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Falcons can’t wait for season to start

  • Written by Derek Johnson

The video posted to Facebook a couple weeks ago. Amid snowfall, the Woodinville Falcons could be seen practicing and getting after it. With six seniors returning from last year’s State runner-up, hopes run high for another shot at a championship. Come rain or shine (or snow). 

“We don’t shy away from talking State championships and our goals,” Woodinville coach Dani Weir said. “It’s always the same, making a big state run and the prize is always a State Championship. Looking at how we’ve finished the last few years, we’re getting pretty darn close.”

2016 WHS v RED Kco 054 2Lauryn Rhinehart approaches home plate after launching a home run last year against Redmond. (Photo by Mark Hatlen)This past off-season didn’t get off to the best of starts. Last November, power hitter Skylar Hein underwent season-ending knee surgery.  

“That was a big loss,” Weir said. “We were all pretty devastated. It’s a big loss. But Skylar has moved on to a place where she’s focused on getting well for the rest of her career... She has a lot more [collegiate] ball to play ahead of her.”

The rest of the Falcons, however, are fired up and ready to go. The lineup remains loaded from top to bottom. Olivia Riener possesses one of the most feared bats in KingCo. 

“That girl –  every year she comes in better than before,” Weir said. “That’s really exciting. Olivia was a great leader for us last year and she does everything the coaches ask of her, no questions asked. She’s feeling really confident at the plate. She can get her bat on anything and drop it in the zone and it’s gone.”

Weir related a story from a recent practice.

“I threw some pitches at her ankles the other day, and just as I was about to say ‘DON’T SWING AT THAT!’ Olivia puts it on the other side of the fence. So I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll just shut up right now and let you do your thing.’ With some of these seniors, you just give them their reps, guide them here and there, but this is their year and they know what they need to do.”

Another senior who’s dialed in is shortstop Paige Grover. With an aggressive mentality and lethal presence at the plate, it’s conceivable that she’ll win KingCo Player of the Year. 

“Paige is our player who loves to be challenged more than anybody else,” Weir said. “If we’re not yelling at her and telling her to do something or make an adjustment, it almost seems like she’s bored. She wants to continuously be pushed. So we continue to challenge and she continues to rise to the top.”

Other notable seniors include Gina Wyner, Jordyn Boyd, and the formidable Rhinehart twins, Lauryn and Taylor.

With the season starting this week against Lake Washington, Weir said the girls are “hungry.”
“We don’t have to do much to spark competitive emotions out there on the field,” she said. “They’re chomping at the bit to get going.”

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