“Why did I do this to myself?”
Peninsula High School’s Trent Buchanan’s second inning was starting just like his first inning. The Seahawks’ right-handed pitcher had two Yelm runners reach base in the first and now, in the second, he was again flirting with more danger.
Runners were on second and third with no outs after he gave up an infield single and then a bunt single. That thought of self-inflicted wound was echoing in his mind as he tried to focus on the task at hand.
He had escaped that first inning jam, a two-on and one-out situation, with a popup back to the mound and a groundout. This was turning into a game he would like to forget if he couldn’t figure out how to handle this situation.
Instead, Monday afternoon became one he would never forget. Buchanan struck out the next three hitters and went on to post six shutout innings to help the Seahawks beat their South Sound Conference rivals, 2-0, in Yelm.
Buchanan struck out seven in earning his fifth win of the season, helping lead a resurgent Peninsula team to a turnaround season in coach Michael Johnson’s first at the school.
Finishing near the bottom of the league in 2018 with an 8-11 record, the Seahawks are 10-2 overall and 7-2 in the SSC after Monday’s win. That’s good enough for second place as they prepare for next Monday’s game against first-place Gig Harbor.
Buchanan has had a big hand in that. Not only is he 5-0, he’s posted a 0.43 ERA in six games.
Johnson isn’t surprised by Buchanan’s success. Having coached him in his freshman season, there was a two-game stretch during that season where Johnson saw Buchanan almost throw back-to-back no-hitters. Against North Thurston, Buchanan had a one-hitter and then came back even better in his next start, throwing a no-hitter against Gig Harbor.
“The kid is just a workhorse,” Johnson said. “Always, every day just wanting to know how to get better. Working to improve himself, he’s always the last one to leave. Trent takes the workouts and bullpen sessions to heart and he’s really dialed in on the work ethic part.”
There is a competitive nature that has helped Buchanan. He attributes that to his father Steve, who pitched in college at Oakland City University, a small school in Indiana.
Having helped Trent develop his pitching skills since he was 9, Steve feels that no moment has been to big for his son.
“He just has that “it factor” that you see from guys,” Steve Buchanan said. “Even when he was young and he’d have a full count on him, the moment was never too big from him to not throw a strike. There’s just been something about being on the mound and having everybody depend on you, it’s something he thrives on.”
Another part of Buchanan’s game that has changed is the role of leadership he has taken on as the Seahawks’ No. 1 starter. It’s a role that comes naturally as the oldest boy in a family of eight. Buchanan’s been playing peacemaker and authority figure to his younger siblings for years.
He said he made a concentrated effort during preseason workouts to help Peninsula position itself for a big year. Buchanan said he felt like the Seahawks were a better team than what they showed in 2018 and wanted this year to be a winning one.
“I realized that this year, if we’re going to be successful we’re gonna have to have leaders,” Trent Buchanan said. “They have to step up and they have to lead by example and that’s what I imagine I’m trying to do.”