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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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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Liberty brings back John Martin as baseball coach

September 27, 2011

NEW — 1 p.m. Sept. 27, 2011

Liberty High School athletic director Stark Porter announced Monday that John Martin has been hired to be the Patriots’ new head baseball coach.

Martin was a pitching coach at Liberty for several seasons. He was on the staff when Liberty won the 3A state title in 2003.

Among his prized pitchers that season was future Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants.

Martin has spent the past few years as an assistant coach at Auburn Mountainview. He has also coached summer select baseball teams.

Martin replaces Steve Darnell, who directed Liberty to a 6-8 record last season. The Patriots were knocked out in the first round of the KingCo Conference 3A tournament.

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Liberty Cannons baseball team holds tryouts

August 16, 2011

NEW — 10:30 a.m. Aug. 16, 2011

The Liberty Cannons baseball program is holding tryouts for its 2012 teams.

The tryouts are being held at Auburn-Mountainview High School because the Liberty High School baseball field is under construction.

Tryouts for the 15U and 16U Mickey Mantle teams are from 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 20, and from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 21.

Tryouts for the 18U Connie Mack team are 10 a.m.-noon Aug. 20 and 1-3 p.m. Aug. 21.

For further information, call Jeff Reeve at 206-227-2920.

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Lakeside, Cannons baseball teams head to state

July 28, 2011

 NEW — 11:30 a.m. July 28, 2011

The Lakeside Recovery U-17 baseball team and the Renton Cannons are headed for the AA state American Legion baseball tournament Aug. 2-6 in Spokane.

Both teams were victorious Wednesday in second-round district tournament games at Bannerwood Park.

Lakeside, composed mostly of Issaquah and Newport high schools’ players, and the Cannons, composed of Liberty High players, meet at 4 p.m. Thursday in the district championship round.

Lakeside defeated Bellevue Legion 15-5 on Tuesday and edged Woodinville 4-3 on Wednesday.

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For Devin Bennett, the final piece of a family legacy

July 19, 2011

In the quiet farmland of Pasco, where the scorching summer sun routinely drives temperatures into the triple digits, Devin Bennett wakes up before 5 a.m. to get to work.

Devin Bennett, Liberty High School senior, jumps out at the start of the 400-meter race May 20 during the 3A Sea-King District Championships, qualifying for state with a time of 51.01 seconds. By Greg Farrar

From mid-June to mid-July, he spends between 10 and 12 hours per day on his family’s cherry orchard, loading bins of fruit onto a tractor.

Although Bennett — a 2011 Liberty High School graduate — has come to the farm each summer for the past six years, this is the first year he has taken to grueling manual labor.

The hard work fits perfectly in line with his tremendous work ethic.

It’s a work ethic that led him to success as an athlete. It’s a work ethic that led him to success as a student. And it’s a work ethic he will build upon when he joins the track-and-field team at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., as a walk-on next year.

Driven by his will to put in the effort, Bennett hopes to become a college decathlete, competing in 10 different events.

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Skyline grad helps Bellevue College win title

May 31, 2011

NEW — 11 a.m. May 31, 2011

Former Skyline High School pitcher Adrian Sampson played a major role in helping Bellevue College capture the NWAACC baseball championship this spring. Bellevue defeated Lower Columbia 5-3 Monday in the title game in Longview.

Sampson blanked Lower Columbia 3-0 in the quarterfinals. He struck out 15, walked just one batter, and scattered three hits.

The freshman right-hander was named to the all-tournament team. Sampson was also selected to the All-North Region first team.

The title was the third in five years for Bellevue.

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Patriots’ postseason ends with tough loss

May 17, 2011

Liberty High School’s baseball playoff run came to an end May 10 with a 10-1 loss to Mercer Island in the first round of the 3A KingCo Conference tournament at Bellevue’s Bannerwood Sports Park.

Liberty entered the tournament as the No. 5 seed on the heels of a five-game winning streak that included a 3-0 victory at home against Mercer Island.

The loss was tough to swallow in the wake of the team’s late-season success.

“We ran into a tough team tonight,” Liberty coach Steve Darnell said. “They’re going to be some team to be reckoned with — I think — by the time it’s all done.”

The Patriots lost 13 seniors after the 2010 season, and they entered this season with only five returning varsity players. The season began as an uphill battle, and Liberty entered the final five games with a 4-10 overall record.

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Eastlake blanks Skyline in soccer title game

May 11, 2011

NEW — 5 p.m. May 11, 2011

The Skyline High School boys soccer team lost to rival Eastlake 2-0 Tuesday in the 4A KingCo Conference championship game at Eastlake.

Sean Klauer scored both Eastlake goals.

Skyline and Eastlake both advance to next week’s state regionals.

In other action, Issaquah’s season came to an end when the Eagles lost to Garfield 5-2. Alex Shane and Michael Roberts scored Issaquah’s goals in the game for KingCo’s No. 3 berth.

Garfield advances to a sub-district game May 14 and hosts the Western Conference’s No. 3 team.

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Skyline overcomes Issaquah in baseball battle

May 10, 2011

The Skyline High School baseball team exploded for six runs in the top of the seventh inning May 3 and overcame host Issaquah 9-6 in a 4A KingCo Conference contest.

The game wrapped up the regular season for both teams, who entered the league tournament May 7 at Woodinville. Issaquah, 6-8, finished in fourth place in the Crest Division. Skyline, 8-6, took third place.

Ethan Kalin gave Issaquah an 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first inning when he walloped a grand slam. Issaquah extended its lead to 6-3 going into the top of the seventh inning. However, Skyline came back to defeat Issaquah for the second time this season.

Nate Litka had two hits and drove in two runs for Skyline. Teammate Brandon Fischer also had two hits, and Clayton Huber knocked in three runs. Andrew Kemmerer had two hits for Issaquah.

On May 7, Skyline advanced to the KingCo tournament semifinals with a 4-1 victory against Woodinville. Fischer and Zack Liddle each slammed home runs for Skyline, which played Newport on May 9, after The Press’ deadline. The winner of the game earned a berth to the state regionals.

Issaquah meanwhile lost to Crown Division champion Bothell, 2-0.

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