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WHS Softball: Falcons soak up the sunshine, sock it to Newport

  • Written by Derek Johnson

The last week of March had weather worthy of late July. The Lady Falcons took to the field at Newport High School last Wednesday for an early season KingCo game. And beneath the dazzling blue sky, they battered Newport pitching, en route to a 17-2 victory.    

DSC 5709Woodinville’s Erin McGrath makes the catch on a fly ball to center field. Backing up is Gina Wyner. (Photo by Derek Johnson)

The win improved the Falcon conference record to 2-0.

“Last couple of games our run support came in a bit late,” Woodinville coach Dani Weir said. “So our goal today was to get on top early and make it comfortable for our pitcher out there. And we were able to do that.”

The Falcons batted around the order in the top of the first, plating six runs in the process. Paige Grover kicked things off by driving in Lauryn Rhinehart with a sharp single to left. In the second the Falcons scored seven more, to post a 13-0 lead. Taylor Rhinehart capped the scoring barrage with a two-run triple down the left field line.

“That run support is definitely nice to have,” Falcon starting pitcher Olivia Riener said. “It’s what a good hitting team does for you.”

The game was called after five innings of play, as officials invoked the so-called “mercy rule.” Woodinville won 17-2.

DSC 5711Woodinville’s Paige Grover smashes a base hit to left. (Photo by Derek Johnson)

“What I liked the most today was how the girls approached the game from the very get-go,” Weir said. “They got off the bus, they got straight to business, they were hustling everywhere they went. So I knew they were going to take this game, no matter who they were playing, seriously.”

As of this writing, Woodinville is 2-0 in conference and 4-1 overall. Weir was asked what she liked so far. She started by citing a freshman.   

“Bailey Burger-Moore really stepped up in the Snohomish game,” Weir said, in reference to a 3-2 win on March 25. “Having not played at all that game, there were two outs with a runner in scoring position, and she knocked in the winning run. It was great to reach into the bench and know you’ve got the support there.

“Lauryn Rhinehart has been a really consistent player for us,” Weir added. “On the mound or at shortstop, whether she’s sick or feeling good, she’s going to give you everything she’s got. And Jordyn Boyd has been killing it at the plate. She tends to put a little more pressure on herself than she needs to, especially since how talented she is. She has proven herself by clutching up in big situations.”
Weir was asked for her overall assessment.

“We’re definitely on pace to be where we need to be at the end of the season,” Weir said. “We’re not there yet. It’s still very early and we’re still working through some things and getting better. We’re still locking down some starting positions. Every day there is an open spot.

“It’s pretty cliché, but still we lost some key players [from last season] and we’re trying to fill some shoes. You can see the girls out here working, and maybe pressing a little bit too much to earn that position. But they’re getting more comfortable and having more experience. We’re in the process of settling in. It has the potential to be very, very special.”

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