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Archive for the ‘Softball’ Category

Veronica Crownover, sultan of swat, titan of terror on the diamond. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Playing softball in not-so-balmy November, Crownover is fond of muttering “Throw me the dang ball, woman, before I freeze in place!” (Kelly Crownover photos)

The union that was meant to be.

Hey, the weather was better. So, that’s a start.

Coupeville grad Veronica Crownover and the Washington State University club softball squad have endured freezing temps, rain, and plenty of doom ‘n gloom-lookin’ clouds during the opening of their season.

After winning four of six games while battling the weather, the Cougars found slightly more balmy temps awaiting them in Eugene this weekend, but the game scores took a turn slightly for the worse.

Wazzu pulled out a come-from-behind 9-7 win Saturday, then fell 13-5 and 7-1 Sunday to the University of Oregon, dropping its record to 5-4 headed into winter break.

With fall ball wrapping, Crownover and Co. put the mitts and bats away for a bit, with the spring portion of the season kicking off in February.

WSU, which opened by taking two of three from both Boise State and Gonzaga, played this weekend minus its starting pitcher (foot injury) and with its catcher hampered by a numb leg which limited her movement.

Crownover, who has swung a hot bat in her college debut, picked up a pair of singles and an RBI in the series.

The former Wolf was also a vacuum at first base, pulling in several short throws to nab the out.

A freshman at Wazzu, Crownover, when she’s not bashing softballs, is on track for a career in saving all the animals.

All of them, I said!

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Veronica Crownover, prairie legend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some good hits, some bad hits.

Coupeville grad Veronica Crownover continues to tear up the diamond for the Washington State University club softball team, even if the weather in Pullman doesn’t exactly scream “let’s go outside.”

The former Wolf collected six base-knocks over the weekend, while also absorbing a fair amount of pain, as the Cougars won two of three games against visiting Gonzaga.

After splitting a doubleheader Saturday, winning 12-11 and falling 13-3, Crownover and Co. closed out the series with a 14-2 win Sunday.

WSU sits at 4-2 on the season, with a road trip to the University of Oregon coming up in two weeks.

Crownover’s bat was smokin’ in sub-40 degree weather (rain and wind drove temps a lot lower before the weekend was done), as the freshman first-baseman collected two singles in each of the three games.

She also picked up some black and blue marks, as she took a pitch to the shin, fouled a ball off her foot, then was later plunked in the elbow.

During her Coupeville days that was known as getting “Nicoled,” in honor of teammate and best bud Nicole Laxton, who had an uncanny ability to get drilled by opposing pitchers.

The worst of the three injuries was the shot to the elbow, which left a black circle on her now-swollen arm.

Wazzu’s coach took her out of the game, but then reinserted her as a courtesy runner for another player, a first for Crownover, who has been playing softball since she could walk.

Putting an exclamation point on her wild weekend, she promptly scored as a pinch runner, proving she can do it all.

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They teach, you learn. (Photo courtesy Gerry Oliver)

One of the most-successful college softball programs in the nation is coming to Whidbey Island.

The University of Washington will hold a skills clinic October 26 at Oak Harbor High School for local softball players ages 8-17.

Cost is $75 for a 90-minute all-skills portion, or $50 for a 60-minute pitching clinic.

For registration info, pop back up to the photo above.

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Veronica Crownover, home-run hitting prairie legend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Now a college player, Crownover (back, center) had four hits, including a long ball, as Wazzu won two of three on opening weekend. (Photo courtesy Kelly Crownover)

Different town, different uniform, same booming bat.

Coupeville High School grad Veronica Crownover made her college softball debut this weekend, and she filled the Pullman sky with the sight of a bashed ball flying far, far away.

Just the way she used to do it as a Wolf.

Crownover is now a freshman at Washington State University, and she and her teammates on the school’s club softball squad took two of three games from visiting Boise State.

The Cougars dropped the season opener Saturday, falling 11-3, then bounced back to sweep a doubleheader Sunday, winning 9-5 and 13-4.

