Posts Tagged ‘Chloe Wheeler’

Chloe Wheeler let her bat do her talking. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The quietest Wolf was loudest when it mattered most.

During the spring of 2019, I did something I haven’t done in the eight-year history of Coupeville Sports — attend every single game, home or away, for one team.

Writing this blog is a delicate, often tricky, balancing act, trying to be “fair” to all teams, and all sports.

You’ll always have some people who are grateful for whatever coverage their preferred rooting cause gets, and some who claim bias or neglect. It is what it is.

But in spring 2019, while still writing about every CHS track and field, baseball, tennis, and soccer contest — and attending a lot of those games and meets in person — I absolutely played favorites.

I hit the road with Darren and Kelly Crownover, parents of homer-thumping first-baseman Veronica, making it to every road game — even the ones rained out moments after we got there.

And, even when presented with multiple events on the same day here in Cow Town, I opted for the softball sluggers.

Turned out to be a smart choice, as that was the Wolf squad which went the furthest as a united team, returning to the state tourney for the first time in five seasons, and winning a game there for the first time since 2002.

As the guy forever hanging around the edge as CHS softball made its run, filled with a few heartrending losses, and a lot of epic wins, I had a chance to see the Wolf players in all their many moods.

Whether dancing on a rain-soaked field after a long, fruitless trip to Sultan, going bonkers after freshman Izzy Wells struck out the league’s most-dangerous slugger to cap the win which sent them to a league title, or just killing time on countless ferries, it was a team made up of wildly-diverse personalities.

One of my favorites quickly became Chloe Wheeler, a junior who bopped along like a feminine version of Matthew McConaughey, her grin often her only statement to the outside world.

As the season played out, I found out more about her — Darren Crownover can make anyone talk — and her plans for the future.

Chloe is highly-intelligent, a kind, caring young woman who proved on the diamond, and off, to be exceptionally-strong.

On a 2019 Wolf team which boasted the big bats of Sarah Wright and Veronica Crownover, and the explosive talents of young stars such as Chelsea Prescott and Scout Smith, she didn’t play every day.

But Chloe was ready every day.

Plug her in to the lineup, and she responded, giving you every ounce of hustle she had in the field and at the plate.

And, time and again, she proved to be an absolute killer in the spotlight.

A quiet assassin at the plate.

Her first high school hit was a thing of beauty, coming deep in the wilds at Granite Falls against the team which gave Coupeville its biggest struggle.

The Wolves and Tigers split four games in 2019, with CHS winning the last two, including a key playoff game which sent Granite home.

But, earlier in the season, as Coupeville tried to rally in the twilight, Chloe strode to the plate and launched a missile, rifling a two-run double to the deepest, darkest part of left field.

After watching her teammates struggle with the bat all afternoon, the quiet one mashed the crud out of the whirling orb, and it lit a fire under her fellow Wolves.

Hanging on the dugout fence, screaming Chloe’s name, they were reinvigorated, recharged, and rowdy as all get-out.

Granite Falls didn’t know it then, but what seemed like a surefire path to a league title and a trip to state for the Tigers vanished in that exact moment.

For the first time, you could see the Wolves really, truly no longer feared their hit-happy foes.

And, while that rally fell just short, they haven’t lost to Granite since.

As she quietly bounced on the bag at second, slight smile on her face, Chloe was already locked-in on CHS coach Kevin McGranahan, working over in the third-base coaching box.

Always ready, always watchful.

The moment was big, it was impactful, and it could have been the highlight of Chloe’s season.

But then she went to the biggest dance, and went bonkers.

Chloe started the state tourney on the bench, part of the support crew as Coupeville was drilled by eventual state champ Montesano.

Given a pinch-hit at-bat late in the game, however, she proved to be the one Wolf who was absolutely perfect against the reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees.

Breaking up Montesano’s bid for a shutout, and pissing off its thoroughly irritating coach, Chloe crunched an RBI single to right-center.

Her refusal to back down against a dominant team, and a loudly-braying coach, earned her the start in games #2 and #3 on a long day for Coupeville.

Chloe’s bat stayed scorchin’ down the stretch, as she racked up three more hits across a 14-2 demolishing of highly-ranked Deer Park and a gut-wrenching 8-6 loss to Cle Elum.

With four base-knocks in Richland, she had made a name for herself while the biggies in the sport watched.

