The 16-and-under Woodinville American Legion "A" baseball team, 17-21 in the regular season, went 3-1 to capture district and got hotter at state, going 4-1 overall culminating in a decisive 5-1 victory over Snohomish in the title game to bring home the whole enchilada in a most remarkable — if not improbable — run.
Snohomish had tripped up Woodinville the day before, 10-2, after the Falcons foiled Cheney, Moses Lake and Oak Harbor in order.
In the title game pitcher Spencer Jones was a difference maker, going the distance in a 4-hitter, striking out six, walking two, and the run allowed was unearned.
It was his second complete game victory of the tourney, having fired a 3-hitter in the opener against Cheney, striking out 14 and walking one. Jones also made a solid contribution at the plate, batting .461 overall with five RBI. For his efforts he was named the state tournament’s most valuable player, but he was not alone.
Nick Taylor batted .588 in five games, going 10-for-17 with eight runs scored and Charles Mehrmann went 7-for-15.
Woodinville coach Aaron Tennis was asked when he had an inkling his team could possibly win this thing.
"I thought we had a chance after we won our second game," he said. "We were down 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh with two out and no one on base. Brennan Kelso had an 0-2 count and worked a walk. Michael Boyd then hit an 0-2 double to tie the game. Chris Okura then hit a fly ball down the right field line that the Moses Lake kid lost in the sun and we won it. At that point we were assured a top-four finish."
Better lucky than good, as they say, but luck turned to skill the next day.
Down 2-zip in the sixth to Oak Harbor, Woodinville rallied for seven runs to win 7-2 and remain in the winner’s bracket as Okura went a solid 5.2 innings on the bump, relieved by Jones who was perfect for the final 1.1.
After the hiccup to Snohomish on Tuesday, Woodinville shut the door on Wednesday.
Tennis made particular mention of the stellar defensive play of Michael Boyd at third base, which supported Woodinville pitchers in tough situations throughout the tourney.
"It was a pleasure to coach such great kids and they bought into the fact that they could win if they worked hard, stayed focused and competed for seven innings every game," Tennis said. "It was an experience I’m sure none of us will ever forget."