Vikings memorable fastpitch season comes to a close

TACOMA — No one can accuse the North Kitsap Vikings fastpitch team of being intimidated. After falling 6-1 against Graham-Kapowsin in its first game of the West Central District Tournament on Friday at Sprinker Recreation Center, North showed its mettle in a loser-out game against Wilson later in the day, defeating the Narrows League champion 5-2. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Kentwood eliminated North from the postseason via a 6-3 victory on Saturday afternoon.

TACOMA — No one can accuse the North Kitsap Vikings fastpitch team of being intimidated. After falling 6-1 against Graham-Kapowsin in its first game of the West Central District Tournament on Friday at Sprinker Recreation Center, North showed its mettle in a loser-out game against Wilson later in the day, defeating the Narrows League champion 5-2. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Kentwood eliminated North from the postseason via a 6-3 victory on Saturday afternoon.

Despite being eliminated, Vikings coach Bill Hobaugh said he was proud of his team’s performance this season. North finished with an overall record of 15-6.

“These are great girls,” he said. “In a few years people will hear many great things about what these girls have done academically as well as athletically.”

In the Vikings’ loss to Graham- Kapowsin, they committed four errors and only finished with five hits.

“We didn’t hit the ball well, and all of the runs they scored were unearned,” Hobaugh said. “We came out pretty flat.”

Jordan Jewett and Hannah McCluskey had two hits apiece for North.

The Vikings’ next game was a do-or-die affair. The winner of the contest would live to play another day, the loser would go home. North refused to fold under the pressure, capturing a 5-2 victory against the Wilson Rams to extend its season.

Sophomore Jenneke Oostman rose to the occasion, pitching a complete game while surrendering just two runs and five hits against one of the premier teams in the state.

“It was the first time we have beat Wilson in a long time,” Hobaugh said. “Jenneke probably pitched her best game of the season. She kept their hitters off balance the whole game.”

Oostman benefited from North’s potent offensive attack in the top of the first inning. Josie Ball smacked a triple deep into the right field, scoring Jewett from first base giving North an early 1-0 lead. Following the triple, umpires ruled that a Wilson infielder interfered with Ball while she was on the basepaths, resulting in Ball being awarded a trip to homeplate, handing North an early 2-0 lead.

In the top of the seventh, North was clinging to a 3-1 lead until Laurel Patton ripped a triple to right field, scoring Ashley Tobin and Kendal Peiguss extending North’s advantage to 5-1.

“That hit gave us some breathing room,” Hobaugh said.

Patton led the hitting parade for North going three for four with 3 RBIs against Wilson.

But North’s bats didn’t come alive against Kentwood on Saturday afternoon.

The Vikings fell into an early hole and couldn’t get out. Kentwood got off to a sizzling start, putting up three runs in the top of the first en route to a 6-3 victory.

“They scored three runs in the first inning and had four hits. Three of those hits were infield hits,” Hobaugh said. “The ball wasn’t bouncing our way.”

Hobaugh said his team had plenty of opportunities to score.

“We had our chances but we didn’t come through with the big hit when we needed it,” he said. “We had a lot of players on base throughout the game.”

Jewett had three hits and Tobin and Peiguss had two hits apiece for the Vikings in its final game of the 2007 season.

Hobaugh said his team didn’t hang their heads after the season ending loss.

“We walked off of the field as team with class like we have done all season long,” he said. “We kept our heads up and stayed together.”

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