After one of her hot smashes back up the middle, the coach from perennial power Castle Rock, camped in the bleachers during his team’s break, pointed at Chloe, and softly said something to his assistant.

The words were unclear, but the approval was obvious.

Coming within a play (or two, at most) of advancing to day two of state and likely earning some hardware, the Wolves capped the second-best performance in program history.

While there was sadness in the aftermath, there was hard-earned pride, and the unmistakable feeling this was the start of a run of success for the Wolf diamond queens.

Chloe likely would have been a full-time starter her senior year, and I firmly believe she was on her way to a true breakout season.

The pandemic denied her that opportunity, but her rep as a big-game killer was already set in stone.

When we talk about the highlights of CHS softball during its four-decade-plus run, Chloe Wheeler, the quiet assassin with the wicked bat, will forever hold a place in that conversation.

So today, we take a moment to pay tribute to her, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame for being an inspiration to local athletes at every level.

She worked and she fought, and when Chloe got her chance, she made the absolute most of it. The way you hope every Wolf does.

After this, when you stroll past the top of the blog, you’ll find her hanging out under the Legends tab.

And why not? She earned it.

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Chloe Wheeler smacked four hits Friday, as Coupeville High School softball battled through three state playoff games. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a whirlwind day and a half.

Making it back to the state tournament for the first time in five years, and only the third time in the 41-year history of the program, the Coupeville High School softball team delivered a knockout punch of excitement and achievement.

Whether singing John Denver songs in the dugout during a brief lightning delay, or utterly destroying one of the tourney’s biggest powerhouses with a hail of hits, the Wolves will be remembered by rival fans, players, and coaches.

It might not have won a state title — District 4’s juggernaut of Castle Rock, Montesano, Elma, and Forks claimed all four semifinals slots — but Coupeville did garner its first state tourney win since 2002, and came agonizingly close to nabbing a second victory, which would have brought the Wolves back to the diamond Saturday morning.

As they exited the Columbia Playfield in Richland at a hair before 8 PM Friday, 13 exhausted, happy, proud, tear-stained, eternally strong young women walked back to their bus as one.

Like any team, there are little pockets of players who hang together, but between the lines, they found that magical groove where it didn’t matter who was a raw freshman or who was a seasoned veteran, who was a power hitter, or who was a role player.

It speaks well for what the team’s three seniors — Nicole Laxton, Veronica Crownover, and Sarah Wright — accomplished, leading their group back to the big dance when other very-talented Wolves haven’t been able to do the same.

And it speaks well for the future, a time when already-established stars such as Scout Smith, Emma Mathusek, and Chelsea Prescott, will be asked to mesh with the next gen stars ready to make the jump from little league to high school.

Getting back to state was step one. Check it off.

Proving they could compete against the best in the state was step two. Check it off.

Step three will be making the trip East on a more regular basis, and it’s a goal CHS coach Kevin McGranahan and his support staff are committed to making a reality.

Doubt them at your own peril.

The 2019 edition of the Wolf softball program won a second-straight league title (while doing it in a tougher conference this time around), played in the district title game, then was the last District 1 team standing at the state tourney.

Coupeville arrived in Richland Thursday, players stepping off the bus, and family and various hanger-ons oozing out of cars, to be hit by temps in the high 80’s.

Coming from the cool breezes of Whidbey, it was a stark reminder of why we don’t choose to live in the arid, wide-open spaces where the sun tickles rows and rows of apples every day.

And then it dropped like 20 degrees overnight, and Friday was cloudy, a wee bit rainy, and like being back home.

The Wolves opened the 16-team, double-elimination tourney with a huge task — try and slow down Montesano, the biggest, baddest, and boldest of them all.

The Bulldogs have been to state 22 straight seasons, won the most 1A state softball titles of anyone during the fast-pitch era, and have a ton of intimidation tricks at their disposal.

So, Coupeville responded in the best way possible, by promptly drilling one of the Montesano coaches with a wayward throw two seconds into warm-ups.

Having watched Wolf sophomore shortstop Chelsea Prescott play multiple sports through middle and high school, I’m 99.79% certain it wasn’t intentional.

But when ball cracked against bone and it sounded like a bullet splattering an over-ripe watermelon, and when that Bulldog coach was still limping hours later, one thing remains clear — everyone will dang sure look twice when Coupeville strolls into their little party.

The game itself was a decidedly one-sided affair, with Montesano rolling to a 16-1 win, as befits the #2 ranked team in 1A going about its business.

