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Abby Meyers reached base five times Wednesday as Coupeville’s JV softball sluggers rallied to beat Concrete’s varsity. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No lead is safe on the prairie.

A week after their varsity counterparts roared back from 10 runs down to win, the Coupeville High School JV softball squad showed the same kind of moxie.

Rebounding from an 11-2 deficit against Concrete’s varsity team Wednesday, the Wolf sluggers blew up the scoreboard en route to an 18-15 victory.

The home win lifts Coupeville’s JV to a flawless 2-0 on the young season.

“Total team effort, well done ladies,” said Wolf JV coach Greg Thomas.

His boss, Coupeville varsity coach Kevin McGranahan, was channeling Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon after watching his second miracle comeback of the spring.

“Yeah … I am too old for that,” he said with a laugh.

Playing under sunny skies, as opposed to the howling wind and sideways rain which generally accompanies softball season, the young Wolves struggled a bit in the early going against more-seasoned competition.

Despite eking out five walks in its half of the first inning, Coupeville found itself trailing 11-2 just an inning and a half into the game.

Six of Concrete’s first seven hitters reached base, and the Lions bashed a pair of home runs to set off the scoring.

Tack on a third round-tripper in the top of the second, and things looked dire.

Unless you know what wonders can happen out here on the prairie, then it was nothing much to worry about.

Coupeville’s pitching snapped into shut-down mode after that, limiting Concrete to just three hits total, and no more home runs, over the final five innings.

That gave the offense time to heat up, and once it did, the Wolves rained pain down on the Lion hurlers to the tune of 13 hits, including a double, triple and home run.

Tack on 13 walks, and every one of the 12 CHS players to see the field reached base at least once, with 10 of them scoring.

Leading the way were the Meyers sisters, Abby and Heidi, who combined to reach base eight times, and tap home plate on five of those trips.

Coupeville began to scrape its way back into the game with a five-run second.

Walks to Amanda Thomas and Abby Meyers, packaged around singles from Kylie Van Velkinburgh and Lily Leedy, set the stage, with Chelsea Prescott capping things by mashing a home-run of her own.

The Wolves finally knotted things at 13-13 in the fourth, an inning in which they collected singles from Prescott and Ivy Leedy, a double from Chloe Wheeler and a triple by Mckenna Somes.

Concrete still had some life left in its bats, however, going back up 14-13 in the fifth, then retying the game at 15 in the top of the sixth.

CHS was having none of that, however, plating three in the bottom of the sixth, thanks to base-knocks from Van Velkinburgh, Somes, and Abby Meyers.

With the lead firmly in place and the sun starting to sink, Prescott stormed into the pitcher’s circle and slammed home the final dagger, hurling nasty heat as she gunned down the final Lion hitters.

Coupeville spread out its offense all day, with Prescott (1B, 1B, HR), Van Velkinburgh (1B, 1B), and Somes (1B, 3B) peppering the ball.

Wheeler (2B), Ivy Leedy (1B), Izzy Wells (1B), Lily Leedy (1B), Audrianna Shaw (1B), and Abby Meyers (1B) rounded out the hit parade.

Heidi Meyers, Morgan Stevens, and Thomas combined to collect four walks and four runs.

Matt Hilborn struck out nine Cedar Park Christian batters in six innings Wednesday afternoon. (Karen Carlson photos)

Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich was a rock behind the plate, while also collecting one of Coupeville’s three hits.

Movie buffs will tell you it’s a simple truth.

You can push King Kong around, harass him, pester him, think you have him exactly where you want him, and then, in the blink of an eye, the beast is liable to break free and pop you like a ripe grape.

And so it went for the Coupeville High School baseball squad, which played visiting Cedar Park Christian dead even for six innings Wednesday, only to get squashed in the game’s final frame.

Tied 3-3 heading into the seventh against the North Sound Conference’s biggest, baddest diamond team, the Wolves were primed for an upset of gargantuan proportions.

But it wasn’t to be, as pitch count limits plucked Coupeville ace Matt Hilborn from the mound, and the Eagles promptly savaged the inexperienced Wolf bullpen to claim a 12-3 win.

The loss drops the rebuilding Wolves to 0-2 in league play, 0-4 overall.

The teams, who tangled Monday with CPC winning 10-0, wrap up their season series Friday in Redmond.

Sophomore Daniel Olson, who celebrated his 16th birthday Wednesday by crunching a two-run RBI single, will get the ball in the finale.

After a brief bit of trouble in the top of the first, Hilborn was at his best while facing a powerhouse squad which boasts back-to-back runs to the state tourney semifinals.

The Eagles, as deep and talented as any team Coupeville is likely to face this season, pushed a pair of runs across in the opening frame, only to be denied any more by a bang-bang double play.

