Community Sports

Sports Beat | Tides baseball earns first league win

Posted on March 22nd, 2024 By:

The Gig Harbor baseball team (2-3, 1-1 South Sound Conference) opened league play with a decisive, 14-4 win over Yelm on March 19 at Sehmel Homestead Park.

The game had some suspense in the first few innings as the Tides took a 1-0 lead when Nick Lang drove in a run with a ground out in the second inning. The Tornados struck back with a couple of sharp base hits to take a 3-1 lead.

The game that looked like it would be a nail-biter turned into a breeze after the Tornados issued a few of their 13 walks and committed five errors in the next two innings.

The Tides grabbed a lead in the top of the third inning, when the Tornadoes third baseman dropped a routine fly ball to start the inning. Tornado pitcher Barrett Schnetz then walked four batters in a row before leaving the game. In three innings, Schnetz did not allow a hit but issued 10 walks.

Yelm’s new pitcher had control issues as well, walking two more Tides to give Gig Harbor a 4-3 lead they would not surrender.

Westfall gets the win

Meanwhile, Tides starting pitcher Riley Westfall held Yelm scoreless in the fourth inning to get the Gig Harbor offense right back in the batters box. Westfall earned the win, giving up four runs over 4 1/3 innings, allowing six hits with two walks and a strikeout.

Gig Harbor blew the game open in the fourth inning, when Josh Dunham smashed a line drive into left center to drive in two runs. Tristan Schaefer and Cooper McCutcheon both singled to drive in runs as well.

Mix in a hit batter and a couple more Yelm errors and the Tides racked up nine runs in the inning to take a commanding 13-3 lead into the fifth.

After the Tornadoes scored a run in the fifth inning, Gig Harbor head coach Shane Hanon went to the bullpen for pitcher Justin Grande. The senior used a nice blend of pitches to shut out the Tornados over the next three innings.

The Tides defense didn’t commit any errors and walked away with their first South Sound Conference win.

Lang led the Tides with three runs batted in while Daniel Porras and Hunter Payne each added a hit. McCutcheon led the Tides on the base paths with two stolen bases.

Gig Harbor stumbled in a rematch at Yelm on March 20, losing 6-5. The Tides play Monroe at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23.

Seahawks split with CK

The Peninsula Seahawks (3-1, 1-1 SSC) couldn’t get much offense going in their league opener in Silverdale versus the Central Kitsap Cougars on March 19.

CK’s J.J. Martinson pitched a complete game shutout with nine strikeouts in the Cougars’ 3-0 victory.

But the Seahawks won a rematch against the Cougars 5-1 on March 20 at Sehmel Field. Peninsula pitcher John Browand fired a complete game, allowing just one run on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks.

The Seahawks took a 2-0 lead in the first inning and added three more runs in the decisive sixth inning. Seahawk left fielder Matthew Saunders smacked two doubles and scored a run while second baseman Kainoa Coit led the Seahawks with two RBI.

The Peninsula defense didn’t commit any errors in the two games against the Cougars.

Peninsula will be back in action at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 26, at Sehmel against the league-leading Capital Cougars. Capital scored 27 runs in sweeping two games against North Thurston.

GH, Peninsula match up in lacrosse

The first of two matchups between the Peninsula and Gig Harbor lacrosse teams is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22, at Roy Anderson Field.

Peninsula head coach Rusty Wilder saw his team win competitive games last season against the Tides. But Gig Harbor coach Marc Kemp, who has been at the helm of the Tide team for 15 years, has an improved team this season.

Both teams have been at or near the top of their league standings in recent years, so Friday’s contest should be a intense one between crosstown rivals.

Peninsula goalie Brett Farr had nine saves in an overtime win over Bonney Lake. Photo by Dani Ackulschin

The Seahawks (2-1) have won the last two league championships and just defeated a talented Bonney Lake team in overtime on March 15. Senior captain Robby Akulschin led the team with six goals while junior Nathan DeLong had four goals in the 14-13 thriller against the Lions.

Junior Nate Gendreau came up with a clutch shot to win it in overtime while Seahawk freshman goalie Brett Farr had nine saves in his first high school game.

Senior Tyler Buys has six goals on the season to lead the Tides (1-1) in scoring. John Caplinger has five goals and Bowen Bratrud has four. All three players have two assists each.

