Community Sports

Sports Beat | Peninsula’s Baurichter wins league tennis title

Posted on May 16th, 2024 By:

Peninsula’s McKenna Baurichter defeated all of the top South Sound Conference tennis players to win the girls singles championship at the league finals on May 10 and 11 at Central Kitsap High School in Silverdale.

Baurichter went 13-1 during the regular season to post the South Sound Conference’s best record, but was inexplicably seeded third at the league championships. The seeding didn’t seem to bother the smooth sophomore with the dependable serve.

“I am not too concerned about where I’m seeded at league,” she said. “I just take one match at a time and always give my best effort.”

McKenna Baurichter of Peninsula won the South Sound Conference girls singles championship. Photo by Bryce Carithers

Her best efforts saw her win four matches over two days to earn the conference title. Baurichter is a patient player who operates primarily on the baseline and has the stamina to run all day long. That stamina came in handy as the temperatures climbed into the 80s during both days of the tournament.

Baurichter frequently changes the pace of play with moon balls, lobs or cut shots to move her opponents around. Once she gets a player out of court balance, she strikes topspin forehands for crisp winners.

Next up is the District 3/4 tournament on May 16 and 17. As a top seed from the SSC, Baurichter drew a No. 5 seed in the first round and will need two wins at districts to advance to the state championships.

Other local district qualifiers

The Seahawks doubles team of Lyndsay Kilcup and Margaux Mayer also advanced to districts despite losing an early match. They won the back side of the draw to finish fifth and lock up a spot at districts.

The Gig Harbor doubles team of Abbey Clark and Avery Fowler finished fourth in the SSC to earn their spot at districts.

Gig Harbor’s Lauren Pitt finished third in the SSC singles draw and has a chance to advance to state as well with her serve-and-volley game. Pitt seems to play better when she is aggressive and coming to the net. She has plenty of pace on her ground strokes and a good chance to advance to state.

Tides baseball eliminated at state

The Gig Harbor baseball (15-12) season ended with a 13-1 loss to Mercer Island in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament at Foss High School on May 14.

The Tides defeated the Islanders 4-0 on March 16 and were confident coming into the postseason rematch. But the Islanders hit the cover off the ball, played effective defense and got stellar pitching on their way to victory.

The Tides had some bright spots during the season and looked to be on the rise, winning two of three from Peninsula earlier this month to earn the No. 2 seed to districts from the SSC. They qualified for state with a 3-0 win over Capital on May 11.

The Tides say goodbye to seniors Josh Dunham, Cole Flowers, Justin Grande, Rylan Heckman, Cooper McCutcheon, Nick Lang, Tristan Schaefer, Riley Westfall and Cutter Peterson.

Peninsula faces West Seattle on Saturday

The Peninsula baseball team received a first-round bye in the state tournament thanks to their 5-4 district championship victory over the Stadium Tigers on May 11. Junior Hayden Bundy pitched effectively for three innings to earn the victory against Stadium.

Seahawk senior Michael Tellez went 3-4 with two RBI and a run scored against the Tigers.

Peninsula won the 16-team district title despite being seeded eighth. They drew the No. 12 seed at state, three spots behind the Stadium team they beat twice this season.

Michael Tellez of Peninsula went 3-4 with two RBI to help the Seahawks win a district championship. Photo by Bryce Carithers

The Seahawks open up play against fifth-seeded West Seattle (18-5) at Edmonds-Woodway High School at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 18. A win would advance the Seahawks to play against the winner of a game between Blanchet and Mountlake Terrace later Saturday.

“It’s definitely going to take a lot (to advance), but we have a solid bullpen with lots of firepower from our starters and a very solid defense behind them,” Peninsula center fielder Isaac Schultz-Tait said. “If we can keep our at bats positive and get on base in clutch spots, I think our team can go far.”

PHS lacrosse in state quarterfinal match

Peninsula lacrosse (11-5) defeated Mount Spokane, 12-9, in the first round of the state tournament on May 11. The Seahawks play at Ballard at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in a state tournament quarterfinal.

Senior Robby Akulschin led the Seahawks against Mt. Spokane with five goals. Goalie Tyler Givot came up clutch with 21 saves.

Akulschin led the Puget Pierce League and was fourth in the state in scoring with 41 goals this year. Junior Nathan DeLong was second on the team in scoring with 19 goals.

Holtzclaw upsets Ward in javelin

Several local competitors won South Sound Conference championships on Thursday, May 9. Among them was a surprise winner in the javelin, where Peninsula’s Grace Holtzclaw upset Gig Harbor’s Lydia Ward’s bid to repeat as conference champ.

The seniors went back and forth before Holtzclaw’s throw of 118 feet, 4 inches landed a thumb-length further than Ward’s 118 feet, 2 inches. Gig Harbor senior Jocelyn Gregory finished third with a throw of 111 feet, 3 inches.

Gig Harbor sophomore Lejla Carlsson finished second in the 800 meters with Elektra Higgins of Peninsula 1.2 seconds behind her in third place. Higgins came back to win the 3,200 meters in an impressive time of 11:00.82 over the Tides’ Taylor Sletner, second in 11:05.20. Gig Harbor’s Karin Heikkila, who is making a name for herself as the sophomore, flew over the 300 meter hurdles to win the conference title in 46.86, which was only one second behind the all time conference record.

Fink wins another title

Senior Ayden Fink of Gig Harbor ran 22.30 to add the 200 meter title to the 400 meter championship he won earlier. Gig Harbor sophomore DJ Darling was third in 22.99. Senior Preston Fradet won the 3,200 meters for the Tides in 9:44.16. Teammate Joey Campbell finished third.

Peninsula’s Tyler Posey finished second in the 300 meter hurdles in 42.63 after previously claiming the long jump title. Seahawk senior Gabriel Paradiso finished third in the discus with a throw of 138 feet, 1 inch. Gig Harbor’s Tyler Harrington launched himself to a second place finish in the pole vault with his 12 foot effort.

All of these athletes and others have qualified for the upcoming West Central District meet at Kent Meridian High School and will be looking to advance to Star Track, the WIAA state championships, May 23 through 25 at Mount Tahoma High School.

Water polo teams make state

The Gig Harbor girls water polo team defeated Peninsula, 12-6, on May 9 at the Gig Harbor pool. Elise Huston scored four goals to lead all scorers. Both teams qualified for the state tournament, which starts May 24. Gig Harbor is seeded third and Peninsula is seeded sixth.

Players from both schools made all-conference teams. Gig Harbor’s Frances Benson was named first team while teammates Kia Sawyer and Alexis Tojo were named to the second team. Honorable mention players were Peninsula’s Dominique Scholoman and Reid Every and Gig Harbor’s Bridget Oates.

WNBA club cuts injured Maxwell

Former Gig Harbor and Gonzaga basketball player Brynna Maxwell, the 13th overall selection in the 2024 WNBA draft by the Chicago Sky, suffered an unfortunate knee injury in early May. The Sky waived the former Tides state champion just two days before the regular season started.

The polarizing cut exposed the cruel realities of sports on the professional level. Maxwell was talented enough to be selected as one of the best in the world and with rehabilitation should earn another chance at the WNBA.