Top sports stories of the year

December 31, 2013

Issaquah athletes take top state honors

It was another successful year for Issaquah community sports.

By Greg Farrar The Liberty High School girls soccer team exults with the state 3A championship trophy Nov. 23 after beating the Kamiakin Braves, 2-1, in Puyallup.

By Greg Farrar
The Liberty High School girls soccer team exults with the state 3A championship trophy Nov. 23 after beating the Kamiakin Braves, 2-1, in Puyallup.

Athletes at the three district high schools took home conference titles and state championships, while an Issaquah racing team made a splash on the water.

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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 Baseball Club nears national title

August 21, 2012

With only two games standing between them and an American Legion World Series title, Rob Reese’s Lakeside Recovery Baseball Club will find out if it has what it takes to bring the hardware home.

After going undefeated in the Senior Legion State Tournament in Selah, the team packed it up and went to Billings, Mont., to participate in the Senior Legion Regional Tournament.

It was there where the players’ offense came alive — they scored an average of 9.8 runs a game, losing only one game to Idaho Falls, by a score of 6-3.

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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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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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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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