Chloe Lingen executed a beautiful squeeze bunt and Molly Taketa added two RBIs as Woodinville knocked off previously undefeated Newport 6-3. This battle for conference supremacy took place last Tuesday at Woodinville High School.
The Falcons improved to 7-0 and took over first place in Kingco 4A. The win was also Woodinville’s 33rd in a row, dating back to May 2016 when they lost the State Championship game to Snohomish. Woodinville has now won 39 regular season games in a row.
“We’re not worried about the record, I just want to win,” Woodinville coach Dani Tachell said. “If we happen to be undefeated, that’s great.”
It was Newport that initially got the upper hand on this night. Pitcher Hanoka Hirai was in firm control. Katie Lee smacked a 2-run double. And Newport led 3-0 heading to the bottom of the fifth inning.
But the Falcons finally got to Hirai. Woodinville scored twice in the fifth and four more times in the sixth. Erin McGrath, Molly Taketa and Bailey Burger-Moore joined the hit parade.
“At the beginning of the game we tried to get home runs,” Burger-Moore said. “We had to calm down. We got out of our comfort zone. We had to remind ourselves who we are as a team. We aren’t going to hit five home runs a game. Single after single, we’re going to steal, were going to be a scrappy team. Once we found our identity it really showed… It was so much fun being in that dugout today!”
RHINEHART SHOWS HER TOUGHNESS
It was another solid outing from Falcon pitcher Rachael Rhinehart. The junior southpaw notched her 7th win this season as she gritted her way to a complete game.
“Rachael was getting a little bit tired, her back was tightening up,” Tachell said. “It was one of those things that – if you’re a competitor – you forget about. She fought through it and ran right through that brick wall.”
Rhinehart was also featured recently in a Seattle Times article by Sandy Ringer. Rhinehart’s older sisters Lauryn and Taylor (who led Woodinville to the 4A State title last year) were quoted in the piece.
“I loved the article, it was so cool,” Rachael said. “It was so cool to get that. And to have my sisters quoted in it and Molly [Taketa]. It was fun.”
Rhinehart was asked about the transition from being in her sisters’ shadow to being a budding star.
“It’s really cool, especially experiencing last year,” Rhinehart said. “Watching them have success for themselves. And now I’m experiencing it for myself. And to keep winning feels so good.”
THE RETURN OF MIKE DALE
A familiar face was seen roaming the ballpark during the Newport game. The gruff but lovable Mike Dale served for several years as an assistant coach to Dani Tachell. He’s currently an assistant coach to Ashley Tuiasosopo at Monroe.
But on this night, Dale stood behind the outfield fence in the role of kibitzer. As Newport pitcher Hanoka Hirai dominated early, Dale kept the faith. “The girls are getting their timing down,” he insisted. “They’re going to get to her by about the fifth inning. You just watch.”
An hour and a half later the game was over. Woodinville coach Dani Tachell stood on the field being interviewed by a reporter. Dale hovered nearby. Slowly he moved to within earshot. Not able to remain quiet any longer, he cut in.
“And what did I say?” he asked with a big smile. “I said fifth inning! I said fifth inning!”
“Aw, he just wants a quote in the paper!” Tachell said to laughs all around.