Coupeville’s best memories from the affair will come from the top of the fourth inning, the final frame played before the mercy rule brought an end to the beatin’.

McGranahan plucked quiet killer Chloe Wheeler and promising freshman Audrianna Shaw from his bench, gave them at-bats, and it paid off.

At least as much as it could against the reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees.

Shaw earned a free pass, eking out a walk, but it was Wheeler who delivered the big blow, whacking an RBI single to right-center to break up the shutout.

That swing earned the Wolf junior the start in Friday’s second and third games, and Wheeler seized the opportunity, staying as hot as anyone on her team during the all-day affair.

And the rest of Coupeville’s bats returned with a vengeance in act two.

Returning to the field after some down time, the Wolves found themselves in a loser-out rumble with Deer Park.

As in the team which won the District 6/7 title, walloping defending state champ Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls) to do so.

As in the team which came completely unglued against Coupeville.

Up 2-1 after two innings, the Stags melted down from there, allowing the Wolves to rack up 13 unanswered runs in a very-satisfying 14-2 romp.

Coupeville went 0-2 at state in 2014, so you have to go back to 2002, when the Wolves went 4-1 on their way to a 3rd place finish, to find a softball win in the year’s biggest tourney.

Only a handful of current CHS players were even alive back then, but that didn’t stop the 2019 Wolves from imitating the sluggers of the past.

Deer Park threw what it thought would be strikes, and the Wolves responded by nearly bending their bats in half, hammering hot shot after even hotter shot.

Five runs came across in the third inning to bust things open, with Mathusek hooking a double just inside the foul line down the right side of the field to ignite the firestorm.

That, and Prescott getting drilled with a pitch, set the table for Wright, who served up a winner with a two-run double to deep center.

The rest of the runs in the frame came home thanks to Deer Park miscues — two bases-loaded walks, including Laxton having a ball bite her for the 775th time this month alone, and a passed ball.

Laxton came back around in the top of the fourth, following her buddy, Crownover, as both seniors lofted RBI singles right over the heads of the Deer Park infielders.

Coupeville made it three straight innings with two runs scored, getting RBI’s from Prescott and Wright in the fifth and again in the sixth.

With Montesano having swung by to watch the finish of the game, the Wolves tossed three more runs on the board in the seventh. And this time, they did it with big base-knocks.

Smith tore the stuffing out of the ball, launching a two-run double to right-center, before Mathusek followed her to the plate and promptly crunched an RBI double to an even deeper part of the field.

Deer Park, which started the day with state title dreams, and ended it with a slow walk back to its bus, cartoon stars exploding around its collective heads, had no answer for Wolf hurler Izzy Wells.

Backed by a rock-solid defense, which included several nice catches from Laxton in left, the fab frosh owned the pitcher’s circle and helped kick her team into a night game.

The opponent was always-dangerous Cle Elum, the stakes were simple – win or go home – and the game played out as an edge-of-your seat thriller that didn’t quite go 100% Coupeville’s way.

The Wolves led early, and they led late, but they didn’t lead last, falling 8-6 and finishing their season at 15-10.

Cle Elum survives to return Saturday for a match-up with Warden, two wins away from playing in the 3rd/4th place game.

The game belonged to the Wolves early, as they jumped on the Warriors for a quick three runs in the top of the first.

A walk to Smith, yet another double for the absolutely scorchin’ Mathusek, and RBI’s for Prescott, Wright, and Wheeler, staked Wells to a lead, and she held it until the third inning.

Along the way, Prescott made a sensational dig on a madly-skidding ball in the hole at short, while Smith speared a liner headed for extra-base territory, then scrambled towards her own dugout, chasing down a high, arcing foul ball to end an inning.

Cle Elum muffled Coupeville’s offense for a bit, though, dodging a Coral Caveness single, while using a two-run single to knot things at 3-3, then a two-run home run from Katelyn Nass in the fourth to snatch the lead away at 5-3.

The Wolves weren’t going down easily, however, juicing the bags in the top of the fifth on singles from Mathusek, Prescott (after 10,001 foul balls), and Mollie Bailey.

Finding time to craft one more career highlight before departing the diamond, Crownover crunched a game-tying two-run single to straight-away center, thrilling older brother Nick, who took a break from college to catch the action.

When Wheeler (yep, her again, having a career day) smacked a single to re-load the bases with just one out, things looked peachy for the Wolves.

