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Season ends at KingCo for Islander baseball
They did it this time last year. The did again on the last day of league competition. And in the consolation round of the KingCo tournament, well, Bellevue made for a bad case of deja vu for Mercer Island baseball.
For the second year in a row, Bellevue ended Mercer Island’s season in the KingCo tournament, beating the Islanders 2-0 in a lose-out game Wednesday, May 14 at Bannerwood Park. The loss marked a tough end for the Islanders, who coming off big wins over Juanita, Liberty and Mount Si, were tied with Bellevue for KingCo’s top spot heading into the final game of league competition. That game’s outcome? A 5-4 loss to Bellevue.
“I don’t want to say anything changed other than the quality of the opponent,” said coach Dominic Woody of how the season ended. “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to your opponent. You can’t complain too much, especially when you’re not scoring runs.”
Offense was hard to come by for Mercer Island in the KingCo tournament, with the Islanders scoring one run in its two tournament games. After getting a first-round bye, the Islanders fell 2-1 in its matchup with Mount Si on May 12. Wednesday’s lose-out matchup with Bellevue was dominated by pitching, with Will Mansfield holding the Wolverines scoreless until the sixth inning, when Bellevue scored on a sacrifice grounder and a sacrifice fly.
Woody said he felt his team hit its stride a little bit early in the year, starting slow before putting up runs in the middle part of the season, when the Islanders put up nine runs in a win over Bellevue, 12 in a win over Juanita and 11 in a win over Liberty.
“The runs can be misleading when you see how many errors the other team made and how many freebies you got,” he added. “You don’t see as many mistakes from the other team in the playoffs and sometimes it comes down to what you don’t do.”
The Islanders graduate six seniors from this year’s roster: Bennett Dammeier, Chris Lawler, Keegan Ogard, Aidan Plummer, Zach Rothenberg and Jake Stenberg. When asked about the graduating players, Woody called it a unique situation that he had with the seniors on his roster.
“I met these guys five years ago, being their coach in 8th grade. It’s been a pleasure to watch them mature from young boys to young men now,” he said.
But noting that the varsity team featured a freshman and two sophomores this year, Woody believes the future looks bright for the Islanders.
“I expect big things from our younger guys going forward, we should be right back up there competing for it next year,” he said. “I think we’re on the right path. Somebody’s going to be the first class to get us over the hump.”
Jake Stenberg prepares to check the runner at first base Monday, May 12 at Bannerwood Park. Photo by Josh Suman/Bellevue Reporter.