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

Jonas La Tour of North Kitsap was the league MVP last spring. File Photo
Winter prep sports previews

North Kitsap boys basketball; Kingston wrestling

With the strong winds, Viking quarterback Colton Bower (2) was more effective running the ball in the first half. Here Quinn Knivila- Ruchie (52) and Jesus Mares (53) block for him. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photographs
Wind, rain, Lions knock NK out of playoffs

It’s hard enough to beat the second-ranked team in the state playoffs… Continue reading

Viking quarterback Colton Bower was named MVP, again, of the Olympic League. File Photo
Bower MVP, again; 11 others also honored

Gee, wonder who the Most Valuable Player is in the Olympic League… Continue reading

Logan Sloman catches a touchdown pass. Nancy Treder/File Photos
NK gridders advance to 2A state semifinals

North Kitsap High School is on its way to the state Class… Continue reading

Maddie Pryde is one of the standouts on the Viking team. File Photo
Anacortes knocks N. Kitsap girls out at state

North Kitsap’s girls volleyball team stunned Washington in three sets Friday in… Continue reading

Colton Bower. File Photo
N. Kitsap hosts state playoff game Saturday

14th seeded Shadle Park will face No. 3 seed Vikings

The North Kitsap boys basketball team celebrates after pulling off an improbable comeback in the semifinals in the 2A state tournament against Lynden. (File photo)
Krulish: A look back at my 4 years in Kitsap

After a little over four years covering high school sports, and occasionally… Continue reading

Colton Bower’s 299-yard, six touchdown performance on Friday night helped him break the North Kitsap record for passing yards in a season. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Bower sets NK passing record in win over Kingston

Colton Bower is one of the last players you’ll ever hear talking… Continue reading

North Kitsap’s Maddie Pryde tips a shot past two Bainbridge defenders. The Vikings defeated the Spartans on Tuesday night to split their season series and share the top spot in the Olympic League. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
NK beats BHS to share top spot in Olympic League

The North Kitsap volleyball team never forgot about its first loss of… Continue reading

Review file photo 
The Bainbridge HS girls cross country team, shown here taking off during a league meet at Battle Point Park, took home the Olympic League championship last week.
Spartan girls XC win Olympic League title

The Spartans girls cross country team cooked up the same recipe for… Continue reading

Olympic’s Joshua Gauyan evades the defense of Port Angeles’ Jeremiah Hall on Friday night in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Prep Football: Week 8 roundup

Sequim 33, Kingston 20 The Bucs opened the game with a successful… Continue reading

Central Kitsap running back Kouper Hall went over 1,000 rushing yards for the season against North Thurston on Friday night. He had 304 yards and four touchdowns in the 61-7 win. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Central Kitsap’s big win over North Thurston helps push for playoffs

The Central Kitsap High football team had a whole lot of time… Continue reading