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Coupeville grad Makana Stone returned from an injury to score a team-high 16 points Friday for Whitman. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a good news, bad news kind of night Friday in Walla Walla.

On the positive side, Coupeville’s Makana Stone was back on the floor after missing a game with a sprained ankle.

But while the former Wolf was running seemingly effortlessly after sitting a week-plus, and went off for a team-high 16 points, Whitman College came up just short in the biggest game of the year.

With Stone padlocked to the bench after picking up a phantom fifth foul with two-and-a-half minutes to play, the Blues couldn’t hold on to a one-point lead in the final minute, falling 61-57 to visiting George Fox.

The loss gives Whitman a season split with their biggest women’s basketball rivals, with both teams winning on the other’s floor, and it comes at a crucial time.

George Fox, the defending Northwest Conference champs, moves to 12-1 in league play, and sits a game up on Whitman (11-2) with three to play.

Whitman, 17-5 overall, has already clinched one of the four playoff berths for the NWC postseason tourney, and can finish no lower than third in the final standings.

The Blues finish their run through the nine-team league with a string of tough games.

After hosting #4 Linfield (7-6, 11-11) Saturday on Senior Night, Whitman closes the regular season on the road Feb. 15-16 against #3 Puget Sound (10-3, 17-4) and #5 Pacific Lutheran (6-7, 13-8).

Friday night’s rumble with George Fox pitted the top offense in the Northwest Conference against the top defense.

In the end, the defense triumphed … with a little help from the refs, who compounded the call on Stone by also whiffing on a crucial non-call with 12 seconds to go which would have given Whitman a chance to tie the game.

Right before fouling out, Stone hit a huge bank shot to cut Whitman’s deficit to 51-49.

Even after losing their top scorer and rebounder, the Blues hung tough, taking a 53-52 lead with a hair over a minute to play, thanks to back-to-back buckets from Taylor Chambers, who hadn’t scored all night.

Whitman then shrugged off a George Fox three-ball thanks to a nifty Natalie Whitesel reverse layup which knotted things at 55 all.

The final 30 seconds, though, belonged to Bruin star Emily Spencer.

A demon on defense all night, she stepped up to drill the already-mentioned trey, then put George Fox ahead to stay with a slashing layup with just 26 ticks left on the clock.

Whitesel had a chance to go to the line, but all three refs ignored the Prairie High School grad being hammered by a host of Bruins on the ensuing layup attempt.

From there, George Fox swished all four of its free throw attempts in the game’s final 10 seconds, with Spencer appropriately dropping the final daggers, and Whitman’s last chance wafted away.

The game started as an offensive show, with Stone slamming home six points in the opening quarter, to go with 10 from hot-shooting teammate Mady Burdett.

While Whitman trailed 22-20 at the first break, thanks to George Fox scoring right at the buzzer, the Blues looked strong.

And no one played as effectively as Stone did, as she picked the ball from a George Fox ball-handler and went coast to coast for a breakaway bucket.

On defense, she was equally a force, rejecting a shot and twice forcing opposing post players into committing travels as they tried to get around her in the paint.

A Burdett three-ball capped a 7-0 Whitman run, sending the Blues into the locker room up 33-30.

That stirred positive memories of the first meeting between these teams, for everyone from the announcers on the internet stream to random people watching the feed in ice-covered Coupeville.

Back on Jan. 12 in Newberg, OR, Whitman savaged George Fox in the third quarter and turned a three-point halftime bulge into a 73-54 blowout.

Friday night, however, the Blues went cold from the outside, and it hurt them.

After scoring 13 in the first half, Burdett was held scoreless across the game’s final 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Whitman, the best three-ball-shooting team in the league, suffered through a 3 for 17 performance from behind the arc.

Stone did what she could, powering her way to three more buckets in the third, but Spencer stung Whitman for the first of many times, popping an offensive rebound back up and in with a single second on the clock.

That staked George Fox to a 45-44 lead heading into the fourth, and then the ref’s glaucoma became an issue.

Stone, who missed a chunk of the game after injuring herself against Whitworth Jan. 29, then sat out against Lewis & Clark Feb. 1, made her return an auspicious one.

Netting her 16 points on strong 8-11 shooting, she also ripped down six rebounds, pilfered two steals and rejected a shot in 27 minutes of floor time.

On the season, the Whitman junior sits with 313 points, 181 rebounds, 38 assists, 25 steals and 18 blocks.

