Photo courtesy of Jim Nicholson Mercer Island first baseman Justin Ho prepares to tag out Redmond base-runner Cameron Allen-Shipman in a contest on April 26 at Bellevue College. The Islanders have compiled an impressive 18-2 overall record thus far this season. The Islanders will compete in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament at 1 p.m. on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.

Islanders baseball team clinches berth at the state tournament

The Mercer Island baseball team has already collected two championships during the 2017 season thus far.

The Islanders, who have compiled an impressive 18-2 record so far, captured the KingCo 3A regular season title and also nabbed first place at the Class 3A KingCo tournament, courtesy of a convincing 6-0 victory against the Lake Washington Kangaroos on May 6. The Islanders clinched a berth at the Class 3A state tournament with the win and will compete in the first round of the state tourney on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.

The Islanders, who earned a Class 3A state title during the 2015 season, are striving to win their second state crown in the past three seasons. Hoisting a state title has been on the minds of the Islanders baseball team since the 2017 season began.

“The goal is the same as it is since I got here and that is our ultimate goal is to win a state championship,” Mercer Island head coach Dominic Woody said in early April after a victory against Sammamish. “It is great to win league, district or things like that but we ultimately want to get into the state playoffs and win a state championship.”

Woody’s words on a frigid April night were a foreshadowing of things to come.

The Islanders have already achieved two of their goals and the grandest prize of all is just on the horizon and remains attainable. The Islanders will have to win four consecutive games to collect the ultimate prize on the diamond — a state championship. In 2016, the Islanders suffered an unexpected 11-1 loss against the Southridge Suns in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament in Kelso.

This year, the Islanders won’t face a daunting travel schedule for the state playoffs. The first round and quarterfinals are scheduled to take place on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, which is just a 4.3 mile drive from the high school campus. If the Islanders do indeed advance to the state semifinals (May 26) and the state championship game (May 27), the contests will just be a short 7-mile trek across the Interstaete 90 bridge to Safeco Field in downtown Seattle.

I’m excited to see how the Islanders perform on the diamond in the state playoffs. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if they brought the state crown back home to the Island on Memorial Day weekend.

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