POULSBO — The North Kitsap bats were quiet on March 21 against Olympic — the Vikings were shut out 5-0 by Morgan Kroesser and the Olympic Trojans.
Kroesser, a sophomore, went all seven innings and gave up just three hits. The Vikings played well defensively, but reached second base only once in the game.
That opportunity came in the third inning. A hit by Alicia Goetz was not fielded cleanly and the junior second baseman made it to second, but her teammates were not able to drive her in.
Junior infielder Makenzie Wagner did record two hits — singling once in the first inning and once in the sixth. Both times came when there were already two outs.
The Vikings shined in the field, though. Wagner made a terrific diving play in the first inning to take a hit away from clean-up hitter Kaytelin Graf; the Vikings turned a double play in the second inning to escape a bases-loaded jam; and Goetz made a pair of excellent catches in the sixth.
“[Goetz] does a really good job of handling the balls, and she knows the game so well,” NK head coach Jamie Smaaladen said. “We were thinking about pushing her [to shortstop], but the majority of the balls go to the right side. That’s where we needed her.”
On the mound, Sarah Smith and Wagner combined to strike out nine Olympic hitters, including a strike out of the side in the third and seventh innings.
“They have a really keen game sense,” Smaaladen said of her pitchers. “Our pitchers always battle. Always. And they work the ball in and out, and find what’s working for them.”
But the Olympic offense eventually got rolling.
Shortstop Kiki Mitchell led off the game for Olympic with a bunt single. She moved to second on a bunt, stole third and scored on a groundout. Mitchell led off the third with a double and then went to third base on a steal.
The speedy senior began the seventh with another single. This time, she stole second and third. A snap throw looked as if it was going to pick Mitchell off, but North Kitsap, committing their lone error on the day, allowing her to score for the third time.
“I have some speed in the top of my lineup,” Olympic head coach Jessica Cabato said. “We try to use them [to] test defenses and see how they handle that in the beginning of the game.”
In total, the Trojans tallied five stolen bases. Sophomore infielder Molly Gates also recorded a steal, though most fans are more likely to recall the mammoth homerun she hit to right-center field in the fifth, nearly hitting the stadium bleachers off in the distance for her second home run of the season.
“It got out of here,” Cabato said. “She can hit the ball well. She’s a strong girl … she’s been really consistent for us so far — and she’s a sophomore, so she’s going to do some big things.”
Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at email@example.com.