All Bremerton had to do to secure the number one seed in the District tournament was get past a team they beat twice during the regular season. That proved to be a tall order, though, as North Kitsap beat them on Friday to force a deciding game.
Bremerton started off strong, but a number of costly fielding mistakes in two poor innings helped North Kitsap beat the Knights to force a second playoff.
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.
North Kitsap showed its first 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.
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 Bremerton brought the Vikings back to bat where they tacked on three more runs to make it 6 to 2.
Bremerton wouldn't surrender. A line drive over the second baseman brought in a runner. Fultz followed right behind with a line drive of his own to right field.
All their effort seemed to be for nothing, though. With one out, the runner on second took too confident of a lead and was caught out in a pickle. Fultz' courtesy runner tried to take second base during the confusion but was caught out, ending a short rally by the Knights.
“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.
In the bottom of the sixth Bremerton was able to score a run when the Vikings' shortstop couldn't handle the hit.
The score was 6 to 4 in favor of North Kitsap heading into the final inning but Bremerton wasn't able to put any more points on the board.
“Give credit to North Kitsap. They've been here and done it,” Schorzman said.
The two teams will play a deciding game Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m.