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Chelsea Prescott and her Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball teammates have been given a second chance to advance to regionals, if they can raise money for travel expenses. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

So, the season might not be over just yet.

The Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball squad, which finished 2nd at the state tournament, has been offered a chance to advance to regionals after Columbia Basin bowed out.

The state champs, who edged the Wolves 2-1 in a best-of-three series, won’t have enough players available to make the trip to Portland, Oregon for the July 23-28 event.

The winner at regionals advances to the World Series in Longview, WA Aug. 10-27.

With Columbia Basin down, Coupeville, which posted a 17-2 record this season, is next team up, provided it can finance the trip.

Parents and coaches are scrambling, with just a couple of days to raise funds to cover travel expenses, and launched a GoFundMe Tuesday night after the news broke.

If you’d like to help the Wolves play on, pop over to:

https://www.gofundme.com/5tvx6bs

The players you would be supporting are:

Drake Borden
Johnny Carlson
Scott Hilborn
Gavin Knoblich
Ashton Leland
Xavier Murdy
Daniel Olson
Chelsea Prescott
Cody Roberts
Andrew Score
Sage Sharp
Ulrik Wells
Hawthorne Wolfe

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Gavin Knoblich had two of Coupeville’s three hits Saturday in the Babe Ruth state championship game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The dynasty rolls on.

After two close games Friday, Columbia Basin crushed Coupeville 14-2 Saturday in Ephrata to win the Babe Ruth baseball state title.

Having taken the championship series 2-1, Columbia Basin captures its fourth-straight crown in the 13-15 age group, and fifth in sixth years. It now advances to regionals in Portland, Oregon.

Coupeville, which finishes the season at 17-2, heads home after its best season in program history.

Under the guidance of coach Steve Hilborn, the Wolves were perfect in regular-season play before splitting their first two games with Columbia Basin.

They lost 3-2 in eight innings to open the tourney, then won 6-2 in the Friday nightcap.

Saturday’s game, though, was over fairly quickly.

Columbia Basin jumped on the Wolves for four runs in the first, another four in the second and six more in the third.

The champs were super effective in all aspects of the game Saturday, raining down 13 hits in the first three innings, while also taking advantage of three Coupeville errors and six walks.

The Wolves chipped away for a single run in both the second and fourth, but that was it as their bats short-circuited for the first time in three state playoff games.

The first run came home when Gavin Knoblich singled, moved to second when Andrew Score eked out a walk, then stole third and home.

Knoblich, who will be a junior at CHS this fall, also played a big part in his team’s second run, rapping an RBI double to plate Sage Sharp, who led off the fourth with a walk.

Coupeville’s only other hit on the day came courtesy Johnny Carlson, who lashed a third-inning single.

Xavier Murdy, Cody Roberts and Chelsea Prescott shared mound duty for the Wolves.

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Coupeville players head to the field Friday in Ephrata, ready for the start of the Babe Ruth baseball state tourney. (Heidi Roberts photo)

They didn’t buckle.

Facing the defending state champs, down a game after suffering their first loss of the season and enduring temps soaring towards 100 in Ephrata, the Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball squad rallied Friday to keep its dream alive.

After dropping a 3-2 heartbreaker in extra innings to kick off the state tourney, the Wolves roared back to blast Columbia Basin 6-2 in the afternoon tilt.

With the win, Coupeville improves to 17-1 on the season and sits one win from being hailed as the state champs in the 13-15 classification.

The two teams will play a third and deciding game 9 AM Saturday (likely in cooler temps), with the victor punching its ticket to the Pacific NW Regional Tournament in Portland, Oregon.

Columbia Basin is one of the biggies in Babe Ruth baseball, having won three straight and four of the last five 13-15 state titles.

That pedigree didn’t scare Coupeville, however, which wants to capture the town’s first state title since the 2010 Central Whidbey Little League Juniors baseball squad achieved that feat.

The Wolves survived a buzzsaw in game one, whiffing 13 times on pitches by Columbia Basin hurler Kevin Rexes, yet never falling out of the game.

Coupeville flame-thrower Daniel Olson was on point himself, putting nine rivals down on K’s, and the game remained close from start to finish.

The defending champs pushed a run across in the second, but the Wolves responded at the last moment, knotting the game at 1-1 with a run in the top of the seventh.

Olson walked, pilfered two bags, then zipped home on a passed ball to send the game to extra innings.

Things got interesting there, with Coupeville taking its first lead of the game on an RBI single off the bat of Scott Hilborn.

The base-knock brought Cody Roberts home, and brought the Wolf faithful to their feet in anticipation of the team’s 17th straight win.

It wasn’t to be, however, as Columbia Basin rallied for the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the inning, using three walks and two Wolf errors to bust open the game.

The loss came despite Coupeville out-hitting its foes, raining down six hits to four.

Roberts, Gavin Knoblich, Ulrik Wells, Hilborn, Olson and Ashton Leland shared the hot bats, each chipping in with a hit apiece.

