Posts Tagged ‘Dane Lucero’

Coupeville High School senior Ryan Labrador received the US Marine Corp Athletic Achievement award Tuesday night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Smith spent much of her senior year collecting achievements and awards, and Tuesday was no different, as she was honored by the WIAA. (Konni Smith photo)

Dane Lucero joined Emma Smith in receiving the Cliff Gillies award. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Like Labrador, Ema Smith was honored by the Marines.

The awards flew fast and furious at Coupeville High School Tuesday night.

Along with the Male and Female Athlete of the Year winners being announced at the annual pre-graduation awards night, four other athletic honors were bestowed.

Ryan Labrador and Ema Smith received the U.S. Marine Corps Athletic Achievement award, while Dane Lucero and Emma Smith took home the Cliff Gillies Award.

The Marine Corps award recognizes athletes who are “exemplary young citizens and role models for younger students,” while having “exhibited the personal traits of courage, poise, self-confidence, and leadership while performing as a varsity athlete.”

The Gillies award is issued to a male and female athlete at each school in District 1, named in honor of the former Executive Director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association.

Gillies was the head honcho at the WIAA from 1982-93.

A longtime teacher, coach and administrator, he had a sizable impact during his time as Executive Director.

While Gillies fronted the association, it restructured the state football playoff system, developed a drug education program, and started a student scholarship/participation recognition award.

Lucero and Emma Smith were recognized for “their participation in student activities, academic achievement, sportsmanship and citizenship.”

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CHS baseball coach Chris Smith poses with some of the Wolf seniors who played Thursday at the All-State feeder games in Bellingham. L to r are Matt Hilborn, Shane Losey, and Dane Lucero, while Jake Pease was AWOL at the moment. (Wendi Hilborn photo)

Coupeville’s diamond men got one more night under the lights.

Four Wolf seniors — Dane Lucero, Shane Losey, Jake Pease, and Matt Hilborn — traveled to Bellingham Thursday to participate in the A/B All-State Baseball Feeder games.

While none of the pack made the cut for the big games, held June 8-9 in Yakima, Coupeville made a positive impression.

“They all played really well,” said CHS head baseball coach Chris Smith, who was in the stands at Joe Martin Stadium for the games. “Coupeville was well represented.”

After playing their entire prep careers as teammates, the four Wolves found themselves split up at times Thursday night.

In the opening game, the Nationals, which featured Lucero, Losey, and Hilborn topped Pease’s Americans squad 14-13 in a slug-fest.

Pease anchored third base for the entire game.

“He didn’t have a ton of opportunities, but did make some diving attempts at a couple smoked grounders,” said CHS assistant coach Aaron Lucero.

Hilborn got some work on the mound in the first game, tossing two innings, then moved to shortstop in the nightcap, where the Americans won 7-1 in a game called after six innings due to pitch counts.

“He was lights out at shortstop and had several outs to Dane at first,” Aaron Lucero said. “Lot of tough balls and threw lasers.”

Dane Lucero, who made a sensational full-body extension grab on a hard liner just inside the line at first, also pulled double duty.

After getting loosened up with his work on the bag, where he put in eight innings across the two games, the younger Lucero strolled over to pitch the fifth inning in game two.

Making sure every Wolf had some highlights, Losey was a beast in the outfield.

Shane almost had a ridiculous awesome diving play in right that just missed by an inch or two,” Aaron Lucero said. “Was ecstatic he got to the ball, not to mention the dive.

“Next hitter hit another shot to right that Shane sprinted to, twisted, hit the ball with his glove, ball popped, and he caught the pop one-handed,” he added.

“The best part was his back was turned to the line ump, ump indicating fair and safe until Shane shows the ball with his back turned for the ump to reverse to an out.”

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Jake Pease beats the tag Friday as Coupeville drills Granite Falls 8-1. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s been like two seasons wrapped in one.

The 2019 campaign has been an unusual one for the Coupeville High School baseball team.

Having lost eight seniors, the new-look Wolves struggled to mount a consistent offensive attack in the early going this spring, scoring just 13 runs while starting the season 0-12.

And then something clicked.

After an 8-1 win Friday over visiting Granite Falls, Coupeville heads to the playoffs on a seven-game winning streak.

During that torrid stretch, the Wolves have plated 66 runners, ultimately cost arch-rival South Whidbey a chance to win a league title, and swept three-game series from Sultan and Granite.

The win which started the redemption arc, a 4-3 shocker over their next-door neighbors, proved to be huge.

If South Whidbey had won that Island rivalry game, it would have entered Friday guaranteed of earning at least a tie for the North Sound Conference pennant with Cedar Park Christian.

Instead, the Falcons faced a winner-takes-all finale in Bothell, and CPC pulled out a 5-4 win thanks to a sixth-inning three-run pinch-hit home run.

Cedar Park, which has been to the state semifinals two years running, finishes 13-2 in league play, while South Whidbey is 12-3.

Coupeville, the hottest team in the conference at the moment, wraps at 7-8 in league action, 7-12 overall, and heads to the playoffs as the #4 NSC team.

