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Coupeville’s sluggin’ sophomore shortstop Chelsea Prescott is heading to Eastern Washington for the 1A softball state championships. (Karen Carlson photo)

This is going to be a new experience.

The bracket for the state softball tournament was released Sunday, and Coupeville High School gets to face teams it has no prior history with.

The Wolves, who are headed back to the big dance for the first time since 2014, and the third time in the CHS softball program’s 41-year existence, get a blockbuster game to kick things off.

Coupeville, the #2 seed from District 1, opens against Montesano, the #2 seed from District 4.

The Bulldogs, who hail from the Evergreen League, have won four state softball titles (2008, 2009, 2015, 2017), the most of any 1A school during the fast-pitch era, which kicked off in 2002.

The opening game goes down at 10 AM Friday, Mar. 24 in Richland.

Win or lose, Coupeville plays a second time the same day, against either Deer Park, the #1 seed from District 6/7, or College Place, the #4 seed from District 5.

If the Wolves beat Montesano, its second game is at 4 PM. Lose to the Bulldogs and they return to the field at 2 PM.

Win both games and Coupeville is in the state semifinals; lose both games and the season is done.

Split the two games, and the Wolves get a third game Friday at 6 PM.

Win twice Friday, while moving in either direction in the bracket, and CHS plays anywhere from 1-3 games Saturday.

 

To see the bracket, pop over to:

http://www.nscathletics.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2997&sport=15

 

This year’s tourney features nine teams returning from 2018’s throw-down, including defending state champ Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls).

Along with the champs, Lynden Christian, Mount Baker, Montesano, Castle Rock, Warden, Cle Elum, Deer Park, and Elma — last year’s runner-up — are back.

Busting through in 2019 are Coupeville, Seattle Christian, Forks, Royal, College Place, Freeman, and Colville.

That group replaces Chewelah, Kiona-Benton, South Whidbey, Connell, Cascade, Bellevue Christian, and Klahowya, who couldn’t replicate their 2018 magic.

 

This year’s 16-team bracket qualified thusly:

 

District 1:

Lynden Christian (12-11)
Coupeville (14-8)
Mount Baker (17-7)

 

District 3:

Seattle Christian (15-2)

 

District 4:

Castle Rock (17-5)
Montesano (17-5)
Elma (21-2)
Forks (11-10)

 

District 5:

Warden (21-2)
Royal (7-12)
Cle Elum (10-7)
College Place (16-7)

 

Districts 6/7:

Deer Park (15-7)
Lakeside (9 Mile Falls) (15-5)
Colville (15-6)
Freeman (15-7)

 

Coupeville softball’s previous state history:

 

2002 (3rd place):

beat Cle Elum 8-0
beat Royal 3-2
lost to Adna 4-0
beat Okanogan 6-1
beat Napavine 11-6

 

2014 (no place):

lost to Warden 8-1
lost to Okanogan 5-2

 

Info to know on Coupeville’s first and prospective second-round foes: 

 

College Place:

Season record: 16-7

League finish: #2 in SCAC East

Run differential: 237-124

Seniors: (2) – Jenna Mendoza, Paris Orchard

Student body count: 149.13 (2B school which opts up to 1A for sports)

Coach: Corey Davis

Mascot: Hawks

History at state championships: 2nd appearance; 1-2 record

 

Deer Park:

Season record: 15-7

League finish: #2 in Northeast League

Run differential: 175-132

Seniors: (3) – Sharon Estes, Cassidy Henderson, Lily Pierce

Student body count: 441.25

Coach: Dana Shaw

Mascot: Stags

History at state championships: 8th appearance; 6-14 record

 

Montesano:

Season record: 17-5

League finish: Tied for #1 Evergreen League

Run differential: 222-105

Seniors: (4) – Matti Ekerson, Katie Granstrom, Lexi Lovell, Lindsay Pace

Student body count: 325.38

Coach: Pat Pace

Mascot: Bulldogs

History at state championships: 22nd appearance; 67-18 record

Heading into the state championships, Coupeville High School senior Danny Conlisk is ranked in the top two of 1A in the 100, 200, and 400. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Track and field is a tricky thing.

Case in point, the Coupeville High School boys 4 x 100 relay team.

As we sit four days away from the start of the state championships, which run May 23-25 in Cheney, the Wolf four-pack of Danny Conlisk, Tiger Johnson, Sean Toomey-Stout, and Jean Lund-Olsen own the fourth-fastest time recorded by a 1A school in the event.

And yet, the Wolves won’t be in the lineup at Eastern Washington University.

A bobbled baton at bi-districts kept CHS from advancing out of the prelims, and like that, any dreams of a relay state title were dashed.

But still, as we take one final look at which Wolves currently own a top 10 performance among 1A competitors, we pay tribute to what the relay squad accomplished.

