Port Angeles’ Natalie Robinson takes a pitch high and outside for a ball as North Kitsap catcher Kendall Becker collects the ball. Robinson had two hits, scoring one run and driving in another. She also was part of a double-play in the seventh inning that killed a Vikings’ rally. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

Port Angeles’ Natalie Robinson takes a pitch high and outside for a ball as North Kitsap catcher Kendall Becker collects the ball. Robinson had two hits, scoring one run and driving in another. She also was part of a double-play in the seventh inning that killed a Vikings’ rally. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

PREP SOFTBALL: PA secures No. 1 seed by beating Vikings 2-1

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles softball team got both a measure of revenge and more importantly, the No. 1 district playoff seed out of the Olympic League in a 2-1 tiebreaking victory over North Kitsap at Dry Creek.

The Roughriders got a three-hit performance from Heidi Leitz, who bounced back in spectacular fashion after North Kitsap rattled off 16 hits in a 15-5 win over Port Angeles just a couple of weeks ago. Leitz matched the Vikings’ Cerenity Fake pitch-for-pitch, as she also threw a three-hitter while striking out 13 Riders. Leitz struck out seven and walked just two batters.

The two teams came in to Monday’s extra game tied for the league championship with identical 13-1 records. The Riders beat North Kitsap early in the season in Poulsbo and North Kitsap returned the favor, beating the Roughriders 15-4 on May 2. Since that game, Port Angeles has won five straight.

“I play with seven or eight of their players on a travel team, so it felt great. We’re very competitive,” Leitz said.

“We came out really wanting to win this one. This game gives us a lot of confidence heading into district,” Leitz said.

“This game was great preparation for postseason. These are the kinds of teams you will see at district,” said coach Morgan Worthington. “[Fake] was tough, we but didn’t give up. If you don’t give up and swing the bat, good things can happen.”

The Riders also got some great defense all game long in gusty conditions with two plays in particular standing out.

The difference ended up being a clutch double in the bottom of the fifth inning by Kennedy Rognlien, who last week also hit a clutch home run in the sixth inning to beat a good Olympic team.

The Riders got their first run in the third inning without a hard hit ball against Fake. Leitz walked and pinch-runner Ali Money stole second. Lynzee Reid hit a grounder that was mishandled for an error to move Money to third. She then stole second base.

Slugger Natalie Robinson has had 25 extra-base hits this season, but her speed stood out in this game. She picked an RBI on a little nubber to second base. North Kitsap’s second baseman hesitated looking at Money heading home and then threw late to first base as the hustling Robinson beat the throw by a step.

The score remained 1-0 until the fifth when the Vikings broke through for a run with a single, a walk and another single. On a throw to home plate, catcher Abby Kimball ended the inning when she threw a Vikings’ baserunner heading to third base.

The Riders weren’t having much success against Fake, who mowed down batter after batter with movement and changing speeds.

With two out, Robinson got her second hit of the game, fisting a flare to shallow right field. Rognlien followed with her bomb down the left-field line to the fence, literally the only real hard-hit ball all game, and Robinson sped all the way home from first base.

The Vikings threatened in the seventh inning, getting a runner on base on the Riders’ only error of the game on a tricky fly ball in high winds. But Rognlien and Robinson turned a spectacular double play. The next Vikings’ batter hit a slow grounder to Leitz, who threw to Rognlien covering first base. She spotted the Vikings baserunner on second drifting too far off the base and fired the ball to Robinson, who tagged her out.

“At that point, the game becomes about defense,” Leitz said. “That was an amazing play.”

North Kitsap wasn’t happy with the call, but after an umpire’s conference, it was upheld. Leitz was able to get the final out on a groundout to end the game.

“They were very motivated. They are confident,” Worthington said. “They know no game is given to them and they have to work for every win.”

Port Angeles (18-2 overall) enters postseason as the No. 2-ranked team in the state in ratings percentage index. North Kitsap is No. 4 in the state and Sedro-Woolley is No. 1. The Riders can expect to see the No. 5 (Tumwater), the No. 6 (Franklin Pierce) and No. 10 (Olympic) teams at bidistrict.

The bidistrict tournament begins Friday at the Regional Athletic Conference in Lacey. Port Angeles will be a high seed and will just need to win its first game to qualify for the state 2A tournament. Seeding and opponent has not been announced as of press deadline. The Riders’ first game is likely at noon with the two semifinals games at 4 p.m. The championship and third-place games will be played at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Port Angeles 2, North Kitsap 1

NK 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 3 1

PA 0 0 1 0 1 0 x — 2 3 2

Pitching

North Kitsap — Fake 6 IP 3 H, ER, 13 K.

Port Angeles — Leitz 7 IP 3 H, ER, 6 K.

Hitting

North Kitsap — Blackwood 1-3, RBI; Dvoark 2-2, R.

Port Angeles — Robinson 2-2, R, RBI, BB, 2 SB; Rognlien 1-3, 2B, RBI; Money 0-0, 2 SB.

The Port Angeles softball team celebrates its 2-1 tiebreaking victory over North Kitsap on Monday at Dry Creek. The Roughriders will be the No. 1 seed out of the Olympic League. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

The Port Angeles softball team celebrates its 2-1 tiebreaking victory over North Kitsap on Monday at Dry Creek. The Roughriders will be the No. 1 seed out of the Olympic League. (Pierre LaBossiere/Peninsula News)

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