Bellevue Christian’s Fantastic Four Team core hopes to lead Crusaders to state title in baseball

Every team has its core, the players who are the unchallenged leaders that everyone looks to. For Bellevue Christian, that’s a quartet of seniors: Jeremy Bohnett, Jon Houck, Kyle Taylor and James King, the cogs who have helped the Vikings capture back-to-back-to-back Emerald City League titles.

Bellevue Christian baseball players (from left): Kyle Taylor

Every team has its core, the players who are the unchallenged leaders that everyone looks to. For Bellevue Christian, that’s a quartet of seniors: Jeremy Bohnett, Jon Houck, Kyle Taylor and James King, the cogs who have helped the Vikings capture back-to-back-to-back Emerald City League titles.

Now coaches Jim Rubstello and Rob May look to the seniors to lead the Vikings just a bit further, to a 1A state championship. That road started with a 2-0 victory over Friday Harbor on May 7 in the first round of the Tri-District tournament.

The centerfielder

Bohnett steps into the batters box against Friday Harbor’s Richie Ochoa, one of Class 1A’s best left-handed pitchers. Bohnett sends Ochoa’s first pitch into left field for an RBI double that gives the Vikings the only run they would need.

Jeremy Bohnett is the goofy kid with the big arm that opponents fear. He’s also the one who will throw his body on the line for every ball that comes near his 6-foot, 6-inch frame in centerfield.

“I just play each play like it’s my last,” Bohnett said. “It sounds cliché but I don’t like to hold anything back.”

He’s the big kid with the big bat who made the big impression. King still remembers the first time he played with Bohnett freshman year.

“He hit a home run in his first at-bat against Ritzville,” King said. “That’s the kind of guy he has been since he has been here.”

While his outfield arm may get a lot of attention from opponents, his bat may be his most dangerous weapon of all. In 13 regular season games Bohnett hit .421 and lead the Vikings with 16 RBIs.

“As much of a goof around as he is at practice, he’ll give a better effort than anybody,” Rubstello said. “He just loves baseball.”

The Vikings will take the goofball any day.

The Catcher

Holding a 1-0 lead in the third inning, Houck throws out Friday Harbor’s Alex Jangard by a foot on a steal attempt to end the inning.

Jon Houck may be quiet, but his play speaks volumes. The only thing that might be louder is his other hobby – Houck is an all-state trumpeter in band and jazz band, as well as a part of the Seattle Youth Symphony.

“I take a little flak for that,” he said.

His teammates don’t raze him as much when it comes to his play on the field. His quiet demeanor on the baseball diamond belies the talent that sits crouched behind the plate for seven innings a game.

“Jon is a real quiet guy, but in my opinion, he’s the most underrated player in the league,” King said. “He’s been my catcher for the past three years and all the league championships. He’s a great guy with great integrity.”

“Jon’s just smart, one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met,” Taylor said. “He knows the game of baseball. It’s important to have such a smart player back there.”

Houck, who is hitting .343 with 13 RBIs this season, will head to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo next year, where he’ll study architecture.

“I won’t be playing ball,” he said. “But I’ll probably continue jazz band.”

The Shortstop

With one on and two out in the bottom of the third inning, Taylor launches an RBI triple that soars over every outfielder, driving in a crucial second run for the Vikings.

You can see the love of baseball in Kyle Taylor’s eyes. The way he talks about the game, the way he’s left speechless when he hears someone suggest he may be the best player to ever pass through the Bellevue Christian program.

“When I hear someone say that, it just gives me chills,” Taylor said. “I’ve worked really hard to be as good as I can be. And I just really love baseball.”

Taylor, last season’s Emerald City League MVP, is the type of player who can take over every game he plays, Rubstello said. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Kyle wants the game, the big game every game,” Rubstello said. “When things get tedious, that’s what eats him up. He always wants to perform at the highest level.”

The highest level that Taylor hopes to achieve someday is a place in the Major Leagues. Until then, he has his sights set on a state title, something the Vikings never have achieved.

