Having fun and playing tough on the baseball diamond

Werdel and Islanders are back after winning state title last year.

From a T-ball player to a state champion, Cutter Werdel has experienced one solid baseball ride.

There have been thrills at every stop since the age of 5, and the Mercer Island High School senior feels the Islanders possess the talent to notch another state title this season.

Last spring, the Islanders defeated Kennewick, 8-4, to snag the 3A state crown.

“We’re here to compete, we’re here to win again. That’s the whole goal, it’s the mentality,” said the captain and third baseman. “Basically, we have a target on our back now. Everyone knows that we’re the best team in the state and we’ve got to defend that. We’ve got to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves when we face teams.”

Joining Werdel at the captains’ helm are fellow senior returners Marques Abulhosn at shortstop and Max Clark at first base/outfield. The Islanders will also unleash a stellar three-pronged pitching attack in senior returners Austin Cupic, Evan Otte and Jack Beebe.

Werdel, a second-team 3A KingCo all-leaguer last year and current member of the Boys of Summer 18U premier squad, said that head coach Dominic Woody and his staff have provided critical guidance for the players during practices and games.

“I’ve never had this much fun playing baseball and I think that has to do with the coaches, ‘cause they know how to make it fun and also make sure that you’re staying on pace, as well, and getting your work done,” said Werdel, adding that the supportive parents and booster club also play key roles in the team’s success.

Excitement has reigned supreme over at the team’s Island Crest Park diamond since practices commenced on Feb. 27, said Werdel.

The Reporter asked Werdel a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Messing around in practice when you could be getting work in, finding something to do to get better.

What’s a binge-worthy TV series that you would recommend?

Oh, you know, I just got done finishing the third season of “Outer Banks,” so that one’s pretty good.

If you could go to do dinner with one person, who would that be?

Kobe Bryant.

What’s the best piece of advice that you would give a player jumping onto the program here?

I would say don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re really enjoying baseball, and you will do anything to play at the next level or just get as good as you can, just put your head down and keep going to work and good things will come to you.

What’s a hidden talent that you have that maybe somebody wouldn’t know about?

I could juggle (three baseballs and other objects in threes).

What’s a skill that you would like to learn?

I would say dancing or boxing, like fighting.

Bonus information: When later asked if Cutter was his real name or a nickname, he noted that it’s his middle name and his great-grandmother’s maiden name.