Crownover’s bat was smokin’ in the 38-degree weather, as she peppered Bronco pitching.

After picking up her first two collegiate hits and coming around to score in Sunday’s opener, she smacked a third single to open the nightcap, then went deep.

Her two-run home run was still climbing as it cleared the center-field fence 310 feet away, while parents Darren and Kelly out-screamed the entire rest of the fan base of both teams.

Trotting home with her first college tater, Veronica Crownover, who has picked up the nickname “Bro” from her Wazzu teammates (since she uses the word as a noun, verb, and adjective in most conversations), was all smiles.

“Today was a really good day,” she said. “I can die happy.”

Along with her offensive explosion, Crownover was her usual slick-fielding presence at first base, pulling in throws no matter where they were headed.

The Cougars, who play year-round, return to action the last weekend of October, when they’ll put their 2-1 record on the line against Gonzaga.

During her time in Coupeville, Crownover earned a truck load of softball awards from her team and various leagues for her play.

Before graduating last spring, she and fellow Wolf seniors Sarah Wright and Nicole Laxton led CHS to the state tournament in Richland, where Coupeville won a game for the first time since 2002.

The Wolves held up well against eventual state champ Montesano, upset Deer Park, which had taken out the defending state champs, then came within a play of also knocking off Cle Elum.

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After four seasons of blasting dingers for Coupeville, Veronica Crownover (and her boomin’ bat) will play for the Washington State University softball team. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Good-bye, softball.

Veronica Crownover isn’t ready to retire just yet.

The 2019 Coupeville High School grad, who launched towering home-runs to all fields and made opposing pitchers cry sweet, sweet tears during her time as a prep softball slugger, has officially made the team at Washington State University.

Tryouts were this week, and the former Wolf first-baseman impressed with both her glove and bat. The Wazzu freshman is in the mix for a starting position, as well.

Washington State competes as an NCAA D-I school in 11 sports, and supplements those varsity programs with 27 club sports teams.

Softball, which has been active at WSU since 1996, is part of the club system, along with sports such as wrestling, ice hockey, bowling, cricket, rugby, and lacrosse.

The Cougar softball team is a member of the National Club Softball Association, which boasts 143 colleges.

Wazzu plays out of the Pacific – North division, which also includes club teams from the University of Oregon, Eastern Washington University, Boise State University, and Gonzaga University.

Games begin in October, and Crownover and her new teammates play in both the fall and spring.

The former Wolf will have a busy schedule, as she’s also pulling a double major, studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences along with Zoology, while being on a pre-vet track.

While that makes for a lot of class time, mixed with life on the diamond, it’s something Crownover has handled before.

She graduated twice this spring, earning degrees from both CHS and Skagit Valley College.

Her softball roots go back to little league, when she and future high school teammates like Sarah Wright, who will play for Sewanee: The University of the South this year, tore up the diamond.

Once she hit high school, Crownover made an immediate impact, earning All-League honors as a freshman, then adding enough awards over the next three years to build her own shrine.

She was a nimble defensive player at first base, providing a soft mitt for her fellow infielders to aim for, while pulling in just about any throw which came within 10 feet of her.

But it was Crownover’s bat, “Thunder,” which made her reputation.

The sultan of swat carved up pitcher after pitcher, from future D1 hurlers like Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough and South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins, to the best playoff rivals could throw her way.

She crashed a home run deep over a very tall left-field fence at Oak Harbor to stun Coupeville’s big-city rivals, hurt South Whidbey so badly, so often that the Falcons intentionally walked her multiple times in one game, and played her best in the spotlight.

Crownover and Wright, along with fellow senior Nicole Laxton, led the Wolves to the state tourney this spring, where they won for the first time since 2002.

That victory came against Deer Park, a juggernaut which had upended the defending state champs, and CHS also came within a play of knocking off Cle Elum at the big dance.

Playing three games in one day at the state tourney in Richland (the Wolves also tangled with eventual state champ Montesano), Crownover went out in style, swinging for the fences and freakin’ out rival pitchers.

Now, she gets to go out and do it all again, just in a different uniform.

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