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Sean Donley sacrifices his noggin. (John Fisken photos)

Sean Donley sacrifices his noggin. (John Fisken photos)

Jared Dickson launches himself in pursuit of the ball.

Jared Dickson launches himself in pursuit of the ball.

Tanner Kircher motors upfield.

Tanner Kircher motors upfield.

The bump in the road has gotten worse.

Missing players and unable to get its offense totally into gear, the Coupeville High School boys’ soccer squad slid to a 5-0 loss at South Whidbey Friday night.

It was only the second time this season the Wolves had been shut out.

The third straight defeat for the booters, it dropped them to 4-6 overall, 3-6 in Cascade Conference play.

And, while they split the season series with their Langley arch-rivals, they now face an uphill battle in the quest to claim a playoff berth.

Two of the three 1A schools in the 1A/2A league will advance to the postseason, and Coupeville will have to make up some ground over the final stretch of the season.

South Whidbey is 6-2-1 in conference, while King’s is 4-3-1.

After a non-conference tilt with Friday Harbor Monday, April 21, the Wolves have five league games left.

Three of those games are against teams below Coupeville in the standings (Lakewood, Sultan and Granite Falls), but CHS also plays King’s and Archbishop Thomas Murphy (8-0, 9-0-1).

Mess

Breeanna Messner collected three hits and three RBI, while also gunning down an attempted steal, to help spark Friday’s huge win. (John Fisken photos)

McKayla Bailey

McKayla Bailey moves the Earth itself when she gets nasty on the mound.

This thing turned around on a dime.

Two days after its worst game of the season, the Coupeville High School softball squad found its mojo, big-time, and pulled off a thrilling 8-6 win over visiting Lakewood.

Big hits, defensive gems, a renewed spark and then a lights-out finale from McKayla Bailey, who stalked the mound in the seventh, cementing her rep as the baddest woman alive by reaching down and punching out hope itself.

With a lead to hold, she got flat-out nasty, whiffing one of the Cascade Conference’s best hitters — homer-hittin’ Haley Malakowski – on a fastball that exploded into catcher Breeanna Messner’s glove with a sound that carried across the prairie.

After a little help from left fielder Haley Sherman, who made a superb running catch on a ball over her head for the second out, Bailey went back into Terminator mode and slammed the door shut.

It was a fastball again, and the final Lakewood slugger hit nothing but air as the ball whistled by for strike three.

It was a brilliant bounce-back for the Wolves, now 4-6 overall, 3-6 in Cascade Conference play. With their first win this season over a 2A school, they remain the #1 team among the league’s 1A squads.

Things got off to a bumpy start, with Lakewood scoring all its runs in the first two innings. Then Bailey went to work, facing the minimum batters in three of the final five innings, and her squad responded with an offensive display of its own.

McKayla has been solid all year long for us as our pitcher. Today she seemed to find a spot that fit her well and did what she does best,” CHS coach David King said. “Kept the Lakewood hitters off balance from the third inning on and let her defense help her by throwing the right pitches in the right locations throughout the game.”

At the plate, everything was clicking for Coupeville.

The team’s first two hitters, Madeline Roberts and Messner, got things started with three hits apiece and combined for five RBI. Sherman and Emily Coulter backed them up, with two hits apiece.

Sherman thumped her first triple of the season, while Coulter and Messner launched doubles.

The Wolves used their speed to throw off Lakewood, with Roberts scoring the team’s first run when she beat an attempted rundown. Nimbly dodging the Cougar fielders, the speedy spark plug slid across the plate before they knew what had hit them.

Coupeville added RBIs from Roberts and Messner, before erupting for three in the bottom of the fifth to tie and two more in the sixth to claim the lead.

With Roberts at second in the fifth, King (“either dumb luck or smart coaching, probably dumb luck”), let Messner suddenly swing away after a failed bunt attempt, and the senior promptly parked an RBI double just inside the left field line.

After Hailey Hammer plated Messner on a fielder’s choice, Sherman decided to use almost the entire prairie, crushing an RBI triple to right center to knot the game at six.

Coupeville staked Bailey to her first lead of the game in the sixth, using a double from Coulter, a single from Roberts, an RBI single from Messner and a sac fly off the bat of Hammer.

After a tough loss to Cedarcrest in the rain Wednesday, a game in which little went well, King was thrilled to see his team bounce back. The extra work put in at the practice between games paid immediate dividends.

“This game we put everything together. Pitching, defense, hitting and base running,” he said. “The team came out focused and remained focused the whole game.

