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Archive for the ‘Softball’ Category

Veronica Crownover had a run on the softball diamond few other Wolves can match. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The welcome committee awaits the conquering hero after a mammoth home-run.

Along with being a terror on offense, she was a nimble, sure-handed defender at first-base.

She was feared, respected, and loved, which makes for a pretty potent mix.

Once she got out of middle school, leaving volleyball and basketball behind her, Veronica Crownover tackled softball with a laser focus, becoming one of the best to ever wear a Coupeville High School uniform.

During her four-year run on the prairie, which came to a close this spring, the first-baseman was an integral part in back-to-back league titles (the second and third in 41 years of Wolf softball) and the program’s first win at the state tourney since 2002.

Along the way, she became the first Coupeville softball player I’ve ever seen receive multiple intentional walks in one game.

South Whidbey coach Brad Jaeger looked across the field at Crownover bending her bat in half while waiting in the on-deck circle and said, “No, ma’am, no sir, no how, no way.”

And he was probably right, as Crownover had torched Falcon ace Chanel Sterba in a previous game, bashing a grand-slam which bounced up the street towards Prairie Center.

As impressive as that cannon shot was, it wasn’t even her biggest blow of the year.

Of the five over-the-fence home runs she unloaded as a senior, Crownover’s Pièce De Résistance came in the year’s most-satisfying win.

Given a chance to face next-door neighbor Oak Harbor for the first time in maybe forever, the lil’ 1A Wolves stunned the 3A Wildcats 8-4 on their own field.

The hottest hitter in that game was Crownover, who launched an epic RBI single, smashed a moon shot for a two-run double, was intentionally walked, and, oh yes, cleared the towering left field fence for a game-deciding three-run home run.

To appreciate the full fury of her day, and the joy it brought Wolf nation, pop over to https://coupevillesports.com/2019/03/16/big-hearts-big-win/ to once again marinate in the moment.

But, as awe-inspiring as her performance was that day, it was just one small slice from a career which can stand with any put together by a CHS softball player.

Crownover, hot off a little league run which also included a trip to state (and a brief trial-run as a pitcher), had an immediate impact as a Wolf freshman.

She was selected as a First-Team All-Conference player by Olympic League coaches after bashing the snot out of the ball.

In particular, she was the first Wolf to turn the tide against Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough.

In the early-going of the league, the Eagle hurler dominated, but then Coupeville turned the tide on the eventual D-I pitcher, beating KSS six straight times.

Jae LeVine and Tiffany Briscoe came through with unexpected, big-time blows against Klahowya during that stretch, while Katrina McGranahan and Sarah Wright upheld their reputations as all-world offensive threats.

But it was Crownover — swinging a bat she should have called “Thunder,” because it made a ferocious rumble every time she connected with the ball — who proved the Wolves could terrorize high-level pitching.

And they did it against other teams, as well.

South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins is also now a D-I pitcher, but Crownover tore her pitches to pieces, and the Wolves never lost to the Falcons in the four years Veronica wore the uniform.

By the time she was finished, Coupeville’s titan of swat had been tabbed to three All-Conference teams (and robbed one other time) and piled up stats which compare to any Wolf.

Everyone’s enduring image of Crownover will be of her crushing home-runs, yanking doubles off the top of the wall, or slicing wicked liners that whizzed an inch past a startled pitcher’s face on their way to RBI nirvana.

But she was also a top-level defender, the glue which often held the Wolf infield together.

Crownover had a slick glove, was often surprisingly nimble around the bag, and was a cerebral player, making the smart play time and again.

Her combination of providing a superior target, always being ready, and being capable of pulling off quick tags allowed Wolf catcher Sarah Wright to frequently whizz pick-off throws at unexpected moments, and the duo erased a pleasing amount of runners.

Through it all, from the little league days to her final moments on the field at the state tourney in Richland, where she and her teammates upended highly-ranked Deer Park, Crownover was the same easy-going, fun-loving, deadly-efficient slugger.

Today we induct her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, where she joins others diamond greats such as Sarah Mouw and Breeanna Messner, and it’s an honor she more than deserves.

After this, you’ll find Crownover at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

She’ll be easy to spot.

Just look for the player who has to pull a cart behind her, because she collected too many home-run balls to just carry them in her arms.

