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Hawthorne Wolfe had Coupeville’s lone hit Friday in a season-closing 3-2 playoff loss. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Friday Harbor has a flair for the dramatic.

The Wolverines won two of three baseball games this season against Coupeville, with both victories coming in the bottom of the seventh and final inning.

The second of those losses — a 3-2 defeat on a neutral field in La Conner Friday afternoon — will likely sting the longest for CHS.

That’s largely because it ends Coupeville’s season a game shy of advancing to the state tournament and sends a strong pack of Wolf seniors to the exit.

CHS won the regular-season Northwest 2B/1B League title, finishing 11-1 to Friday Harbor’s 10-1 mark, with Mother Nature preventing the Wolverines from playing a final game against Orcas Island.

But, come playoff time, when the 2B schools split from the 1B, seeding is determined only by games against other 2B league schools.

Coupeville and Friday Harbor each swept a pair of games from La Conner, and split their season series, forcing a tiebreaker game to determine who would get District 1’s lone berth to the 16-team 2B state tourney.

The Wolves, who finish 13-7, were seeking their first trip to the big dance since 2014, but it wasn’t to be.

Friday Harbor, which sits at 15-2 overall after the win, begins single elimination play May 21.

Call Friday’s game what you will — a play-in game, a postseason thriller, the rubber match in a three-game royal rumble — it was decided by a hit.

In a game in which very few base-knocks were recorded.

Friday Harbor finished with just a pair of doubles, but the second one was a killer.

Meanwhile, CHS senior Hawthorne Wolfe led off the game by lacing a single, before Coupeville went 28 at-bats without registering another hit on the day.

The teams did combine to eke out 12 walks, and a handful of errors kept things interesting all the way until the end.

That final flourish came in the bottom of the seventh, with Friday Harbor’s Connor Haines drawing a one-out walk, then skittering to second on a groundout.

Freshman Graham Learing, having taken two quick strikes to begin his at-bat, beat the odds, crunching a liner to left which found daylight and dropped in for his team’s first hit since the third inning.

Running full-tilt, Haines crashed home, sending the Wolverines into celebration mode as they punched their ticket to state.

For Coupeville, which was trying to send a second-straight boys team to the tourney after basketball made the trip to Eastern Washington, it ended a frustrating finale.

The Wolves, even with just the one hit, put runners on base in five of seven innings, and led 2-0 all the way until the bottom of the fifth.

While Hawk didn’t come around to score after his opening single, Coupeville finally broke a scoreless tie with a run in the top of the fourth, then another the very next frame.

The game’s first run came courtesy Scott Hilborn, who walked, stole two bases, then tapped home after a balk.

Scott Hilborn had a strong junior season, and will be back for more.

But, while Coupeville picked up three other walks in the inning, with Xavier Murdy, Sage Sharp, and 8th grader Chase Anderson showing great patience, there was no big run-fest to be had.

Friday Harbor pitcher Nathan Posenjak, who went the distance, gave up another run in the fifth — with Jonathan Valenzuela walking and coming around to score on a wild pitch — but escaped each time.

Wolfe and Hilborn, who teamed up to whiff eight batters, matched their rival hurler, but Friday Harbor finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth.

A pair of walks and two errors allowed the Wolverines to knot the game up at 2-2 and set the stage for a dramatic ending.

Coupeville got a runner to second in the sixth, with Cody Roberts reaching on an error, but was ultimately denied, then went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh.

The game marked the end of the road for CHS seniors Murdy, Roberts, Cole Hutchinson, Sharp, and Wolfe.

Xavier Murdy, class to the end.

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Jack Porter and Coupeville bounced Friday Harbor to move into first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Is there anything sweeter than hearing the fans of a rival team getting really, really quiet?

You know, that moment when all the bluster turns into sweet, sweet tears as the guys and gals in the wrong colors realize their ferry ride home is going to be a long, sad one.

Such was the plight for Friday Harbor fans Wednesday afternoon, as the sun faded over the prairie, and their baseball team’s unblemished league record got all dinged up.

Bushwhacked 11-8 by a Coupeville hardball squad which played fast, loose, and dangerous all day, the Wolverines fell out of first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League for the first time this season.

Now it’s the real Wolves, the ones sporting black and red, who sit atop the seven-team conference at 9-1 in league play, 11-5 overall.

Friday Harbor falls a half-game back at 8-1, and Coupeville’s win all but assures the teams will meet for a third time — at a neutral site — to decide which school will claim the NWL’s only berth to the 2B state tourney.

For now, the Wolves will briefly bask in the win, then immediately hit the road to play a non-conference tilt Thursday at South Whidbey.

Senior Night against Orcas Island is Friday, with a May 3 trip to Darrington wrapping the regular season.

