Community Sports

Sports Beat | Peninsula baseball sweeps River Ridge

Posted on April 19th, 2024 By:

The Peninsula Seahawks (10-5, 7-3) baseball team climbed into sole possession of second place in the South Sound Conference on the strength of a pair of wins against River Ridge. The Seahawks came from behind to defeat the Hawks 4-3 on April 15 at Sehmel Field. They then dismantled River Ridge 11-0 in Lacey a day later in a game that ended after five innings due to the 10-run rule.

In the first game, River Ridge took an early lead by scoring two runs in the third inning off Peninsula starting pitcher John Browand. The Peninsula offense scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to claim a lead they would not relinquish.

Left fielder Matthew Saunders led the Peninsula attack by going 2-3 with a run and an RBI. Aden Deschenes and Kaleb Copeland each went 1 for 3 with a double.

Browand got the victory, giving up two runs while walking three and striking out six. Hayden Bundy earned a save by allowing just one hit and striking out two in the final two innings. The junior still hasn’t allow an earned run all season.

Peninsula sophomore Kaleb Copeland pitched a two-hitter with eight strikeouts to beat River Ridge. Photo courtesy Jon Dykes

Offense perks up

The Seahawks bats heated up in the rematch, pounding out 11 hits with four walks in only 25 at-bats.

The game started out as a pitchers’ duel. Seahawks ace Copeland, who also hasn’t allowed an earned run this year, found himself battling in a scoreless game through three innings. But Peninsula exploded for seven runs in the fourth inning and four more in the fifth to end the contest early and get back over the Narrows Bridge in time for dinner.

Copeland, a sophomore, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out eight River Ridge batters on his way to a complete-game victory.

Four Seahawk batters had multiple hits. Second baseman Isaac Schultz-Tait went 2-3 with an RBI and two runs; first baseman Matthew Sleeter went 2-3 with three RBI and a run; designated hitter Bundy went 2-3 with two runs and an RBI; and Johnathan Vergara-Dykes went 3-3 with two runs.

Upcoming schedule

The Seahawks are in a solid position to move on to the postseason. They still have two important series to finish the regular season: against Timberline next week and against-third place Gig Harbor on April 30 and May 1 at Sehmel Homestead Park.

But before that, the Seahawks have a big test against one of the South Sound’s best teams at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 20, against the 15-1 Stadium Tigers at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium.

The game against the Tigers features contrasting styles. The Stadium offense has been very good this season, scoring 174 runs in 16 games. But the Peninsula pitching staff and defense has allowed just 34 runs in 15 games. As they say, “something’s gotta give” in this much-anticipated match-up.

Capital pitchers shut down Tides

Capital (9-6, 9-1 SSC) swept two important games from Gig Harbor (10-8, 6-4) this week and may have the league title sewn up.

The Cougars beat the Tides 2-0 in Olympia on April 15 and 4-1 at Sehmel the next day.

The Tides mustered three hits in two games against a pair of talented Capital pitchers.

The Tides got solid pitching as well in both games. Riley Westfall allowed only two runs on six hits and a walk during a six-inning start in the first game. In the second, Cole Flowers allowed four hits and two unearned runs while fanning three with only one walk. The Cougars benefited from six stolen bases during the game.

The Cougars have already swept the season series against both the Seahawks and Tides, who are  in second and third place in the conference. Capital started the nonleague season 0-5 before winning nine of 10 games in the SSC.

Gig Harbor looks to get back on track versus North Thurston (7-8, 4-6) at 4 p.m. April 23 at Sehmel Park before traveling to Lacey for a rematch on April 24. If the Tides sweep the Rams, a two-game set against the Seahawks the following week will probably decide the second and third playoff seeds from the South Sound Conference.

Tides soccer eyes league’s No. 2 seed

The Gig Harbor (8-3) soccer team lost an important match to Central Kitsap, 2-1, on April 16 at Roy Anderson Field. The Cougars are a lightning-quick team with a solid defense who now have the inside track on a SSC title with their 9-0-2 conference record.

The Tides got a goal from Lucas Maharry off a Jack Learned assist, but it wasn’t enough. The Cougars held off Gig Harbor’s furious rally attempt in the final minutes.

Gig Harbor didn’t hang their heads for long. They faced the second-place Timberline Blazers on April 18. The Tides likely remembered the Blazers’ raucous celebration at Roy Anderson Field following a 2-0 win on March 26.

Lucas Maharry scored Gig Harbor’s goal against Central Kitsap. Photo by Bryce Carithers

The Tides defense got the last laugh and held firm in the rematch. Gig Harbor goalie Trey Crosby made several impressive saves and didn’t allow a goal against the Blazers’ high-octane offense. Learned blasted a shot into the back of the net to provide the game’s only goal.

The win gives the Tides a shot at the second-place playoff seed, which would ensure a home playoff opener. Timberline still has to play Central Kitsap on April 23. A rematch with the surging Peninsula Seahawks is also on the Blazers’ schedule.

Gig Harbor hosts Capital at 7 p.m. April 23 at Roy Anderson Field before taking on North Thurston in Lacey on April 25.

Gig Harbor and Peninsula face off April 30. The Tides won the first game against their rivals 3-0 on April 4, a game that was a lot closer than the score indicated.

Peninsula soccer settling in

The Seahawks are coming off a 5-1 victory against the Yelm Tornadoes on April 16 and are looking to clinch the SSC’ s fourth playoff position. They play at River Ridge on April 23 before returning home to face Timberline on April 25 and Gig Harbor on April 30.

The Seahawks found the nets early and often against the Tornadoes. Gus Adams scored twice and Daniel Holt, Colton Valencia and Logan Reum each had a goal.

Peninsula is fifth in the conference, but only two points behind North Thurston, a team the Seahawks beat 2-1 on April 18. In that game, Uffens scored two pretty goals to help keep the Seahawks in contention for the Class 3A state playoffs.

“The past two games we’ve played our best ball,” Peninsula coach Neil Chai said. “The players are gelling and the team is understanding their roles and how we need to play to win.”

The squad also got excellent play from physical center back Daniel Holt, a talented junior with thunder in his leg and an aggressive style. Seahawk goalie Kyler Moffitt is settling in to his role and dropping his goal per game average each contest.

“Out of my starting 11 only five are seniors … the rest are juniors or sophomores, so the future looks good for PHS soccer,” Chai said.

Peninsula center back Daniel Holt blasts a ball down field. Photo by Bryce Carithers