From the Goal Line
A Mercer Island Sports Blog
The Mariners won’t start their home season at Safeco Field until April 12, but anyone who wants to see great baseball at the Major League Baseball park can head out this Saturday, April 10 for the Marinier Classic featuring four high school baseball teams.
The Mercer Island baseball team will be taking on Eastmont, a 4A school out of Wenatchee, at Safeco Field at 4 p.m. The game is free and open to anyone who wants to attend. The Islanders are 6-1 so far this season, currently sitting in second place in the KingCo 3A/2A standings.
The Issaquah baseball team will play Kentridge at 12:30 p.m. also on Saturday.
In Wednesday’s issue, I did a story about an Island native who recently skied in the Paralympic Games in Whistler. Mark Bathum, who grew up on Mercer Island, suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which has severely hampered with his vision. The life long skier now competes in the visually impaired category of adaptive skiing. Mark and his guide (see the story for an explanation) won a silver medal in the downhill race.
It was a great interview, but unfortunately there just wasn’t enough room for everything (I could have gone on and on). But luckily for you here’s the outtakes from that interview:
My dad picked up skiing when he was about 30, and for a ski racer I actually got into it a little bit later, I think I was 9 or 10 and as a teenager it became the sport I was most passionate about and figured that I could excel at it the most so actually when I was attending MIHS i spent half of my high school years over at Wenatchee Valley Junior College, they had a program where they let us train with the ski academy so we skied 7 days a week effectively. We’d go to school 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. and be on the hill by 11:30 a.m. and we’d ski 180 days a year at Mission Ridge. My junior year I didn’t attend MIHS at all, but my senior year I did the first and fourth quarters.
I did it for one more year competitively and before going to college. I took one year and sort of dedicated it to skiing, but by then, without my knowing it, my eye disease had started taking back my ability to ski the race course, so the last year was not as productive as the previous years. I trained well because you have the course memorized, but I wouldn’t race well. I’d ski off the course or miss gates. Then I hardly skied at all during the 80s and I lived in Europe for a couple years and lived in LA for about 8 years and that didn’t really lend itself to skiing so when I moved back to Seattle in the early ’90s friends got me back into it. Quite honestly when I was diagnosed with my eye disease in ’86 I thought someday I’d probably do the paralympics, so four or five or six years ago I started to think about it and more or less said if I don’t do the 2010 games I’ll be too old to be competitive at the next series, so I attended my first adaptive race and have been pursuing it with a passion since then.
Pairing up was just serendipity. Guides have to have quiet a bit of flexibility in their work schedule, and not everybody does, to be able to train and travel extensively, so when I did my first adapative race in March of ’08 I showed up at the race course in Idaho and it just so happened that there was a volunteer (Slater Storey) there whose sister was on the U.S. adapative ski team, so he grew up with the sport because she (his sister) had a leg amputated as an infant so when I needed a guide the race organizers asked him if he would be willing. Being a guide beats being a volunteer so he did it and then we did a couple of races together last season and then I also had to work with another guy because it’s hard to find people who have the time, but he (Storey) ended up having time this winter and skied almost on a daily basis to prepare for the Paralympics.
I would say slalom is the most difficult just because it’s the quickest, things are happening the fastest. In a 60 second race you go through 40-60 turns, so you’re literally doing everything as fast as you can, there’s just no time to think or process in between turns, and so as a guide and a follower we have to be very much in sync through training. Downhill, just by nature that you have a few seconds between turns, is marginally easier because you have the time to think and communicate.
Favorites places to ski – Absolutely love Sun Valley, can’t say enough good things about it, they were very generous to us this winter, Crystal Mountain is a fantastic mountain, love training there, Alpental and Snoqualmie they have great coaches and training and Mission Ridge. Seattle is blessed with lots of great areas.
Favorite part of skiing and racing – You have a total sense of freedom and complete ability to be aggressive, it’s such a controlled environment I don’t have to worry about outside variables so you can just completely focus on a singular task or event and your mind clears from everything else and you just get so singularly focused on that you get a sense of accomplishment and reach your peak performance. A lot of sports provide this I think, it takes all stress from the rest of life away and cleanses and purges it.