That is, until Cle Elum escaped with its dignity, and the tie score, intact.

But, every counter move deserves a counter-counter move, and Coupeville pushed the go-ahead run across in the sixth on a Wright ground-out which sent Smith scrambling home.

Six outs away from Saturday, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Give Cle Elum credit, cause they delivered when it mattered most, stringing together several seeing-eye hits in the bottom of the sixth to net the three runs necessary to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead.

Coupeville’s state championships run, its best in almost two decades, ended with a 1-2-3 top of the seventh, capped by a sharply-hit liner which unfortunately went straight into a mitt.

It was an ending, and most sports endings are not of the totally happy variety, but pride should win out over sorrow.

Coupeville rapped out 29 hits across the three games (at least by my unofficial scribblings), with 9 of 13 players collecting at least one base-knock, and 11 of 13 Wolves reaching base.

Mathusek paced the squad with six hits, including three doubles, with Wright (5), Wheeler (4), Smith (4), Crownover (3), Prescott (3), Bailey (2), Laxton (1), and Caveness (1) all collecting base-knocks.

Wells, Shaw, and Mackenzie Davis all saw action, while Marenna Rebischke-Smith made her varsity debut as a pinch-runner.

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Freshman Morgan Stevens reached base four times Thursday afternoon, as Coupeville High School JV softball rallied for a wild 19-18 win over Oak Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves celebrate their big win. (Photo courtesy Greg Thomas)

Chloe Wheeler is having herself a moment.

Less than 24 hours after crunching her first-ever varsity hit, a magnificent two-run double to deep left field at Granite Falls, the softball slugger launched an even-bigger hit on her home field.

This time it was an RBI single smashed back up the middle, a walk-off bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning Thursday that lifted Coupeville’s JV squad to a wild win.

Down 11-2, the 1A Wolves came all the way back to upend their big-school neighbors, 3A Oak Harbor.

The 19-18 win, settled moments before the rain and darkness arrived on the prairie, gave Coupeville a season split in JV games with their North End foes.

Tack on a Wolf varsity win at Oak Harbor earlier this season, and CHS won two of three against the Wildcats this spring.

With the win, the Wolf JV evens its record at 3-3, heading into a Saturday doubleheader at Port Angeles.

Thursday’s game was a prime testament to a team not giving in, ever, as Coupeville only led once, when Wheeler’s hot shot bit a chunk out of the outfield grass, sending Ivy Leedy streaking home with the game’s final run.

Oak Harbor opened on fire, tossing five runs on the board in the top of the first, and another six in the second.

In between, Coupeville scraped together a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, with freshman Audrianna Shaw beginning a torrid day at the plate with a two-run triple to the wall in left field.

That plated Wheeler, who beat the throw to first on a dropped third strike, and Abby Meyers, who swatted a single to center.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, the rally ended as quickly as it began, with Shaw stranded at third and unable to come home.

Heading into the bottom of the second, CHS found itself mired in an 11-2 hole and looking for a spark.

And the Wolves found it.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh dropped a seeing-eye single into short right-center, Mckenna Somes beat out the first of her THREE bunt singles, and Morgan Stevens walked to juice the bags with no one out.

After poking at the Wildcats, picking up a run on a Wheeler RBI single and another on a bases-loaded walk to Heidi Meyers, the Wolves fully flexed their muscles.

The show of force came courtesy back-to-back huge base-knocks, with Izzy Wells parking a two-run double to center, followed by Shaw almost killing the OHHS pitcher.

Ripping a liner right back up the middle, she banked the ball off the girl’s face-mask with a vicious clang, sending two more runners scampering home and sending a tremor rolling across the prairie.

Back within 11-8, the stage was set not for a blowout, but for a war, and the two teams obliged.

Back and forth it went.

Oak Harbor stretched the lead out to 13-8, Coupeville cut it to 13-12 (with Wheeler crunching an RBI triple), the Wildcats stamped on the gas again to make it 18-12, then the Wolves slashed it back down to 18-17 by the end of the fourth inning.

In between, there were big hits — Van Velkinburgh whipping a two-run single to dead center that left her bat like it had bought a ticket on a jet liner.

There were big hustle plays — Leedy crashing hard down the third-base line, before ducking under the tag to score on a bunt single by Somes.

And there were big defensive moments — Wolf shortstop Abby Meyers gunning down a runner heading into third, and Leedy snagging a foul ball while threatening to crash into the first-base dugout.

