Fact is, they weren’t even supposed to be there, but were granted a reprieve after dropping a doubleheader to bow out in districts and then were handpicked after the Liberty Cannons declared they could not field a team for the state tourney.
Woodinville made the most of its second chance.
"It was a weird deal but the kids were happy to be there and made the most of it," coach Alan Dillman said. "It was crazy but we somehow found a way to play the best ball of our season at the right time. The kids played great and deserved to win."
The Falcons defeated University — the host team — Walla Walla, Richland, Montesano and Richland again, in order to face Lakeside Gray from the Issaquah area in the title game.
Lakeside was not unfamiliar to Woodinville, having beaten them four of five times during the summer season, in effect, their nemesis.
The finale, predetermined to go nine innings by the powers that be, proved fortuitous for Woodinville.
Down 7-5 entering the eighth with one out, Harrison Van Till singled and so did Nate Wilham. Matt Laitala then launched a three-run bomb, dead to left, to go up 8-7.
Caleb Hamilton then hammered another homer to make it 9-7.
Max Carter, on the hill in relief of Jake Segesser, who relieved starter Hamilton, nailed down the victory facing the 3-4-5 batters: ground ball to third, fly ball to right, and a backwards K to end it and start the party.
"Yeah, caught him looking with a fastball," Carter said. "Threw my glove in the air and jumped on some guys. Probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing baseball. Pretty cool."
After being on the "brink of extinction," Carter said, the boys were relaxed and played loose, with nothing to lose.
"We knew we were a better team than we showed that day at districts.
We knew we were more competitive than that and you could sense we were gonna go on a run in Spokane."
And that they did, led by the white-hot bat of Laitala, who went 14-for-25 at the plate in the tourney with six doubles, two homers and 10 RBI — including the "big shot, a no-doubter" as Dillman put it, with the money on the table.
"Kinda hard to believe that he got better, after hitting .500 during the season ... he got even hotter ... He was just so confident at the plate, and his teammates were so confident in him. We knew when he came up in that situation he was gonna hit a gapper at least ... and then he hit it out."
Tommy Wick also went yard in the finale — the first time all season Woodinville hit three long balls in a game.
"That was huge," Dillman said. "We were down 4-0 in the second inning, Caleb was struggling with a tight zone, and Tommy’s homer made it 4-2 to get us back in the game and gave us a lift."
Hamilton went 11-for-22 in the tourney with 13 runs scored, 10 RBI and five stolen bases. Wick went 7-for-20 with 10 RBI.
But you don’t win tournaments without good pitching.
"Eric Anthony was huge," Dillman said. "He wasn’t there for districts but gave us depth on the mound ... and Jake did a great job — he ate a lot of innings all year long and we knew we could count on him."
Dillman’s overall impressions on the season, ending with a 33-6 record: "This team was a lot of fun. They competed really hard, got along well and there were no issues ... Different guys kept coming up big day after day."