The Mercer Island Islanders baseball squad is heading back to the state tournament.
Mercer Island clinched a berth in the Class 3A state tournament courtesy of a 10-3 victory against the Interlake Saints in the 3A KingCo tournament championship game on May 6 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue. The Islanders, who have won seven of their past nine games, improved their overall record to 13-8 with the win. The Islanders will compete in the Class 3A state tournament, which kicks off play on May 18.
Mercer Island junior right-handed hurler Duke Brotherton allowed just two earned runs and four hits in 6 2/3 innings of work on the hill against the Saints with a berth at the state tourney on the line.
“I was really nervous. It was a big game but you just got to come out like it’s a normal game and go straight for it,” Brotherton said. “You just have to throw your best pitches. That is just my mentality and it’s how I did it.”
Islanders head coach Dominic Woody was thrilled with Brotherton’s gutty performance on the rubber.
“He closed the game against Lake Washington (Mercer Island won 5-4 in KingCo semifinals on May 4). Coming off one day rest and giving 100 pitches with an outing like that was big work right there,” Woody said.
The Islanders are peaking at the right time. They had a 5-6 overall record on April 1 but have completely turned their season around in the past five weeks (8-2 record during that span).
“That is the crazy thing about this game. It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Fortunately we were able to win a tough game against LW (Lake Washington) and then come out here and take care of business to punch our tickets to the state playoffs again for the fifth straight year,” Woody said.
Mercer Island’s offense pounded out 15 hits against Interlake. Mercer Island junior Lukas Varney went 3-for-4 at the plate. Woody said the Islanders will look to schedule a non-league game sometime between May 13-17 in order to keep themselves sharp for the upcoming state playoffs.
“We are going to try to find a game to play. Obviously we will scrimmage and do everything we can in practice to make sure we are right,” Woody said.
Brotherton echoed Woody’s sentiment following the victory against Interlake.
“We don’t want to get rusty. We will scrimmage and continue to work hard and grind. We will go into the sweet 16 (state tournament) at 100 percent,” Brotherton said.