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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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 Recovery bid for state falls short

July 26, 2011

Lakeside Recovery’s Mike Paulson, shown in a July 8 baseball game, pitched nine strong innings July 21 against the Spokane Blue Devils during the American Legion AAA Super Regional Tournament. By Greg Farrar

The baseball season ended a bit sooner than usual for Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion team.

Lakeside Recovery, for just the second time in 16 years, failed to qualify for the AAA state tournament when it lost two games July 21 in a Super Regional Tournament at Bellevue’s Bannerwood Park.

After overcoming a variety of adversities throughout the summer, Lakeside Recovery manager Rob Reese liked his team’s chances of reaching state tournament when it entered the regional last week. Things looked promising July 20 when Lakeside Recovery, the regional host, hammered the Tacoma Cobras 12-0 in the opening round. Lakeside exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Issaquah graduate Mike Paulson, who played at Walla Walla Community College in the spring, had two hits and Newport graduate Dan Altchech had two hits and drove in three runs. Pitcher Travis Snider, a Skyline High graduate, blanked the Cobras on five hits and did not walk a batter.

With the victory, Lakeside Recovery entered July 21 with two chances to advance to the state tournament. In the first game, Lakeside Recovery met the Spokane Blue Devils, who also won their opener, in a winner-to-state game. The Blue Devils dealt Lakeside Recovery a heartbreaking 3-2 loss in 10 innings.

“We had our chances to score early but we didn’t take advantage of our opportunities. We let them (Spokane) stay in the game and they put the ball in play when they had to. They executed when they had to,” Reese said.

Lakeside Recovery had a strong pitching performance from Paulson, who worked the first nine innings. He struck out seven batters. A costly error in the ninth inning helped the Blue Devils tie the game at 2-2.

“Paulson pitched great. He deserved the win but we just couldn’t get those last couple outs,” Reese said.

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Lakeside prepares for home-stretch run to playoffs

July 12, 2011

Andrew Kemmerer swings at a pitch during the third inning July 8 against Bankers Baseball Club. He had two hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs July 7 against the Twin City Titans. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team enters an important stretch this week with hopes of getting healthier and gaining momentum for the post-season.

Thus far, it has been a season when Lakeside Recovery has shown promise at times and has also shown its share of futility.

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Lakeside baseball falls to late Bellingham rally

July 5, 2011

Brandon Mahovlich pops a bloop single to right field in the third inning in Lakeside Recovery's 4-2 loss to Bellingham Post 7 June 28 at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue June 28. Mahovlich went 3-for-3. By Christopher Huber

The Lakeside Recovery bats were largely silent when they needed to produce June 28 against the visiting Bellingham Post 7 Legion team.

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Young Lakeside team has enough veterans to be competitive

June 7, 2011

Matt Lunde, Lakeside Recovery pitcher, throws to a Bellevue Legion batter during the fifth inning of their June 2 baseball game at Newport High School. Lunde had nine strikeouts over six innings during a 7-0 shutout. By Greg Farrar

The Lakeside Recovery Senior American Legion baseball team is a bit younger than some teams in past summers. Read more

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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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Issaquah High School baseball season ends

May 10, 2011

NEW — 2 p.m. May 10, 2011

The Issaquah High School baseball season came to an end Monday when the Eagles lost to Redmond 15-3 in a loser-out 4A KingCo Conference game at Woodinville High School.

Issaquah finished the season with an 8-14 record.

Redmond knocked out Issaquah starting pitcher Andrew Kemmerer in the third inning when the Mustangs scored six runs to go ahead 7-0.

The Mustangs, who were regarded as one of the favorites for the KingCo title this year, had 13 hits, two that were home runs. Patrick McGrath, who had one of the home runs, drove in five runs. Nick Rothermel hit the other home run.

Jake Bakamus had two hits and drove in a run for Issaquah.

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Issaquah rebounds from worst loss to best win

April 12, 2011

Jake Bakamus (2), Issaquah junior shortstop, tags out Skyline base stealer Peyton Harrod, caught in a rundown by Bakamus and first baseman Ethan Kalin (18) during the bottom of the third inning. By Greg Farrar

After 10-0 drubbing to rival Skyline, Eagles keep season alive with 10-8 win over Garfield

The Issaquah High School baseball team went from its worst game of the season to its best last week to regain some optimism for the season.

Issaquah won three of four games in all. Two of the victories came in 4A KingCo Conference play. The worst game was the first of the week. Issaquah was routed by rival Skyline 10-0 April 6 at Skyline in a league encounter.

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Issaquah baseball bounces back, coach gets 300th victory

March 29, 2011

It was inevitable that Issaquah High School baseball coach Rob Reese would get his 300th career victory this season. After all, Reese, one of the state’s most successful coaches, entered the season with 298. The odds were definitely in his favor.

With his youngest team in 17 years as Issaquah coach, Reese didn’t get those wins right away. Reese, who has coached three state championship teams, needed six games this season before hitting 300. He accomplished the feat March 26 when the Eagles defeated host Sedro-Woolley, 9-1.

After the game, longtime Issaquah assistant coach Steve Sanelli got the game ball after the final out and saved it for Reese.

How special was the win?

“Every win feels good,” Reese said. “I always like to win games.”

Reese attributed 300 to the quality of Issaquah teams over the years.

“We’ve had some real good teams here. Good teams,” he said. “That’s how you get to 300.”

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