As the fields lay empty at high schools this spring, the thoughts are universal:
“My heart just goes out to all these kids – all the seniors,” Mount Si H.S. baseball coach Brent Lutz said.
“Putting in all this work, and then don’t get to show it – it’s real tough,” added softball coach Kelli Duvall.
Under the shadows of Mount Si, that frustration cuts a bit deeper: On two fields now ready to host the home teams.
“These poor kids – they never had a home game,” said Lutz.
For three years, Mount Si’s baseball team boarded a bus almost every night for games or practices in Covington or Bellevue while their school and field were being built.
“You’d come home, you got about two hours before you gotta head back to the high school. Get on the bus by six. And you don’t get home until 10:30-11ish – so it was tough,” said senior baseball player Troy Baunsgard.
Added Lutz: “Basically we had to load every single piece of gear we had into the back of my truck and my assistant coaches truck. So we were basically wasting 2-3 hours a night for these kids to get our two hour practice in.”
But the ultimate payoff would be great: A brand new field, a brand new complex. And one that was ready in time for their senior season.
“We were all so excited," said senior Parker Wutherich. "This field – we’d seen pictures of it, and then we finally got to step on it, and was like ‘This is the greatest thing.’ It looked over the mountain – it was perfect.”
After three years of practices and games in Issaquah, the softball team felt the same.
“We were like, “This is so beautiful, we have a logo in the middle of the field and outfield. It was so pretty. We were so excited,” said senior Hope Bostick.
It was an excitement that lasted nine practices, then ended before either season began.
‘We were just so looking forward to that first home game to let these seniors showcase what they really had – the reward for the three years they put in for the sacrifices of not having a home field and a home crowd for that matter,” Lutz said.
Added Wutherich: “There’s nothing like going out on a Friday night under the lights and playing baseball for your school and having your fans there…. And all of a sudden it’s taken away – it’s pretty heartbreaking.”
Heartbreaking for all athletes across the state, and especially on these two fields. But their perspective remains worthy of one last trip around the bases.
“Regardless of how this season went, these are friendships that we’ll have forever," Baunsgard said. "And the lessons that the coaches and the game of baseball have brought us will stick with us for the rest of our lives.”