“Every year we say ‘this is the year, this is the year,’ and now it’s our last chance,” said Taylor, who leads the Vikings in hitting with a .467 average. “It’s been the four of us talking about a state title since our freshman year. I want to go out on top.”

The Pitcher

King is only two outs away from finishing off a four-hitter against Friday Harbor. The right-hander strikes out Justin James and Ryan Alyward swinging to seal the Bellevue Christian victory.

James King has been called “King James” by coaches and opponents alike, but what really separates Bellevue Christian’s ace pitcher from the rest is his uncanny mound presence.

“I’m definitely not an extrovert on the mound,” King said. “I’m focused to say the least. I know what I got to do and I don’t take no for an answer when we’re fighting for a win. The attitude a pitcher has to have is to go out there and dominate.”

After doing just that against Friday Harbor, King celebrates with the team on the field. But while the team continues the celebration off the field, King is still out there running along the outfield fences.

“He’s just amazing in his dedication,” Taylor said. “Every time he’s on the mound, you know he’s going to give you 100 percent. You can’t say that about everybody.”

King seems to have a special knack for stepping up against the stiffest of competition. Since his freshman year, the right-hander has gone 15-3 against league rivals and playoff constants Overlake and Cedar Park Christian.

“I just know I have to do my part every game,” King said. “I’m really proud of the way our team has played the last few years. Every single one of these guys is great guys and we’re working hard to win that state title.”

Four players, all with different perspectives, traits and abilities. Four players who hope to bring a team together and leave the school with a state title to remember.

“We’ve all been close friends since our freshman year,” Taylor said. “Now, we’re more focused than ever to win that title.”

Joel Willits can be reached at 425-453-4270 ext. 5060 or at jwillits@reporternewspapers.com.

More in Sports

Shaun Scott, staff photo
                                Bellevue Christian ace pitcher Eric Kats, left, and infielder Daniel Teramato, right, are looking to lead their team to the Class 1A state baseball tournament this May.
Vikings are dominating on the diamond in 2018

Bellevue Christian is having a breakthrough season on the diamond.

Photo Courtesy of Maddi Davidson
Bellevue’s Boettcher kicks grass and takes names

Two sisters tell the story of a Bellevue woman who helped pioneer women’s soccer in the region.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Krohn/Patrick Krohn Photography
                                Mercer Island player Alex Platou, left, and Interlake defender Charlie Myhran, right, battle for possession of the ball in the first half of play on April 11 at Interlake High School in Bellevue. Mercer Island defeated Interlake 2-1 in the contest.
Islanders defeat Saints in rivalry showdown on the soccer field

Interlake nearly ties the game in the closing seconds.

Jemal, Campana dive onto USA Junior National ultimate teams

Three Cedars Waldorf coach is blessed to have guided the duo along their journey.

Bothell defeats Newport, 5-1

Bothell beat Newport, 5-1, in 4A KingCo baseball action on March 28… Continue reading

Playing multiple sports creates better, healthier kids, says physical therapist

Special to the Reporter In an era of specialization in sports involving… Continue reading

Shaun Scott, staff photo
                                Bellevue Bulldogs freshman infielder Megan Marino is dominating at the plate thus far during the 2018 season. Marino is batting .540 and has 21 RBI in 12 games played during the season. The Bulldogs currently have an overall record of 16-1.
Marino is making a sizable impact in first season with Bulldogs

Bellevue Bulldogs softball team is dominating its opponents in early season action.

Goucher to host baseball camp in April

Former professional baseball player and Atlanta Braves scout Steve Goucher will conduct… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography
                                The Bellevue Wolverines girls lacrosse team lost 16-3 to the Mercer Island Islanders on March 21. Bellevue players Kimberly Nickerson, Abby Parrish and Lily Weingaertner each recorded a goal apiece in the loss. The Wolverines dropped to 2-1 overall with the loss while Mercer Island improved their overall record to 4-0.
Islanders defeat Wolverines in rivalry lacrosse showdown

Wolverines suffer first loss of 2018 season.