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Alex Murdy swatted two hits Wednesday as Coupeville baseball drilled Darrington. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Rollin’ and strollin’.

Raining down base-knocks all day Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity baseball squad roared to a third-straight conference win.

Thrashing visiting Darrington 10-1, the Wolves soar to 3-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 4-3 overall, heading into their biggest test of the season.

Coupeville, which sits a half game up on Friday Harbor (2-0) and Orcas Island (2-0) in NWL action, travels off-Island for a doubleheader Friday afternoon.

That twin-bill will be held on Friday Harbor, where the defending league champs await.

The Wolverines were the only NWL team to beat Coupeville last year during a pandemic-altered season, so the plan is likely for some sweet, sweet revenge.

Coupeville primed the well Wednesday, with six hitters combining to collect 10 base-knocks off of Darrington’s pitching staff.

Eight of those hits came across the first two innings, as the Wolves put up four runs in the bottom of the first, then matched that with another four-spot in the second.

After that, CHS was content to tack on a run in the fourth and one more in the sixth, coming close to ten-running Darrington while still getting a chance to play a full seven innings.

Coupeville was clicking in every facet of the game, with hurlers Hawthorne Wolfe, Chase Anderson, and Jonathan Valenzuela combining to toss a one-hitter while striking out six Loggers.

At the plate, Cody Roberts (2B, 1B), Alex Murdy (1B, 1B), Valenzuela (1B, 1B), Xavier Murdy (1B, 1B), Scott Hilborn (1B), and Peyton Caveness (1B) all recorded hits for the Wolves.

“On to Friday Harbor!”

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Freshman Jada Heaton is one of 23 Wolves to play three sports during the 2021-2022 school year. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Dominic Coffman bounced from football to basketball to track.

“Everyone plays, no one quits.”

Coupeville High School has the smallest student body of Whidbey Island’s three high schools, but the Wolves are committed.

Coming out of the darkest days of the pandemic (knock on wood), it’s been interesting to see how prep sports are booming.

Given a chance to take the field or court again, Coupeville’s student/athletes have responded, with what feels like huge numbers this spring.

Baseball and softball have enough players to field JV squads in addition to varsity teams, which is very rare at the 2B level.

The Wolf track and field roster goes deep, and girls tennis?

Longtime net guru Ken Stange has an astonishing 23 girls out there, smacking the crud out of fuzzy yellow balls.

As CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith and his coaches have both kept the spark lit and continued to build their programs, the steel in Coupeville’s spine has been the students who have committed to playing year-round.

If my numbers are correct, there are 23 Wolves — 12 boys and 11 girls — who are wrapping up the school year as three-sport athletes.

That number ties the best single-year mark during the 10-year run of Coupeville Sports and is especially nice to see at a small school where every body in a uniform matters.

The core of the group are freshmen, who account for 11 of the 23 three-sport athletes.

The junior and sophomore classes have five iron men/women apiece, with only two seniors — Audrianna Shaw and Xavier Murdy — on the list.

There are others who might have made the list, but injuries, or jobs, or life, or an unwillingness to play basketball — Coupeville’s lone winter sport — leaves them out of this discussion.

No slander to those who didn’t, or couldn’t, make it all the way to the finish line this school year.

Just respect to those who did.

 

Coupeville’s three-sport athletes for 2021-2022, with grade and sports: 