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Allie Lucero will join twin sister Maya as freshmen at Coupeville High School this fall. (Photos courtesy Jess Lucero)

In between playing three sports, Lucero finds time to hang out with a wide variety of animals.

You name it, Allie Lucero is likely involved in it.

Much like twin sister Maya, she plays three sports, while also pursuing a wide range of activities from band to Girls Scouts and way beyond.

Which doesn’t mean Lucero can’t also find time to tend to a menagerie of animals.

She has her dog, Yadi, to play with, while also commanding an army of chickens and ducks the family raises.

Lucero, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall, tabs language arts as her favorite class, and likes to “read, hang out with friends and family, paint, watch Netflix, cook, and garden.”

And, somehow, in the middle of all that, she finds the time to also be one of the town’s most-promising young athletes.

During her middle school days, Lucero played SWISH and school basketball, club and school volleyball, and little league softball.

She plans to stay true to all three sports as she hits the high school stage, which is great news for local fans, as she and Maya bring skill, determination, and a love of the game to everything they do.

Following in the footsteps of older brother Dane, who just graduated from CHS after playing football, basketball, and baseball, Allie is out to make a name for herself.

“It would be pretty memorable and awesome if I had a chance to go to state for any sport,” Lucero said.

“I would also like to make varsity on one or all of these sports throughout high school,” she added. “And, finally, I want to improve and succeed.”

Lucero, who springs from a family with a deep sports background, embraces the chance to be an athlete.

“I enjoy staying active and always learning new things as an athlete,” she said.

Turning lessons into improvement on the field or court is huge for Lucero.

“Some (of my) strengths as an athlete are staying positive and enthusiastic, and my level of commitment,” she said.

“My best skills are serving and setting in volleyball, and fielding and hitting in softball,” Lucero added. “Yet, there is always more that I can learn and improve on with these sports.”

She’s picked up these lessons from many people along the way, and approaches each practice, each game, eager to soak up knowledge.

“There are many people who have helped me become the athlete that I am today,” Lucero said. “My coaches, who have always helped me improve on what I needed work on.

“This includes my mom and dad, who have supported me ever since I started sports,” she added. “My dad has always given great advice, and something he says that I will always remember, is to become successful by doing the things that others aren’t willing to do.”

Being a twin, Lucero always has someone else close by who’s playing at the same level as she is, which is a nice built-in advantage.

Maya has also supported me and has practiced with me in our yard countless times.”

While she approaches all of her sports with an open heart and a gung-ho attitude, Lucero is most at home in the fall and spring.

“My favorite sports are softball and volleyball,” she said. “I love softball because I have played it since I was seven. I love the game, and I always have the best time hitting or fielding.

“Volleyball is also a favorite, because even though I haven’t played it for very long, it always excites me, and it never gets old or boring!,” Lucero added. “I love these sports because I can always explore improvements to make, and I find them super fun.”

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Maya Lucero keeps busy with a wide variety of activities, from playing three sports to participating in drama, band, and Girl Scouts. (Photos courtesy Jess Lucero)

Catching some quality time with dad Aaron on the softball diamond.

“I’m super busy, but I thrive on that.”

Try and keep a list of everything Maya Lucero does, and you’ll eventually end up flipping the paper over and still be writing.

Let’s just say Lucero, who will join twin sister Allie as freshmen at Coupeville High School this fall, likes to stay active.

She played basketball, volleyball, and softball through middle school and before, and plans to remain a three-sport athlete as she switches out CMS uniforms for CHS ones.

Toss in appearing in theater productions, playing trumpet in the band, Girl Scouts, cooking and baking, playing with her dog, going to the beach, and hanging out with friends and family, and Lucero’s schedule is booked.

But staying busy has helped her build a strong work ethic, something which has benefited her greatly in the past, and should continue to do so in the future.

“Some of my strengths as an athlete include my focus, commitment to my sports, and loyalty to my teammates and coaches,” Lucero said. “Being so dedicated is important, but not always easy.

“I always honor my obligations for team practices, volunteer work, training, and camps.”

That includes a recent four-day basketball camp in Soap Lake, “so I couldn’t submit my answers to you until now…,” she said with a laugh.

Lucero, who is following in the footsteps of older bother Dane, a 2019 Coupeville grad who was also a three-sport star, has been around athletics her entire life.

