Retiring Sports Editor Bob Taylor shares milestones from a long career on the sidelines

March 6, 2012

Kasen Williams, then-Skyline High School senior, makes his winning triple-jump leap of 45 feet, 5 1/2 inches, during the KingCo track and field championships May 13, 2011, at Juanita High School. File

I kind of know how Bill Gates must have felt when he made his first million. When I joined The Issaquah Press news staff May 22, 2000, I struck it rich, too!

Five days after being hired at The Press I covered my first Issaquah School District state championship team. Actually, it was inevitable that an Issaquah team would win when Issaquah and Skyline met for the 3A state baseball title in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium. Issaquah won 5-3.

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Off the Press

February 14, 2012

To our Hall of Famer and MVP, Bob Taylor

Hey Bob,

Greg Farrar Press photographer

You are an awesome sports editor, and your decision to bow out on March 9 to pursue your book-writing projects is going to make my transition from black-and-white film to color-digital photography seem like a piece of cake.

Thank you so much for the 12 years of wisdom and experience you have brought to your sports section. We hardly deserved to have you, considering your 19 “and-a-half” previous years covering Eastside sports for the old Journal-American. Any daily newspaper around Puget Sound would have been a better one with you on its staff.

It always amazed me when covering an event with you to see how grown dads and even coaches would approach you to reminisce about the times you covered their own high school athletic careers. You’re like the living encyclopedia of Eastside sports, and whenever it was relevant, any story you wrote could link to the past of a school’s athletic program.

We’ve had more time on the road together than I’ve spent with any other reporter in this business. No trip to Bellingham, Tacoma or Yakima ever seemed too long as we gabbed away the miles. I learned about your growing up in the southwest corner of the state, your awesome love for your wife Pauline and son David, and how you’ve worked with quite a few interesting characters, some sober and some inebriated, over the years.

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Issaquah grad pitches in Belgian Series

October 18, 2011

Issaquah High School graduate Derek Bondo tossed a nine-inning complete game for the Hoboken Pioneers, who won the Belgian national title Oct. 1 with a 4-2 victory against the Namur Angels.

The Pioneers swept the best-of-five series, 3-0. It was the third straight national title for the Pioneers.

Issaquah Eagles golfers top Skyline Spartans

October 4, 2011

NEW — 10:45 a.m. Oct. 4, 2011

The top five Issaquah High School players, led by Weston Mui, shot in the 30s Monday as the Eagles defeated rival Skyline 186-189 in a KingCo Conference 4A golf match at the Snoqualmie Falls Golf Course.

Mui shot a par 36 on Issaquah’s home course to share medalist honors with Skyline’s Brian Mogg and Kelly Sullivan.

Sid Raman, Bryan Jung and Brian Batt all shot 37s, and Fletcher Martin had a 39 to round out Issaquah’s top five scores. However, Taylor Swingle and Evan Ko also shot 39s. Danny Baumer just missed the group with a 40.

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Matt Wickswat ends season with win

September 20, 2011

Issaquah grad Matt Wickswat concluded his season with a victory Sept. 4 when he pitched the Class A Winston-Salem Dash to a 5-4 win against Lynchburg, Va. Wickswat, a Chicago White Sox farmhand, went seven innings, struck out six and allowed just one earned run. He finished the season with a 6-6 record, 84 strikeouts in 91.2 innings, and a 4.03 earned run average.

Julian Sampson, a Skyline grad, compiled a 10-5 record with a 3.92 earned run average for the independent Brockton, Mass., Rox of the Can-Am League this season.

Good news: Bears win second state title in a row

August 9, 2011

Mark Gray has a knack for being associated with championship teams. After all, he starred on title teams in football and baseball during his Issaquah High School days.

Mark Gray (right), Bears coach, sends baserunner Nate Gibson home for a run on a teammate’s single during a game July 10. By Jim Boyle

The past two summers, he has also been head coach of the Field of Champions Bears baseball team, which has accomplished a rarity for local teams in recent years. The Bears have won two state championships in a row.

