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Viking baseball guaranteed trip to Regionals
SILVERDALE — Though the North Kitsap Vikings have played only a single game in the 2A district baseball tournament, the team is guaranteed a trip to the regional tournament.
The Vikes defeated the Klahowya Eagles 7-1 Wednesday. The Vikes can seed no lower than fourth into Regionals, which precede the 2A state tournament. Regionals are May 18. The state tournament is May 24-25.
The district tournament continues Saturday with the Vikes playing Fife. The winner of that game will play either Sumner or Lindbergh for the district championship. The loser plays for third or fourth.
The Vikes earned a first-round bye into the district tournament by upsetting the Bremerton Knights — the Olympic League champions — in the Olympic League tournament May 3-4 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. Shane Crowell 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.
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.
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.
— Central Kitsap reporter Wes Morrow contributed to this story