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McKayla Bailey, you'll believe she can fly. (John Fisken photo)

McKayla Bailey, you’ll believe she can fly. (John Fisken photo)

They didn’t bow down and take a beating. That’s a start.

Hosting the #1 team in the Cascade Conference Tuesday, undefeated Granite Falls, the Coupeville High School softball team came within a few mental errors of playing the visiting Tigers to a standstill.

But, in the end, precision and a veteran mind-set beat the wild ups and downs of a young Wolf squad which alternated between making coach David King pump his fist in joy and slap his side in frustration.

The 3-1 loss dropped Coupeville to 4-7 overall, 3-7 in Cascade Conference play.

The Wolves hold a two game lead over South Whidbey (2-10 in league play) in the battle for the league’s top 1A playoff seed. Coupeville can sweep the three-game season series between the Whidbey rivals with a win in Langley Thursday.

To do so, CHS will need more of the brilliant and less of the what-just-happened.

If you wanted one play to sum up the entire game, it came in the top of the sixth, was 99.9% freakin’ amazing, but bit the Wolves in the butt on the other .1%.

Granite Falls chipped an RBI single into right field and the throw back in flew over third base, allowing the Tiger runner rounding the bag to think she could safely head home too.

Wrong.

Running full tilt, Wolf pitcher McKayla Bailey snagged the rebound off the CHS dugout, trapped the runner halfway to home, then chased her back to the bag.

Faking the throw, which caused the runner to hesitate for a split second, Bailey launched herself airborne.

Body fully stretched out, flying like Superman, she slapped the tag on the runner as she crashed down, but hit hard and had the ball jarred from her fingertips by the ground at the very last second.

Covered in infield dirt that completely obscured her uniform number and much of her arms and face (as mom Donna Bailey wailed “I’m going to have to wash THAT!!!”) McKayla looked pissed, while the Granite runner shook her head in wonder at being safe.

At which point Bailey strode back to the mound, spit on her hand, angrily wiped it down the back of her pants (“I’m going to have to wash that TOO!!!!”) and struck out the next batter on three filthy (in every way) pitches.

Don’t piss off The Photo Bomb Queen.

Coupeville responded, getting its lone run of the afternoon in the bottom half of the inning.

Madeline Roberts beat out her second infield single of the day, then made the turn and took second when her speed caused the Granite infielder to hurry and airmail her throw over first base.

The quicksilver Wolf shortstop, who sparkled in the field all afternoon, runnin’ down balls in the hole and gunnin’ down runners, moved to third on a fielder’s choice by Breeanna Messner.

She then scampered home when the Tiger catcher muffed a pitch and let it get to the back stop.

Coupeville’s other best threat had come in the first, when Roberts singled and stole second, followed by a single from Hailey Hammer that put runners on the corners.

But both of the Wolf runners were stranded, as was Madeline Strasburg after she cranked a hard-hit fourth inning single.

Thrown off by a herky-jerky Granite pitcher who had 1,001 moves before she released the ball, CHS struck out 10 times.

They were also hurt by the wind, which built in power as the game went on.

Bailey had two knocks grabbed by the breeze, while Monica Vidoni hit a shot to center that came off the bat with a bang only to get mugged by a wind current as it reached its peak.

All three Granite runs were direct results of muffed defensive plays, but Coupeville also rebounded with several really impressive plays.

Vidoni made two nice snags on balls to right that threatened to get away in the wind, Roberts shut down everything on the left side of the infield — including a pop up she ran down behind third — and Bailey struck out four, covered her position well and never let Granite tee off on anything.

Sawyer Maggio models the new CHS football helmets. (Tony Maggio photo)

Sawyer Maggio models the new CHS football helmets. (Tony Maggio photo)

The previous helmet, as worn by QB Joel Walstad this past season. (John Fisken photo)

The previous helmet, as worn by QB Joel Walstad this past season. (John Fisken photo)

Everything changes next season for Wolf football.

Coupeville High School, the smallest 1A school in the state, is moving out of the 1A/2A Cascade Conference, where it routinely faced teams three times its size.

Starting in the fall, CHS will join Chimacum, Klahowya and Port Townsend in a 1A division of the Olympic League that will stand on its own.

Along with the chance to face off with schools far more comparable in size, the Wolves will be lookin’ sharp in newly designed helmets, as well.

Coupeville coach Tony Maggio is the man behind the move.

I had them all reconditioned and painted flat black,” he said. “Ordered all new decals, large, over-sized new designed wolf, American flag on back, with players number on back … SICK!!

“The kids that have seen them really like them.”

Hanigan stays hot!!

