Losing 13-1 at home on Wednesday, the Islanders were due for a motivated effort. Against their rivals on Friday, they gave just that.
After getting lit up at home by Mount Si earlier in the week, the Mercer Island baseball team took it out on KingCo’s top team Bellevue Friday, April 18, beating the Wolverines 9-0 at Island Crest Park. It was Bellevue’s first KingCo loss of the season, dropping them to 6-1 while the Islanders improved to 5-2 in the conference, tied for second with Mount Si.
Pitcher Chris Lawler earned the win, holding the Wolverines to two hits while pitching seven scoreless innings to complete the shutout.
“Any time you go out there and get embarrassed 13-1 in your home park against a quality opponent like Mount Si, that's got to light a little bit of fire in your belly for whoever your next opponent is,” said coach Dominic Woody after the game. “I was definitely happy with the way we responded after that game. I'm excited, hopefully we can keep this intensity going.”
The Islanders’ bats sprung alive right out of the gate, as Mercer Island used a four-run first inning to jump ahead early. A solo home run from Jake Stenberg in the second inning gave the Islanders added breathing room at 5-0.
“When we got to five, you could feel the air let out of their dugout,” said Woody. “It was big for us to make sure we got zeros like we did and go ahead and extinguish any rallies they had.”
And extinguishing rallies was exactly what the Islanders and Lawler did. With two on and no outs in the sixth, Lawler pitched his way out of the jam, getting the Wolverines to hit into a double-play and then ground out to end the inning. Then with a runner on and one out in the seventh, Lawler once again pitched the Wolverines into a double-play to end the game.
“He did a great job, he threw strike ones all night,” said Woody of Lawler’s performance. “They were really aggressive. It looked like that was part of their plan, to get their axe on him early, knowing that he's typically in the zone. It seemed like he had his breaking ball going pretty good and did a great job of keeping them off-balance.”
Next up for Mercer Island will be a rematch with Lake Washington at 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 21 at Island Crest Park.