We also welcome Maya Toomey-Stout, who shot into the top echelon of long jumpers this week.

And, of course, we can’t overlook Danny Conlisk, who is ranked in the top two in all of 1A in three different races.

 

CHS athletes in the Top 10 of 1A (through 9:54 PM on May 19):

 

GIRLS:

400 — Mallory Kortuem (2nd) 58.64

100 Hurdles — Lindsey Roberts (2nd) 15.21

4 x 100 Relay — Maya Toomey-Stout, Ja’Tarya Hoskins, Kortuem, Roberts (4th) 50.57

4 x 200 Relay — Roberts, Ja’Kenya Hoskins, Kortuem, M. Toomey-Stout (4th) 1:46.13

Long Jump — M. Toomey-Stout (6th) 17-00.25

 

BOYS:

100 — Danny Conlisk (2nd) 11.04; Jean Lund-Olsen (3rd) 11.06

200 — Conlisk (1st) 22.20; Lund-Olsen (3rd) 22.57

400 — Conlisk (2nd) 50.13

4 x 100 Relay — Conlisk, Tiger Johnson, Sean Toomey-Stout, Lund-Olsen (4th) 44.16

Long Jump — S. Toomey-Stout (8th) 20-09.50

Catherine Lhamon motors away. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolves (l to r) Maya Toomey-Stout, Ja’Tarya Hoskins, Mallory Kortuem, and Lindsey Roberts are state-bound in the 4 x 100 relay.

CHS coach Bob Martin gets all the good gossip from Jacobi Pilgrim (center) and Ryan Labrador.

Ja’Tarya Hoskins is gone, lil’ sis Ja’Kenya takes her place, and it’s the state-bound 4 x 200 squad.

Konni Smith eyeballs the action, as daughter Emma advances to state in two events.

“Parting is such sweet sorrow…”

Wolf volleyball supernova Ashley Menges tries to adjust to a sport which takes place outdoors in the blazing sun.

Ja’Tarya Hoskins returns, joining (l to r) Catherine Lhamon, Alana Mihill, and Lucy Sandahl for the 4 x 400.

The sun was shining, the action was happenin’, and the cameras were clickin’.

Day two of the bi-district track and field championships, hosted by Coupeville High School, drew 23 schools, tons of fans, and photographer John Fisken.

The photos above are courtesy him, and, if you want to see everything he snapped Saturday, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Track-2018-2019/Track-2019-05-18-Bi-District-Meet-Day-2/

Purchase some pics (perfect for that hard-to-please grandma) and some of the money comes back around, as sales fund two scholarships Fisken hands out to CHS senior student/athletes.

After finishing second at the district tourney, Mollie Bailey and Coupeville softball are state-bound. (Karen Carlson photo)

Trust me, it’s not that bad.

Yes, the Coupeville High School softball squad fell 10-2 to Lynden Christian Saturday in the District 1 title game at Sedro-Woolley’s Janicki Fields.

But never forget, the Wolves were playing with house money.

They had already clinched a trip to state, their first visit to the big dance since 2014 and only the third in the program’s 41-year history, after winning Thursday against Meridian and Granite Falls.

Coupeville, 14-8 on the season after losing for the first time in its last seven games, is Richland-bound, one of 16 teams with a chance of winning a 1A state crown during the May 24-25 championships.

And also, while the Wolves lost Saturday, they did not get emotionally savaged like North Sound Conference mates Granite and Cedar Park Christian.

The Tigers, who two weeks ago seemed like a slam dunk to win the NSC title, until Coupeville ruined that for them, completed a late-season collapse with a 14-1 loss to CPC Saturday in a loser-out game.

But, before you get ready to congratulate the Eagles, just know that two hours later, Cedar Park suffered one of the worst gut-shots I’ve ever witnessed on a high school field.

CPC went into the bottom of the seventh leading Mount Baker 8-5 in the 3rd place game, then got two outs.

Players on the Eagles bench were openly discussing not whether they WOULD celebrate, but HOW they would celebrate, when they got out #21 and clinched the district’s third, and final, berth to state.

And then? Oh, my sweet lord…

Four consecutive plays from Hell itself killed the Christians (metaphorically, at least).

A throw went off the Cedar Park first baseman’s glove for an error.

An outfielder went to squeeze a fly ball in left-center and it somehow squirted free for another error.

The third-baseman reached down for a grounder, only to have the ball skitter off her foot, her arm, and her glove as it endlessly ricocheted.

With the game suddenly tied, Cedar Park had one small sliver of hope. Get the third out and at least it could regroup in extra innings and…

Nope.

The very next pitch sailed 10 feet past the Eagle catcher, the winning run scampered home, Mount Baker tried to decide if it was more stunned or joyous and chose joyous, and the bus ride back to Bothell suddenly became a journey no one wanted to take.

