Justin Vernia named All-State defensive MVP

June 18, 2013

By Scott Spruill

Issaquah player almost missed the series, until luck called him up

YAKIMA — There was some interesting karma — or whatever you might want to call it — going on in the championship game of the All-State Baseball Series on June 9. Good manners translated into good deeds at the plate, and an unexpected turn of luck led to a stellar pitching display.

Odd things, big results.

By Lillian O’Rorke Justin Vernia (left), Issaquah High School senior, is safe on first base in a game April 10 against Redmond. He hit two doubles, scoring four runs in a 7-6 victory.

By Lillian O’Rorke
Justin Vernia (left), Issaquah High School senior, is safe on first base in a game April 10 against Redmond. He hit two doubles, scoring four runs in a 7-6 victory.

Marysville-Pilchuck’s Kyle Nobach and Issaquah’s Justin Vernia swept the individual awards, and led Team Baker’s stout pitching and defense to a 7-2 victory against Team Rainier in the title game of the annual senior all-star baseball weekend at Davis Field.

Nobach batted leadoff June 8 and scored twice and drove in a run while helping Baker defeat Adams, 9-3, to earn a spot in the championship game. At the event’s banquet that evening, he was the only player among 72 to wear a tie — a noncasual novelty that was pointed out to everyone.

“My grandma made me do it,” he smiled. “She thought it was the right thing to do.”

On June 9, Nobach led off the game with a double, sparking a four-run first inning, singled in the second and scored in the fourth. For his top-of-the-order performance, Nobach was named the All-State offensive MVP.

Vernia wasn’t in the All-State Series when invitations went out early in June. He was ranked sixth out of his feeder games and with only the top five getting invites, the Issaquah pitcher was made the first alternate. On June 6, a Woodinville player was forced to drop out, and Vernia got a call at school.

“I’m pretty happy about getting that call now,” he said. “This worked out well.”

Consider Team Baker happy about that call, too.

Vernia struck out the side in the first inning, didn’t allow a hit for the first three innings, and finished with four scoreless frames and six strikeouts. He left with a 6-0 lead and was named the All-State defensive MVP.

“I knew I was going four innings, so I was excited about striking out the side to start,” he said. “I had a nice change-up today, and my fastball and curve were OK. To pitch this well against hitters as good as these guys — it couldn’t have gone better.”

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