Islanders clinch spot in Class 3A state baseball semifinals

With their season on the line the Mercer Island Islanders baseball team rose to the occasion against the Bonney Lake Panthers in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.

Mercer Island, which uncharacteristically committed four throwing errors in the bottom of the first inning, easily overcame their miscues en route to a convincing 12-4 victory against the Panthers in a loser-out playoff game on May 20 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. Mercer Island starting pitcher Robert Weaver, who committed three throwing errors in the bottom of the first, wasn’t rattled by one subpar half of an inning. The gritty right-handed hurler pitched a complete game, surrendering just eight hits in the most important game of the season to date for his team. Weaver said he was able to settle down after a rocky start.

“Before the game there were some jitters. It was the first time I was playing in a season ending game. I just had to get over it and I went back to doing what I always do,” Weaver said.

Mercer Island senior infielder Noah Hsue, who will play baseball at the University of Washington next year, credited Weaver for displaying his mental toughness in the face of adversity.

“You can’t say enough. To be able to stay out there and just bare down was incredible. I think he threw around 80 pitches the whole game. It’s big time,” Hsue said of Weaver.

The Islanders pounded out 14 hits in the victory. Mercer Island put up four runs on the board in the top of the first and poured in four more runs in the top of the fourth, extending their lead to 9-3. In the top of the sixth, the Islanders added three more runs transforming the contest into a blowout. Mercer Island junior Parker Simpson went 3-for-4 at the plate with 3 RBI. Islanders’ sophomore Cole Miller went 3-for-3 with 3 RBI as well. Mercer Island head coach Dominic Woody was glad to see his team dominate the final six innings of play. The Islanders outscored the Panthers 8-1 in the final six innings to put the game out of reach.

“We wanted to keep adding runs and keep piling on because you got a great opponent across the way,” Woody said of Bonney Lake. “We’ve been following them all year and they were a club that I thought most mirrored what we do. They can really swing it and they were really clean defensively. I didn’t think it was going to turn out like that [blowout victory] but that is why you play the game. I’m absolutely ecstatic right now.”

Mercer Island will face the Southridge Suns in the Class 3A semifinals at 4 p.m. on May 26 at Safeco Field in Seattle.

“We have four goals at the beginning of the year. They are to win the regular season, win our district, win a regional and win a state championship. Right now three of those four boxes are checked. We are only one of four teams left in the state in the 3A classification. I’m excited for Monday [practice],” Woody said.

Hsue is excited about the opportunity for the program to win its second state crown in the past three seasons.

“It is special, especially with this being my senior year. This team seems a lot like the one that won it [2015 season]. There isn’t any quit in these guys and we’re a deep team. I think we got a good chance of doing the whole thing this year,” Hsue said.

More in Sports

Islanders dominate Vikings

Mercer Island scores 17 goals against Puyallup.

Goal celebration in Mercer Island win

Mercer Island senior captain Jackie Stenberg, left, celebrates scoring in regular time… Continue reading

Mercer Island Islanders senior swim athlete Chloe Mark, who has advanced to the Class 3A state swim meet in the 500 free the past two seasons, wants to see her team finish in one of the top three spots at the Class 3A state swim meet this November. The Islanders captured fourth place at the Class 3A state meet during the 2017 season. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Mark is a marvelous swimmer for Mercer Island

Mercer Island senior Chloe Mark has loved swimming since she was in elementary school.

‘She likes to win and she likes to run hard’

Mercer Island’s Maggie Baker tears up the cross country course.

Mercer Island player Oliver Schaaf, (No. 5), plays defense against the Newport Knights in the season opener on Sept. 6. Photo courtesy of Michelle Kavesh
Islanders boys water polo team is striving for excellence in the pool

Mercer Island defeats Newport in season opener.

Mercer Island volleyball players Anika Iverson, left, and Quinn Casey, right, leap into the air against the Skyline Spartans in a non-league contest on Sept. 12 on Mercer Island. Skyline defeated Mercer Island 3-1 in the matchup. Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
Spartans defeat Islanders in nonleague volleyball contest

Mercer Island head coach Samantha Marziello is in her first season leading the program.

Gordon Gibson, left, pictured with his father Graeme, right, will compete at a professional jiu jitsu competition titled, Fight2Win on Sept. 14 at the Seattle Center. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Gibson will compete in professional jiu jitsu event

Mercer Island middle schooler Gordon Gibson is thriving in the sport of jiu jitsu.

The Eastside Lions varsity rugby squad (pictured) earned third place at Nationals in Kansas City this past May. Photo courtesy of Hugh Gladner
Eastside Lions rugby club is thriving on the Eastside

Lions varsity squad earns third place at nationals.

Thunder Sports Network takes the sports world by storm

Rich Hallstrom and Chris Brown co-authored Thunder Sports Network, but it’s friendship that counts.

Cecilia Sommerfield, left, and Emily Guedel, right, competed at the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics from July 26-29 in San Jose, California. Sommerfield and Guedel will be freshman during the 2018-19 school year at Mercer Island High School. Shaun Scott, staff photo
Competing against top-caliber competition in California

Mercer Island athletes compete in water polo Junior Olympics.

Mercer Island Islanders senior boys lacrosse player Donnie Howard competed on the Russian National lacrosse team at the 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships from July 12-21 in Israel. Shaun Scott/staff photo
Howard partakes in an experience of a lifetime

Mercer Island senior Donnie Howard competes in 2018 FIL World Lacrosse Championships.

Andrews soars onto the national stage

Brooke Andrews, 13, is looking to compete at the 2018 USA Diving Junior National Championships.