Wednesday’s royal rumble under rare sunny skies meant everything for Coupeville, as a Friday Harbor win would have clinched that trip to state for the visitors.

The Wolverines stole a 3-2 win the first time around, courtesy a late-game meltdown by the CHS pitching staff, but the rematch was a different story.

Coupeville hurlers Hawthorne Wolfe and Scott Hilborn largely held Friday Harbor at bay, getting into a few sticky spots at times, but almost always finding a way back out.

That was true from the get-go, as the visitors loaded the bags in the top of the first when what would have been an inning-ending third strike kicked away from CHS catcher Xavier Murdy.

Showing no nerves, Hawk nodded.

X nodded.

And the duo promptly punched out the next batter to end things with the first sob breaking loose from the throat of a Friday Harbor fan.

Sparked by the wham-bam ending, the Wolves jumped on the Wolverines for three runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Wolfe singled, Jonathan Valenzuela walked, Hilborn beat out a chopper, then Murdy whacked a ball back up the middle which Friday Harbor misplayed into a two-run error.

After that Coupeville proved it didn’t know how to flinch, with Peyton Caveness and Sage Sharp both gritting their teeth as wayward pitches found random body parts.

Peyton Caveness reached base three times in the win.

Sharp’s walk the hard way pushed the lead out to 3-0 and gave a brief glimmer of hope that CHS might just 10-run the Wolverines.

Alas, it wasn’t to be, as Friday Harbor scraped its way back into the game, dumping three runs on the board in the second, and another tally in the third to reclaim the lead.

But, just as Friday Harbor fans started to puff out their chests and let loose with a lot of pro-Wolverine chatter, Coupeville punctured their dreams.

A couple of hits, a couple of walks, and a lot of aggressive running on the basepaths — which provoked Friday Harbor errors both physical and mental — allowed CHS to bolt back in front at 8-4 through three frames.

That was a lead the Wolves would never lose.

Friday Harbor sliced the margin to 8-5 in the fourth, then 8-7 through the top of the fifth, but time and again Coupeville proved resilient.

Wolfe sliced an RBI single to center to push the lead back to two runs, before the Wolves slapped home twice on face-first dives into home in the bottom of the sixth.

Murdy came crashing home hard on a wild pitch to make it 10-7, before Caveness hugged the plate after Cody Roberts bopped a long sac fly.

Down to their final outs, the visitors got one more run in the top of the seventh but watched their final baserunner wilt as Hilborn bore down to slam the door.

First he induced a groundout to Valenzuela at third, who came up with a gorgeous throw.

As the ball snapped into the waiting glove at first, there were “oohs” and “ahs” from Coupeville fans, and a “sweet son of a goat lickin’ whore!!” (or something close) from an especially-peeved Friday Harbor rooter.

Think how that dude felt when Hilborn erased the final batter with a strikeout, the bat missing the ball by a healthy six to eight inches?

Oh, enough sweet, salty Friday Harbor tears to fill all the bathtubs in Coupeville tonight!

 

Wednesday stats:

Peyton Caveness — 2 singles, 1 walk
Scott Hilborn — 1 single
Xavier Murdy — 2 singles
Cody Roberts — 1 walk
Sage Sharp — 1 single, 2 walks
Jonathan Valenzuela — 1 walk 
Cole White — 1 single, 1 walk
Hawthorne Wolfe — 3 singles

Hawthorne Wolfe smacked three hits Wednesday, and got the win as a pitcher.

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Hawthorne Wolfe and Coupeville won Friday, keeping alive their hopes of claiming a league title. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The stage is set.

The Coupeville High School varsity baseball squad took care of business Friday, nipping host Mount Vernon Christian 4-3 to remain a half-game out of first place in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Now 8-1 in conference action, 10-5 overall, the Wolves host defending NWL champs, and current frontrunner, Friday Harbor (8-0, 11-1) Tuesday, Apr. 26.

The first time the hardball teams met, Coupeville fell 3-2 to the Wolverines.

After Tuesday’s battle royal, CHS has league games remaining with Orcas Island (4-3) and Darrington (1-6), while Friday Harbor plays Concrete (0-6), La Conner (1-7), and Orcas.

A win Tuesday is crucial for Coupeville, as only one of the league’s three 2B schools advances to the playoffs, with that squad going straight to the 16-team state tourney.

La Conner is already eliminated, leaving Friday Harbor and CHS to vie for the league crown, and the postseason berth.

With that in mind, Friday’s rumble in Mount Vernon was huge for the Wolves, and they stepped up big time.

“An amazing game; was fun to be part of,” said Coupeville coach Will Thayer. “Hawk (Wolfe) and Cody (Roberts) pitched a hell of a game.”