Stone is shooting 132-257 from the floor and 48-62 at the free throw line.

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Junior guard Scout Smith threw down a career-high 15 points Tuesday, sparking Coupeville’s varsity basketball squad to a huge win over Sultan. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

I give you two players.

One is a pass-first, defend-second and maybe, possibly, shoot-third point guard.

The other one was coming back from a bad fall which left her wearing a neck brace in a faraway ER just a couple of days ago.

Jump to Tuesday, however, and Scout Smith and Chelsea Prescott were something else entirely — rampaging, lights-out scorers intent on kidney-punching their rivals with sweet jumpers, silky layups and perfectly-lofted free throws.

Carrying a bigger chunk of the offensive game plan than normal, Smith and Prescott combined for 27 points, sparking the Coupeville High School varsity girls basketball squad to a 44-34 rout of visiting Sultan.

The win, the third-straight and fourth in the last five games for the Wolves, lifts them to 2-0 in North Sound Conference play, 4-4 overall.

It leaves Coupeville in a tie atop the league standings with state power King’s headed to a showdown in the new year.

Both teams finish 2018 with non-conference tilts, then meet in Shoreline Jan. 4 to kick off the remainder of the 10-game league schedule.

While King’s is one of the premier programs in the state, Coupeville can’t be overlooked. Especially after proving they have far more than just one offensive option.

With leading scorer Lindsey Roberts running wild on defense Tuesday, her younger teammates stepped up and eased her job on the offensive end of the floor.

Smith knocked down nine of her game-high (and career-high) 15 in the second quarter, when the Wolves seized control of the game, while Prescott banked in six of her 12 in the third frame.

Coupeville entered the game having broken 50 points in back-to-back games, and while the 44 they scored Tuesday was their third-best team total of the season, it took a few moments for the Wolves to get going.

Actually, more like a few minutes, as CHS didn’t hit a field goal for the first seven minutes and 52 seconds of the game.

The unforgiving rim finally played nice with just eight ticks left in the opening quarter, and only when Avalon Renninger slashed to the hoop, split three defenders and dared the hoop to refuse her.

It didn’t dare.

Thanks to stingy defense, and three different Wolves – Ema Smith, Scout Smith and Roberts – hitting free throws, Coupeville was just a bucket behind when Renninger drained her runner.

Escaping the first quarter with a hard-fought 6-6 tie, the Wolves figured enough tip-toeing around. Time to drop the hammer.

Not that the scrappy Turks went down all that easily, however.

Scout Smith kicked off her whirlwind second quarter by tossing in a running bank shot from the left, while being roughed-up in full view of blind refs, but Sultan responded with a modest 6-2 run of its own.

A three-ball from Ema Smith, who stopped on a dime, rose up and dropped the trey right in the face of her defender, kept the Wolves close, while a put-back on a rebound by Prescott gave CHS a brief lead.

Coupeville finally broke through for good midway through the second, and it came thanks to Scout Smith seizing the moment.

The junior guard takes great delight in setting up her teammates with pinpoint passes, but on this night, she pulled the ball back into her body frequently and went to town.

Charging head-long into the fray, keeping Turk defenders backpedaling and falling over themselves, “Scooter” tossed a swooping layup high off the backboard, drained a sweet fall-away jumper, then twirled a lil’ curler that kissed the glass and plopped through the net with a happy little sigh.

Playing in front of big brothers CJ and Hunter, in town for the holidays, Scout Smith was making a statement – my court, my time.

And she was getting help from all sides, whether it was Roberts and Hannah Davidson crashing the boards, Tia Wurzrainer driving Sultan ball-handlers insane with her smothering defense, or her team’s superb passing.

Coupeville was as patient Tuesday as it has ever been this season, with one Wolf after another making the smart pass, looking for the best option, setting each other up, then slapping hands after made buckets.

Ema Smith and Prescott capped the first half with a play which perfectly epitomized the team-first style the Wolves were rockin’ all game.

Soaring between two Turks, Ema Smith yanked down an offensive rebound, then was knocked to her knees as she came back to Earth.

Instead of losing the ball, instead of traveling, she kept the ball held aloft, flicking it to Prescott, who was alone on the side, before going down face-first.

Prescott, without skipping a beat, twirled into the air, lofted the ball, and splashed home the jumper.

Ema Smith, sprawled on the floor (and possibly untying the shoelaces of any Turks near her hands), pumped her fist, then jumped up and joined her sophomore teammate as they loped back on defense.

