Mother Nature brought the rain, but Woodinville brought the lightning. Sparked by Tom Zimet’s two-run homer, the Falcons scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat Skyline 5-2 last Wednesday at Falcon Field.
“Crazy weather, wet baseballs definitely make a difference,” Woodinville coach Alan Dillman said. “But the rain stopped and the bats came alive. Good things started to happen.”
The Falcon offense managed nothing but goose eggs through five innings. While waiting for the bats to heat up, Woodinville pitcher Cooper Merhmann (2-3) kept his team in the game. The lanky right-hander limited Skyline to two runs while striking out five.
For much of the night, black clouds hovered above and unleashed a cold, relentless drizzle. But toward the bottom of the sixth inning, the rain stopped.
And then the Falcons struck like lightning. Centerfielder Tyler Owens led off with a fly ball to right field. But Skyline’s fielder lost the ball in the lights, and the speedy Owens motored into third base. Matthew Schramm was up next. He hit a grounder that was misplayed by Skyline’s first baseman. Owens scored to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
Tom Zimet slowly walked into the batter’s box. The right-handed hitter swung early in the count, launching a fly ball to deep right field. A disembodied voice from the Falcon dugout shouted “IT’S OUTTA HERE!”
The ball cleared the fence for a rare homer at Falcon Field. Woodinville players spilled out of the dugout and gathered near home plate as Schramm and Zimet trotted around the bases.
“All I was thinking was stay to the right side and find a good pitch to hit,” Zimet said. “Good things happen when you don’t think too much at the plate.”
Suddenly the Falcons were up 3-2. As Woodinville went on to add two more runs, a conversation was taking place in the Falcon dugout.
“We were talking about bringing Cooper out before the last inning,” Dillman said. “But he really wanted to go back out there. Once we got that [three run] lead, I felt we had the cushion to send him back out there to get the win.”
“Coach Dillman told me I was done and could come back Monday,” Merhmann said. “But I told him that I needed to go out there, and he let me and I’m glad that he did.”
Mehrmann closed things out in the seventh. He was aided by a beautiful catch by Matthew Schramm in right field.
And suddenly these Woodinville Falcons were a different team than the one that lost ten of their first eleven games. The Falcons had just notched their third win in the past week. Now with a 4-11 record, there was still a chance this surging ball club could sneak into the Kingco 4A tournament.
“That’s the plan, right?” Dillman said. “Hopefully we can keep it going. Things are easier when you’re winning. High school baseball is fun.”
“When we came in tonight I told everyone the train is leaving the station,” Merhmann said. “We are starting to build traction now. We’re going to make the Kingco tournament and go from there.”
When asked about this amazing turn of events, Merhmann didn’t hesitate.
“Team bonding,” he said. “It’s like a brotherhood on this team. Last year it wasn’t like that. It was very cliquey, people only had specific friends. But this year everyone gets along really well. I think that’s big when you get on the field and trust everyone around you. I think that’s why we’re starting to win a lot of ballgames now.”