Justin Vernia named All-State defensive MVP

June 18, 2013

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.

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Boys’ seasons come down to experience

March 12, 2013


The Issaquah High School Eagles’ 2012 season saw a young squad win five in a row at the end to qualify for state.

Now, that squad is a year older and preparing for what coach Rob Reese said could be its breakout year.

“It’s a pretty good mix,” he said. “It’s a really, really good junior class and a group we’ve been counting on to have good things from.”

By Greg Farrar Liberty High School baseball players huddle before they split into two squads March 6 for a practice game.

By Greg Farrar
Liberty High School baseball players huddle before they split into two squads March 6 for a practice game.

Ten players are coming back this season.

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Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club earns third in American Legion World Series

August 28, 2012

Brandon Mahovlich, Lakeside Recovery pitcher, throws against Pacific Tech Construction July 14 at Bannerwood Park during the regular season Brandy Pugh Memorial Tournament. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club only lost two games in the American Legion World Series in Shelby, N.C., both to the same pitcher. Genetically, that is.

Brooklawn’s twin phenoms Casey and Cody Brown held Lakeside in check in the two games, limiting the Bellevue team to two runs in their first meeting Aug. 19, and only three runs in the Aug. 21 semifinal game. Both games were one-run affairs.

“We ran into a tough left-hander, and they got the big hit when they needed it with two outs,” Lakeside head coach Rob Reese said. “We got our chances in the eighth inning and we only got one out of it. There’s not much room for error when you get to that level. You have to take advantage of your opportunities and we had a couple shots, but we just didn’t get it that day.”

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Lakeside Recovery pitcher Brandon Mahovlich gasses competition

July 17, 2012

Brandon Mahovlich smokes in a pitch for Lakeside Recovery to a batter from Pacific Tech Construction in the fourth inning July 14 during the Brandy Pugh Memorial Tournament at Bannerwood Park. By Greg Farrar

Lakeside Recovery catcher Jim Sinatro squatted down behind the plate July 14 at Bannerwood Field. As pitcher Brandon Mahovlich peered in for the sign, Sinatro extended only his index finger.

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Issaquah Indians eye repeat as league champs

July 3, 2012

The Issaquah Indians huddle before the taking the field on defense in the bottom of the fifth inning June 28 with a 3-1 lead against the Bothell Blue Devils. Issaquah won, 9-3. By Greg Farrar

There’s only one thing harder than winning the Pony Baseball’s Northwest Regional Championship. And that’s doing it two years in a row.

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Lakeside Recovery rides hot streak to postseason

July 3, 2012

When they’re hot, they’re hot. When they’re not, they’re not.

And after June 30’s 13-1 routing of Prep Sportswear’s ball club at Bothell High School, the Lakeside Recovery team proved just that.

Lakeside coach Rob Reese said that kind of winning margin — the team has scored at least seven runs in 10 of the team’s 14 wins this season — is not uncommon for this year’s team.

“Offensively, we’re kind of contagious,” he said. “We can be hit and miss offensively, though. When we do hit, everyone hits. When we don’t hit well, nobody hits well.”

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Issaquah High School baseball falls in state playoffs, 3-1

May 22, 2012

It was an up-and-down year for Issaquah High School baseball in 2012, but a late-season surge vaulted the team into the state tournament for the first time since 2009.

Hoping to ride the hot hand of senior pitcher Brandon Mahovlich, Issaquah’s offense came up short, and the team lost to Puyallup, 3-1, on May 19 at Everett Stadium.

“Puyallup’s a great team,” Issaquah head coach Rob Reese said. “We had our chances, just didn’t get enough runs. They had six hits and two of them were bunts. They clutched up, they had a triple one time and another sac fly. When we got guys on it was always with two outs, it seemed like. We just couldn’t get the run. We couldn’t string enough together.”

Mahovlich struggled early, but managed to give up only one run in the first inning and one run in the second.

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Issaquah High School baseball team defeats Roosevelt, 9-0

April 17, 2012

It doesn’t hurt when you score nine runs in the first two innings. It also never hurts when your starting pitcher throws a complete game shutout, and that’s what Issaquah High School senior pitcher Brandon Mahovlich did April 13 as Issaquah defeated Roosevelt, 9-0.

“It makes it a lot easier,” the winning pitcher said. “I can just go out there and throw strikes and not have to worry about it. They can score a couple runs and I can just pitch confidently with a lead.”

And quite a lead it was. Issa-quah jumped straight out of the gates with a two-run homer from senior shortstop Jake Bakamus, and followed that with the next five batters all touching home plate.

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New rule, bats expected to lower scores, reduce injuries

April 3, 2012

New, stricter bat regulations are forcing producers to make less powerful bats and will greatly affect gameplay on both the college and high school levels.

The regulations require BBCOR bats, short for Batted-Ball Coefficient of Restitution. Though the bats are still aluminum, they are less “springy” and will hit more like wood bats. Permissible bats will feature a BBCOR-certified sticker.

A major problem with the old BESR (ball-exit-speed-ratio) bats was that they would become too powerful once broken in. As fibers within the bats repeatedly came into contact with baseballs, they would break down, become more flexible and surpass levels deemed safe.

“Back in the early days, the best it was going to be was right when you took it out of the wrapper,” Issaquah High School head baseball coach Rob Reese said. “Recently, bats would get more powerful after use.”

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Pitching, defense will be key to local baseball teams’ success

March 13, 2012

Ethan Kalin, an Issaquah High School senior this year, advanced two baserunners with an at-bat in April 2011 during his team’s game against Skyline. By Greg Farrar

As the clocks spring forward and the calendar flips to March, the Issaquah, Skyline and Liberty high school baseball programs will all have a common approach to this season: pitching and defense.

With the new bat regulations for the upcoming season, first-year Liberty Coach John Martin thinks the game is in for a change.

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