Up 21-18 at the half, the Wolves continued to play smart ball after the break, stretching the lead out inch by inch and never giving Sultan a chance to carve into its deficit.

The Turks hit their only three-ball of the night early in the third, cutting the lead to a bucket for a millisecond, but Coupeville responded with authority.

Prescott and Scout Smith continued to knock down buckets, and once the lead blossomed to eight, the game stayed that way the remainder of the night.

The few times Sultan got a bucket down the stretch, the Wolves immediately answered.

And never more emphatically than when Coupeville broke the press with a quick pass to Roberts, who snatched the ball at mid-court, spun, and thundered the length of the court in about 1.3 steps before slapping home a psyche-crushing layup.

Coupeville didn’t play a perfect game, maybe, missing a fair amount of free throws for one thing, but it did play an inspired game.

There were 11 Wolves in uniform, and 11 Wolves used whatever amount of time they were given by coach David King to make an impact in their own personal way.

It was Nicole Laxton, down in the pits, wrestling for a rebound and yanking the ball away from her rival, her normally sunny exterior transformed by a glare which could cut through steel.

It was Davidson, shutting down the paint, and kicking beautiful passes to open teammates, a role player proving she can be a weapon on both ends of the floor.

And it was Wurzrainer, a defensive dynamo on the soccer field, who brings a burning intensity to her role as the spiritual successor to revered ball-hawks of past days like Kacie Kiel and Julia Myers.

Locked-in and ready to knock you on your keister, Wurzrainer and running mate Renninger are the specialists every good team needs and wants.

Scout Smith’s 15 gives her 99 career points at the varsity level, leaving her just a free throw shy of becoming only the 97th Wolf girl to reach triple-digit scoring since 1975.

Prescott is hot on her heels, and her 12 Tuesday gives her 88 on her short career (#104 all-time), while making it very likely there will soon be four active Wolf girls in the 100-point club.

Already there are Roberts (#25 with 382 points) and Ema Smith (#79 with 135), who went for seven and six, respectively, against Sultan.

Renninger tossed in three points, Mollie Bailey tickled the twines for a free throw to round out the scoring, while freshmen Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Izzy Wells also saw floor time.

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Coupeville 3rd grader Tenley Stuurmans captured four titles Saturday at her first taekwondo tourney. (Photo courtesy Scott and Sarah Stuurmans)

Don’t mess with Tenley Stuurmans.

The Coupeville Elementary School 3rd grader is only one tournament into her taekwondo career, and she’s already a four-time champ.

Stuurmans, daughter of Scott and Sarah, stepped on the mat at the Island Christian Academy in Langley Saturday, emerging with seven top-three performances.

She captured titles in Extreme Weapons, Creative Weapons, Extreme Forms, and Creative Forms.

Toss in 2nd place finishes in Traditional Forms and Traditional Sparring and a 3rd place in Combat Sparring, and Stuurmans went home covered in medals.

The younger sister of soccer sensation Lyla Stuurmans, and a cousin, niece or granddaughter to about 10,000 Coupeville legends, Tenley is creating her own niche in the sports world.

She started taekwondo last spring and trains at Armstrong’s ATA Martial Arts School.

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   Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich had two hits Friday as Coupeville toppled Chimacum and moved closer to clinching an Olympic League title. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Captain Cool struck again.

Coupeville High School ace Hunter Smith wasn’t flawless Friday, but he was perfect when it mattered, and now Wolf baseball is a win away from claiming its second Olympic League title in three years.

Backed by stellar, error-free play from his defenders, especially infielders Joey Lippo, Matt Hilborn and Dane Lucero, Smith shut down Chimacum, tossing a complete-game 2-0 shut-out.

The win, Coupeville’s fifth-straight and ninth in its last 10 games, lifts the Wolves to 6-1 in league play, 12-4 overall.

CHS is a game up, with two to play, on the Cowboys (5-2, 7-8) and hold the tiebreaker, having taken two of three after pulling off back-to-back shut-outs at home against their chief rivals.

“I love the goose eggs, love ’em!,” said a jubilant Coupeville coach Chris Smith.

His squad needs just a single win (it travels to Klahowya Monday, then hosts Port Townsend May 2) or a single Chimacum loss to officially clinch the title, which they last won in 2016.

