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Katelin McCormick and CHS tennis are scheduled to play three times in four days next week. Will Mother Nature cooperate? (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Push for the playoffs.

All five Coupeville High School spring sports programs are currently in line to send their team, or individual players, to the postseason.

For baseball, its playoff dreams are front and center this coming week.

The Wolf diamond men close the regular season with a three-game series against Granite Falls, playing at home Monday and Friday and on the road Wednesday.

They’ll enter that series needing just one win to clinch the fourth, and final, playoff berth from the North Sound Conference.

Meanwhile, softball, which is fighting for a league title, gets what could be an easy week, with games Monday at Sultan and Tuesday at home against South Whidbey.

Those two teams are in the cellar of the league standings, offering Coupeville a chance to get in, win, and get out, while maintaining their chase of Granite Falls.

Wolf soccer and track close the regular season, Tuesday at home against South Whidbey, and Thursday at Langley, respectively.

And tennis?

If the weather holds, they could play more matches in a four-day period next week than they have all season.

The netters have been limited to two full contests, and one against Granite Falls which was postponed mid-match by the arrival of liquid sunshine.

But, with the hope of sun on everyone’s minds, the Wolves are slated to spend a lot of time on the bus, with road trips Tuesday (King’s), Thursday (South Whidbey), and Friday (Friday Harbor).

As everyone preps for the week ahead, a look at where we sit with all games complete through Apr. 20:

 

North Sound Conference softball:

School League Overall
Granite Falls 6-1 9-5
Coupeville 4-2 7-6
CPC-Bothell 3-3 8-4
Sultan 1-4 1-7
South Whidbey 1-5 4-8

 

North Sound Conference baseball:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell 12-0 16-1
South Whidbey 10-2 15-2
King’s 7-5 8-9
Coupeville 4-8 4-12
Granite Falls 2-10 4-13
Sultan 1-11 1-16

 

North Sound Conference girls tennis:

School League Overall
King’s 4-0 5-0
South Whidbey 3-1 3-4
Granite Falls 1-2 2-5
Coupeville 0-2 0-2
Friday Harbor 0-3 0-3

 

North Sound Conference boys soccer:

School League Overall
South Whidbey 6-0 10-1
King’s 5-1 6-2-1
Coupeville 3-4 5-7
Sultan 2-4 3-9
CPC-Bothell 0-7 0-9

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Danny Conlisk hangs out with the parental units Saturday at the 112-team Nike Eason Invitational. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Jean Lund-Olsen, here celebrating a previous win, joined Conlisk in racing against the best in the state. (Brian Vick photo)

After winning two medals, Danny Conlisk hangs out with the track whisperer himself, Randy King. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Small town, big results.

Staring down runners from every state classification at the 112-team Nike Eason Invitational in Snohomish Saturday, a duo of Coupeville runners more than held their own.

CHS senior Danny Conlisk, going toe-to-toe with the best from 4A-1B, claimed two medals, finishing second in the 400 and seventh in the 200.

His teammate, junior Jean Lund-Olsen, didn’t make it out of the prelims in the 100 or 200, yet still set a PR in the first race and ran some of the fastest times any 1A runner has netted in 2019.

Conlisk went straight to the finals in the 400, entering as the #3 seed, then beat the pre-race predictions.

His time of 50.16 seconds was a season-best, narrowly missing his PR of 49.70.

The only foe he couldn’t catch was Ethan Willems of 4A Glacier Peak, a junior who has returned after missing a season with a torn ACL to be the fastest runner in the entire state in the 400.

In the 200, Conlisk busted out a PR (22.55) in the prelims, then ran 23.06 in the final.

He’s ranked #1 in the 200 and #2 (by 0.02 of a second) in the 400 among all 1A runners.

Lund-Olsen just missed the cut in the 100, finishing 12th in a personal-best 11.31 seconds, then claimed 19th in the 200 prelims in 23.18.

