Hsue, batting .429, and the Islanders are having fun as they meet Southridge, the team that knocked them out of last year’s tournament, in a semifinal at Safeco Field.
Final prep began with a Frisbee game.
Some of Mercer Island’s baseball players flung the plastic toy around their Island Crest Park field as if it hadn’t rained the entire season, preventing them from playing and practicing on their home turf. As if enjoying the sunny afternoon was their sole purpose. As if it wasn’t the eve of the biggest game of the Islanders’ season in the biggest ballpark in the area.
Mercer Island (20-2) faces Southridge (16-1) in a Class 3A state tournament semifinal on Friday at Safeco Field. The team toured the facility Thursday, returning to the island for typical practice, including the tradition of always starting with a fun, non-baseball activity to stay loose.
Friday at Safeco Field
Skyview vs. Puyallup, 10 a.m.
Kentwood vs. Kentlake, 1 p.m.
Southridge vs. Mercer Island, 4 p.m.
Gig Harbor vs. Edmonds-Woodway, 7 p.m.
“I didn’t realize how cool it was actually going to be until we walked up there,” said Islanders senior Noah Hsue of Safeco. “I’ve been there to watch Mariners games, but I’ve never been on the field before. It was special.”
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Hsue is the little guy expected to make a big impression in the semifinal.
His 5-foot-6 size is deceiving of his explosive style of play as a second baseman. The University of Washington commit bats leadoff for Mercer Island, hitting .429 and only striking out once this season.
“People hear the name, they see the numbers and the first time they go to the park, they see his stature and are like, ‘Really? This dude?’ ” said fifth-year Mercer Island coach Dominic Woody. “Then they realize this guy is no joke…when you go see that little guy come out here and…