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Jake Pease beats the tag Friday as Coupeville drills Granite Falls 8-1. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s been like two seasons wrapped in one.

The 2019 campaign has been an unusual one for the Coupeville High School baseball team.

Having lost eight seniors, the new-look Wolves struggled to mount a consistent offensive attack in the early going this spring, scoring just 13 runs while starting the season 0-12.

And then something clicked.

After an 8-1 win Friday over visiting Granite Falls, Coupeville heads to the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak.

During that torrid stretch, the Wolves have plated 66 runners, ultimately cost arch-rival South Whidbey a chance to win a league title, and swept three-game series from Sultan and Granite.

The win which started the redemption arc, a 4-3 shocker over their next-door neighbors, proved to be huge.

If South Whidbey had won that Island rivalry game, it would have entered Friday guaranteed of earning at least a tie for the North Sound Conference pennant with Cedar Park Christian.

Instead, the Falcons faced a winner-takes-all finale in Bothell, and CPC pulled out a 5-4 win thanks to a sixth-inning three-run pinch-hit home run.

Cedar Park, which has been to the state semifinals two years running, finishes 13-2 in league play, while South Whidbey is 12-3.

Coupeville, the hottest team in the conference at the moment, wraps at 7-8 in league action, 7-12 overall, and heads to the playoffs as the #4 NSC team.

The Wolves open the double-elimination bi-district tourney May 4 with a game against Meridian at Sehome High School. Win or lose, CHS plays a second game that afternoon.

But that’s still a week away, and Friday the focus was on honoring Coupeville’s seniors — Bryce Payne, Shane Losey, Jake Pease, Matt Hilborn, and Dane Lucero — while finishing the regular season on a strong note.

Both missions accomplished.

The Wolves jumped on Granite right away, sending 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and bringing six of them around to score.

Three walks, with Hilborn and Gavin Knoblich being plunked, set the table, but it was Coupeville’s bats which did the most damage.

Six singles, accounting for 60% of Coupeville’s hits on the day, sent runners scrambling and Granite coaches to weeping silently in their dugout.

Hawthorne Wolfe started the hit parade, and then Pease, Ulrik Wells, Payne, Losey, and Hilborn (in his second at-bat of the inning) all collected base-knocks.

After the early run-fest, Coupeville didn’t need much more, but it did tack on a run in the second, on a Daniel Olson sacrifice bunt, and a final score in the sixth, on an RBI single off the bat of Pease.

The senior starter led the way with three hits in his home swan song, while Hilborn banged out a pair of singles.

Olson, Wolfe, Payne, Wells, and Losey also had hits, Lucero walked three times and a game after smashing up his face during a collision in the outfield, Mason Grove returned to eke out a walk.

While Coupeville pounded the ball to all fields, Granite had no answers for Wolf hurler Hilborn, who came two outs away from tossing a no-hitter.

He finally got touched in the seventh, giving up a one-out double, but was otherwise in control all game, whiffing eight and walking just a single batter.

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Mason Grove (left) and Matt Hilborn were banged up after a collision in the outfield Wednesday afternoon, but rebounded to help Coupeville win its sixth-straight game. (Chris Smith photo)

Can’t stop. Won’t stop.

The late-season surge continues, as the Coupeville High School baseball squad continues to rewrite its story.

Bouncing back from a rough start, the Wolves have become a hit-happy group in the latter part of the season, and Wednesday was more good times as 10 base-knocks fueled a 7-4 win at Granite Falls.

The sixth-straight win for the suddenly-scorching Coupeville diamond men, it lifts them to 6-8 in North Sound Conference play, 6-12 overall.

The Wolves and Tigers wrap their three-game series, and the regular season, Friday in Coupeville.

First pitch is 4 PM, and it’s Senior Night for Matt Hilborn, Dane Lucero, Jake Pease, Bryce Payne, and Shane Losey.

