The 15-0 Falcons are ranked eighth in the nation in one poll and have outscored opponents 120-18.
If you’re going to defeat Woodinville in softball, you have to go through the Rhineharts first.
Twins Taylor and Lauryn Rhinehart have established themselves as standout senior right-handed pitchers for the Falcons. This season, youngest sister Rachel, a sophomore lefty, is being groomed to keep the tradition going on the mound for Woodinville.
“She wants to be better than us,” Lauryn said of her youngest sister. “But she’s just as good; she blows me out of the water sometimes. She just needs to get her confidence up because I know what she can do.
“We have a good balance because we (sisters) always have someone to compete against and also to compete with. We want to be better than each other, but at the same time love seeing the other succeed.”
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The trio has helped Woodinville remain undefeated (15-0, 10-0 KingCo 4A) and power to top-10 rankings in MaxPreps (10th) and USA Today (eighth) national softball polls. The Falcons have tallied a 120-18 run differential this season, including a no-hitter by Taylor against Richland where she had 19 strikeouts.
Woodinville’s most competitive game was a 1-0 win against Inglemoor last week. The road matchup went eight innings with Taylor getting the victory.
“Rachel could certainly be a No. 1 pitcher on any team out there,” Woodinville coach Dani Weir said. “Here, she’s behind some of the best pitchers in the state and in the nation right now. Our team is ranked in large part due to our pitching and the ability to keep the runs down.”
The Rhineharts excel at hitting, too. Lauryn leads the team with a .547 batting average. Senior infielder Olivia Riener has a team-leading 17 RBI with a .422 batting average. Taylor is reliable with a .430 on-base percentage.
Woodinville is closing in on its fourth consecutive regular-season league title. The Class 4A state title is the real target. The Falcons have advanced to state the past six seasons, placing second last year and winning the title in 2012.
“We talk about it because we don’t want it to be that big elephant in the room where everybody is afraid of it,” said Weir, who won a title as a player for Woodinville in 2005. “We want to make that part of our daily vocabulary because it’s a goal. It’s at the forefront, but we’re focused on one step at a time. It creates intent.”
There are a total of six seniors — all voted captains — continuing Woodinville’s winning tradition. And the Rhineharts are actually one of three sets of sisters on the varsity roster, with sophomores Megan and Molly Taketa also being twins.
“It’s softball 24/7,” Taylor said of playing with her sisters. “You know what they’re going to do and it’s awesome to have that connection. And the team, we’re all like a family. I can trust every single one of these girls. That support has made us successful.”