Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

Coupeville senior Daniel Olson closed out his high school baseball career Saturday by getting the final out in a 30-0 win. (Morgan White photos)

First, a small round of applause for Ivory Souryavong.

You probably don’t know him. I had never heard of him before Saturday.

But, as a major rebuilding season ended for a painfully-young La Conner High School baseball squad, Souryavong provided the lone highlight for Brave fans.

La Conner fell at home, and fell hard, losing 30-0 to a confident, really-starting-to-jell Coupeville squad.

The Braves sent 16 hitters to the plate in the loss, with 13 striking out against Wolf hurlers Hawthorne Wolfe, Xavier Murdy, and Daniel Olson.

Two others grounded out.

But Souryavong, a freshman third-baseman, rapped a two-out single in the bottom of the third, providing La Conner’s lone base runner.

It’s a small thing, but it should be noted — a kid refusing to go down easy even when things are not so great.

So, some kudos to Souryavong, before we move on to extolling the virtues of his foes.

And those Coupeville diamond men were in fine form, closing this pandemic-shortened season at 7-3, second-best in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Cole White is one of six Wolf freshmen on a 16-man roster.

First-year coach Will Thayer, with a pretty young roster of his own, got the best out of his diverse team, and loses just one senior to graduation.

That’s Olson, who once upon a time was my “assistant manager” at David’s DVD Den when he was a preschooler.

He was paid in candy, and I’m still not sure all the customer’s money made it into the till…

Now all grown up (at least mostly), he scored four times Saturday, and came to the mound to get the final out of the game, the season, and his prep career.

Olson ended things with another strikeout, punching out La Conner’s lone senior, Alden Schnabel, then strolled into the twilight.

For a moment at least, as the lanky Wolf is likely to return for basketball season.

After netting just a lone run in the top of the first, Coupeville dropped a 10-spot in the second, then tacked on 15 more in the third, before coasting home with four in the fourth.

With so many runs flying across the plate, the scorebook doesn’t show how a lot of Wolf hitters got on base, and I was in Freeland, helping my sister with chicken coops, and not camped out in La Conner.

So, if you were hoping for a complete breakdown of the hit parade, this is not the story you seek.

But suffice it to say that Thayer was able to get all 16 of his players into the game, with his young guns getting plenty of playing time.

“Super proud of this team,” said the CHS coach. “And excited to start building towards next season.”

After a strong junior campaign, Cody Roberts is primed to be Coupeville’s #1 pitcher when next season rolls around.

Wolfe and Murdy were pitching for the first time in a game this season, while Jonathan Valenzuela paced the offense, scoring five times.

Olson and Scott Hilborn both tapped the plate four times apiece, as well, with Cody Roberts coming around three times.

Also seeing playing time in the finale were Gabe Reed, Miles Davidson, Cole White, Sage Sharp, Zane Oldenstadt, Andrew Williams, Nick Guay, Coen Killian, Peyton Caveness, and Seth Woollet.

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Cody Roberts was one of eight Wolves to collect a hit Friday afternoon. (Morgan White photos)

The little things were a killer.

Playing a must-win game Friday, the Coupeville High School baseball squad outhit host Friday Harbor 10-5, yet still fell 8-6 on the scoreboard.

The difference was the five errors the Wolves committed, the eight walks they surrendered, and the runners they left aboard.

With the loss Coupeville drops to 6-3 in this pandemic-shortened season, while Friday Harbor (9-0) — the only team the Wolves have lost to — clinches the Northwest 2B/1B League title.

The trip was originally supposed to be a doubleheader, but with the first game running long, darkness on the horizon, and a champion crowned, the nightcap was cancelled.

Coupeville went into the afternoon knowing it still had a shot of at least sharing the league crown, but only if it swept both scheduled games from the Wolverines.

That would have left the two squads deadlocked at 8-2 heading into Saturday’s finales.

Instead, the Wolves will look to build on their positives from Friday and bounce back strongly against winless La Conner during a final, no-ferry-required road trip.

Facing off with the crafty, but not overpowering Wolverines, Coupeville went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first, then almost did the same to their hosts.

Unfortunately, they came up one batter short, and got stung.

After CHS pitcher Jonathan Valenzuela whiffed the first two Friday Harbor batters, the Wolverines took advantage of a pair of errors wrapped around a walk to ignite a fire.

Two singles made for decent kindling, and what looked like it would be a scoreless tie after one became a 3-0 deficit Coupeville would never quite overcome.

The Wolves had opportunity, as senior Daniel Olson led off the second inning with a resounding triple.

Only he died at third, when Friday Harbor’s pitcher dodged a bullet three straight times.

A Hawthorne Wolfe single also went for naught in the third, and by the time Coupeville found its scoring touch, it trailed 5-0 entering the top of the fourth.