With a runner breaking to second on an attempted steal, Hilborn induced the batter to shoot a soft liner back to the mound.

The Wolf senior calmly speared the incoming ball, turned, took a measured step or two towards first-baseman Dane Lucero, then doubled off the wayward runner.

The first inning, when he surrendered a double to right and a two-run single to center, was the only inning in which Hilborn allowed more than a single runner on base at any time.

He sailed through three straight shut-out innings after the first frame, with a little help from catcher Gavin Knoblich, who gunned down a would-be stealer by a country mile.

Given a chance, the Wolf offense answered and reclaimed the lead for Hilborn.

After going three up and three down in the first two innings, Coupeville got a run back in the third, then shot ahead by plating two in the fourth.

Olson, who was my unofficial, but super-efficient, video store manager at David’s DVD Den when he was in kindergarten, had an especially strong day while dreaming of birthday cake under blazing blue skies.

He was the first Wolf to reach base, and the first to score, after scampering down the line as the CPC shortstop botched his chopper to lead off the bottom of the third inning.

Walks to Bryce Payne and Hawthorne Wolfe juiced the bags, before Olson was waved home after the field ump called a balk on a botched pick-off play at first.

While the Eagles escaped after that, thanks to a strikeout and a pop-up snagged in foul territory, the game remained a nail-biter.

Lucero made an especially impressive defensive play as well, chasing down a foul ball behind first base while hurtling within a whisper of entangling himself in the net.

Perhaps sparked by that, or by Hilborn’s calm demeanor on the mound, Coupeville snatched the lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Collecting all three of their hits on the afternoon in one unbroken streak, the Wolves started things with a lil’ flare off the bat of lanky right fielder Ulrik Wells.

The ball skittered off his bat, looped through the surprisingly warm air, then somehow split three defenders converging between the mound and first base.

Against all odds, the orb made it down to the ground, evading all three mitts, and Wells, taking long strides, found himself perched on the bag as CHS coach Chris Smith yelled “Yeah, baby!!” from across the diamond.

Knoblich followed his mate with a smash deep into the hole at short for hit #2, before Olson lofted a gorgeous liner which splashed down into center, giving both of his teammates ample time to hurry home.

Up 3-2, the Wolves put runners at second and third with one out, Olson accompanied by Payne, who eked out another walk, only to have CPC slip away one more time.

The Eagles knotted the game back up with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, with both pitching staffs matching goose eggs after that until the seventh.

Hilborn went out strong, stranding a runner at first in the sixth, rearing back to toss his ninth strikeout before getting a pair of pop-ups.

His velocity might have been down a bit at that point, but he was still gunnin’. Then, enter the state, and exit Hilborn.

Pitch counts, which were instituted to prevent overuse of young hurlers, are the law of the land in Washington state, so it was off to shortstop for Coupeville’s starting ace.

With Lucero having used up his pitches Monday, and Olson slated to start Friday, Chris Smith went to his bullpen, which is very much a work in progress, featuring two freshmen and a varsity newcomer.

Wolfe, Cody Roberts, and Jonny Carlson combined to face 13 hitters in the seventh, and were stung by Cedar Park’s state tourney-tested hitters.

A pair of doubles to deep center, which combined to plate five runners, were killers, but Coupeville’s next gen hurlers did get all three of the inning’s outs by strikeout.

Roberts whiffed one, while Carlson gunned down two of the four hitters he faced.

With a tie ball game suddenly turned into a rout, Smith used the seventh to get some game action for some of his other role players, with Andrew Score pinch-hitting and Gavin Straub pinch-running.

Score, playing in front of older brother, and former Wolf first-baseman Kory, launched a long, arcing fly to center which required the Eagle fielder to take off sprinting before making a pretty sweet catch.

Ever the philosophical coach, Smith talked to his players about the big picture after the game, and had praise for both his veteran hurler, and his younger guys.

Matt pitched a gem of a game, and against a very good hitting team,” Smith said. “He gave us all he could, six great innings, and I’m very happy with his performance out there.

Daniel delivered a huge hit for us; that was beautiful,” he added. “He’s been getting the bat on the ball really well lately, which is why we moved him up in the lineup. It really paid off.”

While Smith wants wins, having his squad, which lost eight seniors to graduation, be able to compete with a team which has valid dreams of winning a state title, is a big first step.

“We want to make them earn it, and we did,” he said. “We need to keep working on our offense, but we’re going in the right direction.

“As long as we keep making sure they have to earn everything, I’m pleased.”

CHS tennis ace Mary Milnes loves the sunshine, but she’d also love to get to play a real match. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Avalon Renninger gets limbered up for dropping wicked backhands.

Cecilia Camarena is one of several Wolves ready to make their hard-court debut.

