Posts Tagged ‘Bryce Payne’

Matt Hilborn pitched strongly Monday, but he and his teammates never had a chance to score, as they were shutout 5-0 by King’s. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The bats are not responding.

A season-long funk continued Monday for a rebuilding Coupeville High School baseball squad, as the Wolves put only three runners aboard in a 5-0 loss at King’s.

Eight games into the season, CHS, which lost eight players to graduation, has scored eight runs total and absorbed eight losses.

And yet, the Wolves still sit firmly in the middle of a race for a playoff spot, thanks to a wide disparity between the top three and bottom three hardball teams in the North Sound Conference.

Four of six schools advance to bi-districts, and Coupeville (0-4 in league, 0-8 overall) is mired in a tie with Granite Falls (0-4, 2-7) and Sultan (0-4, 0-9) for the #4 slot with 11 conference games left on the schedule for the trio.

Cedar Park Christian (7-0, 9-1), which has advanced to the state semifinals two years running, is a game up on South Whidbey (6-1, 9-1), while King’s (2-2, 3-6) sits in third.

Coupeville gets two more cracks at King’s, with the teams playing Wednesday on Whidbey, then Friday back in Shoreline.

After that comes a three-game series with arch-rival South Whidbey, before the final six games of the regular season pit the Wolves against Sultan and Granite.

Monday’s game stayed close much of the way, with King’s scratching out a run in the bottom of the first, then carrying that 1-0 lead into the fifth.

The Knights tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, then added two more in the sixth, but never really went wild.

Coupeville pitchers Matt Hilborn and Cody Roberts stayed out of major trouble much of the way, combining to whiff nine.

The only problem was the Wolves couldn’t get anything going offensively, with just one hit and two walks stacked up against a season-high 14 K’s at the plate.

Bryce Payne walked in the third, Ulrik Wells stroked a single in the fifth, and Hilborn eked out a free pass in the sixth, but it went nowhere, as none of the Wolves made it successfully to second base.

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Coupeville senior Bryce Payne reached base twice Friday, accounting for 50% of his team’s offense in a 12-0 loss. (Karen Carlson photo)

And we’re done with that.

The schedule gets easier from here, as the Coupeville High School baseball squad wrapped a three-game series with Cedar Park Christian, easily the most dominant team in the new North Sound Conference.

The Eagles have advanced to the 1A state semifinals two years running, finishing second in 2017, and they seem primed for another run.

CPC put the finishing touches on a sweep of a young, rebuilding Wolf squad Friday night, rolling to a 12-0 win in five innings.

Outscored 34-3 by the Eagles across three games this week, Coupeville heads to the weekend sitting 0-3 in league play, 0-5 overall.

The Wolves will get a break from conference action, with their next three games coming against non-league foes Chimacum, University Prep, and Friday Harbor.

The first game in that stretch, a match-up with a former Olympic League rival, goes down Monday in Coupeville. First pitch is 4 PM.

After that three-game set, the Wolves play 12 straight league games in April, with series against King’s, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls.

None of them should present as big a challenge as Cedar Park, a deep, talented, state tourney-tested team.

Friday night, starting pitchers Daniel Olson and Ben Hann dueled through a scoreless game for an inning and a half, and then the Eagles bats started poppin’ big time.

CPC scored five in the bottom of the second, with the big blow a three-run tater off the bat of Jensen Lavering.

After that the Eagles tacked on one more run in the third, before closing with six in the fourth, spraying the ball in all directions.

Coupeville’s offense was largely curtailed by Hann, who limited the Wolves to singles by Gavin Knoblich and Bryce Payne and walks from Payne and Matt Hilborn.

The Wolves best shot came in the top of the third, when they had runners at second and third with two outs. It wasn’t to be, though, as Hann whiffed Jake Pease to end the uprising.

The Eagles finished with 11 base-knocks, getting three from Michael Doyle and two each from Brandon McClean and Lavering, who also collected four RBI.

One bright point for Coupeville was an error-free day in the field.

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Bryce Payne scores his first run Saturday, joining older brothers Morgan and Cole as “made men” for CHS baseball. (Joan Payne photo)

The youngest brother is a made man.

Coupeville High School senior Bryce Payne, in his first season with the Wolves, walked and came around to score Saturday, one of the bright spots in a 13-1 loss to visiting Overlake.

While the non-league defeat drops the Wolves to 0-2 as they prepare to head into their first league series, small things like quality work from Coupeville’s pitchers and the identity of the player who scored the lone Wolf run, made the day better.

Bryce follows in the footsteps of older brothers Morgan and Cole, both four-year players, and his first run in a Wolf uniform means the Paynes are one of the few families to have three different players score in a CHS varsity baseball game.

I’m pretty sure there’s a couple of others, probably with names like Zylstra, Cook, or Keefe, but I can’t say for sure, as Coupeville’s baseball history is scattered across many long-missing score books and lineup cards.

Either way, the Paynes are surely in an elite fraternity now, and that’s pretty special.

Overlake, a ritzy private academy, came out firing Saturday, putting up three runs in the top of the first, then adding another seven during a 12-batter second inning.

Their hosts had a few chances to score, most noticeably in their half of the first, but the Wolves couldn’t plate a runner until the bottom of the fifth (and final) inning.

After the first two CHS hitters went down in the bottom of the first, the Wolves juiced the bags on a single from Jake Pease, an error which allowed Dane Lucero to scamper to first, and a walk to Ulrik Wells.

Coupeville fans leaned forward in their seats, anticipating a possible big explosion, but it wasn’t to be as Overlake’s pitcher escaped the jam with an inning-ending strikeout.

After that, the Wolf offense hit a bit of a wall for awhile, going one-two-three the next two innings.

A fourth-inning single from Gavin Knoblich snapped the dry spell, then Coupeville loaded the bases again in the bottom of the fifth.

Walks to Payne, Hawthorne Wolfe, and Pease put a runner atop every bag, before Payne made a mad dash home to score on a passed ball.

Any hopes of an epic comeback withered on the vine, however, as a ground-out to the Overlake shortstop brought the game to an end.

While he’s always looking for a win, Coupeville coach Chris Smith knows he has a young, fairly inexperienced team on his hands, after losing a large class to graduation.

Improvement, in big and small ways, is job #1.

“Pretty happy with our pitching so far,” Smith said. “We had Dane, Hawk and Matt (Hilborn) throw yesterday and Daniel (Olson), Cody (Roberts), and Matt throw today. Pitching has been doing a pretty good job overall.

“And we have been doing a decent job getting on base,” he added. “We just need to get some timely hitting to put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard.”

Coupeville wades into the start of league play next week, and gets to face the biggest and baddest of them all, Cedar Park Christian, early.

The Eagles, who lost 7-4 to 3A Juanita in their only game this season, finished second at the 1A state tourney in 2017, then followed that up with a 4th place showing in 2018.

The teams meet three times next week, playing Monday and Friday in Bothell, while clashing Wednesday in Coupeville.

After that, the Wolves face their final three non-conference foes, Chimacum, University Prep, and Friday Harbor, before playing 12 games against league foes King’s, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls.

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