Issaquah baseball bounces back, coach gets 300th victory

March 29, 2011

By Bob Taylor

It was inevitable that Issaquah High School baseball coach Rob Reese would get his 300th career victory this season. After all, Reese, one of the state’s most successful coaches, entered the season with 298. The odds were definitely in his favor.

With his youngest team in 17 years as Issaquah coach, Reese didn’t get those wins right away. Reese, who has coached three state championship teams, needed six games this season before hitting 300. He accomplished the feat March 26 when the Eagles defeated host Sedro-Woolley, 9-1.

After the game, longtime Issaquah assistant coach Steve Sanelli got the game ball after the final out and saved it for Reese.

How special was the win?

“Every win feels good,” Reese said. “I always like to win games.”

Reese attributed 300 to the quality of Issaquah teams over the years.

“We’ve had some real good teams here. Good teams,” he said. “That’s how you get to 300.”

Issaquah opened the season with a four-game losing streak.

“We got off to a real tough start. We didn’t pitch, hit or field well. With the young guys we have, I knew it would take a while,” Reese said.

After opening last week with a tough 4A KingCo Conference 1-0 loss to Newport, the Eagles bounced back with two victories.

Junior Andrew Kemmerer figured heavily in both wins.

“He had a great pitching performance against Eastlake and he was unbelievable Saturday against Sedro-Woolley. He could become a real good player,” Reese said.

Kemmerer was the winning pitcher March 24 when the Eagles edged Eastlake, 3-2. The victory snapped the four-game losing streak for Issaquah.

Kemmerer held Eastlake to three hits over 6 1/3 innings and struck out four to register his first victory of the season. He also drove in a run.

Cole Westover relieved Kemmerer in the seventh inning and earned his first varsity save. Westover entered the game with the bases loaded, but got the final two outs to preserve the victory. With the tying run on at third base, Westover got the final out with a strikeout.

Issaquah snapped a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runs. Blake Miller scored the first run on an Eastlake error. Gavin Schumaker singled in Jack Gellatly with what proved to be the winning run.

Against Sedro-Woolley, the Eagles had their best offensive game of the season. Kemmerer, playing as the designated hitter, went four for four with a pair of doubles. He drove in two runs. Shortstop Jake Bakamus also knocked in two runs.

Winning pitcher Brandon Mahovlich blanked Sedro-Woolley over the first five innings. Mahovlich, in his first game of the season, allowed a hit and struck out eight.

Issaquah scored three times in the third inning with two of the runs coming across on a double by Kemmerer.

The Eagles lost their league opener March 22 to host Newport, 1-0.

Newport scored its run in the bottom of the seventh to end a pitchers’ duel.

Ethan Kalin started for Issaquah and threw hitless innings before being relieved by Scott Boydston, who blanked Newport until the seventh.

Cole Wiper, Newport’s starting pitcher, worked the first five innings and allowed just two hits. He struck out eight. Jared Fisher, the winning pitcher, worked the final two innings for Newport.

Daniel Altchech singled in pinch runner Ioannis Kritsonis with the winning run.

Skyline also lost its league opener March 22 as the Spartans fell to Redmond, 5-3. Nate Litka had two hits and drove in two runs for Skyline.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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