He was in the top half of both events, which had 41 and 43 runners in the prelims, respectively.

With one more regular meet before the postseason begins, Lund-Olsen is ranked #3 in 1A in both the 100 and 200.

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Sarah Wright cracked an inside-the-park two-run home-run Saturday as Coupeville softball pasted Meridian 11-1. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a message, loud and clear.

Playing under blue skies on the prairie Saturday, the Coupeville High School softball team put visiting Meridian down hard, rolling to an 11-1 win thanks to a hail of extra-base hits.

In the moment, it’s just one win, and a non-conference one at that, but it was a warning to a school the Wolves might face in the playoffs, and a shot in general across the bow of the Northwest Conference.

Now 7-6, after winning for the third time in its last four games, Coupeville first turns its attention to chasing a league title.

The Wolves are nipping at the heels of North Sound Conference leader Granite Falls, and begin a final six-game stretch of regular-season contests with games Monday and Tuesday against cellar dwellers Sultan and South Whidbey.

After that comes the district playoffs, an eight-team double-elimination tourney May 16 & 18, which pits the five NSC teams against the four NWC squads in the pursuit of three tickets to state.

Coupeville has its win against Meridian, and a narrow 9-6 loss at Lynden Christian, but doesn’t face Mount Baker or Nooksack Valley during the regular season.

The game against Meridian was delayed a week by rain, and the weather looked iffy for much of Saturday morning.

But five minutes before the first pitch, the clouds peeled away, the sun came pouring in, followed soon after by a never-ending stream of bubbles from somewhere around the first-base dugout, and the Wolves started flexing their biceps.

In the early going, CHS showed off an uncanny ability to deliver the goods with no room for error, building a lead it would never relinquish.

With Emma Mathusek rocking back and forth at first-base after eking out a walk, the Wolves dropped three consecutive two-out RBI base-knocks, using all three parts of the field.

Sarah Wright smashed a single to center, Mollie Bailey lobbed a single to right, then Veronica Crownover pasted a double to left, leaving Meridian’s pitcher reeling, and trailing 3-0 on the scoreboard.

While the Trojans eventually got out of that jam thanks to a nice snag to rob Nicole Laxton on a liner, things had been set in motion.

Coupeville added another run in the third, on a two-out Crownover RBI single, before smashing things open in the fourth inning.

Scout Smith cracked a majestic, run-scoring double to kick things off, then came around to score herself on a Chelsea Prescott ground-out.

Meridian tried to pull off an inning-ending double play on the ball, but Smith, pulling off some Matrix-style moves, limbo’d under the tag to the delight of her boisterous fan section.

Not only did her heroics add another run to the big board, they kept the inning alive, giving Sarah Wright a chance to go big time.

Coupeville’s catcher got a day off behind the plate, playing third while Bailey caught, so her legs might have been a little more limber than if she had been crouched down all day.

Or maybe she’s just that quick all the time.

Tagging a shot to right field, Wright hit maximum warp speed three steps towards the first-base bag and never let up, crashing around the base-paths for a legit two-run, inside-the-park home run.

Her third tater of the season (the first two cleared the fence) it staked the Wolves to an 8-0 lead and raised the idea of the 10-run mercy rule being visible on the horizon.

It would take a little bit longer to get there, though, as Meridian snuffed out a rally in the fifth.

The Trojans robbed Laxton for a second time, intercepting a missile back up the middle and turning it into a surprise double-play.

The visitors also scraped together a single, lonely run in the top of the sixth, thanks to a couple of walks and a couple of artfully-placed bunts, but Coupeville’s defense remained stingy.

Freshman hurler Izzy Wells, who whiffed five (and drilled one unlucky Trojan with an especially nasty, tear-inducing fastball gone rogue) made a nice play on a liner back to the circle.

Very next pitch, it was Crownover’s turn to snag a hot shot in the air at first-base, and, just like that, Meridian’s scoring was over and done.

