Posts Tagged ‘Allie Lucero’

CHS seniors (l to r) Maya Lucero, Gwen Gustafson, Melanie Navarro, Sofia Peters, and Allie Lucero join coach Kevin McGranahan on their prairie field of dreams. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sports are weird sometimes.

Take this spring, where a winless Concrete baseball team is playoff eligible, while the Coupeville High School softball squad is not.

The Wolf sluggers can finish 14-6 with a win in their season finale against South Whidbey — a team they beat 20-2 the first time around.

But they won’t go to the postseason, because only one 2B softball program advances from District 1, and, this year, that’s Friday Harbor, thanks to a pair of one-run victories over CHS.

Meanwhile, all four 1B schools in the Northwest 2B/1B League make the baseball playoffs, regardless of record.

That’s because a much-larger pool of 1B schools in our district and District 2 makes it possible for a full-scale, 12-team bi-district tourney to be played.

A Wolf softball team which was truly dominant at times, a squad which held its own with big-timers like Forks, Onalaska, and Meridian, stays home.

While Concrete baseball, which is 0-14 and forfeited three games this season, may take the field this Saturday to face Pope John Paul II in a playoff rumble.

Emphasis on may, as two of those forfeits came in Concrete’s final two games.

Sports are weird sometimes.

But we’re not here to disparage the Lions. They are building for the future, and anything can happen in the playoffs.

Case in point, the 2011 edition of the Coupeville Wolves, who had six freshmen in the lineup while going 0-17 as the only 1A school playing softball in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

That team shocked the world in the playoffs, however, eliminating Meridian 5-1 behind Alexis Trumbull, Bessie Walstad, and Breeanna Messner.

Coached by Jackie (Calkins) Saia, mom of current Wolf freshman phenom Teagan Calkins, that squad launched the rebirth of Wolf softball, and now the program is a consistent winner, year in, year out.

So good luck, Concrete baseball — if you take the field Saturday — and go open a can of whup ass on the private school dandies.

But this blog isn’t called the Concrete Clarion, so let’s swing the focus back to Cow Town.

Coming off of an emotional 3-2 loss in extra innings Thursday at Friday Harbor, the Wolves mood probably resembles the weather outside – gray and gloomy.

But it shouldn’t. At least not completely.

As one fan said, “There’s always next year!” and it’s true, the Wolf roster is chock full of star players with multiple years left to play.

Madison McMillan, Mia Farris, Taylor Brotemarkle, Jada Heaton, and Chloe Marzocca? All sophomores.

Calkins, the team’s starting catcher and leadoff hitter, has three years left, while Haylee Armstrong, who lashed a laser of a triple against the Wolverines?

She just an 8th grader, which means she’s been launching moon shots and chasing down balls in the outfield while still attending middle school classes.

Those core players, and others, should have many more chances to conduct group sing-a-longs on the prairie after wins in the future.

But, for Coupeville’s five seniors — Melanie Navarro, Allie Lucero, Sofia Peters, Maya Lucero, and Gwen Gustafson — next week’s clash with South Whidbey marks their final moments in a Wolf jersey.

They are an amazingly resilient bunch of young women, bright, outgoing, dedicated — and we can’t put enough emphasis on that last word.

These five are the last group which took a hit when the world shut down over the pandemic.

Just as they were about to make the jump from little league to high school games, Covid-19 restrictions erased all spring sports in 2020.

When they returned as sophomores, games were played again, but only against league rivals, which limited Coupeville to 12 games, instead of the normal 20, with no playoffs.

It wasn’t until their junior campaign that the Wolves played a full schedule, and, through no fault of their own, the seniors exit having played just 2.5 of the four, or five, seasons many others are given.

Through it all, they remained dedicated.

They found ways to work on their skills when government officials shoved them apart, and they proudly returned to the prairie diamond the first chance they got.

With one game left to play, this five-pack has led Wolf softball to a 41-9 record in their time on the field, a superior winning percentage in any world.

They are a group, and yet each one brings a unique skill set to the game.

