A three-run double by Garrett Gants and effective pitching by Eric Shinjo lifted Newport to a 15-2 win over the Woodinville Falcons last Wednesday night at Falcon Field.
It was the Kingco 4A opener for both clubs. Newport improved to 3-0 overall, while Woodinville fell to 0-4 on the young season.
“Typical Kingco right?” asked Woodinville coach Alan Dillman. “Everybody’s good. If you make mistakes, teams are going to capitalize... It’s the name of the game in this league. You’ve got to come to compete every night.”
For a Woodinville club accustomed to being near the top of the standings, an 0-4 record feels foreign. To see the team surrender 42 runs in four games is unchartered territory (at least in recent memory).
“We had some big turnover on this team this year,” Dillman said. “We’re not young, but we’re inexperienced. We’ve got guys in our whole infield who haven’t played varsity before. In terms of pitching, Cooper [Mehrmann] had varsity experience, and then after that we don’t have another kid who had pitched in a varsity game.”
Dillman cited the strange irony of high school baseball: The season is long, but it goes by fast.
“The key for us is that we need to get this team to gel together and get them experience as fast as we can,” he said. “We have good players, we’re not lacking good players. It’s just getting that varsity experience and game speed, because the game speed is faster at [the varsity] level. As they get some experience, the game will slow down for them and the mistakes will go away. Pitchers will gain more confidence and throw more strikes. That’s when you’ll see things turn. I believe we’ve got the players to do it. We’ve got to come to battle every single day. And they are doing it. I’m seeing progress [in practice].”
Dillman was asked to single out his top performers in the early season.
“Takeshi [Kubota] and Tyler [Owens] had good games,” Dillman said. “Tyler has played phenomenal defense in center field all season long. Our outfield is our strength right now. I hate to say it, but my own son Justice, this was his second outing tonight [as a relief pitcher]. The game was getting out of hand, and he got a stop and was able to hold things down a little bit. He’s thrown strikes so that has been good. And Ricky [Shell] and Matthew [Schramm] both hit well. Andrew Hastie has played really well at third base, so I’m really happy about that. He’s put together some good at bats.
“Like I said, we have pieces,” Dillman said. “It’s just comes down to getting us to play together.”