Win or lose that finale, Coupeville is playoff-bound as the #4 seed from the NSC, and kicks off the double-elimination bi-district tourney May 4.

Wednesday, the Wolves scrapped and fought, then blew the game open with a nine-batter, five-hit, five-run fifth inning.

CHS trailed 3-1 headed into that frame, having given up a single run to Granite in the first, third, and fourth.

Coupeville’s only run before the explosion came in the top of the first, after Hilborn doubled to lead-off the game, then came around to score on a Pease sac fly.

Looking for a game-changing play, the Wolves got it, with Ulrik Wells amblin’ to the plate to lead off the fifth and promptly smashing a triple.

From there, the floodgates broke, as a Losey double mixed with singles from Hilborn, Lucero, and Gavin Knoblich and a walk to Hawthorne Wolfe.

Given the lead, Wolf pitcher Lucero, making the final regular-season start of his four-year prep career, shut down Granite, scattering two singles across the final three innings en route to tossing a complete game.

Coupeville tacked on a final run in the seventh, just to make sure, with Hilborn ripping a single and Lucero conking a double.

Hilborn (2B, 1B, 1B), Lucero (2B, 1B), and Knoblich (1B, 1B) led the hit parade, with Wells (3B), Losey (2B), and Pease (1B) each adding a solid base-knock.

 

Wolves arch-rival play for a title:

Coupeville’s first win, a 4-3 shocker over a South Whidbey team which was rolling, looms even larger now.

That meant the Falcons would have to sweep their final three-game series with Cedar Park Christian to claim the league title.

With CPC riding a 16-game winning streak entering this week, that seemed unlikely.

Now, not so much.

South Whidbey nipped the Eagles 3-0 Wednesday, after winning by the same score Monday, and the two teams are dead even at 12-2 in conference action with one game to play.

CPC is 16-3 overall, South Whidbey 17-2 (it also lost one game to King’s), and the two teams play Friday in Bothell with the pennant at stake.

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On a five-game winning streak, Cody Roberts (left) and Gavin Knoblich are all smiles. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Softball sluggers Heidi Meyers (left) and Marenna Rebischke-Smith, done with practice for the day, pop by to cheer on their baseball buddies. 

CHS coach Chris Smith cooks up some strategy.

“Spring” sports on the prairie, a time for layers (and more layers). 

Mason Grove tracks a high fly ball.

Dane Lucero goes low to pull in the throw at first.

Daniel Olson offers good vibes to Knoblich.

Jake Pease slaps the tag on a Granite runner lost in no-man’s land.

The bats are hot, the camera hotter.

As the Coupeville High School baseball squad bashed out nine hits Monday en route to its fifth-straight win, wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken was busy clicking away from every angle.

The photos above are courtesy him.

To see more, and possibly purchase some glossies for grandma (thereby helping fund scholarships for CHS student/athletes), pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-baseball-2018-2019/BB-2019-04-22-vs-Granite-Falls/

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Sophomore hurler Daniel Olson struck out seven in five innings Monday as Coupeville won its fifth-straight game and clinched a playoff berth. (Photo by Karen Carlson)

Mission: accomplished.

At least the first part of the mission, that is.

Never losing faith after an 0-12 start to the season, the Coupeville High School baseball squad has bounced back to win five straight and clinch a playoff berth.

The latest victory came Monday afternoon, as the Wolves dodged rain drops and visiting Granite Falls to nab a 6-5 win in extra innings.

When Matt Hilborn’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth plated Mason Grove, it all came together for CHS.

Now 5-8 in North Sound Conference play, 5-12 overall, the Wolves clinch their league’s #4 playoff seed and are guaranteed a trip to bi-districts.

They’ll join Cedar Park Christian (12-1, 16-2), South Whidbey (11-2, 16-2), and King’s (7-5, 8-9), while Granite Falls (2-11, 4-14) and Sultan (1-11, 1-16) get no postseason love this spring.