Navarro, beloved by CHS football coaches for her stellar four-year run as that team’s manager, brings power to each swing, sending tremors down the spine of rival pitchers as she blasts home runs over far-flung fences.

Seeing her team pour out of the dugout to swarm Melanie after each tater, while her parents proudly beam from behind the fence, has been one of the true feel-good stories of this school year.

Gustafson, the third Wolf from her family I have written about, after older siblings Amanda Fabrizi and Clay Reilly, remains as happy an athlete as any I have witnessed.

Her smile carrying from one end of the prairie to the other, Gwen truly seems to enjoy every moment she is given on a court or diamond, an admirable trait.

Peters, the daughter of a coach, like Gustafson and the Lucero twins, is a two-way winner.

She can lash hits and knock down grounders and has shown an ability to pass on her knowledge to the next generation, joining dad Mike in guiding little league girls who will one day inherit her place on the CHS diamond.

A few years down the road, there will be a young woman who delivers a tear-stained Senior Night farewell in which she thanks Sofia for being her inspiration, and the circle will be complete.

And then there are the Lucero twins, who, at times seem interchangeable (thank heavens for uniform numbers…), and yet emerge as very distinct the longer I watch them play.

I mean, Allie throws and hits left-handed while Maya operates from the right side, so there’s that.

But they also have their own styles, in how they approach their time in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate, while sharing a quiet passion installed in them by being part of a diamond-mad family.

With no disrespect to the first three, it is the Lucero twins who I see as the heart and soul of this squad.

These five young women have dealt with world-shaking events and emerged stronger for it.

I have no doubt they wanted to end their runs in the playoffs — you could see that on their faces, and in the effort given.

But when they exit after next week’s finale in Langley, they should do so with heads held high.

Melanie, Maya, Gwen, Sofia, and Allie will always be remembered as one thing — winners, pure and simple.

Down the road, as they pursue excellence in other parts of their lives, they may return to the prairie diamond they once ruled.

When they do so, let them walk with pride. They earned it.

Once more, with feeling.

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Sophomore sluggers Madison McMillan (left) and Jada Heaton have helped carry Coupeville to a 12-5 record. (Jennifer Heaton photo)

They never flinched.

Locked in a low-scoring rumble for a bit Thursday in Darrington, the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad could have panicked when the host Loggers cut their deficit to a single run.

Instead, the Wolves ripped off seven unanswered runs, threw down back-to-back scoreless innings on defense, and rolled to their ninth win in their last 10 games.

Eventually exiting with an 11-5 win, Coupeville gets to 9-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 12-5 overall.

Now the Wolves head home for Senior Night Saturday — played at 1:00 PM in the afternoon — then close the season on the road.

After facing off Saturday with La Conner (2-7, 2-13), CHS travels to Friday Harbor (7-1, 10-4) Thursday, May 4, before playing a non-conference game May 12 at South Whidbey.

The Friday Harbor clash will determine the NWL champs, and which team earns District 1’s lone playoff berth for 2B schools.

Thursday’s rumble with 1B Darrington, while having no effect on playoff positioning for the Wolves, was still a solid test for Kevin McGranahan’s squad.

“We had to earn this one today; took us awhile to get the bats going,” Coupeville’s coach said.

“The girls stayed the course, and eventually we got some clutch hits to plate some runs and pull away enough to get the W.”

The Loggers, who sit in third place in the conference, hung tough, trailing just 4-3 after four innings.

Both teams went down 1-2-3 in the first, with Wolf hurler Allie Lucero striking out the side, before Coupeville pushed three runners across in the top of the second.

Walks to Madison McMillan and Allie Lucero primed the well, with Maya Lucero crunching a two-run double to left to get the scoreboard operator working.

Melanie Navarro laced an RBI single over the shortstop’s head to make it 3-0 — one of three times the senior slugger reached base — before Darrington escaped.

Melanie Navarro has swung a big bat for the Wolves. (Jackie Saia photo)

The Loggers scraped together their own run in the bottom half of the inning, capitalizing on a bunt which burrowed deep into the dirt in fair territory, but CHS immediately matched the score.