The Wolves jumped on MVC for three runs in the top of the first, raising hopes that the game might be a blow-out.

Wolfe led off the game with a walk, scampered to second on a stolen base, then careened home on the first of two doubles Scott Hilborn would blast on the day.

Scott Hilborn is a force at the plate and on the basepaths.

The hit parade continued with Xavier Murdy drilling an RBI single to right field, before the wily senior came around to score himself thanks to smart base-running and an MVC wild pitch.

But while Coupeville pitcher Cody Roberts was stifling the Hurricanes, his own team’s bats suddenly went to sleep after the opening rally.

Following Murdy’s base-knock, MVC retired 11 straight Wolves, preventing Coupeville from adding to its lead.

CHS didn’t get another base runner on until Sage Sharp was plunked by a wayward pitch leading off the top of the fifth.

Unfortunately though, both he and teammate Cole White, who singled in that frame, were stranded.

The hosts made things dicey with their own three-run surge in the bottom of the fifth, using a couple of key hits to tie the game up and tighten Coupeville collars.

Or so it might have seemed.

The reality was Hilborn was primed to save the day, bopping his second two-bagger in the sixth inning, then scoring the go-ahead run when Peyton Caveness reached on an error.

Given the lead back, Coupeville turned to its version of Mariano Rivera — one Hawthorne Wolfe, Esq. — and he sealed the win with a strong relief appearance.

MVC had the tying and winning runs on base in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, but Wolfe induced the game’s final two outs, then strolled back to the bus, ready for Tuesday’s titanic tussle.

Coupeville finished with six hits Friday, getting solid bat work from Hilborn (two doubles), Cole White (1B), Wolfe (1B), Murdy (1B), and Sharp (1B).

Roberts and Wolfe combined to limit to MVC to just four base-knocks while striking out five Hurricanes.

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Senior Cody Roberts was dominant Tuesday, as Coupeville High School pitchers held Concrete to two hits in a doubleheader sweep. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a shellacking in the sunshine.

Taking advantage of a surprisingly nice day Tuesday, the Coupeville High School varsity baseball squad got two games in, with both being lopsided victories.

Sweeping visiting Concrete 11-0 and 19-0 in games mercy-ruled after five innings, the Wolves improve to 7-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 9-5 overall.

That leaves Coupeville a half-game back of defending league champ Friday Harbor (7-0 in NWL action) and two games up on third-place Mount Vernon Christian (5-3).

The next two games are as big as any this season, with the Wolves set to square off with their prime rivals.

Coupeville travels to MVC this Friday, Apr. 22, before hosting Friday Harbor Apr. 26.

The Wolves head into those games with the warm glow of victory cascading everywhere, after wrecking winless Concrete.

Not only did Coupeville outscore the Lions 30-0, it also outhit the visitors 23-2, pasting the ball to all fields.

 

Game #1:

The opener gave locals a chance to watch Cody Roberts tossing liquid heat, as the senior righty whiffed nine across four innings of work.

He no-hit Concrete during his time on the hill, scattering some walks to keep things interesting, before turning things over to 8th grade ace Chase Anderson.

The future of Wolf baseball also proved to be deadly in the present, with “The Magic Man” slamming the door with a pair of knee-buckling strikeouts after the Lions scratched out their only base-knock of the game.

Chase Anderson gets electric.

Offensively, Coupeville chipped, chipped, chipped away, before finally busting loose in the late going.

The Wolves opened the scoring in the bottom of the first thanks to Jonathan Valenzuela blistering a two-out, two-run single back up the middle.

From there Coupeville rinsed and repeated, pushing two more runners across in both the second and third to build a 6-0 lead.

Cody Roberts had the big blow in the second, bopping a double which curled down the left field line and hit paydirt.

With the lead in hand, the Wolves shoved the game into mercy-rule land by dumping five runs on the board in the fourth inning.

Coupeville mixed a flurry of hits — including a bunt single from the fleet-footed Anderson — and several Concrete errors to officially end things.

 

Game #2:

New pitcher, same results.

Coupeville senior Hawthorne Wolfe took the bump in the nightcap and went the distance, recording 13 strikeouts across five innings of (almost) no-hit ball.

The Lions poked a leadoff single into left to open the fifth inning, putting their first runner aboard since the game’s second hitter had his lower leg blown off by a wayward Wolfe pitch.

After that, the most entertaining man in high school sports entertainment was in lock-down mode, flicking fastballs past flailing Concrete hitters, then piling up base-knocks when he himself was at the plate.

Hawthorne Wolfe throws ’em, but you can’t hit ’em.

Wolfe crunched three of Coupeville’s 14 hits in the second game, and should have had a fourth one, only to be denied by an ump who left his seeing eye dog in the car.