Dad Aaron is an assistant coach with the CHS baseball team, who pulled double duty this spring, working with Maya and Allie’s Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad.

With the Lucero sisters ripping base-knocks to all fields, the young Wolves roared through a 13-1 season, and now will send a ferocious pack of hit-happy players on to the high school program.

Maya wants to “work my way to varsity, and to become stronger as an athlete,” and she credits her father with helping to shape her and fuel her dreams, both on and off the field.

“My dad has had one of the greatest impacts on me as a person and an athlete,” Lucero said. “He always pushes me to be my best, and has taught me mental toughness, perseverance, and determination.

“From the start, he has always supported me, led me through difficult times, and has always been at my side,” she added. “He is an amazing dad and softball coach.”

Lucero hails from a tight-knit, super-friendly family which includes mom Jess and two younger sisters, and having a large, loyal support crew is huge for the young Wolf.

Allie has also always been at my side and has always been there for me, no matter how hard things get sometimes,” Maya said. “Overall, my family has helped me to be my best self, and has always supported me and my passions.”

Lucero loves that sports allows her to be “active and competitive.”

And, while she approaches every season with joy, she’s clear – her #1 passion is being on the diamond every spring.

“Without a doubt, softball is my favorite sport of all,” Lucero said.

She’s played school and SWISH basketball, as well as school and club volleyball, but put a bat in her hand and she’s at home.

“It has been one of my greatest passions. I have been playing it since second grade, eight years old,” Lucero said. “I love softball because it’s not the type of sport that you can pick up easily.

“Softball is a difficult sport that teaches you determination, perseverance, to work hard, and to stay mentally tough. Not everyone can do that.

“I feel that softball is my strongest sport because I’ve played it longer, so I have a strong softball IQ.”

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Cypress Socha will be a freshman at Coupeville High School this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Cypress Socha is here for the fun.

The multi-sport athlete, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall, enjoys her time on the court or diamond.

“I love being with my team and having fun,” Socha said. “I just want to have fun.”

That philosophy has helped guide her through multiple sports, with stints on the Coupeville Middle School volleyball squad and little league softball teams on her resume.

She currently plans to drop volleyball as she enters high school, but is looking forward to joining the CHS softball team.

This spring, Socha was part of a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors squad which rolled to a 13-1 record.

Regardless of the sport, the bright young woman, who enjoys language arts, math, and history classes, approaches everything with a positive attitude.

“Volleyball, softball, and tennis are all ranking #1 for me,” Socha said. “I like these sports because, to me, it’s about having fun.

“Having fun while being a little competitive is one of the biggest factors in what goes into being my favorite sport.”

Socha hails her ability to work with others as a strength (“I’m definitely a team player”), while pledging to keep on working on her skills.

Away from sports, she enjoys walking and biking around her neighborhood, hanging out with her best friend, Adrian, and going to the swimming pool.

Whether competing in sports, working in the classroom, or boppin’ through everyday life, Socha thrives on her relationships with her friends and family, which includes her parents and cousins Audra, Piper, and Eden.

“A lot of people in my life have had some sort of impact on me throughout my life.”

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Karyme Castro (left), seen here with softball teammates Sofia Peters (center) and Melanie Navarro, will be a CHS freshman this fall. (Maricela Sotelo photo)

She’s mixing things up.

As she went through middle school, Karyme Castro tried a bit of everything, playing volleyball, basketball, and little league softball.

Now, as she moves up a rung and enters Coupeville High School as a freshman this fall, the hard-working young woman is shifting gears.

While she plans to stay with softball, she’s dropping volleyball and basketball in favor of joining the Wolf cheer squad.

Castro, who wants “to get a home run” at some point in her diamond career, was part of a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team which went 13-1 this spring.

The thrill of launching a ball off her bat helps makes the sport her favorite.

“I really like softball, because I think batting is really fun,” Castro said. “I like the excitement of the games and the way they cheer for you.”

She wants to “work on my running,” and enjoys a busy life outside the sports world.

Castro picks wood shop as her favorite class, loves the movie Finding Dory, and looks forward to baking in the kitchen and hanging out with friends.

Ask her to pick who has the biggest influence on her life, and it’s an easy selection for the young Wolf.

“My mom and dad,” Castro said. “Because they always say you can do whatever you want, and we will be here to support you in any sport and anything.”

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