That was Coupeville’s best frame, with a walk to Sage Sharp, singles from Valenzuela, Cody Roberts, and Peyton Caveness, and another big three-bagger — this one from super sophomore Scott Hilborn — putting four runs on the board.

The Wolves knotted things at 5-5 with a run in the fifth, with Sharp and Valenzuela collecting base-knocks, but Friday Harbor promptly reclaimed the lead.

CHS stranded a pair of runners in the sixth, after freshmen Caveness and Zane Oldenstadt got aboard on singles, before almost rallying in the seventh.

Zane Oldenstadt, collecting base-knocks.

Friday Harbor made its own errors, dropping a third strike and booting another ball, allowing the Wolves to trim things to 8-6, but that was as far as it went.

Valenzuela (who had eight K’s on the mound) and Caveness each had a pair of singles, with Wolfe, Sharp, Olson, Hilborn, Roberts, and Oldenstadt chipping in with a hit apiece.

Cole White and Xavier Murdy rounded out the very-young Wolf lineup, in which five of 10 players to see action Friday were freshmen or sophomores.

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Daniel Olson brought the heat on the mound and at the plate Tuesday in a 13-3 Senior Night win. (Morgan White photos)

First they got lucky. Then they got good.

Playing at home for the first time in 18 days, the Coupeville High School baseball squad took advantage of some early miscues Tuesday by visiting Mount Vernon Christian to keep their game close.

Then, once the bats were properly warmed up, the Wolves dropped the hammer, eventually strolling away with a 13-3 win on Senior Night.

With the victory, CHS improves to 6-2 during this pandemic-shortened season, while keeping alive its hopes of winning a Northwest 2B/1B League title.

Coupeville trails Friday Harbor (8-0) — the only team it’s lost to this season — by two games with three to play.

The league’s top two squads tangle Friday afternoon at Friday Harbor, playing a doubleheader with everything on the line.

If the Wolverines sweep or get a split, they clinch the title.

But, if Coupeville earns the sweep, both teams would sit at 8-2, having split their four games, with just one contest left on the schedule.

CHS closes at La Conner (0-7) Saturday, while Friday Harbor hosts Orcas Island (2-5) that day.

However the weekend plays out, the Wolves sent their home fans back to the parking lot with a light skip in their steps.

The win over MVC offered a nice tribute to Daniel Olson, the team’s lone senior, while also providing a superb preview of the damage which could be done by the rest of a very-young roster.

Coupeville coach Will Thayer got something from pretty much everyone, with 10 of 11 hitters reaching base, and freshmen accounting for six of the team’s nine RBI.

The game actually started with a brief burp, as MVC scraped out two runs in the top of the first, thanks to an infield single, two walks, and a brutal collision at home plate.

With the bases loaded and no one out, the Hurricane cleanup hitter bounced a ball up the middle, sending the runner at third barreling home.

As Wolf catcher Xavier Murdy went to pull in the incoming throw, bodies collided awkwardly and the ball squirted free, allowing a second MVC runner to sneak home in the confusion.

The violent entanglement sent a brief chill through any CHS basketball fans in the stands, but X-Man walked off any lingering aftereffects, restoring hope once again on the prairie.

From that point on, the rest of the game went pretty much the way Wolf faithful would have scripted things.

It began with the lanky Olson making a pretty spectacular pickoff move.

Whirling and firing a laser into shortstop Scott Hilborn’s glove, he removed a Hurricane runner who made the mistake of leaning slightly in the wrong direction.

Proving it wasn’t a fluke, the Wolf pitcher later pulled off the same successful pickoff play several innings later, after which time all MVC runners stayed bolted to the base.

Olson and his parents celebrate Senior Night.

The first time through the lineup, Coupeville was scraping a bit, yet generated just enough offense to keep things close.

The Wolves netted a run in the bottom of the first thanks to a couple of MVC mistakes.

Looking a little tentative, the Hurricanes booted a grounder by Sage Sharp, then lost control of a third strike two batters later, letting him scamper home.

Coupeville continued to get lucky, knotting things up 2-2 in the second thanks to the MVC pitcher airmailing a throw over first base on a two-out Sharp bunt.

The Hurricane hurler had time to make the play, but perhaps ruffled by the sound of Murdy blasting by, heading from third to home, his arm refused to work in sync with his brain on the play.

The visitors entertained brief hopes of going on a rampage themselves, edging back ahead 3-2 in the top of the third, before juicing the bags with three straight singles.

The base-knocks went to right, left, and center, at which point Olson tugged on his cap, righted himself, and effectively slammed the door on any upset bids.

Pumping strikes past the flailing Hurricanes, he struck out the next two sluggers to stem the tide, then rolled through the fourth and fifth innings in his final home pitching performance.

