Sports Beat: Strong group returns for Gig Harbor golf
The Gig Harbor boys golf team, looking to improve on an eighth-place showing at state last spring, returns several talented golfers and adds a promising freshman.
Shane Henderson is in his 11th year coaching the Tides — eight years coaching the girls team and three with the boys. As a local teaching professional, Henderson has coached many of his players since they were kids in PGA junior leagues at Meadow Park and Chambers Bay.
Henderson and the Tides began practice last week at their tricky home course, Madrona Links.
“I am extremely pumped about this team,” Henderson said. “I don’t know if I could be more excited. These guys put in a lot of work in the off-season and it shows. At tryouts we had 12 players averaging 45 or under for nine holes and our top four players averaged a 39 or better.”
The Tides return four players with state experience, including junior and team MVP Chet West. They also added freshman Theo Snyder, who is going to make an impact right away. He finished tied for second at tryouts, only a few shots behind first place.
West “is a smart player that can hit it long off the tee and has a great feel around the green. He rarely ever has a blowup hole,” Henderson said. “Theo Snyder has been bombing it off the tee and has great control with soft pitch shots. Captain Zavier Feasey-Allen as well as Colin Morkert are very well rounded players with strong mental games. Rylan Coovert has really improved his iron play and course strategy.”
Capital provides Gig Harbor’s main competition for the South Sound Conference crown. The Cougars won the 2022 league championship and finished second at districts, just ahead of the Tides. But Gig Harbor came on strong to finish ahead of the Cougars at the state tournament.
Baseball teams shut out in openers
Both local baseball teams opened up against tough non-league opponents this week. Peninsula lost 10-0 to Class 3A power Mercer Island at Sehmel Park on Monday, March 13. Gig Harbor lost at Class 4A juggernaut Richland, 7-0, on Saturday March 11.
Several key Seahawks graduated from last year’s league championship team. But coach Michael Johnson is optimistic about his team and thinks they will eventually gel and compete for the league title.
“Our senior group, Payton Knowles, Troy Buchanan, Aidan Klumker, David Takehara, and Reece Brown are ready to lead this team with several new faces,” Johnson said. “Sophomores Matthew Saunders, Matthew Sleeter, Jonathan Vegara-Dykes, and Isaac Schultz-Tate have all earned roles on the field early in the year. Fellow sophomore Jackson Thomas is also proving to be a primary arm on our pitching staff.”
The no non-sense Johnson is a players’ coach who can be seen all over town during the offseason wearing Seahawk green and supporting his players in other sports. He is a tireless worker who has steadily guided the Seahawks to the top spot in the SSC.
“For the first time in a decade we are defending a league title. Some have asked if we feel an added pressure because of that and the truth is, we do not,” he said. “Instead, we continue to control the things we can, we bring our very best attitude and effort to the field each day and we go to work together.”
Fastpitch: Peninsula, GH fall
The Peninsula Seahawks fastpitch team opened the season by drubbing Auburn Mountainview, 11-1. The Seahawks play at Curtis at 4 p.m. Friday, March 17.
The Gig Harbor fastpitch team had their bats working on March 15 against Decatur, but the Tides’ pitchers didn’t have their best stuff. The Tides lost to the Gators of Federal Way, 17-8. The Tides look to rebound against South Kitsap at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 18 at home.
The defending league champion Peninsula Seahawks won their boys soccer road opener against Mount Tahoma, 2-0. Central Kitsap, typically one of the top teams in the South Sound Conference, spoiled the Seahawks’ home opener on March 16, winning 4-0.
The Gig Harbor boys soccer team opened with a 3-1 win over South Kitsap on Tuesday March, 14. The Tides also won their league opener, 12-0, over Yelm on March 16.
Peninsula LAX opens with win
The Peninsula lacrosse team opened the season with an 11-9 loss to Bonney Lake on March 15. Junior Robby Akulschin led the team with four goals while senior goalie Ryder Clarke had 21 saves.
The Seahawks play at Bainbridge Island on Monday, March 20, and then return for their first home game against Stadium High at 7 p.m. Friday, March 24.
- The Gig Harbor girls water polo team dominated a jamboree competition on March 19, outscoring three opponents 30-5.
- The track jamboree that opens season every year starts at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 17, at Peninsula. The girls and boys track teams from both local schools will compete.