The Wolves open the double-elimination bi-district tourney May 4 with a game against Meridian at Sehome High School. Win or lose, CHS plays a second game that afternoon.

But that’s still a week away, and Friday the focus was on honoring Coupeville’s seniors — Bryce Payne, Shane Losey, Jake Pease, Matt Hilborn, and Dane Lucero — while finishing the regular season on a strong note.

Both missions accomplished.

The Wolves jumped on Granite right away, sending 11 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and bringing six of them around to score.

Three walks, with Hilborn and Gavin Knoblich being plunked, set the table, but it was Coupeville’s bats which did the most damage.

Six singles, accounting for 60% of Coupeville’s hits on the day, sent runners scrambling and Granite coaches to weeping silently in their dugout.

Hawthorne Wolfe started the hit parade, and then Pease, Ulrik Wells, Payne, Losey, and Hilborn (in his second at-bat of the inning) all collected base-knocks.

After the early run-fest, Coupeville didn’t need much more, but it did tack on a run in the second, on a Daniel Olson sacrifice bunt, and a final score in the sixth, on an RBI single off the bat of Pease.

The senior starter led the way with three hits in his home swan song, while Hilborn banged out a pair of singles.

Olson, Wolfe, Payne, Wells, and Losey also had hits, Lucero walked three times and a game after smashing up his face during a collision in the outfield, Mason Grove returned to eke out a walk.

While Coupeville pounded the ball to all fields, Granite had no answers for Wolf hurler Hilborn, who came two outs away from tossing a no-hitter.

He finally got touched in the seventh, giving up a one-out double, but was otherwise in control all game, whiffing eight and walking just a single batter.

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CHS freshman pitcher Cody Roberts (left) and head baseball coach Chris Smith survey the action in a recent game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

After awhile, the games start to blur together into a familiar pattern.

The Coupeville High School baseball squad — young, hungry and scrappy — hangs with more-seasoned teams three, sometimes four or five, innings.

But, ultimately, a season-long offensive funk makes life tough, and when you’re hanging by a thread all the time, any mistakes are greatly magnified.

It’s a scenario which played out one more time Monday afternoon, as visiting South Whidbey rode a 2-hit, 14-strikeout performance from pitcher Ethan Petty to send Coupeville to a 12-0 loss.

The Island rivalry rumble, the first in a three-game set this week between teams headed in opposite directions, drops the Wolves to 0-7 in North Sound Conference play, 0-11 overall.

South Whidbey, which is a half step behind Cedar Park Christian in the battle for a league title, improves to 9-1 in league, 12-1 overall.

That’s the best start in program history.

Monday’s game, which played out partially in a driving rainstorm, was just 3-0 through four innings, but even then, it was largely a one-sided affair.

Petty retired the first 11 Wolf hitters, whiffing nine of them, and wasn’t touched until CHS pitcher Dane Lucero looped a two-out single which dropped in over the head of a backpedaling Falcon infielder.

The Falcon junior slightly raised an eyebrow at seeing his perfect game go bye-bye, then immediately rebounded with strikeout #10, effectively ending any hopes the Wolves might have had.

With a little help from catcher Dexter Jokinen and shortstop Kody Newman, Petty gunned down nine straight batters after Lucero’s base-knock.

Newman went to his knees to spear a liner off of Daniel Olson’s bat, while Jokinen threw off his mask and scrambled to haul in a high, arcing Bryce Payne foul ball right in front of the chain link fence.

Down to their final out, the Wolves finally put their second runner aboard, when CHS catcher Gavin Knoblich beat out an infield chopper for a single.

But that was it for Coupeville — two hits spaced far apart, no walks, and little offensive momentum.

Lucero kept his team in the game for the first hour, scattering hits and coming up big to blunt Falcon rallies in the second and fourth inning.

South Whidbey got the only run it would need when first-baseman Brent Batchelor tore the hide off the ball with a booming RBI single to left in the top of the first.

The Falcons picked up two more runs in the third, courtesy a bases-loaded walk and an RBI ground-out, but it could have been worse.

Twice, Lucero danced with the devil in the pale moonlight and lived to tell about it, escaping identical jams.

He had runners at second and third with two outs in both the second and fourth, but coaxed a fly-out to center-fielder Hawthorne Wolfe to end the first trouble, and a ground-out to Shane Losey to snuff the second.

The dam finally broke in the top of the fifth, as the Falcons jumped on a rash of Coupeville errors to plate four more runs.

South Whidbey tacked on yet another five across the final two innings against the Wolf bullpen, but there were a few bright spots for Coupeville in the late going.

Wolfe, who made solid contact at the plate in all three of his appearances and was the lone CHS player to not whiff, had a nice over-the-shoulder snag while on the run in center.

His fellow freshman, pitcher Cody Roberts, picked up the other two outs in the seventh inning by flinging strikeouts.

The final out came on a nasty slider which dove with an unexpected ferocity, causing the Falcon slugger to rip out most of his back muscles in a vain attempt to catch up with the pitch.