Which all led us to the only way a game like this could end, or should end, with a nail-biter finish which blossomed into a home-town celebration.

Oak Harbor opened the top of the fifth inning, which was to be the final frame with the approach of darkness, by eking out a walk.

It would be the last happy moment for the Wildcats, unless they got to hit McDonald’s on the way home.

Van Velkinburgh, working strongly in the pitcher’s circle, induced an infield pop-up, at which point things got odd.

Coming from short and second, sisters Abby and Heidi Meyers almost ran into each other, the ball dropped in, the sisters started to argue, and the runner coming from first froze two steps into her journey, perhaps not wanting to get into the middle of a family spat.

Though maybe it was just a ruse, meant to throw off the runner, as Abby bellowed “Heidi, ball!!!!!” and her older sibling immediately snatched it up and calmly flipped it to her lil’ sis for the force-out.

At which point the Meyers sisters looked at each other, grinned, and slapped mitts, while the forlorn ‘Cat runner slowly, very slowly, walked off the field.

That left a runner at first (the batter who hit the pop-up), but it was nothing, as Coupeville promptly closed the inning with a double-play.

Van Velkinburgh got another pop up, this time right to third-base, where Shaw snatched it out of the air for out #2, before spinning and firing to Leedy at first to double up the straying runner for out #3.

Having held Oak Harbor scoreless for the only time in the game, Coupeville sprinted back to its dugout still down by a run, but with 99.89% of the fans convinced this was about to be a winner, winner, chicken dinner.

It wasn’t a question of if it would happen, but how, and the Wolves made quick work of the scenario.

Singles from Shaw and Van Velkinburgh, wrapped around a walk to Leedy, jammed the bases full with no outs, then the Wolves pulled off a rare play to knot the score.

Somes struck out, but when the ball skittered away from the catcher, she tore down to first base.

Since the base was occupied, she really had nowhere to go, but Oak Harbor seemed to forget that, and when they threw to first to try and get her, Shaw bolted for home, sliding in with the tying run.

Flustered and frustrated, the Wildcats were on the edge, just waiting to be pushed off.

Stevens gave them a little poke, dropping an infield single on a ball which spun about 485 times before coming to a stop right in front of the pitcher, which set up Wheeler for hero time.

Much like her varsity at-bat the night before, #2 was locked and loaded, her bat slicing downward and shooting the ball out where no one was going to catch it.

The wild finale capped a game in which CHS collected an astonishing 19 hits, at least according to my (generous) scoring.

Shaw and Van Velkinburgh each delivered four base-knocks, while Wheeler and Somes had three apiece.

Stevens reached base four times, collecting two singles and two walks, with Wells, Leedy, and Abby Meyers rounding out the hit parade.

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Chloe Wheeler smashed her first varsity softball hit Wednesday and it was a big one, a thunderous two-run double to the wall in left field. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Every team needs a Chloe Wheeler.

The Coupeville High School junior softball slugger isn’t a full-time starter (yet) or an All-Conference player (yet), but she is the sort of player every coach, and fan, appreciates.

A hard worker, always upbeat, always supporting her teammates, a quiet but friendly, intelligent young woman with aspirations of helping others one day as a substance abuse counselor.

Playing on a team with a deep, experienced roster, Wheeler has had to wait for her opportunities, but Wednesday afternoon, given one, she soared.

Getting the first varsity hit of her career, she didn’t dribble a hit back up the middle, or chop a roller that evaded a glove.

Instead, swinging from the heels, Wheeler belted a two-run double to the deepest, darkest part of left field, a blow which sent the ball skidding off the wall while her teammates pounded the dugout fence.

Part of a furious final-inning rally which fell just short in a 12-8 loss to host Granite Falls, her big bash speaks well for her future, and her team’s.

While the defeat drops Coupeville a game back of Granite in the chase for a North Sound Conference title, there are still six league rumbles left on the schedule.

And with the final rally sparked by consecutive hits from their 5-6-7-8-9 hitters, the Wolves may have found a way to balance a hot-hitting top of the order with what has been a somewhat lukewarm-hitting bottom of the lineup.

For now, Granite sits at 5-1 in league play, 8-5 overall, with Coupeville (4-2, 6-6), Cedar Park Christian (3-2, 8-3), Sultan (1-4, 1-7), and South Whidbey (1-5, 4-8) in pursuit.

