SILVERDALE — The Bremerton Knights varsity team missed out on their chance to secure the No. 1 seed into the West Central District III tournament.
The North Kitsap Vikings defeated the Knights May 3 and May 4 during the Olympic League Tournament, earning a first-round bye into the District tournament. The tournament was held at the Kitsap Fairgrounds.
The Vikings won the first game 6-4, followed by a 16-3 win May 4.
The Knights started strong against the Vikings May 3, but a number of costly fielding mistakes in two poor innings helped the Vikings beat the Knights to force a game.
Bremerton pitcher Eli Fultz dominated the early innings, putting the first six batters down. He gave up a single in the third inning, but escaped unscathed, until the top of the fourth – then things started to go south.
The Vikings showed their signs of life in the top of the fourth inning. The Vikings got a man on third and brought him in to score with a deep single down the first baseline.
From there things picked up significantly for the team from the north through a combination of strong hitting and poor fielding on the part of Bremerton.
At bat for the Vikings AJ Milyard went 1-4 and earned one run and one RBI; and Shane Crowell, who went 2-3, with one run and an RBI.
Milyard was the only pitcher to step on the mound for the Vikings. Milyard struck out eight and allowed eight hits. He walked three.
Later in the inning two runners were caught at third simultaneously. One shot toward home and the fielder attempted to cut him off – the ball beat the runner home, but he evaded the tag as he slid around the catcher into home to score the tying run.
North Kitsap would score once more to take the lead before the close of the inning when the cutoff man dropped the transfer from right field toward home.
A short bottom of the inning from the Knights brought the Vikings back to bat where they tacked on three more runs to make it 6-2.
The Knights sent one runner home in the bottom of the fifth and one in the sixth.
“All games like this are going to have a couple transition points, where you've got to be able to handle their attack and counter-attack,” said Bremerton head coach Steve Schorzman May 3.
“Give credit to North Kitsap," Schorzman said. "They've been here and done it."
The Vikings kept the momentum going May 4, when they outscored the Knights 16-3.
The Vikings earned seven runs in the first three innings, three more in the top of the fifth, and six in the top of the seventh.
North Kitsap's Ben Tamm was the winning pitcher, striking out seven, allowing four hits and three runs. He walked three.
At bat North Kitsap's Fisher earned five RBIs and one run. TJ Jensen earned four RBIs and three runs.
The Vikings are preparing themselves for a 7 p.m. game, May 8, at the Fairgrounds against the winner of the Orting Cardinals/ Klahowya Eagles game. The Cardinals and Eagles play May 7.
The Knights play in the first round of the District tournament against Franklin Pierce, May 7, in a loser-out game.
The Vikings and the other 12 teams are competing for a seed into the Regional tournament, which precedes the 2A State tournament. Other teams competing from the Olympic League include the Olympic Trojans and Port Angeles Roughriders.
Final: NK 6, Brem 4
NK 000 330 0 — 6
Brem 110 011 0 — 4
Battery — NK: AJ Milyard (W) and Connor Green. Brem: Eli Fultz (L), Beau West and Zach Zurbrugg.
Top hitters — NK: Kyler Gracey 1-3, 1R; AJ Milyard 1-4, R, RBI; Shane Crowell 2-3, R, RBI; Adam Lemmon 1-3, 2RBI. Brem: Matt Noll 2-4, R; Theo Robinson 1-4, R, RBI; Eli Fultz 3-4; Zach Zurbrugg 1-2, R, RBI.
Final: NK 16, Brem 3
NK 133 030 6 — 16
Brem 102 000 0 — 3
Battery — NK: Ben Tamm (W), Shelden Parris and Connor Green. Brem: Casey Winderl (L), Theo Robinson, Nick Torres and Zach Zubrugg.
Top hitters — NK: Kyler Gracey 3-5, 3R, RBI; TJ Jensen 3-4, 3R, 4RBI; Matt Fisher 3-4, R, 5RBI.
—Bremerton Patriot reporter Wes Morrow contributed to this story.