Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Bob Rea, the strikeout king of Snakelum Point. (Photo courtesy Rea)

Records are set to be broken.

You only have to look as far as the big board for track and field which sits just inside the entrance of the Coupeville High School gym.

Over the years, all-time greats such as Jon Chittim, Makana Stone, and Virgil Roehl set marks which seemed untouchable.

And yet, over time, most of those accomplishments have been surpassed, a testament to hard work, changes in training, and maybe all those hormones in the milk.

Yes, a few marks have endured decades — there are still records from the ’80s up there — and it’s the same in every sport.

Will anyone ever touch Ian Barron’s nearly-untouchable rushing records on the CHS football board?

Unlikely, but hey, once upon a time, we thought no one would reach Chad Gale’s receiving marks, and yet Hunter Smith eventually did.

It’s the same with volleyball records set by big-timers like Hailey Hammer and Mindy Horr and others.

They seem untouchable … until they aren’t.

There are at least three CHS records, though, which have endured for at least five decades, which would seem to make them truly untouchable.

However, I would argue that only one mark from that trio is truly safe.

The first two come from basketball, where Jeff Stone torched the nets for the single-game (48 points) and single-season (644) scoring records in 1970.

Working without the three-point line, the Wolf senior led Coupeville to the state tourney for the first time in school history, one hard-earned bucket at a time.

Over the past 50 years, no one has come even remotely close to the season mark, with the second-best individual season belonging to Jeff Rhubottom in 1977-1978.

And he scored 459 points, almost 200(!) points shy of what Stone threw down.

But, I would argue, neither record is truly safe.

With the three-point explosion in full bloom, the single-game record is begging to be topped, and even the season mark (while much safer) isn’t untouchable.

Hawthorne Wolfe had back-to-back games of 34 and 33 points this winter as a sophomore, and he’s only going to get stronger, quicker, and more confident.

Paired with the explosive Xavier Murdy, who also has two seasons left, the duo are primed to go on a scoring bender.

Will they make history? We’ll see.

Wolf legends from Mike Bagby to Pete Petrov to Randy Keefe to current CHS coach Brad Sherman all made runs at Stone’s marks, but couldn’t get there.

But it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Which brings us to the one record I will stand behind as truly untouchable.

In the spring of 1964, Bob Rea, then a CHS junior, rang up 27 strikeouts across 16 innings in a 2-1 win at Darrington.

Look at those numbers for a second, remember that the opposing pitcher, Brian Mount, also tossed 16 innings, and then go look at the modern-day pitch-count rules which govern Washington state baseball.

It’s the record which will never, ever, ever, fall.

The game was played on a dusty field made up entirely of sand and gravel.

Train tracks slashed through left field, and any ball hitting said tracks was “fair game … you got as many bases as you could touch.”

“I can still see Ray Harvey, our left fielder, looking both ways before he stepped out on the tracks to recover a well-hit ball,” Rea remembered during a 2016 interview.

With an arm made strong by hucking rocks at Snakelum Point, Rea never thought about coming out of the game that day. That’s how you played in 1964.

He would keep on throwing through four seasons of college ball, after missing his senior season at CHS with a broken leg.

Rea was also a top-flight quarterback and one of the more-proficient scorers in Wolf basketball history, but his time on the baseball diamond is what will live the longest in Coupeville lore.

So why do I think his record is the one CHS mark which is truly untouchable?

Because a modern-day pitcher would have to be nearly flawless, while getting no run support, to make a run at Rea’s mark.

High school games in Washington state are seven inning affairs, so even if a hurler struck out every single hitter he faced, he’d still need at least two extra innings to reach 27 K’s.

To break the record, that 28th whiff would come no earlier than the 10th inning (our third extra frame), and, long before then, our pitcher would run into the biggest roadblock.

In 1964, you could pitch until your arm fell off, if your coach let you. Then you could duct-tape your arm back on, and keep on flingin’ heat.

In 2020, WIAA guidelines limit hurlers to no more than 105 pitches in a single day.

Go one over that, and the offending coach is imprisoned for 20 to life in the gulag. Or something close.

With three strikes to a hitter, you’d need 84 strikes minimum to get to that 28th K, while getting a strike on at least 80% of your allotted pitches, and heaven forbid if you needed a 106th pitch to break the record.

All while your team didn’t score a single run.

And that’s the bare minimum needed.

Toss in any walks or hits or errors, and your pitcher’s margin of error to reach 28 K’s becomes about .0000000000009.

So, we go back to the basketball court, where a three-point marksman could get hot (really hot) and catch Stone’s 48-point night.

I’ve personally witnessed a Coupeville player hit as many as 10 three-balls in a JV game, and eight in a varsity tilt, so while 17 treys in a night isn’t likely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

But 28 strikeouts in one game under modern-day rules?

Never gonna happen. Like never, ever, ever.

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If Coupeville track stars like Raven Vick (left) and Ja’Tarya Hoskins get the chance to compete this spring, they will face a shortened season. (Brian Vick photo)

If there is a spring high school sports season, teams can play shortened games in an effort to complete as much of the schedule as possible in a very short time.

