The outcome of the Class 3A state semifinal baseball matchup between the Mercer Island Islanders and Southridge Suns was decided in the seventh inning.
With one out and the bases loaded, Southridge senior Noah Weber scored on a passed ball lifting the Suns to a 5-4 victory against the Islanders in the Class 3A state semifinals on May 26 at Safeco Field in Seattle. Weber scored standing up as the ball trickled back toward the backstop. The Islanders, who committed five errors in the game, trailed Southridge 4-3 after six innings of play. In the top of the seventh the Islanders tied the game at 4-4 and were looking to take the lead. The Islanders loaded the bases but had two consecutive fly-outs to end the inning. Mercer Island starting pitcher Liam Dammeier, who surrendered just two hits in 4 2/3 innings of work, got his team out of multiple jams with Southridge runners on base to keep the game close. The sophomore hurler was disappointed the Mercer Island seniors won’t get an opportunity to play in the Class 3A state championship game.
“We have three seniors [Noah Hsue, Sam Rosenstein, Jack Smith] on the team this year. We really wanted to pull it out for them. They are three of the best guys you will ever meet. We gave it a good run, unfortunately we just came up short. There’s nothing we can do about it,” Dammeier said. “Hats off to Southridge. They played a heck of game.”
Southridge played small ball the entire contest and executed a bevy of bunts and ground balls which consistently put pressure on the Islanders defense.
“We knew the profile of our opponent. We knew they were going to put pressure on us,” Mercer Island head coach Dominic Woody said. “To their credit, that is the best bunting team I’ve seen all year. They were dropping dimes down so you got to give credit to the opponent because we knew what they were going to do but they just executed. It is just unfortunate. That is just how the game works. You’ve got to tip your cap to them. They did a great job of putting balls in play. Unfortunately if you make five errors, it’s going to be hard to win a ballgame this time of year against a ball club like that.”
Hsue went 2-for-4 at the plate in the loss for the Islanders. Mercer Island will face Edmonds-Woodway in the Class 3A third/fourth place contest at 1 p.m. on May 27 at Safeco Field in Seattle.