Coupeville senior Joey Lippo had two hits Monday, including a two-run single during a seven-run rally. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two different types of foes, two different kinds of results.

When Coupeville has faced fellow 1A teams this season, they’ve blasted them.

And, when the team in the other dugout has hailed from a large 2A school, the Wolves have fought until the final batter, but taken the narrowest of defeats.

Monday it was a big-school rival, Bremerton, and Coupeville couldn’t hold on to a five-run lead, falling 9-8 on the road.

“Another tough loss in a one-run game. Again another opportunity to work on mental toughness and our resilience as a team,” said Coupeville coach Chris Smith. “We are not defined by our losses but in the manner in which we played and what we learned from it.

“We played well as a team and fairly error free,” he added. “Unfortunately, we just stranded more runners on the bases then they did.”

The non-conference loss drops the Wolves to 2-2 on the season, heading into another match-up with a 2A school, North Mason, this Friday at home.

Five of Coupeville’s 20 regular-season games will be against 2A schools, and while that may put a ding in its win-loss record, playing against bigger schools could help the Wolves grow as a team.

CHS has shown resiliency against their big-school rivals, and Monday was a prime example of that.

Trailing 2-0 headed to the top of the fourth, the Wolves must have found the magic elixir to rub on their bats, because they started smoking.

Raking eight hits in the inning, including a pair of singles from Jake Pease, Coupeville exploded for seven runs, forcing Bremerton to call on its bullpen.

The big blows were an RBI double from Kyle Rockwell and a two-run single off the bat of Joey Lippo, but everyone in the lineup was dialed in.

Jake Hoagland started things with a base-knock, with Gavin Knoblich, Matt Hilborn and Dane Lucero also connecting for a hit in the inning.

The share-and-share alike philosophy carried over to the bench as well, with Jacob Zettle coming in to pinch-run and promptly scoring.

Bremerton wasn’t going away though, chipping away for three runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead back down to 7-5.

While the Wolves added a solitary run in the fifth, with Nick Etzell walking and coming around to score on a grounder by Hilborn, BHS was now in full come-back mode.

Four runs in the bottom of the fifth reclaimed the lead for the host team, and, after that, Bremerton’s bullpen closed out the game strongly.

Coupeville swung the bats well in the loss, with all nine starters recording a hit.

Pease led the way with three singles, Lippo added two base-knocks, and Hilborn, Hunter Smith, Hoagland, Rockwell, Knoblich, Etzell and Lucero joined the hit parade.

Smith was a force on defense as well, robbing a Bremerton hitter with a nice diving catch on a liner back up the middle.

No nails left!!

   Lily Leedy was a defensive dynamo Monday, constantly disrupting Sequim’s offensive flow. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The fans got their money’s worth.

Coupeville and Sequim played three middle school girls basketball games Monday, and two of them came down to the final shot.

Unfortunately, for the Wolves, the visitors pulled out both of those bouts by the narrowest of margins, while CMS rebounded to romp to a win in game three.

The games were the home finale for Coupeville, which closes on the road next week against Blue Heron and Forks.

8th grade varsity:

The first time these schools met this season, Coupeville absorbed a rare blow-out loss, falling by 26.

This time around the Wolves mounted a ferocious second-half comeback, riding the hot shooting touch of Anya Leavell, but couldn’t make it all the way back.

A 13-3 fourth quarter run by CMS, with Leavell torching the nets for 10 of those points, cut the margin to 36-33, but Sequim held on thanks only to the clock running out.

While his team suffered a loss, dropping them to 4-4 on the season, Coupeville coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh walked away proud of his player’s inner fire.

“They stood tall and played really, really well in the second half,” he said. “We turned off their offense in the second half and gave ourselves a chance to win. Really good to see.”

Sequim jumped out to a 10-5 lead after one quarter, then stretched it to 24-12 at the break, but the second half was a different story.

With Kylie Van Velkinburgh taking the lead and clamping down on the visitor’s top shooter, Coupeville suffocated Sequim down the stretch.

Leavell took advantage, dropping a long three-ball to kick off the rally in the third, then pouring in buckets left and right in the fourth.

She finished with a game-high 17, while Audrianna Shaw (6), Ella Colwell (5), Izzy Wells (3) and Ja’Kenya Hoskins (3) rounded out the Wolf attack.

While praising his entire team, Dustin Van Velkinburgh offered a shout-out to Colwell, who “was in there fighting and had her best game of the season.”

7th grade varsity:

As wild as you can imagine, and then some.

In a game of epic mood swings, big three-balls and bodies frequently crashing to the floor, free throws decided the fate of the world in a 42-41 Sequim win in overtime.

