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Peninsula Daily News
THE PORT ANGELES-SEQUIM RIVALRY will be amped up this week.
The rainshadow rivals face off in softball, baseball and boys golf, and more than bragging rights is on the line in each matchup.
The softball and golf contests will go a long way towards determining who wins the Olympic League, as both the Wolves and Roughriders sit at the top of the league standings in both sports.
The baseball game, meanwhile, will feature two teams battling for one of the five spots in the next week’s Olympic League tournament.
The softball game is the marquee matchup because Sequim and Port Angeles have already had a memorable meeting this season.
The two teams, both previously undefeated, faced off April 10 with the Wolves prevailing 6-5 in eight innings when Hannah Grubb drove in the tying run with a triple, and then tagged up and beat the throw to home to score the winning run.
The game was exactly what a game between undefeated rivals should be: Extra innings, clutch hitting and pitchers getting out of bases-loaded jams.
Sequim and Port Angeles are still first and second, respectively, in the league standings, and likely still will be when they play Wednesday at Dry Creek Elementary School in Port Angeles.
Both have games earlier in the week, including the Wolves’ hosting third-place Kingston today.
Sequim, which has only allowed eight runs in league play, has a chance to put a lot of distance between itself and the other Olympic League contenders this week.
The Wolves also host Olympic on Friday, meaning they will face the second-, third- and fourth-place teams over a four-day span, with only the Port Angeles game being played away from home.
Port Angeles appears to be the class of the Olympic League in boys golf.
The Riders are undefeated and have three of the top four ranked golfers in the league (Joe Barnes, Garrett Payton and Alex Atwell are one, two and four, respectively).
Sequim is tied for second place with Kingston, each with one loss.
The Wolves’ loss was to the Buccaneers, whose only loss came at the hands of Port Angeles at the beginning of the season.
Sequim is deep and balanced, with all seven of its golfers possessing a nine-hole average of between 44.2 and 48.1.
Tuesday’s match at Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course in Sequim is no gimme for the Riders.
The baseball teams are in a bit of a different situation.
Instead of vying for a league title or favorable postseason seeding, the Wolves and Riders are battling for a spot in the postseason.
Port Angeles’ recent streak of five wins (which included dealing top-ranked Bremerton its only league loss of the season) in seven games has given it an inside track to the Olympic League tournament, which begins a week from Wednesday (May 1).
With a strong finish, the Riders could reasonably finish as high as third in the league.
And a strong finish is a reasonable expectation as all but one of their remaining games is against the teams below them in the standings.
The only exception is Friday’s game against second-place North Kitsap.
But, overall, Port Angeles has had a strange, up-and-down regular season, which makes it difficult to predict how it will end.
On one hand, the Riders are the only team to beat Bremerton, and are three walk-off losses away from being tied with North Kitsap for second place with only two league losses.
But they were also a seventh-inning offensive explosion away from losing to Sequim on April 10, and they followed their big win over Bremerton with a 9-3 setback to Olympic.
Sequim’s season could go either direction. The Wolves are a few games out of the playoffs, but also a few games ahead of last-place Port Townsend.
Like Port Angeles, they face mostly the lower half of the Olympic League the rest of the way. This is a good-news, bad-news scenario.
On the bright side, there are wins to be had.
But, it also means their destiny is largely out of their hands because they can’t steal games from the teams above them in the standings.
Sports reporter Lee Horton can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.