While they couldn’t end the game in five innings, the Wolves got the job done in the sixth, plating the first three hitters to approach the plate.

Wells conked a double to left to lead off the frame, bouncing the ball off the wall on one hop, before Smith hammered an RBI single up the middle, and Emma Mathusek got medieval.

Moments before being asked to Prom by CHS baseball star Gavin Knoblich, the Wolf center-fielder thumped an RBI triple and almost (but not quite) made the turn like she wanted to match Wright’s inside-the-park round-tripper.

Mathusek got to come home a moment later, anyway, as Prescott once again put the ball exactly in the right place.

While she didn’t get a base hit on the day, the sophomore shortstop placed both of her RBI ground-outs precisely where the Meridian fielder was unable to nail the runner coming home.

If Mathusek’s slide into home wasn’t as graceful as the one by Smith, it was still pretty dang crowd-pleasing.

Rumbling and stumbling, she did the world’s most-awkward, yet effective, half-cartwheel, reaching back to tap her hand on the plate as she crashed by in a tangle of body parts.

The final run capped a day in which eight of 10 Wolves reached base, six had hits, and six collected RBI’s.

Smith (2B, 1B), Crownover (2B, 1B) and Wright (1B, 1B, HR) led the hit parade, with Mathusek (3B), Wells (2B), and Bailey (1B) all collecting base-knocks.

Chloe Wheeler and Mackenzie Davis both walked, while Prescott racked up two RBI, joining Wright (3), Crownover (2), Smith (2), Mathusek (1), and Bailey (1) as run-producers.

And Laxton, who was flat-out robbed twice of big hits by quick (and lucky) Meridian gloves, and Coral Caveness, in street clothes as she recovers from being drilled in the funny bone a game earlier?

They sung as loudly as anyone in the post-game victory song, smiles stretching across the prairie, basking in the glow of their teammate’s achievements and ready to get some of their own next time out.

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Ulrik Wells crashes hard to score the second of his team’s 14 runs Friday afternoon. (Karen Carlson photo)

The team that couldn’t score, now can’t stop.

Throwing double digits up on the scoreboard for the third straight game Friday, the Coupeville High School baseball squad crushed visiting Sultan 14-4, completing a season sweep of the Turks and running its winning streak to four games.

With the win, the Wolves rise to 4-8 in North Sound Conference play, 4-12 overall, and need just one victory in three games against Granite Falls next week to clinch a playoff spot.

Coupeville sits two games up on the Tigers (2-10, 4-13) heading into the final regular-season series.

The teams play Monday and Friday in Coupeville, with a Wednesday clash at Granite.

The top four teams from the six-team NSC advance to the postseason, and Cedar Park Christian (12-0, 16-1), South Whidbey (10-2, 15-2), and King’s (7-5, 8-9) are the top three seeds.

With the loss Friday, Sultan (1-11, 1-16) was eliminated from contention for the #4 seed, leaving Coupeville and Granite Falls to fight amongst themselves.

If the Wolves nail down a playoff berth, they open the double-elimination district tourney Saturday, May 4 at Sehome High School.

They would play the #1 seed from the Northwest Conference (currently Mount Baker), and win or lose, would play a second playoff game later that same day.

But that’s still in a possible future, and Coupeville head coach Chris Smith believes in the oldest of baseball proverbs — take them one game at a time.

Friday he saw his team play very patient ball, racking up seven hits and 14 walks in a game which seemed to drift through every season.

Pushing two-and-a-half hours, even with the mercy rule bringing the game to a close after six innings, the contest opened with the pitter-patter of rain, moved through the rustle of wind, then closed with a rare burst or two of sunshine.

Along the way, the Wolves got a solid pitching performance from Matt Hilborn, who whiffed 11 before pitch count limits removed him from the mound an out short of putting in six innings of work.

Matt came out and gave it his all,” Smith said. “He got some good work in, and we needed that for him heading in to next week.”

