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 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.”