After opening round baseball games at Auburn High School, the Auburn Trojans and Mercer Island Islanders faced off Saturday to determine who would advance to the semifinals of the Class 3A baseball tournament.
Both teams feuded in early games, with the Islanders beating Bainbridge 8-0 that morning and the Trojans beating Bishop Blanchet 7-6.
Auburn’s first game against Bishop Blanchet went nine innings, with the Trojans winning at the bottom of the ninth to advance to the quarterfinals.
After a hard fought battle, senior Ethan Smetheram described the energy after winning the first game of the day.
“I mean, it was electrifying after the first game, it was pretty fun,” Smetheram said.
The celebration would not last long as the Trojans would have to fight back and face off against the Islanders 45 minutes after their victory. Mercer Island won the game 6-1.
With packed stands and a chance to reach the state semifinals, the energy of the game was electric.
Both teams started strong defensively, resulting in the game remaining scoreless through the third inning.
The Islanders would find momentum at the bottom of the third inning and never look back. With some big hits in the third inning, this saw them lead the Trojans 3-0.
The Trojans had no answer for the Islanders as they failed to bring home a runner in the fourth inning.
While Auburn struggled, Mercer Island kept the ball going as they brought home three more runs late in the fourth.
Islanders head coach Dominic Woody said the team followed the game plan it had all day.
“It was the same message we had all day, which is to keep grinding, keep posting on the plate and be patient and wait for our opportunities to come and we take them. Obviously when you get into playoff baseball like that, anybody’s a good opponent, anybody can play the game at a high level, so it’s really about taking the chances that you get,” Woody said.
It was a tough hitting game for the Trojans. They didn’t score until the seventh inning, but Trojans head coach Gordon Elliott said the team was determined to see the game through to the end.
“They will never give up, we fight to the last and that’s how our boys are,” Elliott said.
The Islanders would defeat the Trojans 6-1 and advance to the semifinals where they will face West Seattle.
As this ends the season for Auburn Baseball, it’s just the start for the team’s program. For Auburn, this was the first time they had a chance to compete in the Quarterfinals in years, and they plan to use this season as a launch pad for years to come.
The Trojans say goodbye to five seniors who laid the foundation for the program. The ending wasn’t what they envisioned, but Senior Tanner Hanson made sense of it.
“Agree. It’s like the loyalty messed up, messed up. I really believed in every single aspect of our games that all these guys could do it and just being so close to every human being… just like a big takeaway I feel for loyalty and brotherhood.”