After a non-conference game Saturday against Meridian, CHS wades into the second half of league play, a time when they will play cellar dwellers Sultan and South Whidbey twice apiece.

Coupeville also has a road game against CPC, which it has taken two games from, and a home clash with Granite, the only conference squad it hasn’t fully solved yet.

Wednesday’s game was much closer than the first meeting between the two teams, when a rash of errors on fly balls doomed the Wolves in a somewhat-lopsided 23-11 loss.

This time out, Coupeville fell behind early, trailing 8-1 after two innings, then largely controlled the game in the latter stages.

Freshman hurler Izzy Wells, who started in left field, but then moved into the pitcher’s circle early in the second inning, whiffed eight Tigers, while the Wolves collected 14 hits.

“Well, our bats were half awake through six and in the 7th came alive,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan. “Much better than last time, so we are making progress.

“Few bounces here and there and we were right there.”

Coupeville jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but were denied more when Granite pulled off a slick double play, the first of two times the Tigers closed an inning with a twin killing.

Wolf lead-off hitter Scout Smith, making her first plate appearance since conking a walk-off grand slam against Cedar Park Monday, lashed a double to deep center to get things crackin’.

After advancing to third on a ground-out, she alertly bolted home when the Granite catcher airmailed a pick-off throw into left field.

Then things went sour for an inning-and-a-half, and that proved largely to be the game.

The Tigers plated three in their half of the first and another five in the second, while Coupeville lost second baseman Coral Caveness when she was drilled in the elbow with a pitch.

Any time you wear a pitch it hurts, but this wayward heave connected with bone with a sickening thwack which carried across multiple fields, forcing the CHS sophomore to spend the rest of the game icing an arm which progressively swelled.

Trailing 8-1 and down a player headed into the third, things looked bleak for the Wolves, but they went to work, chipping away at Granite.

A spark of offense in the third, set up by singles from Emma Mathusek and Chelsea Prescott, and delivered by a thunderous two-run single off of Veronica Crownover’s smokin’ bat, cut the lead to 8-3.

Unfortunately for the Wolf faithful, Granite went back into lock-down mode for a bit after that, before adding three runs in the fourth for a mini-rally which was greatly helped by a field ump absolutely whiffing on a call.

Somehow ignoring Prescott slapping a tag on a runner going by, even though he was peering right over the Wolf shortstop’s shoulder at the time, the blind man walking gave the home team extra life, and, to their credit, they took advantage.

Each time Granite started to creep away, Coupeville would slice away at the lead, but was never able to find the magic key to unlocking a truly big inning.

An RBI single from Mollie Bailey and a deep sac fly from Crownover in the fifth made it 11-5, before Granite tacked on a final run in the bottom of the inning.

With Wells flinging liquid heat, Prescott and Smith made strong defensive plays behind their young ace, and the two teams marched to the final inning.

Where the Wolves, a team which has launched multiple comeback wins this season, almost (but not quite) found another miracle.

The run started after Granite shortstop Samantha Vanderwel, who had a sensational defensive day, robbed Wolf cleanup hitter Sarah Wright on a hard smash into the hole.

Deciding to hit away from the Tiger superstar, who has a vacuum for a glove, and a cannon in place of a throwing arm, Coupeville found immediate success.

Five straight hits, to be exact, with Bailey, Crownover, Nicole Laxton, Wells, and Wheeler all finding pay-dirt in the outfield, and three runners careening across home plate.

Laxton picked up the first RBI, mashing a laser shot to right, before Wheeler got dynamic.

When Smith followed the hitting outburst by walking to juice the bags with just one out, anything seemed possible.

The Wolves had the tying run at the plate, the Granite hurler was on the ropes, and one more good pop would have fractured the local fans, who were collectively breathing into one giant brown paper sack in an attempt to not hyperventilate and pass out.

But there would be no miracle finish for the visitors, as Mathusek and Prescott both launched high, arcing, deep blasts with big-time extra-base potential, only to see sure-handed Granite outfielders chase down the moon shots.

Ten of Coupeville’s 12 players collected a hit Wednesday, with Crownover, Smith, Prescott, and Bailey each notching two base-knocks.

Mackenzie Davis, Laxton, Wheeler, Mathusek, Wright, and Wells rounded out the hit parade.

While it was a loss, it was a “good” loss, and now the countdown towards May 1, when the Tigers come to Whidbey, begins.

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