J.T. Files hit a 2-run double and A.J. Riley pitched 6 solid innings to lift Newport to a 4-1 win over Woodinville in last Friday’s opening round of the KingCo 4A tournament. Newport advanced to take on Issaquah while Woodinville’s season came to an end.
“It’s tough for the seniors,” Woodinville coach Alan Dillman said. “You know the season is going to end at some point. But when it does end it’s always abrupt. It’s tough because we felt we had momentum at the end of the regular season.”
Though Falcon players wouldn’t say it, the loss was also tough to swallow due to Newport’s overall record of 7-13 and #6 seed. For a Woodinville team that was 13-7 and loaded with twelve seniors that went to the State Final 4 last year, the expectations for this season were much higher.
“I had really high expectations, as I always do, for my team,” senior catcher Mack Minnehan said. “The end of a season is always sad, especially if you’re a senior. I had higher expectations and we could have played better. But it goes to show that KingCo is a really tough league to play in. Tip your cap to Newport.”
Woodinville could only generate 1 unearned run and three hits on the night. It was not enough to support Bryce Coyne, who pitched well except for the third inning in which he struggled.
“We had opportunities but we didn’t get the hits we needed,” Dillman said. “I never felt we were out of the game. Because with guys on we were a hit or two away from tying it up or going ahead.”
As the Newport team and its fans celebrated loudly, the twelve Woodinville seniors were left to quietly ponder the end of their prep careers.
“Growing up in this town, it’s hard to believe this is the last time to suit up in a Woodinville uniform,” Minnehan said. “That’s what is really hitting me right now. I’ve been playing with these guys since I was nine years old. Definitely hard to walk away from. It’s kind of a shock, I don’t know what to feel.”
“When you’re expecting to move on, nothing you say to the kids afterward is going to make them feel better,” Dillman said. “The only thing that is going to heal it is time. When they look back and reflect they will be proud of the season.”
In their time at Woodinville, the seniors won a regular season KingCo title, a KingCo tourney, and made two trips to the State Final 4.
“Our group of twelve, we came in every day and worked hard,” senior first baseman Derek Hamer said. “We knew nothing would be given. We realized that we wouldn’t be handed games, we always came in ready to work. Coach Dillman always says just look at us – we’re not always the biggest team or strongest team and at times we’re not even the best team. But if you work hard and do your job, we can beat teams.”
“The best part about the team was how we meshed,” Hamer added. “At the end of the day, the season was going to come to an end. It sucks that it ended like this. But I think more than losing, the harder part is losing the relationships we have here.”
Woodinville’s outgoing seniors are: Hunter Cook, Chris Wilson, Matt Zoba, Jack Keller, Reese Averill, Mack Minnehan, Colton Van Til, Trey Stidem, Joey Wick, Derek Hamer, Bryce Coyne and Drew Barlow.