Petersburg High School’s baseball team wrapped up their season with three games at the regional tournament here in Petersburg last week.

The Vikings had two games last Thursday, a 5-3 win over Thunder Mountain and a 9-5 loss to Sitka. That gave Petersburg another game on Friday, an 11-5 loss to Ketchikan on Friday.
Coach Jim Engell thought Petersburg’s hitting was a real bright spot for the tournament. “Our bats just came alive and we’ve been really working hard, spending lot of time, both in the cage and live in the field, just trying to get the swings down and it was nice to see the bats produce and getting runs,” Engell said. “We scored 15 runs total which is a lot for us. So that was great. Our defense played well. We had a few shaky moments. And I think those shaky moments kind of hurt us. They cost us the games some mental mistakes. First time I’ve walked away from the tournament looking at all three games realizing that a couple things bouncing our way and we could’ve won those games.”

Kjell Wittstock pitches the Vikings to a 5-3 win over Thunder Mountain May 26.

Kjell Wittstock pitches the Vikings to a 5-3 win over Thunder Mountain May 26.

The game the Vikings did win against Thunder Mountain was the first career win for senior pitcher Kjell Witstock. Later that day, Petersburg played Sitka close until the Wolves were able to take advantage of the Vikings’ mistakes in the sixth inning and broke it open in the seventh. Sitka went on to beat Ketchikan for the regional crown.

Petersburg finishes up the season with a record of three wins and 12 losses, including the regional tournament. The Vikings won the sportsmanship award at regionals. Overall, the coach was happy with how the weekend went.

“It was a great weekend for high school baseball in Petersburg, for baseball in general,” Engell said. “The weather was great, the field was playing great, very competitive games. We had a lot of people up watching the games. I think the enthusiasm for the high school baseball is trickling down into what we see in the little league program. We’ve got more kids in Little League than we’ve ever had before.” Engell also noted all the work that the local Little League and community members have put into the ball fields and batting cages, making for a great venue for the tournament.

The team graduates three senior players, Wittstock, Ethan Bryner and Chauncy Sandhofer. “Those three guys, they’re quiet leaders,” their coach said. “They’re not vocal boisterous leaders on the field. They just quietly lead by example. Go about their business every day in practice, work hard, get better. They’re gonna be some big shoes to fill both offensively and defensively because all three of them bring a great glove to the field as well. But the encouraging part was some of those younger guys are starting to produce. Stu Conn had a great tournament for us. He collected some good hits. That big home run was huge to get us back in that Sitka game. Mark Neidiffer’s bat was starting to come around. Mike File had an amazing tournament. I don’t know exactly what his hitting percentage was but he was on base a lot for us and did well in center field. Kind of exciting to see. Josh Thynes another one that starting to see his bat come around. He was struggling at the plate. It was nice to get him back because he was injured before the tournament. Starting to swing a good solid bat. So all those guys will be returners next year.”

Josh Thynes leads off from first against Thunder Mountain.

Josh Thynes leads off from first against Thunder Mountain.

Engell is also exciting about next year’s freshmen class adding numbers to the roster and possibly allowing for a junior varsity squad for the younger players.

Sitka and Ketchikan are both playing in the state tournament today June 2-4 in Anchorage.