Edie Bittner – 9 – cross country, basketball, softball
Dominic Coffman — 11 — football, basketball, track
Mia Farris — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Carson Field — 9 — cross country, basketball, track
Nick Guay — 10 — soccer, basketball, track
Gwen Gustafson — 11 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Jada Heaton — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Carolyn Lhamon — 11 — soccer, basketball, track
Katie Marti — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Madison McMillan — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Alex Murdy — 11 — soccer, basketball, baseball
Xavier Murdy — 12 — soccer, basketball, baseball
Zane Oldenstadt — 10 — football, basketball, baseball
Jack Porter — 9 — football, basketball, baseball
Johnny Porter — 9 — football, basketball, baseball
Landon Roberts — 9 — cross country, basketball, baseball
Mikey Robinett — 10 — football, basketball, track
Audrianna Shaw — 12 — soccer, basketball, softball
Lyla Stuurmans — 9 — volleyball, basketball, track
Jonathan Valenzuela — 11 — football, basketball, baseball
Savina Wells — 9 — volleyball, basketball, softball
Cole White — 10 — cross country, basketball, baseball
Reese Wilkinson — 10 — soccer, basketball, track

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Young gun Chase Anderson made an impressive high school baseball debut Friday at a jamboree. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

A little warmup before opening day.

That was what the Coupeville High School varsity baseball team was looking for Friday afternoon.

A day before kicking off the regular season with a home game against Mount Baker, the Wolves travelled to Oak Harbor for a multi-team jamboree.

While there CHS bounced their hosts 5-0 and were nipped 1-0 by South Whidbey in three-inning contests.

It was a strong start for a 2B Wolf program, with Oak Harbor and South Whidbey being 3A and 1A schools, respectively.

Making the jump from the hardwood, where he helped lead Coupeville to its first state tourney berth since 1988, junior Alex Murdy led the offensive charge.

Meanwhile 8th grader Chase Anderson made his high school diamond debut, tossing a scoreless inning on the mound.

With Mount Baker on the horizon — varsity plays at 1 PM Saturday, followed by a five-inning JV game — Coupeville coach Will Thayer was glad to see his players working out the kinks.

“We hit great against Oak Harbor, and struggled against slower pitching from South Whidbey,” he said.

Coupeville’s varsity, ready for the season.

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Caleb Meyer and Co. pushed top-seeded Kalama hard in their state playoff opener. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s a ding in the armor, but not a fatal blow.

Friday night, the Coupeville High School boys basketball team absorbed its first loss of the season, but the dream of bringing home a trophy from the state tournament still lives.

The Wolves, making their first appearance at the big dance in 34 years, fell 59-54 to Kalama, the top-ranked 2B team, in a game played at Battle Ground.

Coupeville, which used a blistering defense to spark a late 10-0 run to almost pull out the win, falls to 16-1, while Kalama improves to 20-1.

The Chinooks only loss this season came in their season opener, when a chunk of the team was still AWOL after winning a state football title.

Both teams advance to the next level of the state tourney, set for the Spokane Arena Mar. 2-5.

With the win, Kalama advances to the quarterfinals, while Coupeville will play either Lake Roosevelt or River View Mar. 2 in a loser-out game.

The top six teams at state bring home trophies.

The first round of state, played at “regional” sites, features four loser-out games pitting teams ranked #9-#16 in the draw, resulting in 12 teams advancing to Spokane.

Seeded #8, Coupeville was assured of playing at least two games, regardless of how the Kalama game went down.

For a team repping a program which last played at state in 1988 and won its first league title in 20 years and first district title in 52 seasons this year, the Wolves showed no signs of nerves.

Caleb Meyer drilled the bottom out of the net on a pull-up three-ball to open the scoring, and Coupeville played even with Kalama for much of the first half.

With the refs calling just three fouls total in the first half — a lesson for the folks wearing black and white striped shirts in our region — both teams got to play a fast-and-physical style.

The Wolves often looked quicker, while the Chinooks are a rugged bunch which hits the glass with a cold fury.

Twice Kalama nudged ahead in the first frame, only to see Xavier Murdy knot things right back up with three-balls which flipped the net high as the ball slid through.

The second trey was set up by a zippy pass off of Hawthorne Wolfe’s fingertips, with the scoreboard flicking to 11-11 as X-Man hit paydirt.

Trailing 13-11 at the first break, Coupeville put together a 7-0 run midway through the second quarter to pull back in front at 23-21.

