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Daniel Olson brought the heat on the mound and at the plate Tuesday in a 13-3 Senior Night win. (Morgan White photos)

First they got lucky. Then they got good.

Playing at home for the first time in 18 days, the Coupeville High School baseball squad took advantage of some early miscues Tuesday by visiting Mount Vernon Christian to keep their game close.

Then, once the bats were properly warmed up, the Wolves dropped the hammer, eventually strolling away with a 13-3 win on Senior Night.

With the victory, CHS improves to 6-2 during this pandemic-shortened season, while keeping alive its hopes of winning a Northwest 2B/1B League title.

Coupeville trails Friday Harbor (8-0) — the only team it’s lost to this season — by two games with three to play.

The league’s top two squads tangle Friday afternoon at Friday Harbor, playing a doubleheader with everything on the line.

If the Wolverines sweep or get a split, they clinch the title.

But, if Coupeville earns the sweep, both teams would sit at 8-2, having split their four games, with just one contest left on the schedule.

CHS closes at La Conner (0-7) Saturday, while Friday Harbor hosts Orcas Island (2-5) that day.

However the weekend plays out, the Wolves sent their home fans back to the parking lot with a light skip in their steps.

The win over MVC offered a nice tribute to Daniel Olson, the team’s lone senior, while also providing a superb preview of the damage which could be done by the rest of a very-young roster.

Coupeville coach Will Thayer got something from pretty much everyone, with 10 of 11 hitters reaching base, and freshmen accounting for six of the team’s nine RBI.

The game actually started with a brief burp, as MVC scraped out two runs in the top of the first, thanks to an infield single, two walks, and a brutal collision at home plate.

With the bases loaded and no one out, the Hurricane cleanup hitter bounced a ball up the middle, sending the runner at third barreling home.

As Wolf catcher Xavier Murdy went to pull in the incoming throw, bodies collided awkwardly and the ball squirted free, allowing a second MVC runner to sneak home in the confusion.

The violent entanglement sent a brief chill through any CHS basketball fans in the stands, but X-Man walked off any lingering aftereffects, restoring hope once again on the prairie.

From that point on, the rest of the game went pretty much the way Wolf faithful would have scripted things.

It began with the lanky Olson making a pretty spectacular pickoff move.

Whirling and firing a laser into shortstop Scott Hilborn’s glove, he removed a Hurricane runner who made the mistake of leaning slightly in the wrong direction.

Proving it wasn’t a fluke, the Wolf pitcher later pulled off the same successful pickoff play several innings later, after which time all MVC runners stayed bolted to the base.

Olson and his parents celebrate Senior Night.

The first time through the lineup, Coupeville was scraping a bit, yet generated just enough offense to keep things close.

The Wolves netted a run in the bottom of the first thanks to a couple of MVC mistakes.

Looking a little tentative, the Hurricanes booted a grounder by Sage Sharp, then lost control of a third strike two batters later, letting him scamper home.

Coupeville continued to get lucky, knotting things up 2-2 in the second thanks to the MVC pitcher airmailing a throw over first base on a two-out Sharp bunt.

The Hurricane hurler had time to make the play, but perhaps ruffled by the sound of Murdy blasting by, heading from third to home, his arm refused to work in sync with his brain on the play.

The visitors entertained brief hopes of going on a rampage themselves, edging back ahead 3-2 in the top of the third, before juicing the bags with three straight singles.

The base-knocks went to right, left, and center, at which point Olson tugged on his cap, righted himself, and effectively slammed the door on any upset bids.

Pumping strikes past the flailing Hurricanes, he struck out the next two sluggers to stem the tide, then rolled through the fourth and fifth innings in his final home pitching performance.

Coupeville got back to 3-3 on an RBI single by freshman Peyton Caveness, scoring Olson, who golfed his own hit into left to lead off the bottom of the third.

The game finally broke solidly for CHS in the fourth, however.

It started with Hawthorne Wolfe putting on a one-man show which would be hard to duplicate.

