Gateway: Sports

Which Gig Harbor, Peninsula spring teams will make deep playoff runs?

Gig Harbor High School golfer Sean Vaovasa at Madrona Links Golf Course in Gig Harbor on Monday, March 18, 2019.
Gig Harbor High School golfer Sean Vaovasa at Madrona Links Golf Course in Gig Harbor on Monday, March 18, 2019. jmanley@gateline.com

The playoffs are underway, and the spring sports teams from Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools are well represented and looking to advance to the Class 3A state tournaments in various sports. Which teams have the best shot to make a deep run through the postseason? In no particular order, here are some teams to watch in the coming weeks for the Tides and Seahawks.

Gig Harbor boys soccer

Defense travels. Gig Harbor (12-1-3 overall, 10-1-3 SSC 3A) has struggled to put the ball into the back of the net at times this season, but the one thing that has been consistent all season is the high level of play of the Tides’ defense, which has conceded 11 goals in 16 games this season. Gig Harbor has a talented, fast, physical and experienced back line, which doesn’t give up many goals, and that level of experience could be the deciding factor in close playoff games. While goal scoring can be somewhat fluky and unpredictable in soccer, a good defense is more often than not the trump card in the postseason. Add that to the fact that Gig Harbor’s offense has come on strong in the last month (18 goals in the past five games), and the Tides are a strong bet to reach the Class 3A state tournament and maybe make another run.

Gig Harbor baseball

The Class 3A South Sound Conference champion Tides have to be feeling good after posting an 11-3 record in league play this season. Gig Harbor is led by No. 1 pitcher Owen Wild, who has put together a dominant season, and sophomore third baseman Zach Toglia, who has become the top hitter in the lineup in his first varsity baseball season. Top to bottom, Gig Harbor has a solid lineup, and like a typical Pete Jansen coached team, Gig Harbor has good pitching and plays good defense.

Peninsula baseball

Peninsula surprised some folks this year, finishing in second in the Class 3A South Sound Conference, behind crosstown rival Gig Harbor. Peninsula has a strong, resilient cast of players this year, led by pitcher Trent Buchanan, center fielder Peter King and first baseman Anders Vogel. But after losing the second game in the West Central/Southwest bidistrict tournament, 8-3 to Mountain View on May 4, the Seahawks will have their work cut out for them to reach the Class 3A state tournament, now needing to win three consecutive games to reach state.

Peninsula boys soccer

Peninsula (10-4-2 overall, 9-3-2 SSC 3A) finished second in the Class 3A South Sound Conference this season, led by goal-scoring machine Evan Janson. With a 3-0 win over Mount Tahoma on May 4, Peninsula is just one win shy of reaching the state tournament. First-year coach Alec Moore has brought his “total football” philosophy to the program, which has bought in and made the Seahawks a legitimate contender.

Gig Harbor softball

Gig Harbor might settle for second place in the SSC 3A, but the great news for the Tides? Finally beating Yelm for the first time in league play in five years. The Tides beat the Tornados, 8-5, on May 6, which had to come as a relief to the players, and especially to coach Kara Dressel. Gig Harbor still has another week of league play before playoffs start, but the win over Yelm is the type of win that could provide a serious momentum boost heading into the district tournament.

Gig Harbor boys golf

The defending Class 3A state champion Tides will look to repeat again this year at the Indian Summer Golf & Country Club in Olympia. Gig Harbor returns all the major contributors from last year’s team, including Caden Arnold, Sean Vaovasa and Griffin McCauley. While Gig Harbor will need to play its best golf later this month to repeat as champions, the Tides are as strong a bet as any team around the state.

Peninsula girls golf

The Seahawks took fifth in the Class 3A state tournament last year and return some strong golfers this spring, led by sophomores Kailey Bass and Makena Mehlert. Peninsula hasn’t lost a league match since 2017, and once again, should be among the state’s top teams later this month at the state tournament at Hawks Prairie Golf Course in Lacey.

Jon Manley covers high school sports for The Peninsula Gateway and The News Tribune. A McClatchy President’s Award winner, Manley has covered the Gig Harbor sports scene since 2013. Born and raised in Tacoma.
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