Posts Tagged ‘Hope Lodell’

International woman of mystery Ema Smith gets some lovin’ from her assistant at Monday’s Coupeville High School baseball game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Former Wolf baseball star Morgan Payne eyeballs the next generation.

A mix of parents, grandparents and hanger-on’s congregate in the stands.

Former CHS volleyball/softball sensation Hope Lodell swings by her alma mater to support boyfriend Dane Lucero.

Coupeville AD Willie Smith wistfully reflects on his days on the diamond.

With a third, and final, son playing for Coupeville, Joan Payne once again faces the horrors of trying to clean white baseball pants.

“Why yes, I am a good dog. Thank you for asking!”

Wolf superstars Ashley Menges (left) and Kylie Chernikoff enjoy a spring day on the prairie, in all its cloudy, cool, about-to-rain glory.

When in doubt, turn the camera away from the field.

Ever-busy paparazzi John Fisken buzzed by the Coupeville High School baseball field Monday, making his first visit to the Wolf diamond.

While in town, he found time to hang out in the stands, schmooze and fire off a round of photos, some of which can be seen above.

To see game action photos, pop over to:


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Hope Lodell charges out, ready to slice ‘n dice foes as The Surgeon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Pick a sport, and The Surgeon will carve you up.

Hope Lodell is among the most talented athletes I have written about, and it’s far more than just what she did between the lines on a field or court.

From the moment she was born, she was frankly kind of uncanny.

Walking around while doing a handstand, and not just a few lurching feet, but traveling as far as she wanted to, her body never wavering.

In later years, she amused herself by doing pull-ups on the softball dugout during rain delays, effortlessly ripping them off until she realized everyone was watching her, mouths agape.

Dropping back down to the ground, in much the same way a cougar would pounce off of a rock to attack its prey, Lodell shook her head, smiled, rolled her eyes and bounced off to do other feats of strength, away from autograph seekers.

She could have been a hellion on the basketball court.

Actually she was, in middle school, but then left CHS coaches to sob uncontrollably in their morning Cheerios over her decision to not play the sport in high school.

What Lodell did choose was volleyball and softball, and, for four solid years, she was a BEAST. And yes, that word is supposed to be capitalized, thank you.

On the volleyball court, she was a wild woman unleashed, one of the best servers in the entire freakin’ state.

Jumping, twirling, flying into the gym from somewhere out in the hallway, then going airborne and uncorking raw, blistering heat, she peppered foes (and teammates in practice) with balls they had little chance to return.

If that alone, the ability to crush her serves, was all she had, Lodell would have been a star.

But she could do it all on the court, and morphed her game to fit what the coaches asked of her any given day.

That was never more evident than in her senior season, when she slid into the libero position formerly occupied by Valen Trujillo.

Others would have stumbled a bit, learning a new position, and a vitally important one at that, on the fly.

Lodell? She went out, adapted in the blink of an eye, and brought home an Olympic League MVP award, while helping CHS sweep through conference action without losing a set.

Fresh off their second-straight league crown, Lodell and the Wolves advanced to state as well, the first time the Coupeville spikers had gone to the big dance in more than a decade.

Put her on a softball diamond and she was a walking, talking web gem come to life. Just replace “walking” with “sprinting from corner to corner of the outfield on a dead run.”

There were few balls which evaded her glove in four years of anchoring the defense in center, and Lodell was equally dangerous with her bat and her feet.

Multiple All-Conference honors and two runs at qualifying for the state tourney which fell just a pitch or two short, and the highlight reel never stopped running.

But as amazing as she is as an athlete, Lodell is even more impressive in the other aspects of her life.

I call her The Surgeon for two reasons.

One, she carved up opponents in the arena, and two, she will one day be carving people as a doctor.

And probably curing cancer or some disease we haven’t heard about yet, cause her brain is just that impressive.

Some of the athletes I write about I’ve known for a short period of time. Others a few years.

With Hope, I’ve known her since the day she was born, and she has remained the same joyous force of nature, the same kind, caring, high-achieving supernova, every step of her path.

She is going to blow our minds with what she accomplishes post-high school. Of that, there is no doubt.

