The hot corner is a comfortable place on the baseball diamond for Mercer Island Islanders 2019 graduate Teague Conder.
Conder, who earned 3A KingCo first-team, all-league honors as a third baseman, will play baseball for the Whitman College Blues Division-III baseball team in 2020. Whitman College is located in Walla Walla.
“It has always been one of my dreams to continue on and play at the next level. When I had the opportunity, I really wanted to take that step,” Conder said. “Whitman was the first team to reach out (recruit) to me and they really wanted me. They were great throughout the whole process. It is a good place to not only play baseball but is really good academically.”
Third base is universally known as one of the toughest positions in the infield. Quick reflexes, quick thinking and an accurate throwing arm are of utmost importance at the position.
“I like the fast pace of it. If you are standing in the outfield, you don’t get much action. At third base, you got to be on your toes at all times because you never know when a line drive will be hit right at you. That is why I like it,” Conder explained.
Conder, who played guard on the Islanders varsity boys basketball team during the 2018-19 season, believes his abilities on the hardwood contributed to his success as an infielder. Mercer Island baseball head coach Dominic Woody wouldn’t let Conder forget his basketball skills when he stepped on the baseball diamond.
“Woody definitely brought that into the baseball fold. He would say, ‘You got to be in a defensive stance at all times when you are playing third base.’ It is something he focused on,” Conder said.
Woody is one of the most popular coaches on the island due to his old-school disciplined approach.
“He just tells you how it is. He lets you know what your flaws are and ways you can improve. He is definitely hard nosed but that just shows how much he cares about all his players and his team,” Conder said of Woody.
The 2019 Mercer Island Islanders rebounded from a sluggish start (5-6 overall record at midseason) to win eight of their final 11 games en route to a 3A KingCo tournament championship and a berth in the 3A state tournament.
“It was really fun to be able to battle through all the adversity and win the KingCo tournament. I have been playing with these guys since I was 9 years old,” Conder said of his teammates. “To be able to bring another (KingCo) trophy home for coach Woody and keep the dynasty going was really fun.”