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New coach, same feel for Mercer Island baseball | Spring Preview
Just two months before the spring sports season started, Mercer Island baseball coach Brian Potoshnik resigned his position. Citing an out-of-season violation, the coach stepped down and suddenly the Islanders needed someone to fill the space. Cory Smith, an assistant under Potoshnik, was named to the top job, and since the season began on March 1, things are moving along.
“We have a good number returning this year; most of the middle is back,” said Smith. “The biggest difference is numbers. We had 18 guys last year and only 13 this year, but they have lots of versatility, so I don’t think the talent level is down; we’re just more versatile.”
The team, which finished last year in the first round of the district playoffs, wants to find its way further into the postseason this time around. Smith said the team will need to be consistent in practice and at games to make their goal a reality.
Despite a smaller team this spring, Smith said the Islanders have speed on their side, especially in the outfield. He said they will be working on their routine plays, making sure they are clean in the infield.
For Smith, being made the interim head coach was not something he expected this season.
“It was a little bit of a surprise. Certainly not exactly the way I wanted to get my first head coaching job, but the staff has been great,” said Smith. “We’ve been happy with the progress the team has been making. We really want to create an identity for baseball on the Island; to build the tradition. We’ve made steps in the right direction.”
Smith said he expects Liberty to have the team to beat this spring, but playing Bellevue is always a highlight.
“Liberty has a lot of talent on the mound, so we’ll have to be on top of our game,” said the coach. “The nice thing is with baseball, anything can happen. We’re going to make them prove how good they are.”
The Islanders will play their second home game against Mount Si tonight, beginning at 6 p.m. at Island Crest Park. The team hosts Bellevue on April 12 at 4 p.m. and will play Liberty at home on April 16.
“We really like a lot of fan support this season,” said Smith of the team. “We’d love to see more people at the games.”
3/24 6 PM vs. Mount Si Island Crest Park
3/31 4 PM @ Sammamish
4/2 6 PM vs. Sammamish
4/6 7 PM @ Juanita
4/8 6 PM vs. Juanita
4/10 4 PM vs. Eastmont at Safeco Field
4/12 6 PM vs. Bellevue
4/14 4 PM @ Bellevue
4/16 6 PM vs. Liberty (RENTON)
4/19 4 PM @ Liberty (RENTON) *Rescheduled* Location: TBD
4/19 4:30 PM @ Liberty (RENTON)
4/21 6 PM vs. Interlake
4/23 4 PM @ Mount Si
4/28 4 PM @ Sammamish
4/30 7 PM @ Juanita
5/3 6 PM vs. Bellevue
5/5 6 PM vs. Liberty (RENTON)