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Katie Marti designs some stylish socks. (Photos courtesy Megan Smith)

The team that wins the off-season is better prepared for life on the hardwood.

Coupeville High School girls basketball players enjoyed some team bonding and bites of barbecue recently, as Wolf coach Megan Smith builds her program for long-term success.

PS — Less than five months to opening night!

Wolf hoops stars get crafty.

Dinner tops off the whole affair.

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Coupeville Athletoc Director Willie Smith's voicemail right now says, "Out of the office Friday. In a food coma through the weekend." (John Fisken photo)

   Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith’s voicemail currently says, “Out of the office Friday. In a food coma through the weekend.” (John Fisken photo)

Friday will be a long day for Coupeville High School basketball players, coaches and fans.

The Wolves are headed to Bellevue Christian for non-conference games, and with just one gym at BC’s disposal, it’s like two doubleheaders stacked on top of each other.

Games go off at:

Girls JV – 3:30
Boys JV – 5:00
Girls varsity – 6:30
Boys varsity – 8:00

But, there is hope.

Smoky, smoky, tasty hope.

Bellevue Christian, which has always been near the top when it comes to food offerings (they offer baked potatoes on a regular basis) is stepping up its culinary game even more than normal.

Mark DeJonge, the Vikings AD, has confirmed Panhandle Barbecue will have their food truck on site.

That means assembled Wolves will be able to purchase things like smoked brisket, smoked pork, smoked chicken, hot dogs, beans, mac and cheese and cornbread.

Which raises the question — come on, CHS, when are we gonna start doin’ this?!?!?!?

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(Renae Mulholland photos)

   Souvenir ball in hand, the fastest base stealer in town zings by, almost too fast for the camera to catch. (Renae Mulholland photos)

Velvet-voiced PA man Moose Moran lets loose with his best Vin Scully impression.

  Velvet-voiced PA man Moose Moran lets loose with his best Vin Scully impression.

Softball mom Suzan Georges commands the grill.

Softball mom Suzan Georges commands the grill.

Savina Wells, sporting the day's most memorable outfit, picks up her game ball. (Paula Peters photo)

   Savina Wells, sporting the day’s most memorable outfit, picks up her game ball. (Paula Peters photo)

(Mulholland photo)

   Photos within photos. Karen Carlson’s snappy camera work was on display to be appreciated by all. (Mulholland photos)

bb

Shenanigans. Undoubtedly, shenanigans.

(Peters photo)

   Yellow Jackets (l to r) Sofia Peters, Gwen Gustafson and Maddie Georges celebrate an impressive season. (Peters photo)

Another successful season in the books.

While All-Star play still looms ahead for some teams, Central Whidbey Little League put an official bow on the 2016 campaign with a barbecue Saturday at Rhododendron Park.

Mementos were handed out, players, coaches and volunteers were honored and hot dogs were grilled in massive quantities.

In between the mustard and the game balls, a slew of CWLL moms snapped pics, some of which are seen above.

Thanks to all, those who provided photos this year, and those who sent me scores and updates.

I appreciate it.

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(John Fisken photos)

   “So help me, you touch that barbecue before I get over there and you’ll be talking to my bat, Mr. Spanky. Just sayin’…” (John Fisken photos)

out

   Like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. We shall call it “The Big Punch-Out.”

Scout Smith

Scout Smith unleashes the full fury of her laser-like throwing arm.

crush

   The Coupeville Crush celebrate their undefeated season with dignity. Always dignity.

One day only. Saturday, Saturday, SATURDAY!!

I know, it’s barely mid-June, the first day of summer is not until Monday, and yet season finale fever is raging all across little league land.

Central Whidbey calls it quits Saturday, with a shindig at Rhododendron Park.

The festivities kick off at 11 AM.

After honoring coaches, volunteers and players, CWLL will cap things with a barbecue.

And, if I’m lucky, everyone with a camera or phone will be snapping pics left and right and then sending them to me.