The other thing that I really enjoy about ski racing is always my teammates and competitors, they usually really fine young men and women who participate in the sport. They are doing it because they love it, and they get some benefit from it. It’s always a personal benefit, its not like they are doing it for fame and fortune, everyone has a lot in common and gets a lot of joy from it. They are battling their disabilities, but getting tremendous joy from this pursuit and it’s very therapeutic.
Check out Mark’s Web site for more information about him and the sport.
Here’s a look at the local lacrosse standings as of April 4.
The Mercer Island boys have just returned from a successful 3-0 trip to New York during the school’s spring break. Last year the team lost all it’s matches back East, and this season the captains said winning games in NY was a top priority. Look for a recap of the trip in this week’s issue.
Boys Division I
|tie||Mercer Island||4||4-0-0 (0)||1.000||0.5||9-0-0||113||38||75|
|10||Eastside Catholic||5||1-4-0 (W1)||0.200||4||2-4-0||34||71||-37|
|tie||King’s Way||3||3-0-0 (W3)||1.000||1||3-0-0||33||9||24|
|6||Seattle Prep||4||1-3-0 (L3)||0.250||3.5||1-4-0||27||58||-31|
|tie||Lake Tapps||5||0-5-0 (L5)||0.000||5||0-5-0||32||80||-48|
Girls Division I
The girls, who host Garfield on Thursday at home, are in a three-way tie for fourth place right now, falling from a tie for second place before spring break.
|2||Seattle Prep||6||3-2-1 (T1)||7|
|4||Lake Sammamish||4||3-1-0 (W3)||6|
|tie||Mercer Island||4||3-1-0 (W2)||6|
|10||Holy Names||5||1-4-0 (L3)||2|
|tie||Forest Ridge||4||1-3-0 (W1)||2|
|tie||Nathan Hale||4||0-4-0 (L4)||0|
Yesterday, the Mercer Island boys baseball team started their away and home series against Sammamish, playing at Sammamish (they host the Totems tomorrow at 6 p.m.). The Islanders, who are currently 4-1 this season, beat Sammamish 11-3.
Mercer Island scored in every inning, with their highest being three runs in the fifth. A game highlight however came at the top of the 7th when Islander short-stop and captain Willy Reel hit a home run way out over left field. There wasn’t much Reel didn’t do at the game, ending with a 5-5 at bat/hitting record in the game, earning two RBI. Along with the homer he had a double and a triple during the game.
Ben Emanuels was 2 for 4 at bat against the Totems and Evan Thompson was 3 for 3 overall.
The win came a week after the Islanders 13-5 upset against Mount Si, considered one of the top teams in the state this season.
Mercer Island hosts Sammamish on Friday at Island Crest Park beginning at 6 p.m. See next week’s Reporter for a full series recap and pictures.
On a side note: at last night’s game Sammamish’s scoreboard was apparently not working or hasn’t been (it wasn’t electronic, but was the ‘old-school’ kind where the numbers had to be hung up by someone – so I’m assuming it just doesn’t get used). While keeping track of the score isn’t the most difficult thing in the world, several people, myself included, had to ask around during the game to keep track of what inning it was and what the score was. I know this isn’t professional or college baseball, but a scoreboard would have been a nice addition to the game.
Here is a look at the Washington high school lacrosse standings, as of Monday, March 29. The undefeated Islander boys division I team sits squarely on the top of the rankings, but are tied with Bellevue who has the same record. Mercer Island is in New York this week during the high school’s spring break, competing against some of the toughest teams in the nation.
Boys Division I
|1||Mercer Island||4||4-0-0 (0)||1.000||–||6-0-0||86||24||62|
|10||Eastside Catholic||3||0-3-0 (0)||0.000||3.5||1-3-0||19||51||-32|
|tie||King’s Way||3||3-0-0 (W3)||1.000||0.5||3-0-0||33||9||24|
|7||Seattle Prep||4||1-3-0 (L3)||0.250||3||1-4-0||27||58||-31|
|tie||Lake Tapps||3||0-3-0 (L3)||0.000||3.5||0-3-0||19||48||-29|
The Mercer Island girls division I team is currently in a three way tie for second place, all with 3-1 records. Lake Sammamish and Tacoma, who the Islanders lost to last week, and MI all sit below the undefeated Lakeside who are 5-0.