The Cowboys, who are enjoying their best run in the Olympic League after three consecutive third-place finishes, have pushed the Wolves hard this season.

The first two meetings between the teams were one-run games, and this time a two-run lead seemed almost decadent.

Having escaped a brief first-inning jam when Hunter Smith whiffed a Cowboy with runners at the corners, Coupeville struck for the game’s only blood in the bottom of the second.

Flying on a high, as Smith punched out the Cowboys one-two-three in the top half of the inning, the Wolves capitalized on a huge Chimacum error.

Jake Hoagland led off the bottom of the second by swatting a chopper to third, before taking off like a bat out of Hell.

Slightly juggling the ball as he plucked it off the ground while on the move, Chimacum’s third-baseman tried to set his feet. It didn’t work.

The Cowboy fielder double-pumped, triple-pumped, then fired the ball to the moon, pulling his first-baseman off the bag as Hoagland thundered by.

Given unexpected life, Coupeville took immediate advantage.

Jake Pease, who would later take a nasty hit to the arm on a wayward pitch, had a much-happier first at-bat, plunking a single.

That set up the urban legend himself, Kyle Rockwell, a mountain among men, a titan capable of swatting the ball into the cars in the parking lot, who … dropped a bunt.

And it was a beauty of a bunt, too, perfectly placed into no-man’s land behind Chimacum hurler Cole Dotson.

Unable to make a play on the ball, Chimacum could only watch in horror as Hoagland streaked home with the game’s first run.

Meanwhile, the man perched safely on first was busy penning yet another chapter in his on-going best-seller, “I Rock: The Kyle Rockwell Story.”

Wanting to give his pitcher a bit more of a cushion, Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich followed with equal flair, delivering a ringing RBI single back up the middle to make it 2-0.

While Chimacum escaped total disaster in the inning by nailing not one, but two, Wolves coming in hot to third, the damage was done.

Being careful to not let a single emotion flicker across his face while on the mound, Hunter Smith made big brother CJ, who patented the Captain Cool look while winning the ’16 title, a proud assistant coach on the Wolf bench.

And, while the CHS hurler was touched a few times more than normal, scattering seven hits, he and his teammates always had an answer.

Lucero, subbing at first base, pulled two low throws out of the dirt, then Lippo decided to get all dramatic and crank the defensive volume to crowd-pleasing levels.

Chimacum had a runner at second with two outs in the fourth, and said runner bolted as a Cowboy hitter launched a shot that had base hit stamped all over it.

The ball seemed to be too high for Lippo to snag at second, and was dropping too fast for Hoagland to catch on the run.

Until all of Lippo’s extensive ballet training (not a joke) came into play, as the Wolf senior, hauling tail, threw his glove over his shoulder.

Pulling off some Inspector Gadget “Go-Go-Gadget” action, one glove-clad limb extended as far as possible, Lippo made contact with the falling orb, punched it skyward, then hauled it back in, cradling the ball to his chest.

The sound you heard at that exact moment may have been his dad, Joe, hitting octaves not normally heard outside of an opera house.

He’ll deny it, of course, but we know the truth.

With the Chimacum fans openly sobbing (again, they’ll deny it, but we know the truth) the game sailed along through the sixth inning stuck at 2-0.

The Cowboys had one final bit of fight in them, however, bashing a pair of singles to left to kick off the top of the sixth.

Gathering his men on the mound, Chris Smith said a few words, then gave his son a small nod.

Hunter’s return nod was, of course, even smaller. Can’t mess with the brand.

Hilborn, though, wrapped his arm around his pitcher’s shoulder before he headed back to short, and might have said a few words.

If so, they were most likely, “I got this, man.”

The ensuing pitch came flying back off the bat, took a spinning hop and skidded towards Hilborn, who boldly looked destiny in the eye and accepted her challenge.

Shooting to his left, he slammed his foot through the bag at second for the force, then laid the ball into Lucero’s glove at first.

Hilborn’s throw came in on a sharp line, then tailed off at the end, landing softly with just a gentle whisper of “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.”

In 2.4 seconds (give or take one or two), Chimacum went from first and second and no one out to a lonely runner at third about to be stranded.

Slightly cocking one eyebrow — again, he has to stay on brand — Hunter Smith fired three straight strikes past the next Cowboy, buckling his knees an inch more with each fastball that exploded into Knoblich’s glove.

But, high school games go seven innings and not six, so while the air had been visibly punched out of the Cowboys, they still had the faintest flicker of hope left.

