Community Sports

Peninsula wins district baseball title, Gig Harbor also makes state

Posted on May 12th, 2024 By:

The Peninsula Seahawks knocked off the state’s No. 1-ranked Class 3A baseball team, the Kelso Highlanders, 2-0 in District 3/4 baseball action to advance to the district title game on Saturday, May 11.

Later Saturday, Peninsula defeated Stadium, 5-4 to win the district title.

The Seahawks earned the No. 12 seed into the Class 3A state tournament. They begin state tournament play at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18, against No. 5 West Seattle at Edmonds-Woodway High School.

The Seahawks got a huge pitching performance from Kaleb Copeland, who went the distance and shut out the potent Kelso offense. It is unclear if the Seahawks have ever defeated a state No. 1 in baseball before.

Copeland’s clutch outing and the Seahawks’ defensive performance should be remembered for it as Kelso entered the game at 19-1. Copeland stranded nine Highlander base runners in the complete-game win.

The Seahawks’ athletic, springy defense features vacuum-like infielders and quick outfielders. The defense committed only one error under a difficult, blazing sun.

The Seahawks’ Matthew Sleeter smashed a double and a single, knocking in one run and scoring another. Matthew Saunders got a hit, walked and scored a run and designated hitter Thomas Cardinal went 2-3 with an RBI.

Peninsula celebrates its win over No. 1 Kelso on Saturday, May 11. Photo by John Dykes

Tides shut out Capital, advance to state

Gig Harbor also punched a ticket to the state tournament with a 3-0 win over Capital on Saturday.

The WIAA seeded the Tides 16th in the 20-team Class 3A state tournament. Gig Harbor’s first state game is at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, against No. 17 Mercer Island at Foss High School.

The Cougars were the South Sound Conference regular season champions, but Gig Harbor silenced them behind a big performance from pitcher Riley Westfall and the Tides’ talented defense. Westfall allowed only two hits in 6 2/3 innings. Closer Josh Dunham got the game’s final out.

Daniel Porras went 1-3 with a clutch single that scored Cooper McCutcheon for the game’s first run. Hunter Payne also drove in a run for the Tides. Cole Krilich walked and scored a run and Wesley Bonnici pounded a base hit and also scored a run for the surging Tides.

Riley Westfall of Gig Harbor pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings to help the Tides qualify for state. Photo by Bryce Carithers