With their season on the line, the Wolves responded, with their bats heating up under blazing skies.

A three-run second-inning burst, fueled by singles from Olson and Johnny Carlson and fast feet on the base-paths, put Coupeville ahead to stay and it coasted home behind the one-two punch of hurlers Leland and Roberts.

Once again, the Wolves spread out the love, with eight different batters ringing up a base-knock.

Hawthorne Wolfe and Xavier Murdy, who ran wild on the bases, led the way, with Wells, Carlson, Olson, Hilborn, Drake Borden and Leland chipping in to the team effort.

Coupeville, which is coached by Steve Hilborn and also includes Chelsea Prescott, Andrew Score and Sage Sharp on its roster, roared through the regular season, going 16-0.

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Together since t-ball, and still going strong, are l to r, Nick Etzell, Mike Etzell and Jake Hoagland. (Lisa Jenne photo)

Summer baseball is about two things.

One, it’s a chance for the guys who just graduated to have a final farewell.

And, maybe more importantly, it’s a chance for the young guys who still have high school eligibility, to get some more work in while playing with their teammates.

So growth, and not wins and losses, was first on the checklist for Coupeville High School coach Chris Smith at the season-ending Enumclaw 4th of July Bash.

Consider that part of the agenda checked off, as the Wolves, while going 0-4, came within a run in their final two games.

And they did so with six of their 10 players (6 of 9 on the final day of play) scheduled to return next spring.

“Good tournament for us this weekend,” Chris Smith said. “No wins, but good work for our younger guys that are coming up.”

Coupeville opened with a tough draw on the first day of the tournament (Friday, July 6), falling 8-0 to the Puyallup Knights and 8-2 to the Thurston County Saints in a rain-shortened game.

After a day off, the Wolves returned to the diamond for a Sunday twin-bill, minus Olympic League MVP Hunter Smith, who departed for a family trip to Italy.

Playing with no bench (middle school ace Scott Hilborn was in uniform in case any of the starting nine went down), CHS was nipped 7-6 by the Avengers and 5-4 by Mac Baseball.

In both those games, Coupeville fought back from early deficits to reclaim a tie or the lead, only to give up the winning run in the seventh and final inning.

But, while the wins didn’t come, the hits did for the young guns, as potential returning players accounted for nine of the 15 hits rapped out on the weekend by the Wolves.

Matt Hilborn and Dane Lucero, who will be seniors next year, led the way, both collecting four hits apiece.

Lucero walloped a double, while Hilborn had the team’s biggest base-knock, crunching a seventh-inning RBI triple to left against the Avengers.

The recently graduated Jake Hoagland (1B, 2B), Hunter Smith (1B, 1B), Nick Etzell (1B) and Joey Lippo (1B) notched their final hits in a Wolf uniform, while junior-to-be Gavin Knoblich smoked a single.

Underclassmen Mason Grove, Gavin Straub and Daniel Olson rounded out the Wolf roster, with all three coming around to score at least once during the weekend.

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Cody Roberts (11) muscles in for a bucket during a game last season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Roberts is a key member of an undefeated Coupeville Babe Ruth squad headed to the state tourney next week.

Cody Roberts has been in the game for a while now.

The youngest of three brothers, he started playing baseball when he was three. Now, like older siblings CJ and Brian, he’s ready to make an impact at the next level.

A three-sport athlete (he suits up for the Wolves in football, basketball, and baseball), Roberts will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall.

Part of a strong group of young Central Whidbey athletes, he has his eyes firmly set on success.

“I plan to stay with all three sports; my goal is to stay fit and hopefully lead a couple teams to some state championships,” Roberts said.

He’s in the running for a title this summer, playing a key role on a Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball team which is rolling along with a 16-0 record.

The Wolves are off to Ephrata next week for the state tournament, another chance for Roberts to take the diamond and play the game he loves most.

“Baseball is my favorite because it’s what I am best at and I have been playing it since I was three,” he said.

Roberts, who enjoys spending time with friends and hails math as his favorite class, works hard to “always have some play money.”

But, around that, he devotes a lot of his time to athletics, and continues to fine-tune his skills set as he matures.

“I like being an athlete because it gives you a goal,” Roberts said. “And also a reason to keep your grades up and it keeps you off the streets.”

When he assesses his own game, he sees areas he likes and areas he wants to strengthen.

“My weakness is going down easily when losing,” Roberts said. “But my strength is helping my team stay up even when we’re tired.”

As he looks backwards at his run through little league, youth sports and middle school, and then turns and gazes at the wide-open possibilities which high school will offer, the young star always goes back to pay tribute to those who believed in him from the start.

“My mom (Heidi), and my dad (Brent), have had very big impacts on my sports life,” Roberts said. “And my grandma, cause she takes me to all my sports and encourages them.

“My mom coached me in baseball for a couple years and my parents put me in sports and kept me in them.”

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