Woodinville softball: new era, same old dominance

  • Written by Derek Johnson Sports Writer
Courtesy photo Woodinville manager Dani Weir(left) congratulates third baseman Sarah Taketa.
Last summer, when Dani Weir became manager of the Woodinville softball team, it just made sense — a kind of natural continuum.

The 24 year old had roots that ran deep into the storied soil of Woodinville softball. Beginning when she was 7 years old and serving as bat girl for her dad, the manager, to when she helped lead the 2005 club to a  state championship, that history was there.

When she went off to Boston College to play infield for the War Eagles in 2007, she experienced life on her own for the first time. The next four years generated many memories, including that April day of 2009, when Weir’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth helped finish off NC State, 7-6.

After a season of playing overseas, Weir’s playing career came to an end. As she began exploring the next phase of her life, she met with Woodinville manager Mark Leander.

Weir was promptly hired as an assistant coach for the 2011 season.

But it was a year later that the dream season of 2012 unfurled in all its glory. The Lady Falcons won the academic state championship award, went undefeated on the field and captured the Class 4A state softball title. They whipped Walla Walla 6-0 in the title game, having outscored opponents 45-3 in their four tournament wins.

“From being an assistant for two seasons, I realized how much I enjoyed coaching,” Weir said recently. “When Leander said 2012 was going to be his last year, I knew right away it was something I would want to jump on. I had a lot invested into the program and into the girls themselves from being around them the past two years and seeing them grow up. I just knew it was a great set. Having that personal connection and love for game and love for coaching, it was a no brainer.”

The hiring of Weir as new manager might have brought concerns about maintaining chemistry. But this transition has proved pretty seamless.

“Everyone was excited for this season to start,” Weir said. “We had lost a really big senior class who contributed a lot of leadership and enthusiasm for the game. There was a need for last year’s juniors to step up and take those leadership roles and lead this team to another fantastic, successful season.”

So far, so good. On April 17, Woodinville crushed rival Redmond 12-5. The Lady Falcons launched three homers, including a grand slam off the bat of Emily Jackson. The win left Woodinville with a 9-0 record in league play and 13-1 overall.

“It was an exciting game,” Weir said. “Redmond would jump on the board with a run, but every time they scored we would get 2 or 3 runs. It was very back and forth. But fortunately we were able to push across more runs than they were. It was explosive because everyone on the bench contributed from top to bottom. It was a great confidence booster for the team to see that everybody was capable in a high pressure game like that to produce and come up in clutch situations and get the job done.”

Coming up the most clutch was star pitcher Madi Schreyer.

The senior fanned 14 Redmond batters and reinforced her reputation as one of the state’s best pitchers. “Madi is going off to Stanford this fall on scholarship,” Weir said. “She’s definitely a quiet leader. Her presence on the mound and demeanor on the team commands attention and commands respect.”

With an eye on the second half of the season, Weir exudes excitement and confidence for what’s to come.

“We’re developing a strong leadership team within the core group of captains,” she said. “Madi,  Alex Boyd and Emily Jackson are this year’s captains, making them the strongest leaders possible. They’re doing a great job.”

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