Lately there’s been something Zen-like in watching Woodinville play softball. The sight of line drives darting into the outfield, followed by an endless parade of girls in green circling the bases and celebrating at home plate.
Before you know it, your reverie is interrupted by an umpire who enacts the so-called mercy rule. Such was the case last Wednesday at Bothell High School, where the Lady Falcons beat Bothell 15-1 in a game called after five innings.
Woodinville improved their record to 14-2 in league and 16-3 overall, which enabled them to clinch the regular season KingCo 4A Championship.
The Falcons have also defeated their last three opponents by a combined score of 45-1 (and all three games were ended after five innings). They’ve outscored their last six opponents by a combined 68-6.
“We’ve been going up all season and it’s all coming together now,” Woodinville senior captain Katie Kelly said. “We got one of our goals today, league champs.”
“We always try to play like it’s a 0-0 ballgame,” Woodinville coach Dani Weir said. “Once we got the lead, we wanted to get to the fifth inning, get three outs and get out of here.”
Woodinville High School earned the distinction of having both its baseball and softball teams win the KingCo 4A regular season championship.
“I’m really proud of Woodinville, and really proud that we get to wear the green and blue,” Weir said. “We practice next to [the] baseball [team] all the time, and I know the girls have a good relationship with the boys over there. We see them support us a lot, and I know our girls go to their games a lot too. So it’s kind of nice to feed off that competitive energy. They won their league title and we went out and won our league too.”
As Woodinville looks ahead now to the KingCo 4A Tourney, one player who has emerged as a bona fide star is Paige Grover. In recent weeks, the junior slugger has torn the cover off the ball and terrorized opposing pitchers.
“She’s got the tools and she’s got the talent, there's no question about it,” Weir said. “But I think she’s taken a more patient approach at the plate and so she’s seeing better pitches to hit. She’s not just swinging at the first pitch, which is how she started out this season. Where she was maybe trying not to strike out or trying not to pop up, and was probably pressing a bit too much.
“But now she’s trusting in her abilities,” Weir said. “She’s moved herself up in the lineup and into a position where she’s getting RBIs and with more runners on base. And in a position where those at-bats mean a little bit more.”
Woodinville will have a first round bye in this week’s KingCo 4A Tourney. They will play the winner of the Redmond-Inglemoor game at Inglemoor High School at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17.