Not that it ultimately mattered, as CHS put this game on ice quickly.

Sending 18 batters to the plate in the first inning, the Wolves tapped home plate 13 times, with the carnage only stopped by a runner being called out on interference on a pop-up to third base.

Mixing JV players with varsity veterans, Coupeville coach Will Thayer got action for everyone in uniform in the nightcap, doing what he could to ease the pain of a blowout.

The Wolves still added three runs in the second and another three in the fourth, with Concrete failing several times to get out of innings when it had the chance.

8th grader Aiden O’Neill walloped a gorgeous double to deep left to start one rally, with Jack Porter ripping a two-run single to cap another.

Along the way Wolf catcher Peyton Caveness was drilled not once, but twice, with pitches which got away from Concrete’s hurlers.

He wore both plunkings with style, earning a nod of approval from big sis Coral, who was hit approximately 43,917 times during her own stellar Coupeville softball career.

 

Tuesday stats:

Chase Anderson — 1 single
Peyton Caveness — 2 singles, 2 walks
Camden Glover — 1 walk
Scott Hilborn — 2 singles
Cole Hutchinson — 1 single
Xavier Murdy — 2 walks
Aiden O’Neill — 1 double, 1 walk
Jack Porter — 1 single
Cody Roberts — 1 single, 2 walks
Landon Roberts — 2 singles, 1 walk
Sage Sharp — 2 singles, 1 double
Jonathan Valenzuela — 2 singles
Cole White — 3 singles
Hawthorne Wolfe — 4 singles, 1 walk

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Scott Hilborn fires a bullet Friday as Coupeville High School baseball sweeps a doubleheader from La Conner. (Morgan White photo)

It was a great birthday present.

Coupeville High School varsity baseball coach Will Thayer celebrated his cake day in grand style Friday, guiding his squad to a doubleheader sweep at La Conner.

The twin victories lift the Wolves to 5-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 7-5 overall.

That keeps Coupeville just a game back of defending league champ Friday Harbor (6-0) and a half-game up on Mount Vernon Christian (5-2) as the teams battle for conference supremacy in the seven-team NWL.

Friday’s doubleheader was a pretty solid beat-down too, as the Wolves soaked in the rare sun and ran away with 11-2 and 21-4 wins.

 

Game #1:

CHS pitchers Scott Hilborn and Hawthorne Wolfe combined to whiff 15 Braves in the victory, holding La Conner at bay until the Wolf sluggers got crackin’.

“Took a minute for our bats to warm up, but a good game,” Thayer said.

Coupeville opened the scoring by pushing two runs across in the top of the second, then tacked on another tally in the third.

The top of the fourth was where things busted wide open, however, as the Wolves rained down five runs in a rally keyed by base-knocks from Hilborn and Jonathan Valenzuela.

Hawthorne Wolfe and Co. kept their bats sizzlin’ in the road wins. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Coupeville, which added three runs in the fifth to round out its scoring, took advantage of whatever La Conner gave it.

The Wolves cracked eight hits, with Cole White, Sage Sharp, and Valenzuela recording two apiece, while also walking seven times.

Whatever hopes La Conner had of pulling off the upset faded every time a ball hit one of their fielder’s gloves, as the Braves committed a horrifying nine errors to make life tough for their pitchers.

 

Game #2:

Coupeville cut this one short, with a 12-run fourth inning helping the Wolves seal the deal in a game mercy-ruled after five frames.

“One of my favorite games I ever coached,” Thayer said. “Everyone played and we had fun.”

The Wolves sent 8th graders Chase Anderson and Coop Cooper to the mound in the nightcap, and the young guns sizzled, getting nine of 15 outs via the strikeout.

Chase Anderson brings the knee-buckling heat. (Morgan White photo)

The ball flew off of Coupeville’s bats as well, with six different players recording two hits as the Wolves rang up 15 base-knocks in the finale.

Wolfe cracked a triple to lead the way, while Hilborn, Peyton Caveness, Johnny Porter, and Anderson all bashed two-baggers in support.

 

Friday stats:

Chase Anderson — 1 single, 1 double, 2 walks
Peyton Caveness — 1 single, 1 double, 1 walk
Coop Cooper — 1 single
Scott Hilborn — 2 singles, 1 double, 1 walk
Cole Hutchinson — 1 walk
Xavier Murdy — 2 singles, 3 walks
Aiden O’Neill — 1 single
Jack Porter — 1 double
Johnny Porter — 1 double, 1 walk
Sage Sharp — 2 singles, 1 walk
Jonathan Valenzuela — 2 singles, 2 walks
Cole White — 4 singles
Hawthorne Wolfe — 1 single, 1 triple, 1 walk
Kai Wong — 1 walk

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