The four NSC teams will clash with three teams from the Northwest Conference and two from the Emerald City League, with four of the nine advancing to state.

Coupeville, after wrapping up the regular season with two more games against Granite — Wednesday on the road and Friday at home on Senior Night — open bi-districts May 4 on a neutral field at Sehome High School.

Win at least one of two games that day, and the Wolves live to play again May 11.

To see the bi-district bracket, pop over to:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2913&sport=6

Monday’s game was a back-and-forth affair, with the teams exchanging leads several times, before treating fans to free baseball.

After Wolf starting pitcher Daniel Olson slipped out of a jam in the first inning, using the first of his seven strikeouts to muzzle the Tigers, Coupeville struck for two runs in the bottom of the frame.

Hilborn bashed a lead-off double, and Granite helped mightily, committing three of their eventual six errors in just a single inning.

The lead held up for a bit, even though Coupeville left a golden scoring opportunity unanswered in the bottom of the second inning.

The Wolves had a runner 90 feet away from pay-dirt after Shane Losey ripped a one-out triple, but the senior was left clamped to the bag as Granite’s pitcher wiggled away from danger like a worm evading a plunging hawk.

Sparked by their miracle escape, the visitors finally got their bats going, pinging shots to all fields as they piled up four runs during a third-inning rally.

But there was no break in the spirit of the Wolves, just a deep commitment to rallying time and again.

A two-run double off the bat of Ulrik Wells in the fourth inning knotted the game back up at 4-4, before CHS pushed a run across in the fifth to reclaim the lead.

The tie-breaker came courtesy singles from Hilborn and Hawthorne Wolfe and two more errors by the shaky Granite defense.

With their season hanging by a thread, the Tigers refused to go down easy, rallying for one last run in the top of the seventh to set up the nerve-wracking finale.

In the end, Coupeville punched its playoff ticket with a mix of grit, big plays and stellar work by young and old.

Freshman relief ace Cody Roberts stranded Granite’s go-ahead run at second base in the top of the eighth, closing things with a big strikeout before inducing an inning-ending ground-out.

Taking immediate advantage, the Wolves primed the stage with back-to-back walks by Grove and Losey, which brought Hilborn, once a bright-eyed youngster, but now a grizzled vet, to the plate.

Capping a four-hit day, the senior standout tattooed the ball out where Granite had no chance to make a play, sending himself and his team into the postseason.

Coupeville, which has been torrid at the plate during its winning streak, banged out nine hits on the afternoon.

Hilborn had a double and three singles to lead the way, while Losey (3B), Wells (2B), Bryce Payne (1B), Wolfe (1B), and Dane Lucero (1B) all added base-knocks.

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Mason Grove comes around to tap home Friday as Coupeville wins its fourth-straight game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolves (l to r) Lucy Sandahl, Ashley Menges, and Lindsey Roberts drop by to cheer on their classmates.

CHS alumni Hope Lodell and Kyle Rockwell venture back onto school grounds.

Gavin Knoblich gets down with his bad self.

First-base coach Mike Etzell runs away to join the soccer team.

Heidi Roberts (left), Sarah Meyer (center), and Mckenzie Meyer get a little bit rowdy.

The Wolf brain trust ponders in-game strategy.

Spoiler: he said yes. Sandahl and Daniel Olson are Prom-bound.

The weather held up, and so did the cameras.

Despite some splatters of rain in the early going Friday, the Coupeville High School baseball squad was able to get a complete game in, waxing visiting Sultan 14-4.

And, despite having to dodge a bit of liquid sunshine, and deal with some mid-game wind, local paparazzi John Fisken was able to merrily snap away for the full 2.5 hours.

The photos above, a mix of in-game and out-of-game action, are courtesy him.

To see everything Fisken shot (and possibly purchase some glossies, while helping fund scholarships for CHS student/athletes), pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-baseball-2018-2019/BB-2019-04-19-vs-Sultan/

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