The speed demon leadoff hitter blasted a ball back, back, back, almost to the wall in right field, and was thinking of a triple, while possibly daydreaming of an inside-the-park home run.

Instead, Wolfe came flying around first doing 767.269148 miles per hour (the speed of sound, if you’re curious), then … stepped on something.

He either caught the edge of the first-base bag, or put one of his own feet on top of the other one while going full-tilt, and promptly face-planted, displacing dirt from Oak Harbor to Clinton.

And yet, Wolfe still had the presence of mind to get back up, moving sort of like Rocky Balboa after being hit in the face on 23 consecutive punches, and stagger down to second base before the ball arrived back in the infield.

The should-have-been-a-triple, could-have-been-a-homer, turned-out-to-be-the-year’s-most-entertaining-double got the joint rockin’, and the CHS bats boomin’.

Wolfe finally made it home when MVC booted a fly ball off the bat of Jonathan Valenzuela, then Cody Roberts used a super-sharp eye to earn a bases-loaded walk.

But it was the fab frosh with the big hit.

Caveness sent a low, screaming liner to left to bring two runners home, part of a four-RBI day for Coral’s younger brother.

Xavier Murdy, here to drop thunder and lightning with every swing.

Murdy tantalized the non-paying customers, coming up just inches short of becoming the first Wolf since Josh Bayne to bash a ball over the fence in deepest, darkest left field.

The CHS junior settled for a dramatically-long RBI sac fly, which made it 8-3, then quietly went and strapped his catcher’s gear back on, a pro acting like a pro.

Olson topped off his Senior Night festivities with that second pickoff we discussed earlier, then handed the ball to Valenzuela, who promptly struck out the side in the sixth.

Jonathan Valenzuela, King of K’s.

An RBI single from Olson in the fifth stretched the margin to 9-3, before Coupeville ended things (slightly) early with four more runs in the sixth.

Caveness returned with another RBI base-knock, before the game ended on a truly-gorgeous hit from another fab frosh.

Zane Oldenstadt, pinch-hitting for Coen Killian, proved to be deadly from the left side of the plate, lashing a two-run single which soared over third base, curled in the air, then bit grass on the good side of the left-field line.

It was a bold punctuation mark, especially for a team which has found considerable success, even with six freshmen — Caveness and Cole White started Tuesday — and three sophomores on a 15-man roster.

Add in a strong group of middle school players ready to make the jump to high school ball next spring, and both the present and future of Wolf baseball looks bright.

“We could be dangerous the next few years,” Thayer said with a big smile.

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Jonathan Valenzuela cracked a triple and a single Tuesday, part of a 15-hit, 13-run explosion for Coupeville. (Morgan White photos)

The bats were hummin’.

Pounding out 15 hits in the shadow of the mountains Tuesday, the Coupeville High School baseball squad demolished host Darrington 13-0 in a game called after five innings.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 3-1 and puts them a half-game out of first-place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

And CHS will get an (almost) immediate chance to do something about that, as it hits the road Friday for a trip to play Friday Harbor (3-0), with the winner claiming the top rung in the standings.

If Coupeville rakes Friday like it did Tuesday, it should be advantage Wolves all the way.

On the road for the first time in this pandemic-shortened season, CHS jumped on Darrington from the first batter, and never let up.

That leadoff slugger, junior captain Hawthorne Wolfe, whacked a single to light the fire, one of five base-knocks collected during a nine-batter, four-run opening frame.

Scott Hilborn, Jonathan Valenzuela, starting pitcher Daniel Olson, and Cody Roberts followed with hits of their own, setting Darrington’s players back on their collective heels.

It didn’t stop there, as the Wolves tacked on three more runs in the second, two in the third, and a final four-spot in the top of the fifth.

Big blows came from Valenzuela, who rocked an RBI triple, and Hilborn, who bashed a two-bagger during the final rally.

With plenty of runs in the books, Olson teamed up with Valenzuela to blunt any chance Darrington had at the plate.

