Grittiness propels Eagles on diamond / Column

Issaquah baseball squad clinches berth in 4A state semifinals.

The Issaquah Eagles baseball team experienced its season being on the verge of extinction on five different occasions during the 2019 postseason.

Each time the Eagles came through with a clutch victory in a do-or-die situation with their season on the line. Issaquah clinched a berth at the 4A state semifinals courtesy of a 7-5 win against the Tahoma Bears in the 4A state quarterfinals on May 18. Earlier in the day, Issaquah captured a 5-1 win against the Camas Papermakers in a loser-out, first round state playoff game.

The Eagles (18-9) will face the Olympia Bears in the 4A state semifinals at 4 p.m. on May 24 at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

I’m not surprised in the least bit Issaquah has battled its way to Pasco since the playoffs kicked off on May 2. Issaquah head coach Rob Reese, who has been the skipper of the baseball program for the past 26 years, is undoubtedly one of the finest high school baseball coaches in Washington. In 26 seasons, Reese has compiled 418 career victories since taking over the program in 1994. When you have a coach in the dugout with that kind of a resume, it creates an abundance of confidence.

Issaquah ace pitcher Brady Liddle raved about Reese’s coaching style this past April during an interview with the Reporter.

“He is awesome and is a great coach. He demands a lot out of you but also cares about you,” Liddle said.

Not only do the Eagles have one of the premier coaches in all of Washington calling the signals in the dugout and on the third-base line, they have a talented group of players who thrive in pressure situations. The Eagles were well represented when the All-KingCo awards were recently announced. Eagles catcher/pitcher Tyler Odegard earned first-team, all-KingCo honors as a utility player. Eagles players capturing second-team, all-KingCo honors consisted of Lucas Senatore (outfield), Cooper Thieme (designated hitter), Tyler Reese (utility) and Liddle (pitcher).

The Eagles head into the state semifinals in Pasco this coming weekend having been battle-tested to the max throughout May. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they brought home a state championship trophy back to Issaquah over Memorial Day weekend.

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