With a pitching core and solid hitting lineup mostly graduated, Wolves baseball is turning to a lot of new varsity players.
Gone are several standouts such as first-team all-leaguer Jake Hudson, all-state slugging catcher Tyler Campbell, second baseman Nick Ramirez (all-league honorable mention), outfielder Tyler Forshaw, third baseman Kyler Johnston, and shortstop/pitcher Karsten Wake (all-league honorable mention).
But that’s the nature of high school, said head coach Dave Ditlefsen.
“It’s these guys’ turn to step up,” he said.
Sequim’s ace pitcher Nick Johnston, a junior, returns following a 1.47 earned run average in 11 games with four wins and three losses and a team-high 39 strikeouts. Johnston particularly excelled in the Olympic League with a 0.57 ERA and 24 strikeouts.
“He looks fantastic,” Ditlefsen said.
Johnston has worked hard on hitting through the offseason and plans to split time between pitching and first base.
“I’ve been drilling to get my mechanics down. It’s all about muscle memory,” he said. “I’m not guaranteed a successful year hitting. I set a high goal to bat .400 but .300 is a reasonable goal.”
In 32 plate appearances last season, he got two hits and drew five walks. Johnston expects to shine in pitching, though. “I had a great year for a sophomore,” he said. “I feel I can improve on that, too.”
Sequim’s second pitcher is freshman Nigel Christensen, whom Ditlefsen calls a potential surprise. He’ll split time between shortstop and pitching.
Other players Ditlefsen sees a lot of potential with include junior Brett Wright, who moves in as full-time catcher, and Fred Serrano, a senior, who plays third base.
“This year something has clicked with him (Serrano),” Ditlefsen said.
Wright batted .286 last season with 18 hits and Serrano hit .353 with six hits.
This year’s competition doesn’t get any easier for the untested Wolves who see tough teams like North Kitsap, last year’s Olympic League champions, and Port Angeles, who took second, return with strong lineups. Yet, Sequim figures to be in the mix.
“I expect us to be fighting for a playoff spot,” Ditlefsen said.