“Many players stepped up tonight with their hitting. Defensively we played solid, made all of the routine plays and added a few “wow” plays,” King added. “Total team effort and a game to build on.”

CJ Smith, seen here playing the infield in an earlier game, got the complete game win on the mound for the Wolves Friday. (Shelli Trumbull photos)

   CJ Smith (4), seen here playing the infield in an earlier game, got the complete game win on the mound for the Wolves Friday. (Shelli Trumbull photos)

"Run like you wanna make your momma proud, Trumbull!!"

“Run like you wanna make your momma proud, Trumbull!!”

“Speed kills, baby, and we have speed!!”

Coupeville High School baseball coach Willie Smith was ecstatic after the finish of Friday’s thriller against visiting Lakewood, and why not?

Using their fleet feet, and a timely hit or two, his Wolves had just exploded for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to steal a huge 6-5 win.

The victory, the second straight over a 2A biggie, lifted the Wolves back to .500 at 6-6.

They are 5-6 in Cascade Conference play and hot on the heels of South Whidbey for the #1 playoff seed among the league’s 1A schools.

“It was a great testament to the character of this team and the ability of our team to rise up to the challenge of this game!,” Smith said.

With the game on the line, Coupeville made every play count.

Trailing 5-3 and down to their final at-bat, the Wolves put two runners on via a Lakewood error and a walk. Both runners (sophomore CJ Smith and junior Josh Bayne) are quick, and they took advantage of a jumpy Cougar defense.

Jake Tumblin, a speed demon himself, laid down a bunt and beat the pitcher’s throw.

But, instead of just holding on to the ball and accepting a bases-loaded situation, the Lakewood hurler tried to nail Tumblin going into first and accidentally uncorked a throw past the first baseman and down the right field line.

Running full tilt, Smith and Bayne came around to score on the error, knotting the score up.

Tumblin promptly made a bid to win the game in electrifying fashion, stealing home on the next play, but was nipped at the plate by an alert throw.

Instead of settling for the tie and heading into extra innings, Coupeville staged a second rally.

Wade Schaef walked, Ben Etzell blasted a single and Aaron Trumbull reached on a Lakewood error to juice the bases. With two outs, it was then time to go to Church.

Junior Aaron Curtin, who has been battling through a shoulder issue, delivered the sermon and it was a winning one, jacking an RBI single back up the middle to set off the pandemonium on the prairie.

It was the perfect capper to a strong all-around game for Coupeville.

CJ Smith tossed a complete game, whiffing six and giving up just four hits.

With Tumblin’s recent hand injury still preventing him from catching, his back-up, sophomore Cole Payne, was a beast, throwing out four potential base stealers.

CJ was cool as a cucumber on the mound,” Willie Smith said. “Mixing up pitches and keeping their hitters off-balance throughout the game.”

Coupeville’s speed on the base-paths flustered Lakewood all game, with five of the first six runs being plated thanks to Cougar errors.

Tumblin, Ben Etzell (who paced the Wolves with two hits) and Trumbull represented the early game runs.

The game also marked the varsity debut of freshman Clay Reilly, who got his ticket to the big time punched by a string of injuries to CHS starters.

soccer7soccer6soccer2soccer9soccer5soccer8Soccer? It’s the sport that doesn’t stop for bad weather.

A few sprinkles and tennis flees the courts. Get the infield damp and baseball and softball go home.

But anything less than a full lightning storm two feet off the field and soccer plays right through.

It’s a lesson the youngest generation of booters learned as they came out in the wind and rain this week to start practicing for the spring season with the Central Whidbey Soccer Club.

On hand to capture the moment and clicking away through the rain drops was Pat Kelley, who provided the photos above.

Christine Fields, hitting off the ice during winter training.

Christine Fields, hitting off the ice during winter training.

A little layoff didn’t hurt Christine Fields.

A combination of rain-outs and a trip with her family have kept the Coupeville High School junior a bit limited when it comes to actual competition on the golf course this spring.

But, when she has been out on the links, the two-time state meet competitor has been as good as anyone on Whidbey Island.

Thursday, playing against Sultan and her training companions from South Whidbey at Useless Bay Golf and Country Club, the lone Wolf carded a 23 using Stableford scoring, finishing second in the individual competition.

Fields has five matches left on the schedule before postseason play kicks off in early May.

She and the Falcons play host to Archbishop Thomas Murphy Monday, April 21, travel to Cedarcrest (April 24), King’s (May 1) and Sultan (May 5), then return back to Useless Bay for the season finale against Lakewood May 7.

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