The Tides lost their first game to Vashon Island, 14-12, but were playing without goalie Tor Olson. The senior returned from a broken thumb to tend in a 16-6 conference win over  Stadium.

GH fastpitch gains confidence with first win

The Gig Harbor fastpitch team (1-3) got a much-needed 14-1 win over Sequim on March 20. The Tides started the season with three losses to talented opponents in non-league action.

Gracie Carey was the Tides’ star against the Wolves. She launched a three-run home run way over the outfield fence to put the Tides ahead 3-1 in the second inning. It was Carey’s third home run in as many games. She may have acquired her raw power from her father Jordan, the Washington state Class 4A football player of the year for Capital in 2002.

The Gig Harbor Tides make sure Gracie Carey touches home plate after her three-run home run against Sequim. Photo by Dennis Browne

The Wolves loaded the bases in the third inning, when the score was 6-1. But Tides first baseman Abby Miller made a fantastic catch to end the inning and Gig Harbor wasn’t threatened after that.

Pitcher Emma Vandervort allowed just one run through five innings for the Tides before the hard-throwing Danielle Biehl came in and retired the Wolves in order to earn the save.

“I schedule difficult games early in the season so our team is tested in non-league play,” Gig Harbor coach Jim Peschek said. “Even though we lost a few of those games it will only make our team better going forward and that’s what I’m most interested in.”

Seahawks struggle vs. tough early schedule

Across town, the defending state champion Peninsula Seahawks (0-4, 0-1) have also played a gauntlet of talented teams that all reached the postseason last year. Peninsula has a completely new infield and several new pitchers who are gaining experience quickly.

The Seahawks dropped their league opener to SSC power Yelm on the road on March 19 by a score of 12-9.

The Seahawks fell behind 8-1 in the first inning but didn’t quit. They scored two runs in the third, five runs in the fourth and another in the fifth inning to pull within 10-9 going into the sixth inning.

The comeback attempt stalled there, though, as the Tornados came up with two runs in the sixth inning.

Peninsula plays at Central Kitsap at 4 p.m. March 25.

GH tennis edges CK

The defending league champion Gig Harbor girls tennis team defeated Central Kitsap, 3-2, at home on March 20.

The contest hinged on the third doubles match. The Gig Harbor duo of Eva Tarbet and Ava Murphy pulled it out with a 6-4, 7-5 victory that featured several long rallies and some tense moments.

The Tides got an easy victory from first singles player Lauren Pitt, who was in command all day using a nifty serve-and-volley game. Pitt’s best shot of the day might have been her last, as she served to her opponent’s backhand side and raced to midcourt to make a difficult mid-air return look easy, smashing it to the far corner.

Pitt covers the court well and has consistent ground strokes and will be an enticing match-up for Peninsula ace McKenna Baurichter on April 3 at Gig Harbor.

Lauren Pitt of Gig Harbor serves against Central Kitsap. Photo courtesy Malia Fraser

Sophie Fraser, Gig Harbor’s No. 2 singles player, flashed consistent backhands and showed excellent court placement as she ran the rubber off her opponent’s shoes in her 6-1, 6-0 victory. Fraser has a calm and controlled temperament that is important in tennis as she easily controlled the tempo of the match.

Water polo update

The Peninsula girls water polo team’s schedule shows their first contest of the season will be against South Kitsap at 4 p.m. April 11 in Port Orchard.

Meanwhile, Gig Harbor got an impressive 13-5 victory over Bellevue last week.

The Tides (2-1) had a 7-5 lead at the halftime break and that’s all they would need. Gig Harbor goalie Kiah Sawyer and her defense didn’t allow a second-half goal. Sawyer collected seven saves in the contest to shut out Bellevue in the second half.

Frances Benson scored five goals to lead the Tides. Elise Huston and Bridget Oates both contributed three goals while Alexis Tujo and Isabella Puccio scored a goal each. The Tides scored 13 times on 27 shots.

Seminar on resilience in athletics

Gig Harbor High School hosts a seminar about mental resilience in athletics at 6 p.m. Friday, March 22.

Former WSU and NFL tight end Brett Carolan will be among the guest speakers. Carolan starred with Drew Bledsoe and was a member of the Super Bowl-winning San Francisco 49ers in 1994.

Athletes from area high schools and junior highs are invited.