A one-out chopper that hit the fringe right in front of a charging Hilborn and skipped away presented Chimacum with its last, best hope in the seventh.

The Wolves would not be denied, though.

Rockwell, drifting way, way, way to his left while patrolling right field, tracked down a long foul ball, pulling it in for the second out.

That brought Issac Purser, Chimacum’s best player, to the plate, the last Cowboy standing.

Chimacum’s fans, prone to wailing (a lot), screamed and hollered and hooted and made a lot of bodily noises, then got really, really quiet as Purser punched a hole in the sky with a mile-high pop up.

Lippo, camped at second, had time to do his homework before the ball descended, but his glove was in place when it mattered.

Squeeze the ball, move within an inch of clinching the title. Mission, accomplished.

Knoblich, who has been a strong defensive player behind the plate this season, had his best offensive day, pacing the Wolves with two hits.

Hunter Smith added a pair of singles, while Pease and Rockwell rounded out the six-hit attack.

As he marinated in the moment, Chris Smith praised his team, top to bottom.

“We found a way to win once again,” he said with a slight chuckle. “It was a fun game and I’m very, very happy.

“Two shut-outs in a row against Chimacum, that’s huge. You know me, I absolutely LOVE those goose eggs!”

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   Sophomore catcher Gavin Knoblich made two sterling defensive plays Monday as Coupeville nipped Chimacum 1-0 to move into a first-place tie. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Wolf hurler Matt Hilborn threw a gem, whiffing nine in a complete game shutout.

Games come and go, and, after awhile, a lot of them blur together.

But a couple of times in your life you’ll play in, or coach, or lose your voice screaming in the stands, at a game that transcends mere sports.

A slice of time when a handful of young athletes will seize the moment and deliver the kind of win which will still be talked about when they have grandchildren of their own.

Monday afternoon was one of those moments.

Blazing sun as far as the eye could see, barely a whisper of a prairie breeze and a truly dynamic 1-0 win for the hometown nine, as the Coupeville High School baseball squad drove a stake through the heart of Chimacum.

The win, the seventh in the last eight games for the streaking Wolves, lifts them to 4-1 in Olympic League play, 10-4 overall.

It also gets them payback for their lone loss in the last month (a 5-4 defeat in a rainstorm at Chimacum), moves them into a first-place tie with the Cowboys (4-1, 6-7) and eliminates Klahowya (1-5, 2-11), the defending league champs, from playoff contention.

Port Townsend (1-3, 1-8), which hosts Coupeville Wednesday, still has at least a mathematical chance at being one of the two Olympic League teams to make the postseason.

But there is little doubt the league crown is a two-team race, with the Wolves and Cowboys set to meet for a third and final time Friday.

That bout, like Monday’s tilt, will be on Whidbey.

Since Chimacum doesn’t play again until that day, it will have plenty of time to let the enormity of Monday’s loss sink in.

It was a superbly-played game, ultimately decided by a mere handful of plays, primarily the ones the Wolves made.

Start with Kyle Rockwell, the urban legend and fan favorite, who completed the trifecta with his third jaw-dropping play in as many seasons.

In football, it was a fumble recovery in the home finale, after he leveled a rival runner and forced the ball to pop loose.

Come basketball season, Rockwell was a beast in the paint, and his fourth-quarter rebound and put-back on Senior Night denied Klahowya a league title.

Monday the burly, good-natured guy, who has spent much of the season camped at first, was patrolling the far reaches of right field and just minding his business in the top of the seventh inning.

Exactly where destiny wanted him to be, come hero-making time.

Down to his next-to-last throw before WIAA pitch count rules would have forced his removal, Wolf hurler Matt Hilborn was hanging by a thread.

The junior pitcher had been brilliant all day, whiffing nine, with some of his biggest K’s ending innings, but now the tying run was at second and the Wolves were still one out short of a celebration.

The same restrictive pitch count rules left Coupeville’s mound ace, Hunter Smith, firmly fixed at short, unable to come to his teammate’s aid, even for one batter.

Chimacum, which had one solid hit to its credit, way back in the first, had gotten a man aboard on a one-out nubber that drifted an inch too far wide of the mound for Hilborn to make a play.

A bunt pushed the Cowboy runner to second, and then, a low voice, a whisper more than anything, crawled across the prairie. Surely you heard it.

“Mr. Spielberg, the light is perfect. We’re ready to make some magic, sir.”