That recommendation was offered Wednesday by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Currently, all schools in the state are shut down through April 24 on the orders of Governor Jay Inslee, as the fight to blunt the spread of coronavirus continues.

If students return to school at the end of the six-week shutdown, with the first classes April 27, they will have to put in 10 practices and then can begin games.

The WIAA previously announced it would offer a waiver, allowing schools to conduct 10 practices in five days time.

It also stated state championships will not be played later than Saturday, May 30, so as not to conflict with graduations in June.

That means if the six-week shutdown is lengthened at all, spring sports could be in jeopardy.

If Washington goes the route of states such as Kansas and cancels classes through the end of the 2019-2020 school year, there would definitely be no spring athletic season.

But, under a best-case scenario, with schools reopening April 27, games could begin as early as May 2.

The WIAA has directed each league and district to determine its own means of qualifying teams for the postseason, and has said it will allow teams which are not in the playoffs to continue regular season games through May 30.

While it’s highly-doubtful schools could play, say, an entire 20-game baseball season in four weeks time, shortened games and multiple contests on the same day will be allowed.

WIAA guidelines for each sport Coupeville High School plays:



*Pitch count, which is a daily limit and not a game limit, will still be enforced.

“Care should be taken to insure that pitchers are not exceeding their arm strength and conditioning during this shortened season,” the WIAA said. “Coaches have an obligation to take care of their pitchers.”

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings being a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for regionals, with state championships May 29-30.


Boys Soccer:

*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with one half of play constituting a complete game.

*May 19 is the final day for teams to qualify for state. The tourney will be played May 23, 26, 29, and 30.


Girls Tennis:

*Athletes will be allowed to play multiple matches in the same day, but can not exceed nine sets per day.

*May 24 is the final day for individuals to qualify for state.



*Teams will be allowed to play shortened games, with five innings constituting a complete game.

*May 24 is the final day for teams to qualify for state.


Track and Field:

*If an athlete competes on their own at an invitational during the shut down, their marks don’t count toward automatic qualifying standards for state. These standards must be met during school-sponsored meets.

*Athletes will still be restricted to competing in a maximum of four events during school-sponsored meets.

*May 24 is the final day for qualifier meets, with the state meet set for May 28-30.

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CHS varsity softball leads off a group of pics shot earlier this spring. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

Wolf track and field fills up the bleachers.

Varsity soccer takes the field.

Baseball claims the diamond.

JV softball, ready to pile up the runs.

JV soccer defends its net.

Tennis is on point.

The season is on hiatus, but the photos have been snapped.

With the coronavirus pandemic having forced the closure of Washington state schools, Coupeville athletes sit and wait to see if they will get to chase their spring dreams.

But back before the shutdown, wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken bounced from field to field and captured the team pics seen above.

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CHS grad Sarah Wright was off to a strong start as a college softball player.

Their seasons have ended too soon.

Seven Coupeville High School grads (and one Oak Harbor alumni whose mom is my former co-worker) saw spring college sports seasons prematurely end.

With most of the nation shutting down athletic events at every level as part of the fight to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, it’s the new reality.

The status of each:


Ally Roberts – Senior
Equestrian – Western Washington University


After winning a regional championship in Advanced Western Horsemanship, she was set to compete in the national semifinals in West Virginia later this month.

A top-two finish there would have sent her on to nationals.

That’s no longer the case, though, with both postseason events now scrubbed from the schedule.

“Really sucks, that’s for sure,” Roberts said. “But just happy with how the season went for my team and I.”


Danny Conlisk – Freshman
Track and Field – South Dakota School of Mines and Technology


After a successful spin around the track during indoor season, the two-time state champ was on his way to the outdoor season, but it’s been cancelled.

A statement released Friday by the NCAA indicates all student/athletes competing in spring sports will be granted an additional season/semester of eligibility.


Sarah Wright – Freshman
Softball – Sewanee: The University of the South


Like Conlisk, the former Wolf star will be granted a do-over, even though she and her diamond teammates had played 40% of their schedule.

Sewanee was 2-14 on the season when the rest of its 40-game season was scrubbed.

Wright was in the top three on her team in eight offensive categories:

.244 batting average (#2)
41 at bats (#3)
10 hits (#2)
2 home runs (#1)
7 RBI (#1)
16 total bases (#2)
.390 slugging percentage (#2)
.311 on base percentage (#3)

She also had a .915 fielding percentage as Sewanee’s catcher, with 39 putouts and four assists.


Makana Stone – Senior
Basketball – Whitman College


The Blues were in Brunswick, Maine preparing to play Friday in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA national championships, but never got the chance when the tourney was cancelled.

Whitman finished a very-successful season at 26-3, with Stone, the Northwest Conference Player of the Year, having also been selected to play in the Beyond Sports Women’s Collegiate All-Star Game.

That game, featuring the best D-III players in the country, was set for March 21, but has also been cancelled.