Girls Division I
|2||Lake Sammamish||4||3-1-0 (W3)||6|
|tie||Mercer Island||4||3-1-0 (W2)||6|
|tie||Seattle Prep||4||2-2-0 (L1)||4|
|10||Holy Names||3||1-2-0 (L1)||2|
|11||Nathan Hale||4||0-4-0 (L4)||0|
|tie||Forest Ridge||3||0-3-0 (L3)||0|
One last note about basketball, with a few of the MIHS players taking part in various post season games this weekend.
Hannah Lilly has committed to play as part of tomorrow nights All-State girls basketball team. She’s the only member of the girls team, who finished sixth at state this year, to play in the all-state game. It will be at Seattle Christian High School, sponsored by the state’s coaches association, with the 3A/4A game starting at 7 p.m. The cost is $7 for adult and $4 for students. Kids under 10 are free.
Also on Saturday, several players from MI will have the chance to take part in the second annual Comcast All-Star Challenge at 4 p.m., this Friday at Bellevue College. On the underclassmen navy team Haley Gullstad and Jae Shin will represent the Islanders, while Lilly will play for the senior team. On the boys side Kaj Sherman will play for the seniors, while Quinn Sterling and Brian Miller will play on the underclassmen team.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students with ASB and seniors. The games will also be available 48 hours after the event on Games Comcast’s On Demand.
Jonathan Wettack was named one of U.S. Lacrosse’s Washington High School Players of the Week for the week of March 15 – 21. The senior midfielder for Mercer Island has helped the Islanders to two wins in one week. He already has 29 points this season, with 13 goals, six assists and seven ground balls.
Last Wednesday he helped the team beat Lakeside 17-2 with seven goals and two assists, before contributed six goals and four assists in the Islanders 13-0 win over Bainbridge.
Wettack, a captain of this year’s MIHS lacrosse team, also played football for three years for MI and has maintained a 3.4 GPA.
By Linda Willams Rorem
In Saturday’s “Island Wars,” an annual event in which Mercer Island and Bainbridge Island lacrosse teams, from third grade through high school varsity, go head-to-head, Mercer Island players were victorious in all nine match-ups.
The MIHS varsity team shut out Bainbridge 13-0, as did the freshman/sophomore team, at 15-0. The junior varsity game was much closer, with MI winning, 12-10.
Other scores include: 7/8 Black (select) won 13-1; 7/8 Maroon won 11-10; 7/8 White won 7-1; 5/6 Maroon won 6-2; 5/6 White won 6-2 and the 3rd-4th grade traveling team won 5-2.
The “Island Wars’ event rotates between the two island communities, and this year Mercer Island players traveled on the ferry to Bainbridge for games that started at 10 a.m. and finished with a 4 p.m. pairing between 7th-8th grade select teams.
Mercer Island and Bainbridge Island teams have long been considered friendly rivals. In 2002 and 2003, Bainbridge beat the Islanders in the Washington State Championship; in 2004, Mercer Island topped Bainbridge. After two years in which MI reigned over Issaquah in the Championships, MI and Bainbridge faced each other again in 2007, and Bainbridge won.
Somehow it is that time of year again. It seems like we speed blasted through the last two months and suddenly, and officially this weekend, it’s springtime. That of course means spring sports season (one of my favorites, if only because we move outside once again).
In the next two issues of the Reporter (March 24 and March 31) I’ll be running our spring sports previews. There are just too many teams that trying to squish them into one issue wouldn’t do the athletes justice. Over those two weeks we’ll take a look at boys soccer, boys and girls lacrosse, girls water polo, track and field, girls golf, girls tennis, fastpitch and baseball.
I’ll also be posting the season schedule for each sport on our Web site at www.mi-reporter.com so you can keep track of who is playing where.
Joel Willits, sports editor at the Bellevue Reporter (our sister paper), put up his predictions and a look at the 3A basketball state tournament this week in Tacoma.
Joel, who will be covering the Bellevue boys this week, has predictions for both the boys and girls tournaments, but I felt like his predictions were especially dead-on for the girls tournament – check out what Joel thought here.
The Mercer Island girls will face Mount Rainier tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. A win over the Rams will pit the Islanders against the winner of the Kennedy Catholic/East Valley (Spokane) game on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
A loss to Mt. Rainier pushes the Islanders into the consolation bracket to face the loser of the Kennedy Catholic/East Valley game at noon on Thursday.
From there things get murkier, at least until we know if the team starts off the tourney with a win or a loss.