All seven of the points came from the Maraudin’ Murdy boys, with younger brother Alex jumping in to aid Xavier.

Xavier Murdy topped all scorers Friday with 24 points.

Unfortunately for Coupeville, its only real weak stretch followed almost immediately.

Pounding away down low, Kalama used a variety of short-range shots to close the half on a 10-0 spurt, walking to the locker room with a solid 31-23 advantage.

But the Wolves weren’t ready to go away quietly. Cause that’s not their style.

Kalama, playing with precision and catching a ride on the rugged shoulders of Jackson Esary, who banged home 23 points, tried repeatedly to pull away.

Each time, however, Coupeville denied the Chinooks.

Facing a 14-point deficit midway through the third, the Wolves stormed back to cut it down to seven, thanks to a whole lot of Murdy boys and some gut-check buckets from sophomore Logan Downes.

Then, after Kalama stretched the margin back out to 13, CHS coach Brad Sherman unleashed a full-court press to fuel Coupeville’s biggest run.

Down 57-44, the Wolves forced multiple turnovers, turning the extra chances into a magical 10-0 explosion which set the Chinooks back on their heels.

Grady Rickner got things started with a sweet lil’ jumper, before Meyer nailed a free throw and Alex Murdy converted off of an offensive rebound.

That set up Xavier Murdy to seize the spotlight, as the perpetual ball of energy capped a game-high 24-point performance with two of the biggest baskets of his prep career.

First he knocked down a shot in the paint, but not before Downes punched the ball free and Alex Murdy snatched it away from the Chinooks, feeding his brother with a pinpoint pass.

With the Coupeville fans — who made a 400+ mile round-trip — shaking the bleachers, the Wolves forced Kalama to throw the ball away on the next possession, followed by Xavier Murdy getting magical.

X-Man’s three-ball went up, hit the rim, popped straight up, kissed the heavens, then tumbled back through the net, cutting the margin to 57-54 and setting off pandemonium.

But give Kalama credit.

A fair amount of their players knows what it’s like to win a gridiron state championship, and they emerged from a very-tough district tourney after winning back-to-back games in the final seconds.

So, it’s not surprising the Chinooks held up under pressure in the final 37 seconds, netting two free throws to make it a two-possession game, while keeping Coupeville from hitting one (or two) more big shots.

The Murdy boys combined to drop 38 on Kalama, with Xavier (24) and Alex (14) both reaching personal milestones along the way.

With 201 career points, and counting, Alex — Coupeville’s main defensive dynamo — cracks the 200-point club, joining uncle Allen Black (305) and big bro Xavier (472).

X-Man, meanwhile, moves into a tie with Pat O’Grady at #51 on the CHS boys career scoring chart, which dates back 105 seasons.

Downes chipped in Friday with eight points, Meyer and Rickner both banked in four, and Wolfe, Logan Martin, and Cole White saw floor time for Coupeville.

 

State tourney bracket:

http://www.nw1a2bathletics.com/m2/tourn.php?act=vt&tid=3462

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Caleb Meyer attacks the defense. Spoiler: the defense did not recover. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The highlights are many, and so are the photos.

The Coupeville High School boys basketball team continues to soar, winning a district title Thursday to get to 16-0 on the season.

Haunting all the nooks and crannies of a packed CHS gym, photo whiz kid John Fisken snapped the pics seen above and below.

To see even more, and ponder purchasing some glossies for Uncle LeRon in Louisville, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Basketball-2021-2022/BBB-2022-02-17-vs-La-Conner-playoff/

 

Alex Murdy: “Give me the ball, or I devour your soul.”

“He’s not joking! Give him the ball and live to play another day.”

Logan Martin, dropping three-balls from the parking lot.

“Cover your ears, grandma. It’s gonna get loud in here.”

Xavier Murdy, also ready to devour your soul if you don’t give him the dang ball.

Grady Rickner powers up to drop two of his game-high 22 points.

“GRADY RICKNER!! All day, every day, fools!”

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