Taylor Brotemarkle singled, went to second on an error, coasted into third on a wild pitch, then tapped home on a hard-hit grounder off the bat of the always-mashin’ McMillan.

Navarro doubled to center in the fourth, only to be stranded, while Darrington scored twice during their at-bats– without getting the ball out of the infield — and suddenly it was a nail-biter at 4-3.

But, no fear, no blinking, just going out and executing for the Wolves.

Fab frosh Teagan Calkins used a bit of alert base running to score in the fifth, before CHS tacked on two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh to stretch the lead back out to 11-3.

Super sophomores Jada Heaton and Mia Farris both picked up two RBI’s during the surge, with Calkins coming back around to swat a two-run single past Darrington’s diving shortstop.

As important as the runs were, Coupeville’s pitching and defense also came up big in the moment, blanking the Loggers in the fifth and sixth.

Allie Lucero, who finished with 11 strikeouts, set down five consecutive Darrington hitters, while McMillan ended the sixth by tracking down a wayward pop fly over second base.

While the Loggers made one final push, scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh, Calkins ended things.

Jumping out from behind home plate, she plucked a spinning ball off the dirt and fired it to Maya Lucero at first for out #21, sending her team home carrying yet another victory.


Thursday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — Two singles
Teagan Calkins
— Two singles
Mia Farris
— One double, one walk
Jada Heaton
— One single
Allie Lucero
— One walk
Maya Lucero
— One double, two walks
Madison McMillan
— One walk
Melanie Navarro
— One single, one double, one walk
Sofia Peters
— One walk

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Maya (left) and Allie Lucero celebrated their 18th birthday Saturday with a win on the softball diamond. (Photo courtesy Jess Lucero)

The weather? Wicked.

The score? Divine.

Buffeted by goosebump-inducing prairie winds Saturday — but no rain — the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad cracked visiting Concrete.

Taking advantage of 20 walks, three well-placed hits, and several errors by the Lions, the Wolves strolled to a 20-0 win in a game called after three innings due to the mercy rule.

The victory, coming in a game which was originally supposed to be played in Concrete, lifts Coupeville to 3-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 5-4 overall.

Facing a rebuilding Lions team which is led by former Wolf JV coach Stephanie Henning, CHS did everything possible to not run up the score, while trying to get off the field and escape the brutal breeze.

All 14 Wolves who picked up a bat reached base in the rout, while 8th grader Haylee Armstrong chipped in with stellar defense.

Saturday’s game started as a road affair, then turned into a homestand for Coupeville, thanks to the weather forecast being (slightly) better for Whidbey than it was for Concrete.

While the hardy Wolf fans screamed in silent agony as the prairie lived up to its reputation of often making diamond teams feel like they’re playing in the middle of a cyclone, some were happy to see the game play out.

“I can’t feel my face!” (Jennifer Marzocca photo)

CHS aces Allie and Maya Lucero celebrated their 18th birthday during the win, while fellow senior Gwen Gustafson was flawless in the pitcher’s circle.

Facing the minimum nine batters across her three-inning stint, she whiffed seven Lions and recorded one of the two other outs on a comebacker.

Gwen was on fire today, throwing BBs from the circle,” said Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan. “She was too much for the Concrete hitters.”

Coupeville put the game away quickly, tossing nine runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, another eight in the second, then hitting the three-inning mercy rule when Mia Farris cranked an RBI single to score foreign exchange student Layla Heo.

That was one of three base knocks for the Wolves, with fellow sophomores Madison McMillan and Taylor Brotemarkle joining Farris on the hit parade.

Concrete, which is winless this season, is scrambling to improve, and having a former Coupeville coach in charge of the program is a big advantage.

“They are a very, very young team and inexperienced,” McGranahan said. “But I give them credit for fielding a team and never quitting, and having smiles on their faces.

“Glad to see Concrete back on the field, with a good head coach,” he added. “Stephanie will get them back on track.”

