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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

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Coupeville’s Makana Stone led Whitman College women’s basketball in 12 statistical categories during her junior season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, that’s unfortunate.

The pinheads running the NCAA D-III women’s basketball national championships left Whitman College out of the 64-team bracket, bringing a quicker-than-expected end to Makana Stone’s junior campaign.

The former Coupeville ace misses March Madness for the first time in three seasons.

As a freshman, Stone and the Blues won three games in the tourney, advancing all the way to the Elite Eight before being knocked out. Last year, Whitman fell in the first round to East Texas Baptist.

This time around, despite boasting a 20-7 record and having been ranked in the top 25 several times, the Blues were denied a ticket to the dance.

George Fox University (24-3), the regular-season and postseason tourney champs, were the only school from the Northwest Conference to make the field.

Even then, the Bruins were surprisingly denied a home game to open the tourney, and will travel to St. Louis to face Greenville University (23-4).

Whitman, which went 13-3 in league play and finished second in the nine-team conference, came within a win of earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

The Blues scorched Puget Sound in the semifinals of the league postseason tourney, but suffered through a turnover-riddled night in the championship game against George Fox.

Stone had the best season of her time in Walla Walla, earning First-Team All-Conference honors for a second-straight season and earning Player of the Week three times.

She led the Blues in 12 different statistical categories, including scoring average, hitting for 14.9 points a game.

The former Wolf star finished with 388 points, 227 rebounds, 40 assists, 31 steals, and 21 blocked shots in 26 games.

Stone hit on 162-318 from the floor (50.9%) and 63-79 (79.7%) from the free throw line.

With a season left, Coupeville’s progeny sits on the cusp of hitting a host of statistical milestones during her senior season.

She has 928 points, 440 rebounds, 123 assists, 65 steals, and 39 blocks for her career, putting her dangerously close to cracking both the 1,000-point and 500-rebound club.

Stone has hit 394-781 field goal attempts (50.4%) and 139-199 free throw tries (69.8%), and Whitman has rolled to a 68-17 record since she first pulled on a Blues uniform.

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