When the night ended, the Lady Falcons had seen it all. It came during a doubleheader for the first day of the Wes-King Tournament.
The games were played at Phil Johnson Fields in Everett, also known as “Lawsuit Waiting to Happen Ballpark.” With four fields crammed close together, wayward fly balls from other games routinely sailed into Field #2 where Woodinville played. This caused people to shout “heads up!” about every fifteen minutes, as fans and players ducked into defensive postures and softballs landed nearby with a thud. Then there were the scoreboards that didn’t work until halfway through the first game. And who could forget when all the stadium lights went out, leaving teams stranded in darkness for twenty minutes.
Add to this the news that powerhouse Redmond lost to Bothell and Newport fell to Jackson, while Woodinville beat Kamiak before losing a lead to Lake Stevens, – and it was Bizarro World at the ballpark.
The first game against Kamiak started at 5p.m. in gorgeous 80-degree weather. The Lady Falcons took care of business. Woodinville took a quick 1-0 lead when Rachael Rhinehart scored on a base hit by Bailey Burger-Moore. In the fifth inning, Molly Taketa made a beautiful catch while crashing into the center field fence, thus ending a scoring threat. Freshman Taylor Fitch capped the game with a majestic homer to left field in the bottom of the sixth. Woodinville held on to win 5-2.
Next came the nightcap against #1 seed Lake Stevens. Woodinville quickly fell behind 1-0. But Alex Nyberg smashed a two-run triple to give the Falcons a 2-1 lead.
The Viking’s Kiley Hubby hit a 2-run dinger, to put her team back in the lead. But in the top of the fifth, Nyberg struck again. The Woodinville sophomore worked the count to 3-and-1, before walloping a 2-run homer to give the Falcons the 5-4 lead.
Heading into the sixth, the Falcons once again found themselves down 6-5. In a baffling move, Lake Stevens coach Sarah Hirsch elected to intentionally walk Nyberg and put the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Mikaelie “Sully” Sullivan promptly smashed a line drive down the left field line, scoring both runs and giving Woodinville the 7-6 lead. Jaelyn Cowin then added another run with an infield single.
But as Woodinville took the field in the bottom of the seventh, the stadium lights went dark. Twenty minutes later the game resumed, and Lake Stevens rallied for three runs and the thrilling/heartbreaking finish.
The Woodinville girls looked stunned and dejected coming off the field. They’ll return this Wednesday to play Monroe (12-9). The Lady Falcons need a win to keep hopes alive for a State Tourney berth.
“We needed that game,” Woodinville coach Dani Tachell said. “If we expect to compete at State we need to be challenged and we need to know we have the fight to answer back when our backs are against the wall. We know we’ve got girls who can step up in certain situations and hit with runners in scoring position… Tonight we grew. It’s heartbreaking to lose a game like that, but we showed who we are.”