The district tournament begins Monday at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.
Riley Merlino started on the bump for the Falcons and things did not go well: five runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter, as the Merchants took a 5-0 lead with one out when Jake Segesser was summoned to put out the fire, which he did.
Woodinville responded offensively, like they do, in the bottom frame: a two-out triple by Caleb Hamilton was followed by a single by Laitala, a double by Wick, a walk to Max Carter and a single by Eric Anthony to make it 5-3 in a hurry and the game was on.
The Falcons tacked on three runs in the second inning to go up 6-5, when the defensive play of the night turned the tide in the fourth.
After a bloop single and a sacrifice bunt the Merchants had the tying run on second base with one out. A seeing-eye single beyond the reach of second-baseman Matthew Spencer was picked up by Carter in right and his throw home was a perfect one-hopper to catcher Harrison Van Til, beating the runner by five feet to cut Kirkland’s heart out.
Woodinville then put four on the board to make it a 10-5 game.
Segesser went 4.1 innings in relief to notch the win nailed down by Carter and Hamilton in relief of the relievers.
Woodinville finished its regular season with a 27-6 record, notable for its offensive prowess, averaging 8 runs a game.
Laitala’s four hits bumped his batting average to a legitimate .500 (45-for 90), while Carter (44 RBI) and Nate Wilham (40 runs scored) are hitting .375.
Wick’s four hits improved his tally to .361.
Pitching remains the question versus good-hitting ball clubs, in terms of how far this club can go in the district tournament, and pitching is not this summer’s team strong suit.
The Woodinville 9-10 Fastpitch All Stars swept the District 8 Tournament and headed to the state tournament last weekend in Poulsbo.
The girls fought hard to stay in the hunt for the title of state champions. They went undefeated in the first two games.
In Game 3, Woodinville fell to the Snoqualmie Valley Little League, but the team was determined as they headed back to Poulsbo to play against Gig Harbor Little League, the team they defeated in Game 1.
But it was not to be.
The Woodinville team lost 12-11.