Community Sports

Sports Beat | Thomas earns first win as Peninsula baseball coach

Posted on March 14th, 2024 By:

The Peninsula baseball team got their season started on the right foot with a dramatic 6-2 road win over the Bellevue Wolverines on March 12.

The Seahawks held a 1-0 lead for five innings behind the pitching of Grayson Ford, who allowed only one hit with two walks and three strikeouts over four innings in his team’s season opener.

The Wolverines got a run off Seahawk reliever John Browand to tie the score going into the seventh inning. But any Bellevue momentum was short-lived, as the Seahawks exploded for five runs in the seventh.

Browand pitched three innings, allowing three hits, three walks and two earned runs with two strikeouts.

The Peninsula High baseball team opened the season with a 6-2 win at Bellevue. Photo by Meredith Wilkinson Browand

New coach

It was the first win for new Seahawks coach Matt Thomas, who was the Peninsula JV coach for five seasons and also coached several seasons with the Narrows Baseball Club.

Thomas said he is approaching the job with “excitement and eagerness to learn. There is so much that goes into this job, both on and off the field. I have just been trying to enjoy the learning process and do the best I can for the team.”

Thomas takes over for Michael Johnson, who led the Seahawks to a South Sound Conference championship in 2022 but now works as an assistant coach at the University of Puget Sound.

“Hard work and focus on the field, and in the classroom, are key to the team’s success,” Thomas said. “If you are slacking in either, it is a detriment to the team success. I emphasize situational hitting and team at-bats. Doing the little things will bring team success.”

First baseman Matthew Sleeter was Peninsula’s offensive star against Bellevue, going 3-4 with a run scored and one driven in. Right fielder Michael Tellez went 2-4 with an RBI, as did shortstop Pete Browand. Luke Rogers drew two walks in as many at-bats and scored twice.

The Seahawks host the Decatur Gators at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at Sehmel Park.

Tough early schedule for Tides

The Gig Harbor baseball team opened with a 10-6 loss to Curtis from the 4A South Puget Sound League on March 13.

Gig Harbor junior Cole Krilich and freshman Zach Smith each had two hits, a double and two RBI to lead the Tides.

The Vikings scored six runs on six hits in the third inning against Tides pitcher Riley Westfall to break the game open. Westfall allowed seven hits and nine runs (six earned) in four innings.

The Tides outhit the Vikings, 8-7, and drew seven walks. But the Vikings played solid defense with two double plays and no errors.

Gig Harbor coach Shane Hanon put together a challenging non-league schedule to prepare his team for conference play.

The Tides travel across the state to face another Class 4A powerhouse, Richland, at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16, before facing Mercer Island at 1 p.m. the same day. Both games will be played at Richland High School.

Gig Harbor returns home to open South Sound Conference play against Yelm at Sehmel Park at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Eagles soar over Seahawks

The Peninsula fastpitch softball team ran into an experienced and powerful opponent on March 13, when the Graham Kapowsin Eagles hit three home runs and played lights-out defense in 19-2 win on Peninsula’s home field.

The Seahawks won the Class 3A state championship in 2023 behind great pitching, snappy defense and powerful hitting. Unfortunately, those same adjectives described the Seahawks’ opponent on March 13.

The Seahawks had some bright spots. Right fielder Mira Sonnen scored early thanks to her aggressive base running. Peninsula loaded the bases the following inning but were unable to crack the code against an Eagle pitcher who was throwing heat. The Seahawks didn’t strike out a lot and made solid contact, but wherever they hit the ball, the aggressive Eagle defense was there.

The Seahawks returned to action quickly. They played at Olympia at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 14, before going up against Pe Ell/Willapa Valley at 5:15 p.m. Friday, March 15, at Auburn Riverside High School.

Peninsula opens conference play at Yelm at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19.

Tides start 0-2

The Gig Harbor fastpitch team has also experienced a tough non-league schedule, opening with a 23-5 loss to Class 4A North Creek of Bothell. The Jaguars pounded out 21 hits in the game and scored nine runs in the second inning on March 11.

The Tides then lost to Lake Washington, 15-10, on March 13. The Kangaroos are one of the top programs in the state and won the Class 3A state title in 2022.

Gig Harbor hosts Port Angeles at 6 p.m. Friday, March 15.

TAC honors two locals

The Tacoma Athletic Commission recognized two local swimmers on March 11.

The organization chose Grant Huston of Gig Harbor as its boys swimming and diving athlete of the year after he won Class 3A state championships in the 100 and 200 yard freestyle races. Peninsula’s Jonah Bergerson was a nominee after he set a school record in the backstroke and finishing fourth at the state championships.

The Tacoma Athletic Commission honored Gig Harbor’s Grant Huston and Peninsula’s Jonah Bergerson. Photo courtesy Gig Harbor swimming

Everybody into the pool

Both local girls water polo teams are gearing up to start play and hoping to build on successful seasons last year. The Tides finished fifth in the state in 2023 after an overtime loss to Bainbridge Island. The Seahawks, behind the strength of six seniors, finished seventh in the state.

The two teams met in the Class 3A tournament in 2023, with Gig Harbor winning 11-8. The rematch between the schools will be at the Gig Harbor pool on May 9.

The Tides team will jump into the Gig Harbor pool at 5 p.m. March 14 for a much-anticipated match up with Mercer Island.

The Peninsula High School water polo team. Photo courtesy Peninsula High water polo

Soccer kicks off

The Peninsula boys soccer team lost their opener at Auburn Riverside, 9-0, on March 12. Peninsula will have to regroup quickly as they face Central Kitsap in Silverdale at 7 p.m. March 14.

Gig Harbor opens the boys soccer season at 7 p.m. March 14 at home against Yelm. The Tornados will be looking to avenge a 12-0 loss last year, when the Tides started the season with 19 straight wins.

District honors for dance team

H2Whoa!, the Gig Harbor High dance team, won district titles in both the Hip Hop and Pom categories on March 9. The Tides qualified for the state championships, March 23 at the Yakima Valley SunDome.

Gig Harbor High School’s H2Whoa! dance team. Photo courtesy H2Whoa!