The Falcons improved to 22-0 with a six-inning run-rule victory over the Vikings, qualifying for next week’s state tournament.
In winning the KingCo 4A softball championship game Wednesday night with a 13-3 six-inning run-rule victory over Inglemoor, undefeated Woodinville posted a double-digit run total for the 11th time in a 22-0 season.
How would winning pitcher Taylor Rhinehart, who batted in one run and struck out 11, approach a lineup as formidable as Woodinville’s?
“I probably wouldn’t like it too much,” Rhinehart said with a laugh.
With the win, the Falcons, with six senior starters, qualified for a spot in next week’s 4A state tournament. Woodinville finished second last year and has higher aspirations this season.
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“We played pretty amazing last year,” said first baseman Olivia Riener, who had two singles and a home run (and three RBI) in four at-bats to pace Woodinville’s powerful offense. “We just need to play the same and just finish it out in those last couple of innings. Just push through and don’t give up, and we’ll be fine.”
After not surrendering a run in its previous seven games, Woodinville’s world was briefly knocked off its axis when second-seeded Inglemoor (17-5) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when sophomore Hailey King led off with a double and scored on a single by junior Riley Garcia.
“I think we kind of put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” said leadoff hitter Lauryn Rhinehart, who had three singles and three RBI. “We realized we just needed to calm down and got back to playing how we usually play. I think we freak ourselves out a little more than we should have. Then we all took a breath and we got back to our old selves.”
Riener got Woodinville back on track with the key blow in a five-run third. After singles by Megan Taketa and Lauryn Rhinehart and an infield error tied the score at 1-1, Riener smoked a two-out 1-1 pitch far beyond the left-field fence. Paige Grover homered to center to give the Falcons a 4-1 lead.
“We were going to walk a girl (Riener) and decided not to, and she hit a home run” said Inglemoor coach Jeff Skelly. “My pitcher (senior Mackenzie DeKay) wanted to go after her, and I said OK.”
Woodinville led 6-1 after Lauryn Rhinehart’s RBI single in the fourth. Inglemoor senior Hannah Shimek doubled home two runs in the fifth to narrow the deficit to 6-3. Woodinville responded with three in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a run-scoring double by Grover, who had three hits and three RBI. The Falcons strung together five singles and three walks to close out the sixth inning with four runs.
“Our chemistry, our seniors, our leadership, our experience and confidence in certain situations,” Woodinville coach Dani Weir said. “Our girls are always ready for a tough game like this one.”