Eagles see return of solid contingent

March 18, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

File Ryan Peart, Issaquah High School senior, pitches a game last April during his junior year.

Ryan Peart, Issaquah High School senior, pitches a game last April during his junior year.

Good luck to opposing hitters trying to reach Issaquah High School’s outfield this year.

Opponents will find little wiggle room in an Eagles outfield that can compete with the best in the state.

“We’ve got two of the better outfielders in the state in Derek Chapman and Mitchell Morimoto. Those guys can really play,” said Issaquah coach Rob Reese. “Jack Gellatly is back in the outfield too, so we return all three starting outfielders, which is big.”

The trio is part of a solid returning core of seniors from last year’s 14-10 team. The Eagles will have to replace All-State pitcher Justin Vernia, who graduated last year, but other than that, the team remains largely intact.

Reese said he would look to returning pitchers Ty Gibson and Ryan Peart to fill the void of Vernia’s absence.

“It usually starts and ends with pitching,” he said. “Obviously, some new guys will have to step into new roles. Peart and Gibson have to step into the No. 1 pitching spot.”

Gibson, a junior, got a late start on the season. He missed a week of practice while he led the school’s basketball team to a third-place state finish.

“They missed a week, but they had a heck of a run,” Reese said of the basketball players that joined the baseball team late. “Now, they come out for baseball and start all over again.”

Issaquah senior Keegan Chaplin will lead the infielders, making the move from second to shortstop. Chaplin earned first-team All-KingCo honors last year.

Overall, Reese said the Eagles appear talented on both sides of the ball, and as long as the team stays healthy, Issaquah could make some noise this year.

Health will be a key. The Eagles already lost senior pitcher Alec Shimizu to a broken leg, Reese said.

“There’s obviously a very good group of guys on paper coming back, it’s just a matter of putting it together,” Reese said.

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