Daniel Olson was lights-out on the hill while pitching in Darrington.

The two combined to notch 10 strikeouts, while allowing just two runners to get on base all afternoon.

The Loggers eked out a single in the second inning, and a walk in the fourth, but that was it, as their lumber declined to do any big choppin’ this day.

Wolfe, Xavier Murdy, and Hilborn paced the Wolf offense, each collecting three hits, while Valenzuela, Olson, and Roberts picked up a pair apiece.

Olson was a frequent visitor to first base, earning two walks to go with his two hits.

Also seeing action for Coupeville on the road trip were Sage Sharp, Seth Woollet, Cole White, Peyton Caveness, Zane Oldenstadt, and Coen Killian.

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After COVID-19 stole a season from him, Hawthorne Wolfe returns to the baseball diamond. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

New coach, new league, new schedule.

Everything is a little different for the Coupeville High School baseball squad as it gets ready for its first games since 2019.

The pandemic erased prep sports last spring, then coach Chris Smith departed Whidbey Island after the graduation of his youngest child.

Now, Will Thayer steps into the dugout as the head man and his first Wolf team is scheduled to play a pared-down, conference-only slate of games.

That will give Coupeville a strong introduction to their new foes, at least, as CHS moves from 1A to 2B, returning to its old stomping grounds in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

While the schedule seems to shift each day, as of Thursday the Wolves are set to play fellow 2B schools Friday Harbor (4) and La Conner (3) the most, with a single game against 1B rivals Darrington, Mount Vernon Christian, and Concrete.

Orcas Island (1B) opted not to play spring sports as long as its students were not back in class, while Chimacum (2B) is slated to join the NWL for the 2021-2022 school year.

Having a chance to go toe-to-toe with Friday Harbor should give Thayer and his crew a solid idea of where they fit in the new hierarchy.

“Perennial power in this league seems to be Friday Harbor; they are a very well-coached team and consistently at the top of their league,” Thayer said. “This is our first year in this league and we will have to learn the teams on the fly.

“It is kind of nice being a first-year coach in a new league so I can learn with the team,” he added. “We will be able to measure ourselves against our league for the first time together.”

With the unexpected gap year, the Wolf roster has seen a fairly large turnover.

Of the 15 players listed on the roster posted on the league web site, only four have ever played in a CHS baseball game — senior Daniel Olson and juniors Hawthorne Wolfe, Cody Roberts, and Sage Sharp.

Olson and Roberts provide a one-two combo at the top of the pitching staff, while Wolfe is back to hit leadoff and prowl center field.

Cody Roberts joins Daniel Olson at the top of Coupeville’s pitching rotation. (Photo by Karen Carlson)

Three sort-of newcomers, all with plenty of hardball experience, are expected to have immediate impacts, as well.

Xavier Murdy, a junior, joins Olson and Wolfe as a team captain, while sophomores Scott Hilborn and Jonathan Valenzuela will start at shortstop and third base, respectively.

“We are anchored on the left side of our infield,” Thayer said. “This will be their first year of high school baseball and they have proven themselves ready to rise to the occasion and lead us in to the future.”

Murdy spent his freshman year on the soccer pitch, but with the move from 1A to 2B, boys soccer slides from spring to fall.

Rounding out the preseason roster are junior Miles Davidson, sophomore Coen Killian, and a pack of freshmen — Nathan Ginnings, Cole White, Nick Guay, Andrew Williams, Seth Woollet, and Zane Oldenstadt.

It’s a group which will have to learn on the fly.

“Just coming together as a team, as we haven’t had much time to bond as a tight group; but every practice we become a tighter group,” Thayer said.

“We are learning from each other as we go in a very short time.”

However the lineup eventually breaks down, Thayer is excited to get on the field.

“Our goal for this season is to compete for a league title,” he said. “Since there is no state tournament this year, our team goal is league title, and let everyone know that we are a state-worthy team next season.

“We are a very young team so our future is very exciting, and I believe we will be in contention for league and state for the foreseeable future.”

