The Mercer Island baseball team looks on from the dugout during a game against Bellevue last April. Contributed photo

‘Take me out to the ball game’ | Guest column

  • Friday, March 3, 2017 8:00am
  • Sports

By MI Booster Club

Special to the Reporter

As winter fades, soon it will be time to more fully enjoy the outdoors. What better way to kick off spring than to take in America’s favorite pastime, right in your own backyard.

Over the past 10 years, a very dedicated Mercer Island baseball community has worked together to build a quality developmental program through Mercer Island Little League and Mercer Island Select Baseball. These parent-driven organizations have not only produced unlimited memories for many young players and families, but have also developed teams who have excelled in the upper divisions, bringing home many notable championships as the home-grown players have matured and improved.

Since 2008, Mercer Island Little League has won 13 District 9 championships and seven Washington state Little League championships. In 2012, many members of the current MIHS varsity, after winning the Little League state championship, competed with a 4-1 record in the San Bernardino Little League Northwest Regionals. Of course, who can forget the Little League World Series run in Williamsport, Pennsylvania by the 2009 Mercer Island team? Proudly, in 2015, as these players joined forces, Mercer Island High School baseball won their first Washington state 3A championship with all the excitement of record crowds and a walk off home-run.

These successes, produced through years of dedicated volunteer coaching and community-wide support and further enhanced by the continuous hard work and focus of the players, has brought attention to the Island program and has opened the door for several to play at the next level. In the last two years, eleven MIHS players have committed to Division 1 schools including Gonzaga, Oregon State University, Seattle University, University of Washington and Washington State University. The current 2017 MIHS varsity team includes five Division 1 commits led by a seasoned and accomplished coaching staff.

Whether you’re catching a Mercer Island High School or a Little League game, you’ll find friendly faces, young and old, enjoying America’s favorite pastime and participating in the great sense of “community” that drew us all to live here on Mercer Island. So, get outside! Enjoy the beautiful local parks and our own home-team “heroes.” Attendance is always free.

The Mercer Island High School baseball home opener begins at 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 20 at Island Crest Park versus Cascade. The Islanders play 18 games featuring nine home field appearances. For game schedule and weather updates, go to www.mibaseball.org.

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