It was the kind of ending to a game, a season, a career for some Cedar Park players, that will likely hurt forever.

Heck, it scarred me, and I didn’t really care who won the game.

Most of all though, at least for Coupeville players, coaches, fans, and hanger-on’s, it was solid proof that the Wolf loss was nothing to be too troubled about.

Like I said, there’s plenty of season left for the Cow Town sluggers, who lived up to their #1 seed, and merely ran into a very-efficient team from a school which has a trophy case the size of Mount St. Helens (before it blew its top).

Lynden Christian pumps out one scary-good player after another, two dozen at a time, and regardless of what their record might be, you can always count on the Lyncs to operate with a championship mindset.

But, clean up a few mental mistakes, get the normally red-hot bats smokin’ a little earlier than happened Saturday, and if Coupeville meets Lynden at state, there’s nothing to fear.

The two teams dueled through a scoreless tie until the top of the fourth, as Wolf freshman hurler Izzy Wells matched up well with Lync senior pitcher Anny Jansma.

Wells limited Lynden to a walk in the first, stranded two runners in the second thanks to back-to-back strikeouts, then buzzed the Lyncs in order in the third.

Jansma was no slouch, suffering only a first inning walk to Chelsea Prescott and a third-inning single which tore off of Scout Smith’s bat and slammed off the pitcher’s foot before redirecting into right field.

Things finally broke in the top of the fourth, when Lynden dumped a two-out, two-run single into shallow right field, the ball splashing down just inches away from two Coupeville defenders.

Even when the Lyncs added a run in the top of the fifth to push the margin to 3-0, the game still seemed very winnable for Coupeville.

It was a bit troubling that the Wolves could only scrape out a Prescott single in the fourth, and nothing in the fifth.

But, even though it hadn’t pushed a runner past first base through five frames, Coupeville’s offense has been so torrid recently, a comeback never seemed out of the picture.

Until the wheels fell off in the sixth.

Four Lynden hits, mixed with a few mental mistakes from the Wolves, let the Lyncs slap five runs on the scoreboard, turning a taut thriller into more of a run-away, and it was fatal.

With the odds not in its favor, Coupeville finally broke through against Jansma in the bottom of the sixth, but the Lync hurler denied them a game-busting rally.

Smith singled to open the inning, then, after she was forced at second on a fielder’s choice grounder, Emma Mathusek became the first Wolf to visit a base other than first.

The Wolf junior trotted down to second when Prescott was plunked on the foot, before skittering home on an RBI single by catcher Sarah Wright.

Then came a walk to Veronica Crownover, followed by a second RBI single, this one from Coral Caveness, who was one of several Wolves rockin’ the bare shoulders, gun show look while playing under a blazing Sedro sun.

Two runs in, bases juiced, and the rally caps started to tentatively come out for Wolf Nation, but Jansma was having none of it.

Rearing back and flinging liquid heat, she whiffed her fellow pitcher to end both the inning and the threat, and that was pretty much it.

Lynden tacked on another two runs in the seventh, benefiting from a blown pickle play by the Wolves and a bloop single, and Coupeville was unable to pull off any final inning magic.

The Wolves did get their first two hitters aboard, with Chloe Wheeler walking and Smith spanking a ball to right which was dropped, but Jansma quickly reverted to lights-out mode.

Central Whidbey sluggers (left to right) Karyme Castro, Sofia Peters, and Melanie Navarro are part of a hot-hitting little league softball squad. (Maricela Sotelo photo)

Very short memories and very big bats.

It helps to have both, something the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball team embraced Saturday afternoon.

Bouncing back from their first loss of the season, the Wolves got immediate payback against the same foe, drilling visiting South Skagit Saturday to the tune of 18-2.

Crunching 14 hits, including four doubles and two triples, Central Whidbey improved its season mark to 12-1.

After being held to just a single hit Thursday, the Wolves immediately re-found their groove.

No one was more scorching Saturday than Melanie Navarro, who delivered a pair of triples, a double and a game-high six RBI.

She got plenty of support, though, with Maddie Georges, who missed the loss with an injury, ripping four base-knocks, including two doubles.

Toss in three singles from Savina Wells, a single and double from Gwen Gustafson, and two singles from Maya Lucero, and the bats were poppin’ all game.

Central Whidbey, which scored two runs in both the first and second, then blew the hinges off the door with a 14-run third inning, also collected 10 walks.

Adrian Burrows, Gwen Gustafson, and Jill Prince collected two free passes apiece, while Allie Lucero, Sofia Peters, Hayley Fiedler, and Maya Lucero walked once each.

Gustafson was also lights-out in the pitcher’s circle, limiting South Skagit to just three weak hits.