Twelve months ago, Alex Worthington had just completed his sophomore season with the Woodinville Junior Varsity baseball team.
The terms “toiling” and “obscurity” were probably apt words for how his springtime fared. The towering left hander knew he had the talent, but something was amiss. So he bore down and went to work. Providing him guidance were Everett CC coach Levi Lacey and Boys of Summer pitching coach Tim Palmer.
By this spring, positive things were happening. Not only did he make the varsity squad, he quickly became a key member of the pitching staff.
“I really changed up a bunch of mechanical stuff,” Worthington said. “Just from my stride to my leg kick. It was really just a matter of putting that into game situations and getting used to them during a game.”
As the season progressed, Worthington’s control became pinpoint while his confidence quietly rose to match the commanding heights of his 6’4” frame. By season’s end, he was unquestionably the ace on the ballclub. He compiled a 7-2 record with a glittering 1.87 ERA, while notching 54 strikeouts in 63 and two-thirds innings pitched.
He marks May 24 as his personal high point. That was the day the Woodinvilles beat Beamer and Cascade to advance to the State Final 4 in Pasco.
“We were all playing great, that was our best day of baseball as a team,” Worthington said. “The pitchers, me and Connor [White], we pitched great that day. The hitting was amazing and the defense was awesome behind us. Those were the best games of baseball that I’ve played with Woodinville.”
One reason for the team’s success, said Worthington, was the sincerity and dedication of manager Alan Dillman and his coaching staff.
“The coaches really care about us and care about us as a team,” Worthington said. “I love all the coaches on that staff. It was just a fun team to play on and the coaches do a great job. It might not be something they say specifically, but you know that they have that love for Woodinville and Woodinville baseball. It’s in the way they act; they have pride in Woodinville baseball and they are going to go out and coach us the best they can because they want Woodinville to be successful.
“And Coach Dillman is always saying `Gotta get hot at the right time ... Gotta get hot at the right time.’ And it must have helped, because we got hot at the right time.”
Worthington continues to pitch this summer, now as a member of Boys of Summer of the Seattle Premiere League. Come August, he’ll be playing in Baseball Northwest.
And what of next year’s ballclub? How does he see his senior season unfolding?
“We’re losing our entire starting outfield, they were some of our best hitters and were great defensively,” he said. “And then Lee [Wunderlich] behind the plate and Trevor [Cook] at short. So those guys had a huge impact and will be missed.
“But we’ve got some young infielders that can step up and we can definitely fill the holes in the infield. I think we can definitely find some guys for the outfield. Most of our pitching is coming back. I think we can do something next year. We’ve got guys that can step up and be leaders and if we can do that I think we can get something going next season.”