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Mercer Island baseball keeps rolling on with wins | Slideshow
Things have started rolling for the Islanders baseball team. It started with an upset win over Mount Si two weeks ago and kept on going when the team played Sammamish twice last week.
Mount Si, which the Islanders beat 15-3 at home, was ranked No. 4 in the state.
“This was an important win for our club when you take into consideration their preseason ranking and the fact they swept us last season,” said head coach Cory Smith. “It was a measuring stick that has given us a lot of confidence.”
On Wednesday the team started what was originally scheduled to be a home and away series against Sammamish, but thanks to a spring storm, was forced into an away set of games. The Islanders, who are currently 5-1 this season, beat Sammamish 11-3 on Wednesday and finished with another win despite questionable weather, 21-0.
Mercer Island scored in every inning, with the highest being three runs in the fifth. A game highlight, however, came at the top of the seventh when Islander shortstop and captain Willy Reel hit a home run way out over left field.
“In general, you don’t see a lot of home runs in high school games,” said Smith. “Willy Reel has been seeing the ball well this season. He’s very relaxed and confident up there, and it’s translated into some big numbers, including his fifth home run of the season.” Senior Mike Potoshnik recently hit his first homer of the season during the team’s win over Sammamish last Friday.
There wasn’t much that Reel didn’t do at the game, ending with a 5-5 at bat/hitting record in the game, earning two RBIs. Along with the homer, he had a double and a triple during the game. Ben Emanuels was 2 for 4 at bat against the Totems, and Evan Thompson was 3 for 3 overall.
“We have really stressed the fundamentals on defense and a disciplined approach at the plate,” said Smith. “The kids are really buying in this year, and it has paid off with some high run totals.”
During Friday’s matchup, the Islanders lined up the runs, starting with one and then two in the first and second innings before exploding off the bat in the third for 12 runs. The game ended after five innings. Mike Potoshnik, a senior pitcher, earned a home run during the game, along with 2 RBIs. Teammate Reel went 2-2 at bat.
“We still have a very tough road ahead, so it’s important that we stay focused. Juanita and Bellevue are back on track after slow starts and will compete for seven innings,” Smith said of the Islanders’ upcoming schedule, which includes hosting Juanita on Thursday before taking on Bellevue next Monday.
“We will continue to do what has given us success this season: make pitchers throw strikes to us and make the routine plays on defense,” said Smith.