WHS softball: Tourney heartbreak leads to changing of the guard

  • Written by Derek Johnson Sports Writer

Softball photoPhoto by Mark Hatlen Woodinville players mug for the camera following their fourth place finish in the 2013 4A State Tourney.When Woodinville’s season ended, it did so like a door slamming. As star pitcher Madi Schreyer delivered her final pitch as a Falcon, Tahoma’s Bre West turned on it and drilled a walk-off 3-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning, lifting Tahoma to a 7-4 win. The victory gave the Bears a 25-5 record and a third place finish in state for 4A softball. Woodinville finished the season at 24-3, securing fourth place.

For Woodinville’s first-year coach Dani Weir, it was a disappointing end to a fantastic season.
“There wasn’t much you could say to ease the pain,” she said. “We all know what happened and what our potential was and what could have been.”

Woodinville had entered the tourney with a 21-1 record and was the odds-on favorite to win it all, one year removed from their undefeated championship season of 2012.

They traveled to Spokane on Thursday and got in a one-hour practice in the late afternoon.

“We had an amazing practice,” Weir said. “The complex was full with all the teams that were practicing. I thought we came and made a statement; the girls were fired up and loud. They played some of the best ball I’ve seen them play all year. A great practice with high energy. We were very confident going into the next day.”

That next day was Friday, May 24 — the first round of State Tourney action. Woodinville fought off a scrappy Skyview squad with a 3-1 win, before unloading on Moses Lake later that afternoon, 12-2.

Heading into Saturday, the defending champs had a 23-1 record and seemed poised to repeat. The next opponent, however, was Camas, and fate did not smile upon the Lady Falcons.

“Madi came out strong and throwing hard,” Weir recalled. “First two innings went by, and our bats took a little while to warm up. Camas had some timely hits and made a few more adjustments early on that we weren’t able to make.”

Camas won 3-1 and knocked Woodinville out of contention for the state title.

“The reality was we were still able to leave the season on a winning note if everything panned out in our favor,” Weir said. “We changed our goal and wanted to be third in state. I told them I was going to give them some time to let it sink in. But come back and let’s win a ballgame and show them what Woodinville is about. We’re fighters and we dig deep.”

Woodinville came back to bash Newport, 12-2. That set up the final game against a tough Tahoma team for third place.

Tahoma seemed to match our talent level,” Weir said. “They came out and were pumped up and played a good ball game. It came down to the last inning where the softball gods came and were on their side. The girl (Bre West) made a good connection on a good pitch, and unfortunately it went over the fence. It just wasn’t our day.”
In the melancholic aftermath, Weir approached Schreyer, who graduates this spring and is bound for Stanford in the fall.

“I gave Madi a big hug and told her that players like her come around once in a lifetime,” Weir said. “I said that I’m so lucky as a coach, and our team is so lucky, to have a player and leader like her on our team. And I just wished her the best in the future.”

Also graduating were stars such as Emily Jackson, Alex Boyd and Alex Nelson.

With one year’s experience now as manager, Weir eagerly looks forward to the future.

“Shortstop Tori Lettus will be big for us,” Weir said. “Center fielder Nicole Shavlick has a lot of energy and passion for the game that is contagious. That will be a big leadership role. Alyssa O’Farrell has also been a stud for us in the infield and with her bat in the lineup. She’s very influential with the girls as well. We have a lot of girls with experience and leadership coming back.”

“We’ve got a big sophomore class and a junior class that has three state tourneys under their belt,” she said. “The next generation of girls have gotten that experience and that’s huge. They’ll know the expectations and what it takes to get there. You never know, next year could be when it all comes together and you get that title.”

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