Stone closed her senior season with 409 points, 225 rebounds, 37 assists, 26 steals, and 26 blocks, while shooting 166-316 (52.5%) from the floor and 74-96 (77.1%) from the free-throw line.

During her four years as a Blue, the former Wolf star played in 110 games, including making a program-record 92 starts.

She finishes as the #5 scorer (1,337 points) and #2 rebounder (837 caroms) in Whitman women’s basketball history.


CJ Smith – Sophomore
Hunter Smith – Sophomore
James Besaw – Freshman
Joey Lippo – Freshman
Baseball – Green River College


The one sport where some hope lingers.

The Northwest Athletic Conference has chosen, so far, to cancel all games through April 13.

Green River, which is 3-4, has had 19 games scrubbed, though 16 remain, for now, on the schedule.

At the time of the shutdown, Hunter Smith was hitting .333 with eight hits (including a pair of doubles), seven walks, five runs, and two RBI.

Besaw is also hitting at a .333 clip, with five hits, while playing error-free ball at first base for the Gators.

CJ Smith is 1-0 in two games as a relief pitcher, having tossed a team-high 7.1 innings while holding opposing batters to a .125 batting average.

The CHS grad has faced 24 batters, and the only other Green River pitcher with a better mark has only squared off with three rivals.

Lippo hasn’t been given much to do at the plate yet, but is playing error-free ball in the outfield, including a strong throw to Hunter Smith to help nail a wayward runner.

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Coupeville grad Danny Conlisk lets it rip in a college track meet. (Photo courtesy Dawnelle Conlisk)

Sarah Wright cracked her first college home run Saturday in Georgia. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Four Whidbey alumni are playing baseball for Green River College this season. Left to right, James Besaw, Joey Lippo, CJ Smith, and Hunter Smith. (Charlotte Young photo)

One day, three sports, three states, a whole ton of former Wolves on the prowl.

Saturday was a busy day for Coupeville grads competing in the world of college sports, with events going down in South Dakota, Georgia, and Washington state.

How the day played out:


Sarah goes yard:

Just like the old days.

Playing in her eighth college softball game, Coupeville grad Sarah Wright belted a three-run home run to left field, the highlight on a day when the former Wolf catcher’s new team was swept in a doubleheader.

Sewanee: The University of the South fell 9-1 and 10-6 to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, dropping the Tigers record to 2-6.

Wright and associates get a chance for a quick reversal of fortunes, as they play another doubleheader Sunday, this one against Wesleyan College in Macon.

The former Coupeville standout crushed her round tripper in her first at-bat in Saturday’s second game.

Through the first eight games of her freshman season, Wright is hitting .261 with six hits and a team-high six RBI.

She’s also doing it on the defensive side as well, where she tops Sewanee with 25 putouts and absolutely, positively no errors whatsoever.


Danny hits the jets:

A two-time state champ for CHS, Danny Conlisk continues to tear up the track as a freshman at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Bouncing back from an illness which kept him out of action last week, the Hardrocker freshman finished 2nd in the 400 at the Stinger Open at Black Hills State University.

Conlisk won his heat and smashed his collegiate PR in the event, hitting the tape in an adjusted time of 51.58 seconds.

That shaved .80 off of his previous best.

The former Wolf is one meet away from reaching the mid point of his season(s), with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Indoor Championships set for February 28-29 in Colorado Springs.

After that, Conlisk and his teammates take a month off from competition (but not training), returning March 27 for the start of the outdoor season.


Strong start for diamond dandies:

It’s a reunion on the next level.

CHS grads, and brothers, CJ and Hunter Smith are back for their sophomore year at Green River College in Auburn.

Joining them on the Gators baseball squad this time around are former Coupeville star Joey Lippo and former Oak Harbor standout James Besaw.

All four Whidbey alumni saw action Saturday, as Green River opened a new season by sweeping a doubleheader from Western Washington University.

The Gators took the opener 11-4, with CJ Smith coming on in relief to earn the win.

Mr. Cool jumped in to the game in the second inning, with his team trailing, and promptly threw 4.1 innings of shutout ball, whiffing three.

His younger brother was a big supporter, as Hunter rapped a single, walked three times, stole a base, and scored twice as the Gators stormed from behind to nail down the victory.

Besaw played a key role, as well, walking and ripping an RBI single.

In the second game of the day, Green River once again rallied, plating two runners in the fourth to tie the game, then sending two more home in the sixth to eke out a 4-3 victory.

Hunter Smith collected another single in the nightcap, and he teamed up with Lippo for the defensive play of the game.

Recreating their high school magic, Lippo fielded a dangerous ball in the outfield which had extra-base hit written all over it, then came up gunning.

Airmailing a wicked throw to his former Wolf teammate, he started a bang-bang play, which nailed the WWU runner when Smith zipped the relay on a bead to Green River’s third-baseman.

“The play between Joey and Hunter was awesome,” said proud papa Joe Lippo. “Had the Green River fans yelling the loudest all day!”

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