On May 7th, Woodinville pitcher Stephan White sat in the bleachers to watch Bothell and Eastlake battle in their playoff game, knowing that he’d face the winner in the conference championship game two days later.
That extra effort paid off at Woodinville High School on May 9th. White tossed a complete game 3-hitter as the Falcons knocked off Bothell 3-1, to capture the 2013 KingCo 4A title.
White teetered slightly in the first inning, surrendering his only run of the night, when Bothell’s Saige Tyndall drove in a run off a line drive single. From there, White settled into a powerful groove, retiring the final 13 batters he faced. Notable was his off-speed curveball, which complimented his fastball and kept the Cougars lunging all night. One such pitch in particular buckled the knees of Bothell’s promising sophomore Peyton Cordova-Smith, for strike three.
"Normally the top of their lineup is pretty productive," White said. "So I tried to stay soft with them when I could but go hard when I needed to. In the first couple innings I didn’t really feel it, but toward the later innings I definitely felt it."
In the bottom of the second inning, Woodinville’s Matthew Spencer ripped a double into the gap that tied the score at 1-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Falcon shortstop Caleb Hamilton stepped up to the plate with runners on first and second and two out. His boisterous teammates could be heard from the dugout, ratcheting up the intensity and shouting "Come on Hammy!" and "HAMBONE!"
Hamilton promptly lined an RBI single to left field that put the Falcons up for good. An inning later, Michael Boyd wrapped up the scoring by smashing a double and driving in a run, to give the Falcons a 3-1 lead.
From there, White closed the deal and slammed the door, outdueling his Bothell counterpart, the talented Travis Dohr.
In the game’s aftermath, White hoisted the KingCo championship trophy aloft along with his teammates and coaches as they celebrated on their home field.
Woodinville proved to be the big surprise of this year’s KingCo Tournament, having only posted an 8-6 conference record during the regular season.
"No one thought we could do it at the beginning of the year," White said. "We were probably written off because we weren’t as talented as last year’s team. But it’s the best team I’ve ever been on. I love these guys. We’re family here."
Woodinville, with a 15-7 record, and Bothell, with a 13-10 mark, will both advance to the 4A state tournament.