SPORTS: Teams facing longer road trips when Hood Canal Bridge out

PRECIPITATION MAY BE the biggest enemy of North Olympic Peninsula baseball and softball teams this spring.

With a little less than two weeks left before the Hood Canal Bridge closure, now is the time for teams to get games in.

After the Peninsula’s main vein to the rest of the civilized world goes out, any game outside the area obvious will require a long drive.

In a way, it’s almost like every Peninsula team, regardless of sport, will turn into Forks . . . minus the middle-aged female Twilight fans.

The Forks Spartans, members of the expansive Southwest Washington League, log more miles than any other school in the state (their closes league rival, Montesano, is 119 miles away).

So once May rolls around and the bridge is severed, the rest of the Peninsula will get an idea of how the Spartans live.

“We’re looking at an extra hour on each trip,” Sequim athletic director and varsity baseball coach Dave Ditlefsen said.

“I hope the travel isn’t an issue. It’s a one-year deal and we’ll get through it.

“We’ll try to plan on getting there early and getting our legs stretched out and stuff. But our kids are used to traveling.”

Not quite like this, however.

Teams from A schools like Port Angeles, Sequim, Chimacum and Port Townsend will all be forced to take alternate routes to many road games after May 1. That will likely mean driving around Hood Canal or cutting through Belfair to get to the Kitsap Peninsula.

In lieu of the scheduled closure, most area teams scheduled regular season games across the bridges in March and April.

There won’t be a choice once the postseason rolls around, however.

Ahead of pack

Port Townsend long distance runner Quinton Decker has made a habit of breaking away from the pack during his four-year track and field career.

He decided to catch up to it at Friday’s three-way meet involving Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles at the Roughriders’ new home track.

The senior lapped the majority of the field in the 3,200-meter race (the one he won the 2A state title in last spring) on his way to a first-place time of 10 minutes, 10.40 seconds.

He even broke out his best Eric Liddell impersonation (think “Chariots of Fire”) near the end of the race, flailing arms and all.

Decker said he recently signed a letter of intent to run track and cross country for the Montana ¬­Grizzlies beginning next fall. He received a partial scholarship from the Division I Big Sky university located in Missoula, Mont.

Before he does that, however, he has an ambitious plan of qualifying for the 1A state meet in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. That would likely be a first in Redskins history, according to Port Townsend coach Kevin Sanford.

“That’s the plan for now,” Sanford said. “That might change [in May].”

Headed to Spokane

Peninsula athlete of the year frontrunner Luke Dixon will be heading to Spokane next fall.

The All-Peninsula football MVP, 1A state champion wrestler and top-notch shot putter said he plans attend Whitworth University and play for the Pirates football team.

The Division III private school plays in the Northwest Conference against the likes of Pacific Lutheran (Tacoma), Linfield (McMinnville, Ore.), Puget Sound (Tacoma) and Lewis and Clark (Portland, Ore.).

The Pirates finished third in the conference last year with an overall record of 6-3.

He said he isn’t quite sure what position he will play yet, with his most likely options at linebacker, running back and kick returner.

“Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do,” he said.


Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column usually appears on Thursdays and Fridays.

He can be reached at [email protected]

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