Viking fastpitch hits a rough spot against Klahowya

North Kitsap player Jordan Chargualaf watches as a ball sails past during home action Monday against Klahowya.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
North Kitsap player Jordan Chargualaf watches as a ball sails past during home action Monday against Klahowya.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

POULSBO - The North Kitsap fastpitch squad gave Klahowya's Kazandra Holliday a run for her money Monday, but efforts to overcome a nine-run deficit ultimately fell short, as the Vikings lost 10-5.

After the game, North Kitsap head coach Bill Hobaugh tried to focus on what his team did well.

"I try to build on the positive things," he said. "We're making improvements. [Holliday] is supposed to be the best pitcher in the league, and we got five runs off her."

The Eagles started slowly Monday, leaving a pair of runners stranded in the first two innings before scoring their first points in the third. The inaugural run came across the plate when, after a single by Klahowya's Jolyn Bowling, North Kitsap starting pitcher Jenneke Oostman walked three batters in a row. After two wild pitches and two more walks, the Eagles led 3-0 and Hobaugh decided to send Jordan Chargualaf to the mound and moved Oostman to third.

"She [Oostman] got dehydrated and she couldn't throw a strike," Hobaugh said of the shift.

Chargualaf got the Vikings out of the inning without giving up another score, but would surrender six additional runs in the next two innings. Going into the bottom of the fifth, Holliday and the Eagles had a nine run cushion. After striking out the first two batters, though, Holliday began to show signs of fading. She loaded the bases on three straight walks, and the Vikings saw an opportunity to exploit the pitcher's exhaustion. Ali Marks came home on a wild pitch, which was followed by a Chargualaf double to drive in a second run. After Oostman singled for two more RBI, the Viking deficit had gone from nine to five points.

A rejuvenated Oostman returned to the hill in the sixth to try and redeem her team, and struck out the side. North drove in an additional run on hits by Heather Martin and Justina Garcia in the bottom of the inning, but Jacqui Hornbeck, who replaced Holliday, would allow nothing further. Oostman struck out three more in the final inning, but not before the Eagles squeezed out one last run. Despite the impressive final two innings, Oostman was less than enthusiastic regarding her overall play.

"That wasn't a very good game to watch," she said.

"That's what happens when you've got a young team," Hobaugh added. "We've got some good young players, but our mental errors are killing us."

The Vikings play at Sequim Wednesday, before returning to Poulsbo to host Port Angeles Friday at 4 p.m.

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