Under first-year head coach Pete Weymiller, the Peninsula Seahawks were poised to make a deep run in the Class 3A state baseball tournament last year. They had ace Scott Russell on the mound, and he went into the tournament with a 0.45 earned-run average.
However, he wasn’t perfect in a postseason start last May, and Peninsula lost a 3-1 contest to Meadowdale in the state-regional round.
“(Russell had) one bad inning, and that was it,” Weymiller said. “That was our season.”
The Seahawks lost 11 seniors due to graduation, including Russell and Alex Weymiller, the coach’s oldest son.
Peninsula won’t dwell on the past, though. Starting shortstop Shane Hanon returns as a senior who batted .350 a year ago and earned all-South Puget Sound League 3A honors. Hanon, who has committed to Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon for next season, wants to be even better this spring.
“I’d like to hit above .400,” he said. “I’d like to make as little errors as possible. Hopefully none. I’d like to get a first-team all-league. I also want to get a banner up there (on the outfield fence) — I want an all-state.”
If Hanon can do those things, Peninsula could have a shot at reaching its team goal, which is to return to state for the third straight season.
“(We want) to keep the tradition going,” Hanon said. “We’ve been to state the last two years. We’d like to get there again. We have a young team, but I think we can do it. We’ll surprise some people.”
The Seahawks have a lot of gaps to fill, and that means bringing up several players who played with the junior varsity last season. Weymiller said their work ethic should make up for their lack of top-level experience.
“Hard work pays,” he said. “These guys are hard workers. Fundamentally, we’re gonna be good. I don’t think we’re going to have many superstars like we had last year, but we have a bunch of good guys, and they really get along well, and they have fun together.
“Our motto is we’re going to compete every day in practice, we’re going to practice the way we want to play. Right now, they’re doing that.”
Peninsula also returns sophomore pitcher Jimmy Ritchie, who was also one of the basketball team’s stars this year. Junior Ben Weymiller will bring experience to center field, and junior Christian Lewis will shore up a talented infield.
Lewis said the Seahawks are willing to put in the work to match last year’s success.
“We want to have a solid team, so we want to keep it up from last year,” he said. “Last year, went pretty far, so we’re hoping to get around there. So, as much as I can contribute, anything I can.”
The rest of the league knew Peninsula had a senior-laden class last year. The Seahawks say they’re motivated because they think the rest of the league expects them to have a dropoff this season.
“Last year, we had it pretty much handed to us. We walked in with the skill,” Ben Weymiller said. “This year, we really have to work for it. We have a little more fire than in years past.”
Ben Weymiller added the team is improving from week to week.
“(We want to) be successful and have fun,” he said. “We want to make it as far as we can, and enjoy doing it.”
March 14South KitsapL, 9-2
March 19Bellarmine Prep3:30 p.m.
March 20Mt. Si3:30 p.m.
March 26at Bonney Lake4 p.m.
March 28Decatur4 p.m.
April 1at Enumclaw7 p.m.
April 2at Lakes4 p.m.
April 4Auburn Mountainview4 p.m.
April 8Decatur4 p.m.
April 9at Decatur4 p.m.
April 10at Bonney Lake4 p.m.
April 14at Enumclaw7 p.m.
April 15Bonney Lake4 p.m.
April 16Enumclaw4 p.m.
April 19Gig Harbor1 p.m.
April 22at Auburn Mountainview7 p.m.
April 24Auburn Mountainview4 p.m.
April 29Lakes4 p.m.
May 1at Lakes4 p.m.Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151.