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Alex Murdy was one of seven Wolf boys to score during a come-from-behind JV win Tuesday at Granite Falls. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Down, but never out.

After trailing for most of three quarters Tuesday night at Granite Falls, the Coupeville High School JV boys basketball team landed a haymaker in the game’s final eight minutes.

With Daniel Olson going wild in the final frame, pouring in 13 of his game-high 26 points, the Wolves roared from behind to turn a three-point deficit into a 14-point win.

Closing on a torrid 23-6 run, CHS exited with a 56-42 win in its North Sound Conference opener.

Now 5-3 overall, the Wolves kicked off the 2020 portion of the 2019-2020 season in style.

Trailing 13-10 at the end of the first quarter, Coupeville sliced the deficit down to 20-18 by the half, but still trailed 36-33 headed into the final quarter.

That was when Wolf coach Chris Smith let his gunners go wild, with Olson and Sage Downes rattling the rim from every angle.

Olson killed the Tigers in multiple ways in the fourth, slipping a three-ball through the net, swishing a pair of free throws, then tacking on four old-fashioned, and very-effective, two-point buckets.

Downes tickled the twines for three buckets in the final frame, as well, with Cody Roberts and Grady Rickner also scoring during the sizzlin’ finale.

Olson collected 22 of his 26 points in the second half, while Xavier Murdy, back on the floor for the first time this season after battling back from an injury, tossed in all eight of his in the second quarter.

X-Man’s younger brother, Alex Murdy, joined Downes in banging home six points apiece, with Grady Rickner (5), Roberts (4), and TJ Rickner (1) also getting into the scorebook.

Alex Jimenez, Logan Martin, and Chris Cernick also saw floor time for the Wolves, who return to action Friday when they play host to Sultan.

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Chris Ruck scored his first three points of the season Tuesday as Coupeville’s JV drilled visiting Chimacum. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was not a fair fight.

Two boys JV basketball teams stepped onto the floor of the Coupeville High School gym Tuesday night, but one squad had a lot more weapons.

Like, a LOT more weapons.

Dropping points from every angle, Coupeville annihilated visiting Chimacum 59-12 in a game which could have been even more lopsided if CHS coach Chris Smith hadn’t done his best to control the carnage.

Now 4-2 on the season, and a flawless 2-0 at home, the Wolves didn’t allow the Cowboys to score a point through the first 11 minutes of a 32-minute contest.

Coupeville actually started a bit slowly, with shots popping out, rimming off, and finding new, creative ways not to go down.

But the Wolves kept shooting, and eventually found their groove, pushing an 8-0 first quarter lead out to 14-0 before Chimacum finally banked home a shot with five minutes left in the second frame.

If the Cowboys were thinking of celebrating that bucket, they didn’t have time to, however, as Coupeville promptly closed out the half with a 20-0 run.

Daniel Olson and Grady Rickner, who would later in the night swing up to make their first varsity appearances of the season, both banged away for six points during the surge.

Things continued to go all Coupeville, all the time in the second half, as the Wolves responded to Chimacum opening the third quarter with a three-ball by closing the game with a 25-7 surge.

A running clock made things a little less painful for the Cowboys, and Smith did his best to limit his team’s shots and spread out the offense in the late going.

Olson finished with a game-high 14, outscoring Chimacum by himself, while Logan Martin singed the nets for 10, and Alex Murdy and Rickner knocked down eight apiece.

Also getting into the scorebook were Sage Downes (6), Alex Jimenez (6), Cody Roberts (4), and Chris Ruck (3).

Jimenez accounted for two of Coupeville’s three successful shots from behind the three-point arc, while Ruck scored for the first time this season, earning a roar from a pro-Chris crowd.

Also seeing floor time for the Wolves were Miles Davidson, TJ Rickner, and Andrew Aparicio, with all three hitting the boards (and sometimes the floor) with great intensity.

Coupeville’s young guns play three games this week, with all at home. Up next is Port Townsend Thursday, then Nooksack Valley Saturday.

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