Mercer Island baseball returns with strong field

The Mercer Island baseball team returns a strong group of experienced players this spring, with 11 returning with varsity experience.

In an overview, sent by head coach Cory Smith, he says he feels good about where the team is, in just the second week of practice.

"With 11 players returning with some varsity experience, I feel really positive about our ability to compete at a high level," said the coach.

Smith is in his third year as head coach, with a 31-17 record with the Islanders.

Returning players include pitcher Max Dammeier, Cam Ogard, David Oppenheim, Nick Holstead, Hunter Goldberg and Brian Higgins, as well as Phil Pugel, Isak Morris, Matt Orehek, Alex Himstead and Chris Lawler.

"Max Dammeier and Hunter Goldberg will give us a chance to win every time they’re on the mound. Between Isak Morris, Phil Pugel, Chris Lawler and Alex Himstead, we should have two or three solid starting pitchers and a quality reliever. Offensively, David Oppenheim will be a catalyst at the top of the line up with his ability to get on base and run. First-teamers Cam Ogard and Dammeier should provide some punch in the middle of our line up. Orehek, Himstead, and Holstead should put up some quality numbers as well and help keep our runs per game average above 5-6," said Smith.

As usual the KingCo conference holds some tough competition, including Mount Si, the reigning 3A state champs.

"As far as the league goes, Mt. Si has its top three pitchers back from last year’s state championship club so they should be a tough opponent," said Smith. "There are no easy wins in the KingCo 3A so we will have to play consistent defense and throw strikes if we expect to compete for another league title. Those two factors will be even more important this season with the new BBCOR bat regulations. I would expect to see some very close, low scoring games this year."

The team will begin the season this weekend with a jamboree at Woodinville High School, followed by a non-conference game on Monday at Garfield. The team then plays Seattle Prep on Tuesday, March 13. The first KingCo game will be against Juanita on Monday, April 2 at Lee Johnson Field at 4 p.m.

If you have sports news please send it to Megan Managan at or call 206-232-1215 ext. 5054.

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