Spring sports preview: Wolves baseball ready to be ‘back in mix’ for postseason

While some of the win-loss numbers in the past two seasons have been a bit tough to swallow, Sequim’s varsity baseball squad looks like a team on the upswing.

That’s how head coach Dave Ditlefsen sees it as he considers the Wolves’ hardball program, one that had struggled in numbers that it couldn’t field two full teams (varsity and junior varsity) in the past two seasons, following a canceled COVID season in 2020.

This spring? The Wolves saw a 28-player turnout, plenty for squads at both levels.

“I see this as a very competitive team; [we’ll be] right back in the mix for a playoff spot,” Ditlefsen said.

The 2023 iteration of the club continues the youth movement it saw last year, with just four upperclassmen (three seniors, one junior) in the mix. But four of its sophomores were starters or saw significant action in 2022.

That includes soph Brayden White, an everyday starter in 2022 who was third on the team in hits, and 10th-grader Bryant Laboy, who got plenty of varsity time in last season.

Leading the way on the field is the lone junior, Ayden Holland, who’ll play catcher and shortstop this spring. He hit .316 and led the team with four doubles, eight runs scored and 11 walks in 2022.

“Even as a sophomore [last season] he had those leadership qualities,” Ditlefsen said.

Joining the mix are five promising freshmen, Ditlefsen said. That includes Devyn Dearinger, who like Holland can handle shortstop and catching responsibilities, and ninth-grader Zeke Schmadeke.

“They’re going to get tested on varsity,” he said.

“[But] our baseball IQ is very high for a young team.”

Another aspect giving the Sequim coach positive vibes early this season is the fact 12 of his 13 varsity players have significant pitching experience.

“We don’t need a guy to go out and throw a hundred pitches,” Ditlefsen said.

The Wolves lost three key pieces to graduation, including first team all-Olympic League pitcher/shortstop Connor Bear.

But they see the return of seniors Ricky Jennings, Isaiah Moore and Toppy Robideau, along with Brett Mote, who made the varsity squad as a freshman in 2020 before moving out of the district the past two seasons.

Robideau in particular, Ditlefsen said, looks like he’s takes another step in development and should be a key piece to the puzzle in 2023.

Sequim, who tallied just three wins in 28 games in the past two seasons, was scheduled to open the season March 14 at home against 3A Bainbridge. The Wolves are at Bainbridge on March 16 and at Forks on March 17 before hosting North Kitsap on March 21.