The loss dropped Coupeville’s young guns to 6-2, with both defeats coming at the hands of the same team.

In a game where the Wolves trailed by nine at the half, then led by six with 90 seconds to play, Sequim found a way to win thanks to #15, a tall, very talented young woman who plays like a young Dirk Nowitzki.

Identified in the book by just her first name, Kendall, she could do it all – handle the ball, run the offense, hit the boards, be disruptive on defense, swish free throws without making the net move, and, this is the biggie, drill the three-ball.

Her biggest one, coming right after a Gwen Gustafson free throw pushed Coupeville’s lead to 36-33, tied the game and punched a hole right through the heart of Wolf Nation.

Did her foot drag across the line? That’s certainly arguable, but, instead of blaming a ref with a bad angle, give Kendall credit.

She wanted the shot, she took the shot, she made the shot.

Coupeville still had a chance to win in regulation, but couldn’t get the ball to drop, and once in overtime, neither team could hit a field goal.

Instead, the extra period was a rough-and-tumble affair filled with whistles and free throws, as all 11 points scored came at the charity stripe.

Alita Blouin, Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon combined to drain five freebies, but Sequim, which had made just five free throws in regulation, topped that in overtime.

Coupeville finished with a 20-11 advantage on made free throws, with Blouin draining nine.

The game took wild swings, with the Wolves jumping out to a 7-3 lead behind back-to-back buckets from Gustafson, before Kendall and Co. started rolling.

An 11-0 run gave Sequim the lead, and CMS failed to hit a field goal for the final 12 minutes of the first half.

Still, with Blouin driving hard to the hoop, then converting her free throws, the Wolves were somehow just in a single-digit deficit at 18-9 heading into the break.

Cue the madness that was the third quarter.

Maddie Georges broke Coupeville’s long cold streak from the field, draining a jumper from the right corner, and Coupeville was off on an 8-0 run.

Two steals from Kendall and Sequim countered with a 6-0 surge.

Coupeville’s answer?

Gustafson going nuclear, torching the nets for eight points, including two long treys, as CMS threw down 14 straight in a surge that started in the third and ended in the fourth.

Sequim finally stopped the bleeding, thanks to five points (a pair of free throws and a three-ball) from Kendall, but Georges answered with a bomb of her own from behind the arc.

It wasn’t to be, though, as the visitors used a runner in the paint and two free throws to set up the game-tying trey.

Which, again, probably should have been worth two points.

And yet, dang it, gotta give the kid credit for having ice water in her veins.

Gustafson paced Coupeville with 14, while Blouin popped for 11, Georges and Lhamon knocked down seven apiece and Keiper had two.

7th/8th grade JV:

Coupeville didn’t score for the first eight minutes-plus, and still won, riding a big second-half performance from Abby Mulholland en route to snaring an 18-10 win.

The Wolves couldn’t get a thing to drop in the first quarter, but Lily Leedy lit a fuse a few seconds into the second quarter and CMS was off and running.

The speedy ball-hawk knocked down a quick pair of buckets off of steals to knot things at 4-4, then Adrian Burrows gave Coupeville a lead it would never relinquish when she drained a pair of free throws.

While the first half was a low-scoring affair, things got a little spicier after the break, with Mulholland banging down five straight shots.

Two buckets came off of feeds from Leedy, and the capper came courtesy of a rebound and put-back.

Burrows added her own basket off a rebound to close the game and she and Leedy each finished with four points to back up Mulholland’s 10-point barrage.

While they didn’t score, Claire Mayne and Angelina Gebhard had a considerable impact on the game, as the duo were at the forefront of battles for loose balls, terrorizing Sequim’s ball-handlers all game.

Forward we go!!

   Coupeville High School baseball coach Chris Smith checks to see if any raindrops are falling. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

And we’re off.

The first days of spring sports played out this past week, at least when the rain drops weren’t putting a damper on things.

Three of the four spring Coupeville High School varsity teams to keep track of a win-loss record are sitting with winning records as you read this, which is always a nice start.

Very few Olympic League contests have been played so far, with one of the big rain-outs preempting Coupeville and Chimacum from meeting on the baseball diamond.

But, the few that have made it into the books have gone exactly the way expected, with Coupeville and Klahowya coming out on top.

The two schools have fought for the varsity wins crown the past four years, with the Eagles coming out on top in years #1 and #2 and the Wolves claiming top dog status in year #3.

This year, in the final go-round for the four-team league (Coupeville is hopping conferences in the fall), CHS is out in front once again.

