'South Guy' takes legion helm

As a standout baseball player at South Kitsap High School from 1992-94, Bill Segerman was all about talent, heart, and winning.

Segerman will be looked upon to rub some of that off on his players as the new South Kitsap Senior Legion baseball coach.

Local fans can get their first glimpse of the team Sunday at 1 p.m. in a nine-inning game against Woodinville at the SK field (Buck Gehring Field).

Segerman replaces longtime coach Ron Yingling, who retired from coaching after last season.

Jim Fairweather, who is the likely candidate to replace Elton Goodwin as the varsity coach next year, called Segerman to offer him the job.

“He gave me a call and said he wanted a South guy,” Segerman said. “Part of my job is to make sure the players don’t stray to far away from getting into bad habits. Our goal as a staff is to keep it the South Kitsap way.”

Segerman said he also knew he was getting himself into a situation that may not result in success on the diamond in the summers.

With many local players opting to play across the water for select teams, only a handful of familiar faces stick around to play legion ball.

Segerman and Fairweather hope to build a legion program that will entice local players to stay.

Segerman said he knows it will be an uphill battle.

“Some places you have to pay $5,000 to play,” Segerman said. “Playing legion it doesn’t cost that much and we’re playing the same teams the select teams play.

“It’d be great if we could get more guys to stay home and play,” he said, “but I also understand the exposure they can get with a Wilkinson Academy or Chaffey (select team).”

The senior legion team does include of four players from the Wolves 4A state baseball championship team.

Graduated seniors Joe Riley and Rick Wikle are playing, along with seniors-to-be Aaron Cunningham and Josh Fulling-ton.

The team is also taking advantage of the new age rule, which allows 19 year-olds to play as long as they were born after Aug. 1.

Two former SK players, Boya Quicho-cho and Phil Thomas, who just finished up their freshman year at Olympic College, will add some leadership and depth to this year’s squad.

After playing a year with wooden bats, Quichocho and Thomas said they look forward to getting back to the metal bats.

Segerman said the other big battle is the one he faces with himself. This is the first time he has been the head coach of a baseball team.

“It’s been frustrating, to say the least,” he said. “The Xs and Os, I’m fine. The management part of it I’m learning as I go along. I’ve never been a head guy before, so this is all new to me. It’s a lot easier being an assistant. But this is where I want to be.”

Fairweather is busy working with the prep football team, but will return soon to help Segerman out, especially with the management.

“Even though I am the head guy, having Fairweather here will help a lot,” Seger-man said.

Since Segerman is an assistant coach at North Mason, the 1994 SK grad said one of the adjustments has been getting to know his players.

Another adjustment lies with some of the players not being used to losing.

“For those who have been in the program this is frustrating to lose,” Segerman said of the team’s 0-2 start on the season. “They don’t know how that feels. They’re still on a high from winning state. They just have to realize this isn’t the same group of guys they won state with.”

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