The Hazen baseball team is facing Issaquah in the regional round of the 3A state tournament on Saturday.
So, we’ve seen Hazen play all year, but who are the Issaquah Eagles? What have they done this year? And what type of a challenge will they serve up to the Highlanders this weekend?
Briefly, Issaquah is the defending 3A state champion and current KingCo tournament champion.
More in-depth, Issaquah plays in the KingCo 3A league, where the Eagles finished the regular season in the third place (14-8 overall, 10-6 league). The KingCo 3A is currently considered by most to be the top baseball league in the state. Teams out of the league have won the 3A state title six times since 2000.
Three of those titles have come from the Eagles. Last year (2007), 2004 and 2000. Issaquah is riding a streak of nine consecutive wins in the state tournament.
The Eagles and Highlanders had just one common opponent this season: Liberty. Hazen fell to Liberty 7-0 in the season opener on March 12. Issaquah went 2-1 against Liberty, with the latest victory a 10-9 edging on May 10 in the KingCo championship game.
Hazen and Liberty were scheduled to meet early in the season (March 13), but it never happened because of weather and scheduling conflicts.
The teams face off at Bannerwood Field in Bellevue at 1 p.m. The winner will play the Franklin Pierce/Capital winner at 4 p.m., also at Bannerwood.
At the plate for Issaquah…
Spencer Rogers OF/P – The sophomore owned pitchers this season to the tune of a .513 batting average. Among his 40 hits, he smacked 13 doubles and a home run. Rogers led the Eagles in runs (24) and RBIs (23).
Mario Sanelli 2B/3B – The senior made a living out of crossing the plate this year. He is second on the team with 23 runs, to go along with a .356 batting average.
Kyle Sutherland – .344 batting average, 18 RBIs, eight doubles.
Russell Bair – .295 batting average, 17 RBIs, six doubles.
On the mound for Issaquah…
Jacob Kemmerer P/3B – Finished with an earned-run average (ERA) of 1.40 in 55 innings. His 43:14 strikeout-to-walk ratio shows he can overpower hitters without being wild. He tossed two complete games and tallied a 6-2 record.
Tyler Vanderboegh P/OF – With an ERA of 1.97 and a solid strikeout-to-walk ratio of 34:12, the senior provides great depth to the rotation. Went 4-1 with the biggest win coming in the KingCo championship game over Liberty.
Alex Demame – 1.96 ERA, 35 strikeouts, 3-1 record.
Hazen pitching – Issaquah was held to one run or less four times this season. Hazen’s Nathan Bunch needs another great day to shut down the defending state champs.