The Wolves exited winter with a 31-28 lead, based on girls soccer, football, volleyball, boys tennis and girls and boys basketball.

With a pair of early wins over Port Townsend in baseball and soccer, Klahowya has narrowed the gap to 32-30, ensuring what should be a fairly thrilling stretch run.

The week ahead, while chock full of games, won’t have much of an impact on the wins race.

Most of Coupeville’s games between Mar. 19-24 are non-conference tilts, though the two which are Olympic League clashes are both head-to-head with Klahowya.

The two teams are scheduled to meet on the tennis court Mar. 22 and the soccer pitch Mar. 24, with both contests on Whidbey.

Standings through Mar. 18:

Olympic League baseball:

School League Overall
Klahowya 1-0 2-2
Chimacum 0-0 0-4
Port Townsend 0-1 0-2

Olympic League boys soccer:

School League Overall
Klahowya 1-0 1-0-1
Chimacum 0-1 0-2
Port Townsend 0-1 0-2

Olympic League girls tennis:

School League Overall
Chimacum 0-0 0-1
Klahowya 0-0 0-2

Olympic League softball:

School League Overall
Klahowya 0-0 2-1

Matt Hilborn is locked ‘n loaded. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Katrina McGranahan comes in hot for one of her four runs on the afternoon.

   South Whidbey baseball coach Tom Fallon (left) and Wolf hardball headman Chris Smith exchange pleasantries.

CHS first-baseman Veronica Crownover gets low to snag a hot grounder.

   Hunter Smith was flinging nothing but the high, hard cheese, whiffing 13 rivals on his way to a 1-hit shutout.

   Off the field, Lauren Rose is a truly gentle soul. On the diamond, however, she will cut you off at the knees and laugh as you bleed out.

Let the beatins’, and the photos, commence.

Coupeville enjoyed a very pleasant Saturday jaunt to Langley, shredding the Falcon softball and baseball squads 12-0 and 10-0, respectively.

Wanderin’ photo bug John Fisken stopped by the ball fields on his way home, and captured the pics seen above.

To marinate in everything he shot, pop over to:



And, when you do, remember, purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

   Coupeville catcher Sarah Wright opened her junior season with a single and triple Saturday as the Wolves massacred South Whidbey 12-0. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were the last up, so they made their debut count.

With every other Coupeville High School spring sports team having played at least one contest, the Wolf varsity softball squad might have been getting a little antsy.

If the diamond sluggers were, they quickly got over any nerves, thrashing host South Whidbey 12-0 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

The victory, called an inning early due to the 10-run mercy rule, was extra-sweet for several reasons.

One, it’s the Falcons in the other dugout, so a win is a clarion call for Island supremacy.

Also, for Coupeville, which came within a single strike of making the state tourney a year ago, it was a chance to send a message to a team which did make the trip to the big dance in 2017.

On this day the Wolves stared down Falcon ace Mackenzee Collins, who is headed to Colorado State on a D-1 scholarship, and picked her apart.

CHS sophomore Scout Smith got things going in the first inning with a one-out single, and the Wolves were off and running.

Using their speed and smarts to create havoc on the bases, the Wolves put a ton of pressure on South Whidbey’s defense and the Falcons cracked a bit.

A string of passed balls and a key error or two put Coupeville in prime spot, and its sluggers came up big when presented with a gift.

The top four hitters combined for seven hits, with Lauren Rose bashing a double and Sarah Wright crunching an epic triple.

Wolf hurler Katrina McGranahan, who scored all four times she strode to the plate, joined Rose and Wright with two base-knocks apiece, while Smith had her rally-launching single and crossed home three times.

While Coupeville’s offense was poppin’, McGranahan was lights-out in the pitcher’s circle.

A lead-off double to Collins in the second inning was the only hit she surrendered, and she whiffed three while tossing a complete-game shutout.

Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan boarded the bus for the short ride home with a huge grin on his face.

“It was a total team win,” he said. “We jumped on their ace right away in the first inning; Katrina and Sarah had their usual good days at the plate, but Scout was pesky all day.”

The Wolf softball guru was able to use all 12 players in uniform, giving freshmen Chelsea Prescott, Mollie Bailey and Coral Caveness their varsity debuts.

Prescott started at third-base, while Bailey and Caveness came off the bench to each score a run.

Hope Lodell, Veronica Crownover, Mackenzie Davis (who walked and scored in the fourth), Nicole Laxton and Emma Mathusek rounded out a CHS roster aiming to better last year’s superb 19-5 finish.

“I used the whole bench, so everyone got in the game to chase the jitters,” Kevin McGranahan said. “Great day for Wolf Nation.”