Allie Hanigan is a crisp 5-2 as Coupeville's #1 single splayer this season. (John Fisken photo)

  Allie Hanigan is a crisp 5-2 as Coupeville’s #1 singles player this season. (John Fisken photo)

The rivalry still rages.

Even as more Cascade Conference foes picked up tennis the last two seasons, Coupeville’s most enduring battle has been with non-conference opponent Friday Harbor.

The two schools have gone back and forth for years, and nothing looks like that is going to change anytime soon.

Monday, it was the host Wolverines time to pull out a barn-burner, nipping Coupeville 3-2 to avenge a loss on Whidbey back in March.

Now 3-4 on the season, CHS has a busy week ahead of it, weather permitting, as the Wolves host South Whidbey Tuesday, travel to Granite Falls Wednesday, then host Lakewood Thursday.

Complete Monday results:

Varsity:

1st Singles — Allie Hanigan beat Yasmin Sarah 6-1, 1-6, 10-7

“It was a weird match, to say the least,” said CHS coach Ken Stange. “I don’t quite know what happened to Allie in the second set, but she was able to pull out the third set tiebreaker.

“It’s not easy coming back from losing a 6-1 set,” he added. “Allie is my toughest player, and she never gives in.”

It was the third straight win for Hanigan (5-2 on the year), who earned Player of the Match honors.

2nd Singles — Sydney Autio lost to Roxanne Bormann 6-1, 6-0

Autio, who has been playing doubles after missing the first chunk of the season with an injury, stepped in for Jacki Ginnings, who was ill.

Sydney is developing a singles game,” Stange said. “She could be a formidable opponent next season. She has all the basic tools in her tennis toolbox. We just have to finish putting it all together.”

1st Doubles — Sydney Aparicio/Samantha Martin lost to Maddy Marinkovich/Ashton Timmons 6-1, 7-5

“Tough match for my 1′s,” Stange said. “Considering that neither had played a regular season varsity match before the start of this season, they are both developing improved games.”

2nd Doubles — Wynter Thorne/McKenzie Bailey lost to Meagan Anderson/Kendall Calvert 6-3, 6-3

3rd Doubles — Micky LeVine/Valen Trujillo beat Sophie Dillery/Summer Fox 6-1, 5-1 (match called a game short due to ferry)

“This was a fun little match,” Stange said. “Valen and Micky are a pair of Energizer bunnies, so to speak.

“They were flying around the court, chasing down loose balls. The other team didn’t even know what hit them!”

JV:

4th Doubles — Ana Luvera/Ivy Luvera beat Samantha Hopkins/Morgan Timmons 6-4

5th Doubles — Haleigh Deasy/Jazmine Franklin beat Zoe Kromer/Sydney Wilson 6-1

6th Doubles — Bree Daigneault/McKenzie Bailey (CHS) beat Crystal Gao/Isabel Brown 6-0

Nicholas Streubel

Nicholas Streubel

He is potentially the best thing to ever happen to Coupeville Sports.

In the 20-month history of this blog, few, if any, local athletes have been as dependable a draw as Coupeville High School senior Nick “The Big Hurt” Streubel.

If you print it, they will read it.

Football, basketball, track and field, doesn’t matter the sport. Folks love them some Streubel.

Capable of ripping through the line and shredding three would-be blockers or gently playing with one of his coach’s sons, lifting him high above his imposing frame so the little boy can shoot a basket, Nick remains the quiet, friendly young man he’s always been.

I remember when he was a (relatively) little guy, and it’s been an honor to help document his exploits as he grew into his nickname.

As he celebrates his 18th birthday today, I wish him the best. Cause he deserves nothing else, since he is the best.

Fit to be tied!!

Sean Donley

Sean Donley leads the charge. (John Fisken photos)

Zane Bundy

Zane Bundy collected another assist Monday.

Betrayed by the ferry!

Forced to depart Friday Harbor or spend the night there, the Coupeville High School boys’ soccer squad had to forgo playing overtime and accept a 3-3 draw Monday night.

The tie, coming against a non-conference foe they pushed around in a season-opening win, left the Wolves at 4-6-1, winless in their last four matches.

The stalemate was a bright spot for Friday Harbor, which improved to 0-11-1.

CHS coach Kyle Nelson preferred to look on the bright side of things afterwards.

“It was a fairly even match; Friday Harbor was improved from our first game,” he said. “Good to get a positive result after our difficult week last week.”

Wolf sophomore Abraham Leyva continued his assault on the net, punching in his eighth and ninth goals of the season, while senior Sean Donley hit on his third score.

Donley and sophomore Zane Bundy notched assists.

Friday Harbor was paced by two goals from Daniel Porter and one from Sam Paul-Barrette.

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