Dark, ominous clouds rolled in from the west. One wondered if this game would soon be postponed. As the clouds engulfed the sky overhead, a cold torrent of rain fell upon the ballfield. Spectators scurried for umbrellas and cover.
But the game went on. And not even foul weather could quell the hot bats of the Woodinville Falcons. Behind the dominant pitching of Lauryn Rhinehart and power hitting of Paige Grover, the Lady Falcons crushed Eastlake 10-0 to win their KingCo opener.
It was almost like the dark clouds signaled to the visiting team: “Abandon all hope ye who enter here.”
“We were definitely mindful of [the clouds],” Woodinville’s Olivia Riener said. “But it’s the first time this year we’ve played at night under the lights and in front of our fans. It was a good feeling.”
Woodinville improved its record to 1-0 in KingCo 4A and 3-0 overall. The Falcons have outscored their first three opponents 25-3.
The Falcons took control early with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Rhinehart drove in her twin sister Lauryn with an RBI single. Then Paige Grover stepped to the plate. She worked the count to 2 and 0, before turning on a high, inside pitch. She hammered the ball over the left field fence, staking her team to a 3-0 lead..
“Once I got ahead in the count, I was looking for something I can drive,” Grover said.
From there, senior pitcher Lauryn Rhinehart was in full command. She pitched five shutout innings before the game was called due to the so-called “mercy rule.”
“Eastlake definitely has some big hitters in the 3-6 slots,” Rhinehart said. “So I was mindful of them.”
Woodinville coach Dani Weir was all smiles after the game.
“I was really pleased to see the girls jump out early on the board,” Weir said. “It was something that we’ve talked about.”
Weir went on to discuss senior Taylor Rhinehart, who’s healthy after an injury-plagued junior season.
“I really love the way that Taylor is stepping up in the two spot [in the lineup],” Weir said. “She was in and out of last season, but she has come in and made up for lost time. She was really upset to go through her injuries last year. She is stepping up and being a great situational hitter. She’s a rock solid athlete wherever we put her.”
Weir also spoke of sophomore Molly Taketa.
“She’s getting a little bit of time left field,” Weir said. “She’s a great runner and heads up player. An awesome base runner. I like to have her in a situation where we can courtesy run. We’re trying to get her bat going, that will come. But she is doing a great job locking it down in the outfield.”
As the loaded Falcons settle into conference play, they harbor dreams of a State championship. Six talented seniors lead the way, and bright skies are on the horizon.