to chip away.

In the fifth inning, they used a pair of singles and a North Kitsap error to lead the bases, then scored their first run when Jackie Binns, batting leadoff, coaxed a walk from McLaughlin.

A groundout helped ease the pressure, but then it was Kniess’s turn at the plate.

Kolda, who had coached the outfielder the weekend before the game, knew what kind of a hitter she was.

After she hit the triple deep into center field to make it a one-run game, he said: “We knew she was capable of that. She did it this weekend.”

But the Vikings responded. McLaughlin bore down in the sixth and seventh innings to shut out the Wolves, and Case added an RBI double — belting the ball over Kniess’s head — to add an insurance run.

The Vikings (4-2, 1-1 L) earned their first league win with the victory. The Wolves (4-2, 1-1 L) will host North Kitsap April 16.

Vikings coach Dan Kolda said Kniess’s big hit made it closer than the Vikings wanted, but he was proud of his team’s balanced attack: “There were lots of multi-hit players all through my lineup. That’s something we know about the team, that we can get big hits from anyone,” he said.

South Kitsap 0000400 – 4 5 2

North Kitsap 020301X – 6 12 3

Binns and Starkweather; McLaughlin and Brenda Stice. W – McLaughlin. L – Thomas. Leading hitters: North Kitsap, Brenda Stice, 2-4, Jamie Heins 2-3, 2B, Melissa Allen 2-3, Rachel Skinner 2-3, 2B. South Kitsap, Cathy Kniess 2-4, 3B.

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