Coming off the win, the Wolves have a busy week ahead of them.

They host Darrington Tuesday, Apr. 11, then travel to La Conner Apr. 13 and Onalaska Apr. 15. That last trip will be for a doubleheader.


Saturday stats:

Capri Anter — One walk
Taylor Brotemarkle
— One single, two walks
Teagan Calkins
— Three walks
Mia Farris
— One single, two walks
Gwen Gustafson
— One walk
Jada Heaton
— One walk
Layla Heo
— One walk
Allie Lucero
— Two walks
Maya Lucero
— One walk
Chloe Marzocca
— One walk
Madison McMillan
— One single, two walks
Melanie Navarro
— One walk
Sofia Peters
— One walk
Bailey Thule
— One walk

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Freshman catcher Teagan Calkins smacked two hits Thursday, while also playing strong defense behind the plate. (Jackie Saia photo)

Iron sharpens iron.

So, you play a strong non-conference schedule and the on-field battles with good teams will help you hone your own skills.

But it also means you may take some losses along the way, especially if your team is stocked full of younger players still finding their way.

Such is the case for this year’s edition of the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad, which played an 8th grader, a freshman, and five sophomores Thursday against visiting Cedar Park Christian-Bothell.

And while the Wolves also had five seniors in the lineup, that group lost a season-and-a-half to the pandemic at the start of their high school run.

It makes for an interesting science experiment for CHS coach Kevin McGranahan, who saw his team make some very good plays Thursday, and some far less noteworthy ones.

By the time the nearly three-hour game, full of prairie wind and rain, was done, Coupeville absorbed a 15-5 loss.

But the non-conference defeat, which drops the Wolves to 4-4 on the season, didn’t become a blowout until the latter stages and went the full seven innings.

Cedar Park was only ahead 4-1 entering the top of the fifth but broke through for another 11 runs across the final three frames.

A series of Wolf errors, mixed with balls which rode the gusty winds to find holes in the defense, hurt late, but Coupeville never gave up.

Mia Farris and Haylee Armstrong, patrolling the outfield while trying to stay upright in the wind, both tracked down hard-hit balls and made solid catches while on the run.

Equally adept at reading the swirling gusts was freshman catcher Teagan Calkins, who twice fired off her face mask and sprinted to the backstop to snatch foul balls out of the air for crucial outs.

Combining defense with grit, Wolf relief pitcher Gwen Gustafson — shortly after being drilled in the leg with a hot liner back up the middle — flung herself forward to spear a bunt attempt which went airborne instead of to the ground.

To go along with its often-inspired defense, Coupeville racked up five hits and 14 walks, with Madison McMillan and Taylor Brotemarkle being plunked by wayward fastballs.

The Wolves had runners aboard every inning but came up just short of breaking things wide open.

Sometimes it was CPC making strong defensive plays — picking a straying runner off of third or turning a double play on a wicked Farris liner which was two inches away from being an extra-base hit.

Other times, it was Coupeville stopping itself, as the Wolf hitters went chasing after pitches out of the strike zone.

“Don’t help her out!” McGranahan cautioned his sluggers, but some bad pitches proved to be too enticing, and CHS ended every inning with runners still aboard.

Farris tapped home with Coupeville’s first run in the bottom of the third by getting creative.

The sophomore sensation walked, stole second by a mile, then scooted to third on a passed ball and sailed home on a wild pitch.

The Wolves picked up a run in the fifth, with Maya Lucero lashing a two-out RBI single that plated Calkins, then scored two more in the sixth.

Starting that mini rally with two outs and no one on base, CHS picked up a single from Calkins and a walk from Brotemarkle, before McMillan crunched a two-run double to center.

Coupeville’s final run came in the seventh, with Farris punching an RBI single into a gap, sending Jada Heaton hustling home.

The Wolves have a chance to get right back in a winning groove with a Northwest 2B/1B League clash Saturday against winless Concrete.

Originally scheduled to be a road game, it’s been moved to Coupeville, which has a slightly better weather forecast that day.

