Olivia Riener swears she’s never seen “The Natural.” In that film, Roy Hobbs limps to home plate and smashes a game-winning home run off the light standard in deep right field, causing a shower of sparks to cascade upon the field.
Last Tuesday, the Woodinville Falcons traveled to Mount Si to play a game under dark, cloudy skies. And in the third inning, Riener hammered a high fastball so deep to straightaway center field, that it struck the scoreboard with a resounding thud, soliciting oohs and ahhs from the crowd.
“I don’t remember ever hitting a scoreboard,” Riener said with a smile. “And I’ve never seen that movie, but I will check it out.”
Combined with Skylar Hein’s grand slam home run in the fourth inning, the Lady Falcons overpowered the Lady Wildcats 11-1 in a game called after five innings due to the so-called mercy rule.
The win improved Woodinville’s record to 5-1 in KingCo 4A, and 8-2 overall. Mount Si fell to 2-5 in conference and 5-6 overall.
Mere minutes after the game ended, the dark clouds unleashed a downpour. Woodinville coach Dani Weir spoke to a reporter while her players scurried to gather their belongings and hustle to the parking lot.
“We knew this rain was coming,” Weir said. “So the game plan was let’s see if we can make quick work in five [innings] and get out of here. Lauryn [Rhinehart] pitched great, we were able to score some runs and we got it done.”
One revelation this season has been the steady play of freshmen twins Megan and Molly Taketa. Megan in particular was impressive on this day. In the top of the fourth, she beat out an infield single on a chopper, which ignited a five-run inning. In the bottom of the fifth, she made smooth work on a sharp grounder hit to her at second base.
“Megan is getting more comfortable for sure,” Weir said. “She has had a lot of playing time [this year], especially in the field. Her bat is slowly coming into its own. ... She’s a big thinker and a perfectionist, and so we’re trying to get her to calm down and trust in what she’s good at. The big thing for her is to make good decisions and pick good pitches to hit. She’s doing a great job out there.”
“I have great teammates and they’re making this season awesome,” Megan Taketa said. “I feel really comfortable and it’s fun.”
The Taketa twins were preceded by older sister Sarah, who was a member of Woodinville’s undefeated state championship team from 2012. Sarah now plays for Chapman University in Southern California.
“She follows us all the time,” Megan said. “She’s always asking us how we’re doing.”