Mason Grove made a rare appearance on the mound in relief of Hilborn, and, on mom Mindy’s birthday, slammed the door shut quickly, ending Sultan’s final hopes on a fly-out.

Offensively, Coupeville accepted what it was given, then made the Turks pay, over and over again, scoring in five of six innings.

In the beginning, the Wolves were content to scratch out a run here, a run there, plating a single hitter in the first and second innings.

The first time around it was Hilborn, who walked, stole second, went to third on a passed ball, then shot home to score on a Hawthorne Wolfe grounder.

Looking for a bit more excitement in the second frame, the Wolves got a one-out single to left-center off the bat of first-baseman Ulrik Wells.

After a balk bumped him ahead an extra base, Coupeville’s tallest player defied the odds, scoring on a passed ball and doing it with a spectacular face-first dive under the Sultan catcher.

The Wolves busted the game open with an 11-batter, seven-run third inning which went on and on and on some more, as a Sultan reliever played a game called “999 pitches and no strikes.”

Picking up six walks, including three with the bases jammed full of runners, CHS also took advantage of two Turk errors — a bad throw and a brain freeze — and a couple of passed balls/wild pitches, before capping things with one resounding hit.

That came from Hilborn, making his second trip to the plate in the inning, after being plunked in the thigh by a wayward pitch the first time around.

Getting some sweet revenge, he smashed a two-run single right back up the middle, the ball almost taking the pitcher’s leg off as it ricocheted by and shot into open space.

Sultan, playing with the minimum nine players, did its best to hang tough, though, and rallied to pull within 9-4.

But Hilborn was ultimately too much for the Turks, and he got some help on defense.

Gavin Straub made a great running catch in right field and shortstop Jake Pease went over his shoulder to snag a high lob while on the move.

Coupeville added two more runs in the fifth inning, on RBI singles from Wolfe and Dane Lucero, before putting Sultan out of its misery in the sixth.

Walks to Daniel Olson, Seth Weatherford, and Hilborn, plus two more Sultan errors, let a pair of Wolves scamper home, but the 14th, and final run, came on a truly solid base-knock.

It came from Pease, who slapped the exclamation point on things with a rocket of a single to deep center-field.

Any other time, the laser would have brought two, and possibly all three runners aboard around to score, but Coupeville only needed one to stretch the lead to 10, so Pease was denied extra RBI’s.

Not that it seemed to bother him, as the senior helped lead a raucous post-game celebration.

Lucero paced the offense with a pair of singles, while Hilborn, Wolfe, Pease, Gavin Knoblich, and Wells all chipped in with a base-knock of their own.

Hilborn (4), Olson (3), and Lucero (2) drew multiple base on balls, with the one-walk club offering membership to Bryce Payne, Weatherford, Straub, Wells, and Pease.

With the game mostly in hand all the way, Smith mixed and matched his lineup, getting 13 players on the field.

Sage Sharp started in right field and Jonny Carlson pulled back-up duty at first to round out the Wolves who played.

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Former CHS hoops star Megan Smith has been selected as the school’s new JV girls basketball coach.

Megan Smith has come all the way back around.

The former Coupeville High School basketball star is returning to the gym of her youth, but this time as a coach.

After two years working with middle school players, Smith has been tabbed as the high school’s new JV girls basketball coach, and will join Scott Fox, who debuts as varsity coach next season.

The duo replace David and Amy King, who retired this winter, and both hires are not official until approved by the school board.

Smith, a 2010 Coupeville grad, was a 12-time letter winner (volleyball, basketball, and softball) and three-time CHS Female Athlete of the Year.

She sits as the #4 scorer in Wolf girls basketball history, having tossed in 1,042 points across her four seasons on the court.

After graduation, Smith played basketball for Peninsula College, where she was joined by former Coupeville teammate Ashley Manker.

When she’s not coaching basketball, Smith is a teacher at the Skagit/Islands Head Start in Mount Vernon.

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