This summer, the Bears captured the Mickey Mantle 15U state title. Basically, the same group won the 14U state Sandy Koufax championship the previous summer.

“They are a great bunch of kids,” Gray said.

The team is mostly Issaquah and Skyline high school players. The Bears went 19-2 in league action this summer and posted a 4-1 record at the state tournament. In the championship game, the Bears defeated the Puget Sound Shockers, 8-0, at Redmond’s Hartman Park.

“The Shockers had beaten us three times this season. I guess the fourth time was the charm,” Gray said.

Outfielder Mitchell Morimoto, who played on Issaquah High’s varsity team last spring as a freshman, was selected as the state tournament’s most valuable player. Outfielder Derek Chapman and outfielder-pitcher Tommy Medawar, of Issaquah; and pitcher-first baseman Drew Lunde, outfielder Bradley Hoss and pitcher Nate Gibson, of Skyline, were selected to the tournament all-star team with Morimoto.

“Morimoto had a great tournament and Gibson was just dominating on the mound,” Gray said.

While the Bears had strong pitching at state, they also hit the ball with authority. In one game, the Bears hit five home runs.

“We had a strong lineup. One through nine, every one of the kids could hit,” Gray said.

Although the Bears qualified for the 15U Mickey Mantle World Series, the club elected not to participate in the tournament.

“We felt they had played enough baseball this year, and it was time for them to get ready for football season,” Gray said.

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Lakeside run to state finale falls short of title

August 9, 2011

The Lakeside Recovery 17U baseball team lost a showdown with District II rival Woodinville, 9-7, Aug. 7 in the state AA American Legion championship game at Spokane’s Gonzaga Prep.

Lakeside Recovery held a 7-3 lead through six innings, but Woodinville rallied behind home runs from Matt Laitala and Caleb Hamilton.

The Falcons scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Lakeside Recovery. Matt Laitala supplied the big blow with a three-run home run that put Woodinville ahead, 8-7. Caleb Hamilton followed with a solo shot.

Daniel Rawlings, of Issaquah High School, had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run to lead Lakeside Recovery. Patrick Harrod, of Skyline, had one hit and scored twice.

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Matt Wickswat continues hot pitching with Dash

August 9, 2011

Matt Wickswat, a former Issaquah High School standout, has provided the Winston-Salem, N.C., Dash with some hot pitching of late.

Wickswat, a lefthander, picked up his fifth straight victory July 30 when the Dash defeated Myrtle Beach, S.C., 6-1, in a Class A Carolina League contest.

Wickswat, 5-1 for the season, struck out seven batters.

Lakeside Recovery baseball team is edged by Burlington

August 5, 2011

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Aug. 5, 2011

The Lakeside Recovery 17U baseball team suffered its first loss in the state AA American Legion tournament Thursday, losing to Burlington 5-4 in the winners’ bracket game at Gonzaga Prep in Spokane.

Lakeside Recovery plays Kennewick at 1 p.m. Friday in a loser-out contest.

Daniel Rawlings, of Issaquah High School, had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run for Lakeside Recovery.

Lakeside Recovery led 4-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning when Burlington scored four times to tie the game. Burlington tallied the winning run in the fifth inning.

Lakeside Recovery 17U baseball team wins again

August 4, 2011

NEW — 10:15 a.m. Aug. 4, 2011

The Lakeside Recovery 17U baseball team exploded for four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning Wednesday en route to an 8-6 victory against the Gonzaga Prep Bulldogs in the state AA American Legion Tournament in Spokane.

Curtis Kojima, James Ferris, Patrick Harrod and Frazier Krall each had two hits for Lakeside Recovery, which is 2-0 in the tournament. Lakeside Recovery played Burlington on Thursday in the winners’ bracket at Gonzaga Prep.

Pitcher Jacob Chinery went the distance for Lakeside Recovery. He struck out nine batters.

Lakeside Recovery, 41-18 on the season, scored twice in the first inning and then plated single runs in the second and third innings. The team then put the contest away with the four-run fourth.

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