Coupeville got back to 3-3 on an RBI single by freshman Peyton Caveness, scoring Olson, who golfed his own hit into left to lead off the bottom of the third.

The game finally broke solidly for CHS in the fourth, however.

It started with Hawthorne Wolfe putting on a one-man show which would be hard to duplicate.

The speed demon leadoff hitter blasted a ball back, back, back, almost to the wall in right field, and was thinking of a triple, while possibly daydreaming of an inside-the-park home run.

Instead, Wolfe came flying around first doing 767.269148 miles per hour (the speed of sound, if you’re curious), then … stepped on something.

He either caught the edge of the first-base bag, or put one of his own feet on top of the other one while going full-tilt, and promptly face-planted, displacing dirt from Oak Harbor to Clinton.

And yet, Wolfe still had the presence of mind to get back up, moving sort of like Rocky Balboa after being hit in the face on 23 consecutive punches, and stagger down to second base before the ball arrived back in the infield.

The should-have-been-a-triple, could-have-been-a-homer, turned-out-to-be-the-year’s-most-entertaining-double got the joint rockin’, and the CHS bats boomin’.

Wolfe finally made it home when MVC booted a fly ball off the bat of Jonathan Valenzuela, then Cody Roberts used a super-sharp eye to earn a bases-loaded walk.

But it was the fab frosh with the big hit.

Caveness sent a low, screaming liner to left to bring two runners home, part of a four-RBI day for Coral’s younger brother.

Xavier Murdy, here to drop thunder and lightning with every swing.

Murdy tantalized the non-paying customers, coming up just inches short of becoming the first Wolf since Josh Bayne to bash a ball over the fence in deepest, darkest left field.

The CHS junior settled for a dramatically-long RBI sac fly, which made it 8-3, then quietly went and strapped his catcher’s gear back on, a pro acting like a pro.

Olson topped off his Senior Night festivities with that second pickoff we discussed earlier, then handed the ball to Valenzuela, who promptly struck out the side in the sixth.

Jonathan Valenzuela, King of K’s.

An RBI single from Olson in the fifth stretched the margin to 9-3, before Coupeville ended things (slightly) early with four more runs in the sixth.

Caveness returned with another RBI base-knock, before the game ended on a truly-gorgeous hit from another fab frosh.

Zane Oldenstadt, pinch-hitting for Coen Killian, proved to be deadly from the left side of the plate, lashing a two-run single which soared over third base, curled in the air, then bit grass on the good side of the left-field line.

It was a bold punctuation mark, especially for a team which has found considerable success, even with six freshmen — Caveness and Cole White started Tuesday — and three sophomores on a 15-man roster.

Add in a strong group of middle school players ready to make the jump to high school ball next spring, and both the present and future of Wolf baseball looks bright.

“We could be dangerous the next few years,” Thayer said with a big smile.

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South Whidbey High School grad Charlie Patterson. (Photo property Bellevue University)

Different state, same great success rate.

South Whidbey High School grad Charlie Patterson is chucking a baseball in Nebraska these days, and he’s still got wicked good stuff.

The former Falcon, who began his college hardball career with a two-year run at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, now reps Bellevue University.

The Bruins are an NAIA school playing in the North Star Athletic Association, and it was that league which honored Patterson Monday afternoon.

The NSAA tabbed him as its Pitcher of the Week, based on his performance in a 5-0 win over Mayville.

Patterson scattered three hits over seven innings, whiffing five while only allowing a single batter to make it as far as third base on the day.

The Bellevue pitcher is a pristine 4-0 this campaign, with an ERA of 3.22.

Patterson has made seven appearances for the Bruins, six of them starts, while striking out 45 hitters across 36.1 innings.

During his days at SWHS, Patterson was a standout athlete, playing football, basketball, and baseball for the Falcons.

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Audrianna Shaw takes a cut during a team scrimmage. (Tiffani Blazek photo)

Sage Sharp frames a pitch. (Morgan White photo)

“Stop … hammer time!” (Blazek photo)

Abby Mulholland (left) offers a helping hand to a rival. (Renae Mulholland photo)

Zane Oldenstadt (13) watches hardball action unfold under the fading prairie light. (Michelle Glass photo)

Mckenna Somes is locked and loaded at the plate. (Megan Somes photo)

The pandemic has changed many things, but there is one constant for CHS athletes — frequent ferry rides. (Glass photo)

The CHS softball sluggers are (sorta) ready for their closeup. (Aaron Lucero photo)

Take a picture. It’ll last longer.

As this pandemic-shortened spring sports season zips by, Coupeville parents are taking heed of that bit of wisdom.

Cameras are clicking, and the return to school athletics in the Age of Coronavirus is being documented from many angles.

Thanks to some of those parents, here’s a collection of images from the prairie and beyond.

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