Just remember — it takes a village to give David enough stuff to keep Coupeville Sports hoppin’ during the off-season.

Be that village.

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Joey Lippo went 2-for-2 at the plate, pitched caught and ate barbecue Saturday. (John Fisken photo)

   Joey Lippo went 2-for-2 at the plate, pitched, caught and ate barbecue cooked by his dad, grill master Joe. (John Fisken photo)

(Photo courtesy Marc Aparicio)

   Three schools, one plan to have a united American Legion baseball program. (Photo courtesy Marc Aparicio)

Die-hard Coupeville rooters (l to r) Katrina McGranahan, Lauren Rose and Kayla Rose

   Die-hard Coupeville rooters (l to r) Katrina McGranahan, Lauren Rose and Kayla Rose were among the first fans to show up. (Joe Lippo photo)

Baseball united the Island.

All three of Whidbey’s high schools came together Saturday in Coupeville, as local coaches kicked off efforts to field two American Legion teams this summer which will feature a mix of Wolves, Falcons and Wildcats.

The joint effort will take the diamond under the banner of the Whidbey Nighthawks and play from late May through July, with most home games in Oak Harbor.

The AA squad (primarily for players ages 16-17) will be led by CHS coaches Marc Aparicio and Cris Smith, while the A squad (14-15) will be run by OHHS hardball gurus.

To get their recruiting message out, Coupeville hosted Oak Harbor and South Whidbey’s JV hardball squads for a day of three-inning games and group barbecue.

And it worked beautifully, as close to 40 players expressed interest in playing this summer by submitting contact info on a preliminary sign-up sheet.

The goal is to have 36 players, split between the two teams. Younger players can play up if their skill set is worthy.

Since the American Legion programs are outside of school, the coaches, players and their families have to take care of transportation, tournament entry fees and other expenses.

Plans are in the works for fundraisers and Coupeville Sports will pass on information as it becomes available.

While the games Saturday won’t go on anyone’s final records, the Wolves still played strongly, winning a 9-7 slug-fest with Oak Harbor before being nipped 2-1 in a pitcher’s duel by South Whidbey.

Game 1:

Coupeville’s offense opened the day en fuego, raining down five runs in the first and another four in the second.

Four straight walks plated a run to open the scoring, then Nick Etzell bombed a two-run single to center to bust things open.

Two more runs scampered home on an error — coming off of a hard-hit ball by Wolf catcher Jake Pease — and the rout was officially on.

The Wolves stretched the lead out to 9-2 thanks to their “ringers,” Hunter Smith and Julian Welling.

The sophomore sluggers, normally varsity players, got some limited field time since they were in attendance for the Legion pitch, and came up with back-to-back epic doubles.

Smith’s blast brought home Shane Losey and Joey Lippo, who had opened the second with consecutive singles (Lippo’s on a beautifully-executed bunt that burrowed into the grass and refused to come back up).

Welling followed with his own laser to plate Smith, and the game was on ice.

Until the Wolf defense tried to give most of the runs back in the third, booting balls left and right and allowing Oak Harbor an opportunity to chip away at the lead.

Finally, CHS pitcher Dane Lucero had seen enough and capped the game himself, whiffing a Cat with the bases juiced.

Game 2:

Things moved quickly, as Welling, Etzell and Matt Hilborn combined to limit the Falcons to three hits.

But while the Wolves rapped out three hits of their own, they stranded the tying and winning runners on base in the bottom of the third, with the final two hitters going down on strike-outs.

Coupeville’s lone run came in the first, when Cameron Toomey-Stout beat out a lead-off infield single, stole second and came around to score when Lippo lashed an RBI single to right-center.

The brief rally ended quickly, however, as Lippo was gunned down by half a step trying to steal second.

The next six straight Wolf hitters came up empty, huge in a radically shortened game, a streak which lasted until Pease chopped a third-inning single.

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