Cue the camera, cue the cinematic finale.

Fan butts, very likely clenched to the point where they could produce diamonds, hung off the edge of every seat in the packed stadium.

Except for Wendi Hilborn, who was chewing her nails as she stalked circles around the stands, her eyes locked on her baby boy as he tugged as his hat and paced the mound.

Connie Lippo, having possibly lost her voice, rocked anxiously back and forth in the stands, a strained prayer sneaking out, beginning with “Dear Lord,” and ending with “just one flippin’ out.”

On the field, the cool cat twins, Smith and second-baseman Joey Lippo, turned, nodded slightly to each other and tensed for action.

That much of a nod for this duo? They were screaming, internally at least.

And way out in right field, Rockwell arched an eyebrow, chuckled to himself, and, possibly speaking to the ghosts of prairie ballplayers past, whispered “It’s hero time, baby.”

At which point the Wolves got that “one flippin’ out,” in grand fashion.

Hilborn pounded the ball across the plate, the Chimacum hitter launched an arcing shot to right and the Cowboy at second took off like a rocket.

If any of a million little things go wrong, they wouldn’t be building a statue to Rockwell right now.

But they are. Cause this was destiny and nothing went wrong.

Charging the ball perfectly, Rockwell caught the orb as it skipped off the grass, then fired it long, low and hard, dropping it on a dime right in front of Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich, who was moving up the line towards third in anticipation.

The ball arrived, the sophomore backstop snagged it on the bounce, whirled and slapped the tag on the incoming Cowboy, using both hands and bracing for an impact that didn’t fully come.

Knowing he was (metaphorically) dead, Chimacum’s runner seemed to deflate two steps before reaching Knoblich, his uniform falling off his body as he melted like the Nazi’s at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

The uptight Cowboys and their fans may have gotten the ump to deny PA announcer Moose Moran the chance to play walk-up songs for the Wolves, but they could not deny the power of a Rock Block.

Rockwell, for his part, was mobbed and beaten senseless by his delirious teammates, especially cleanup hitter Julian Welling, who after being intentionally walked twice, was just looking for a little action.

And what about that lone run, the difference between a 1-0 win and a scoreless duel between Hilborn and Chimacum chucker Isaac Purser?

It came in the bottom of the third and benefited from a bit of its own magic.

The Wolves were sitting with two outs and no one aboard when Lippo turned on a ball and beat it savagely, trying to knock the stitches off as he deposited it deep to center for a double.

After Smith sacrificed a chunk of his back to a wayward fastball, Coupeville loaded the bags thanks to what seems like a questionable call by Chimacum’s catcher.

A third strike on Welling skittered away from his mitt, bouncing slightly towards the third base side of the plate.

Scooping the ball up, the Cowboy receiver elected not to go for Welling, who was ambling for first, but instead tried to nail the quicksilver Lippo coming in hot at third.

Predictably, that did not work out the way he intended.

Given new life, the Wolves forced across what would turn out to be the lone run of the game when Dane “Eagle Eyes” Lucero eked out a bases-loaded walk.

Trotting home at a much-more leisurely pace, Lippo tapped home, giving Hilborn, Rockwell and Co. all they would need.

Not that the Wolves didn’t want, and probably need, more.

CHS had runners aboard in three other innings, getting a two-out, first-inning double from Smith and lead-off singles from Hilborn (5th) and Jake Hoagland (6th), but couldn’t bring them around.

Purser was strong for Chimacum, but Hilborn was stronger.

He whiffed Cowboys in six of seven innings, three times nailing two hitters in a frame and ending FIVE different innings with a K.

Hilborn, who also pulled off the successful post-game Prom proposal with Wolf hoops star Ema Smith, benefited from flawless defense from his teammates.

Not only didn’t they commit an error, they made inspired play after inspired play.

Smith pulled a liner off the top of the grass, Lucero made a superb snag on a ball that took a weird bounce at third and Knoblich was the front-runner for best defensive play before Rockwell arrived for his curtain call.

Knoblich lost the handle on a third strike and chased it to the backstop, but then shocked the world (and the Cowboy batter), by arcing an epic throw while rocking backwards.

The ball took off like it caught a ride on a 747, dropping out of the air at the last possible moment.

When it plopped down, it did so into a glove attached to the arm of Welling, who pulled it in while wearing a huge grin on his face.

It was that kind of day for the Wolves.

Magical.

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