Lake Washington High’s baseball team knocked on the door of the 3A state tournament last year, but fell just short of qualifying for the premier event.
With the that door now closed, coach Derek Bingham told the Reporter that the Kangs felt they should have gone further. But they were young last year, Bingham added, and they have some unfinished business to attend to in 2018.
“I feel like they’ve spent every day since that game last year that we lost, the winner-to-state game, preparing to get back on the field this year,” Bingham said about the 5-0 loss to Southridge.
Leading this year’s team will be seniors Michael Buchanan, a pitcher/outfielder, and Brayden Boyes, a center fielder with a big bat. Boyes played infield his whole life and will bring his speed, energy and athleticism into his new role.
Tops among the Kangs’ 12 juniors are Travis Lee at shortstop, I-ly Hsue at second base, Torin Montgomery at first base, Jesus Vizcarra at catcher, Oliver Laufman at pitcher and Nation Wood in the outfield. Wood is a University of Oregon commit and joined Hsue on the Kangs’ 2016 state-champion squad.
This year, the team is deep with the junior-varsity squad sporting varsity-caliber players. Bingham said it’s exciting to watch the players roll right into this season with energy, focus and passion.
“I think we would be shorting ourselves if our expectations weren’t to be in contention for a KingCo championship, for sure, if not more,” said Bingham, noting that the Kangs are baseball junkies and love being around each other. “It’s rare when you have a team that loves to be there as much as the coaches do.”
Head coach: Derek Bingham
Last year: 9-5 league, 16-9 overall, third in 3A KingCo
Key returners: Michael Buchanan, senior, P/OF; Brayden Boyes, senior, CF; Nation Wood, junior, OF; Travis Lee, junior, SS; I-ly Hsue, junior, 2B