Emily Fiedler is ready to lunge into a new season.

Girls tennis still exists at Coupeville High School.

It might not seem that way recently, as the netters have been largely relegated to the sidelines while other Wolf spring sports programs garner the spotlight.

A rain-out cost CHS tennis an early-season non-conference match, and, by the time they take the court Wednesday, Mar. 27, hosting King’s in the season and league opener, other sports will have a huge head start.

Barring weather issues or other shenanigans, boys soccer will have seven games under their belt, baseball will be playing its seventh game that same day, softball will have six games on the win/loss record, and even track and field will have two meets in the books.

With very few non-league options out there this spring, the Coupeville netters have a pared-down nine-match schedule, facing each of their four North Sound Conference foes — South Whidbey, Friday Harbor, King’s and Granite Falls – twice.

So, the pics above are both a reminder Wolf netters are still hard at work, and that soon, they will get to play someone other than their own teammates.

Hopefully.

Claire Mayne and her fellow CMS track and field stars are set to kick off a new season next month. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On to the next sport!

Middle school girls basketball ended less than 24 hours ago, and already we’re looking ahead to the next season, as Coupeville’s 7th and 8th graders head outside in a few weeks.

CMS track and field kicks off practice Apr. 9, with the first meet set for five weeks from today.

The schedule, as it sits today:

 

Wed-Apr. 24 — @King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 1 — HOME vs. S. Whidbey, King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 8 — HOME vs. Sultan/Lakewood (3:15)
Thur-May 16 — @Sultan (3:30)
Wed-May 22 — @South Whidbey (3:15)
Tue-May 28 — @Lakewood (League Prelims) (3:15)
Thur-May 30 — @Lakewood (League Finals) (3:15)

Derek Leyva notched his seventh score of the season Tuesday, giving his family 100 goals as CHS soccer players. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No faulting their fight.

Despite playing a man down for almost three-quarters of the game Tuesday night, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad came within a shot or two of upending perennial power King’s.

But, missing their #2 scorer, junior team captain Aram Leyva, who was given a red card after a scrum, the Wolves fell 2-1 on their home turf.

The loss drops Coupeville to 0-1 in North Sound Conference play, 2-3 overall.

If the red card, which was levied in the game’s 22nd minute, is upheld, Aram Leyva will have to sit out his team’s next game, Friday night at home against Sultan.

But there may be hope.

“We will see,” said CHS head coach Kyle Nelson. “We may appeal depending on what we see on the video.”

Coupeville, coming off a big road win Saturday at Nooksack Valley, drew first blood in its league opener.

Barely two minutes into the game, Derek Leyva bounced a ball over the diving King’s goaltender to put his squad up 1-0.

“Great goal from Derek,” said CHS assistant coach Robert Wood. “Unassisted, moving right to left on top of the 18, a bouncing shot the keeper couldn’t handle.

“Home field advantage there.”

The seventh goal of the season for Derek Leyva, it gives him 31 for his Coupeville prep career, but the score was also a bigger milestone.

When the ball hit the back of the net, it was the 100th goal scored at CHS by a Leyva, with Derek’s tally added to the 45 and 24, respectively, of his cousins, brothers Abraham and Aram.

King’s fought back, literally, with its big bruiser “barreling through our players” while knocking in a header off of a corner kick in the 12th minute.

The Knights added to their rally, taking the lead on a give-and-go play, in which their striker, who Wood favorably compared to Will Bruin of the Sounders, slapped a shot just to the side of Coupeville goalie Dewitt Cole.

Coupeville played the final 18 minutes of the first half, and the entire 40-minute second half down a player, but its defense held up magnificently.

Cole and his back-line mates stood tall, while the Wolves continued to push the ball on King’s side of the field.

“We were able to hold them off for the rest of the game,” Nelson said. “And even had a few good attempts on goal.”

Wood agreed, praising “great saves by Dewitt all the way to the final whistle” and a defense anchored by Sam Wynn, who had an “especially fine effort, tracking everyone and everything.”

Derek Leyva, Teo Keilwitz, and Sage Downes brought the heat up front, but, despite their best efforts, the tying goal would not find its way into the net.

While they wanted a win, Coupeville’s coaches departed the pitch pleased with much of what they saw.

“All heart playing a man down for 60 minutes,” Wood said. “All strength from the back line. All focus from the mids and forwards.

“Really happy with their play and passion,” he added. “Lots to work on, but they’re coming together and understanding what is required.”

Tuesday’s game kicked off a four-game run of league games for the Wolves.

After Friday’s home tilt with the Turks (0-0, 0-4), Coupeville hits the road for games at Cedar Park Christian (Mar. 26) and South Whidbey (Mar. 29).