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Coupeville’s Shane Losey thumped a double Wednesday, while also making several strong catches in center field. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jonny Carlson tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief during a narrow 3-2 loss to King’s.

Missed it … by that much.

The Coupeville High School baseball squad put King’s on the ropes Wednesday, but couldn’t quite land the knockout punch.

The Wolves, who have struggled mightily on offense all season, rallied for two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but stranded the tying run at first base and fell 3-2 to the visiting Knights.

Despite putting together a seven-hit assault, one of its best showings of the season, Coupeville falls to 0-5 in North Sound Conference play, 0-9 overall.

That leaves CHS in a tie with Granite Falls (0-5, 2-8), a half-game behind Sultan (0-4, 0-9) for the fourth, and final NSC playoff berth.

Cedar Park Christian (8-0, 10-1), South Whidbey (6-1, 9-1), and King’s (3-2, 4-6) hold down the top three slots in a jumbled-up race.

While the rebuilding Wolves have been blown out at times this season, they have played the Knights strongly through the first two bouts in their three-game season series.

The schools wrap up things Friday in Shoreline, and if Coupeville plays like it did Wednesday, it’s very reasonable to think it could finally break through and nab that elusive first victory.

Other than a miscue here or there, the Wolves were solid on their home diamond, with pitchers Dane Lucero, Jonny Carlson, and Cody Roberts teaming to hold King’s largely in check.

Coupeville put runners aboard all game, but kept on missing on that one big hit which would have cracked things open.

Then they came 99.2% of the way to getting the job done in a wild seventh inning.

And it all started with Coupeville down to its final out, and not a base runner in sight.

After a strikeout and a little nubber in front of the plate scooped up by an alert King’s catcher, the Wolves looked like they were headed to another shutout.

With one out to go, a goose egg would have left Coupeville having scored just eight runs across nine games.

But Shane Losey was having none of that.

The Wolf senior whacked a liner to left which tore into the outfield grass and shot high in the air, allowing him time to tear round the base-paths and slide into second base in a cloud of dust mixed with reborn hope.

Matt Hilborn followed with an infield single, busting a gut to beat the throw by a step, then stole second to set up sophomore slugger Daniel Olson for his spotlight moment.

The teen who always hijacked my computer at David’s DVD Den back when he was a kindergartner was ready, poking a ball into the gap between second and first.

While the Knights first-baseman got to the ball, no one was covering the bag, allowing Olson to screech into first unimpeded, while both of his veteran teammates came around to score in the madness and confusion.

With hard-thumping third-baseman Jake Pease strolling to the plate, popping his muscles and squeezing the life out of his bat, the moment had fairy tale ending written all over it.

It wasn’t to be on this day, however, as the King’s shortstop came up with a big play on a hot grounder, going into the hole and popping back up to make the long game-ending throw.

While the final score came up just short of what Coupeville was hoping for, the game was a huge step forward for the Wolves.

Even when they weren’t scoring in the early innings, they had King’s coaches on edge.

The Wolves had base-runners aboard in four of the first six innings, but the Knights dodged danger time and again.

It started in the bottom of the first, when back-to-back base-knocks by Pease and Lucero gave CHS a golden two-out opportunity, only to see a ground-out prematurely end things.

After going down 1-2-3 in the second and third, the Wolves got a booming two-bagger in the fourth from Lucero, who launched a moon ball which hit just inside the right field line, then skipped merrily away from the charging fielder.

But two strong King’s defensive plays later and Coupeville exited with its starting hurler still camped at second.

It was a recurring theme, as Bryce Payne and Hilborn walked in the fifth, but were stranded, before Pease singled and Lucero walked in the sixth, only to be denied thanks to a slick double play.

While the Wolves came close but couldn’t break through, King’s put two runs on the board in the first and tacked on another in the third.

The opening frame especially hurt, as CHS looked ready to escape unscathed.

After an opening walk, Lucero bounced back to whiff the next hitter, then Gavin Knoblich nailed a would-be base-thief, the first of two punch-outs by the Wolf catcher.

With the bases un-juiced, things were looking peachy, until King’s responded with consecutive base-knocks and took advantage of a throw which sailed over its intended recipient.

The third run came via three singles, but the damage was muted when Losey closed the third inning by making a superb snag on a long fly while running full tilt.

Lucero kept King’s at bay in the fourth and fifth, before pitch count limits moved him across the diamond to man first base.

In his stead, Carlson and Roberts teamed up to deliver another pair of flawless innings.

Carlson retired five of the seven hitters he faced, before his freshman teammate came in to end King’s last scoring chance on a bases-loaded strikeout.

Coupeville spread its hits among five players, with Lucero (2B, 1B), Pease (1B, 1B), Losey (2B), Olson (1B) and Hilborn (1B) all collecting base-knocks.

Payne, Hilborn, and Lucero each walked, with Knoblich, Gavin Straub, Mason Grove, Sage Sharp, and Ulrik Wells all shining on defense.

Wells had a super-smooth snag on a liner at first to rob King’s of a hit, while Grove hauled in several long blasts while working way out in the weeds in left.

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