First pitch is 1 PM.


Thursday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — Two walks
Teagan Calkins — Two singles, one walk
Mia Farris — One single, one walk
Jada Heaton — Three walks
Allie Lucero — Three walks
Maya Lucero — One single, two walks
Madison McMillan — One double, one walk
Melanie Navarro — One walk

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Maya Lucero, ready to fling heat. (Jackie Saia photo)

How bad do you want it?

That’s a question the Coupeville High School softball squad will have to ask, after taking an unexpected loss Tuesday on Friday Harbor.

Despite back-to-back out-of-the-park home runs from lethal leftie Allie Lucero, the Wolves fell just short, losing 13-12 in a game they led 6-0.

The conference loss, the first CHS softball has absorbed since rejoining the Northwest 2B/1B League in 2020, drops Kevin McGranahan’s team to 1-1 in NWL play, 3-3 overall.

The biggest sting, however, is who beat the Wolves.

With three 2B schools in the seven-team NWL, only one of that trio advances to the playoffs, and it’s based off head-to-head play.

So, while there’s a lot of season left to play, Coupeville’s pathway to the postseason just got a lot smaller.

As in, the Wolves have to beat Friday Harbor in their two remaining matchups — Apr. 18 in Coupeville and May 4 back on the road — or its regular season and done.

But what about La Conner, the third 2B school, you ask?

The Braves have been outscored 113-28 across their first five games, including a 20-2 loss to Coupeville in which the Wolves created 10 of their 12 outs by choosing to have runners step off base early.

So, moving along…

Tuesday’s showdown started in favor of Coupeville, with the Wolves looking like they would bust things wide open.

Yet they came up just short of delivering that knockout punch.

CHS put two runners aboard in the top of the first, but failed to bring either one around, while doubles from Sofia Peters and Gwen Gustafson staked the visitors to a 1-0 lead after two frames.

Wolf hurler Maya Lucero shut down Friday Harbor with ease coming out of the gate, and then she and her teammates surged in the third.

Sending 10 hitters to the plate, Coupeville tallied five runs to push its advantage out to 6-0.

Taylor Brotemarkle cracked a double, Madison McMillan mashed a two-run triple to deep center, and Allie Lucero, Gustafson, and Mia Farris all followed with precision hits.

Toss in walks to Teagan Calkins and Melanie Navarro, with the latter wearing a pitch, and thoughts of ten-running another foe were in the air.

And then things fell apart, first slowly and then quickly.

“We went all the way to Friday Harbor, but forgot to pack our defense,” Kevin McGranahan said. “A huge inning fueled by too many errors to count, and we dug a hole we couldn’t climb out of.

“Our inconsistent defense caught us in a big way today.”

The Wolverines only picked up a lone run in the bottom of the third, but went on a tear in the fourth, pushing eight more across as CHS struggled to field the ball.

Another four scores in the fifth inning shoved the lead out to 13-7, putting increased pressure on a suddenly scrambling Coupeville squad.

Allie Lucero launched the first of her two taters in the top of the fifth, then came back around to do it again leading off the seventh.

Both of her round-trippers vanished high over the right field fence, eliciting ooh’s and ah’s from a pack of Friday Harbor teens hanging out around the camera streaming the game back to Whidbey.

The second Lucero launch sparked a final-inning rally which almost caught the Wolverines.

Brotemarkle crushed a two-run double to left to pull Coupeville within 13-10, before a runner zipped home off of a passed ball and McMillan pasted an RBI triple.

With the tying run at third and the go-ahead score lingering at first, the Wolves needed just a pinch more magic, but came up a batter short.

Now the real work begins.


Tuesday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — One single, two doubles
Teagan Calkins — One single, two walks
Mia Farris — One single, one walk
Gwen Gustafson — One single, one double
Allie Lucero — Two home runs
Maya Lucero — Two singles
Madison McMillan — One single, two triples
Melanie Navarro — Two walks
Sofia Peters — One double, one walk

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