So, today, before she starts winning all the world-wide awards, I’m slipping in to give her a local honor.

We’re swinging open the doors of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame and welcoming Lodell to our little digital playground.

After this, you’ll find her lounging up at the top of the blog, enshrined under the Legends tab.

Take a peek inside and she’ll be easy to find. She’ll be the one doing one-arm pull-ups on the doorway to the Hall.

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Lauren Rose is one of three Wolf seniors who will play in an All-Star fastpitch softball game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’ll be joined by slugging sensation Katrina McGranahan.

Hope Lodell, here dropping a bunt, rounds out the terrific trio.

One more day on the diamond as teammates.

Coupeville High School seniors Lauren Rose, Katrina McGranahan and Hope Lodell have been invited to play in an annual All-Star fastpitch softball game hosted by the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable.

The game is set for May 30 at the Kitsap Fairgrounds and will be a nine-inning affair, with first pitch at 4 PM.

The Wolf trio, who were four-year starters and perennial All-Conference players for CHS, will wear their school uniforms.

McGranahan has been Coupeville’s primary pitcher the past four years, while Lodell patrolled center field.

Rose was a jack of all trades, catching as a freshman, doing duty at third-base as a sophomore and junior and closing her prep career at shortstop.

Coupeville won 47 games and an Olympic League title during their run, twice coming within a game of advancing to the state tournament.

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   CHS softball seniors Hope Lodell (2), Lauren Rose (8) and Katrina McGranahan (11) gaze out across the prairie one final time. (Cheri McGranahan photos)

The trio link up with manager Kayla Rose.

“They are all my daughters.”

As the afternoon faded into early evening Wednesday, Coupeville High School softball coach Kevin McGranahan took the mic and spoke from the heart.

A tall, burly dude, a career military man, he can look like a tough guy from a distance, but up close there is another side to the diamond guru, one which clearly shone through as he tried to tamp down the emotion in his voice.

His Wolf squad had lost a ball game, falling 13-5 to a strong-hitting 2A Sequim team which has taken large strides from the unit which Coupeville swept two games from last year.

But one loss does not a season make, and facing tough foes will hopefully strengthen the Wolves, who sit at 11-6 with one regular season game remaining Friday at Port Angeles.

CHS is the 1A Olympic League champs and begins the double-elimination district tourney May 18.

A year ago, the Wolves came within one strike of making it to state, and McGranahan is firmly focused on what it will take to get the two wins necessary to punch Coupeville’s ticket to the big dance.

Except, as the sun crept away Wednesday, the clouds slid over the prairie and the cupcakes were handed out, he had a lot more on his mind.

Looking at his four seniors — Lauren Rose, Hope Lodell, manager Kayla Rose, and then, finally, daughter Katrina McGranahan — the Wolf coach saw the past, the present and the future, all captured in one moment.

He’s in his third season at the helm of the CHS program, but has coached these young women, and many of their teammates, since they were in their early days on the diamond.

They went to the state tournament in little league, back when they called themselves the Venom, and then they reunited to carry the high school program to heights rarely seen on the prairie.

Lauren Rose, Lodell and Katrina McGranahan have been starters for CHS since the first moment they stepped on the field as freshmen, playing for Deanna Rafferty, who stayed around for only one season as a coach.

Kevin McGranahan returned from a deployment after that, stepped into the coaching gig, Kayla Rose became team manager, and the Wolves have gone 39-22 since that moment.

Last year’s 19-5 squad, which saw the trio make the All-League team (Katrina McGranahan was MVP), was the best since the immortal 2002 Wolf softball sluggers.

Wednesday they couldn’t overcome Sequim’s power, but it didn’t diminish the moment.

“These seniors have and always will have a special place in my softball coaching memories,” Kevin McGranahan said. “Yes, my daughter Katrina is ending her high school softball career, but she is not my only daughter moving on this year.

“The coaches and I spend so much time with these players they all become like daughters to us.”

Playing at home for the final time, the trio, who are vastly different in personality yet united in their integrity, work ethic and genuine love for their teammates, all had a major impact.

Lodell lashed an RBI triple to center, the ball coming off her bat like a cannon, then dipping and biting pay-dirt as it skipped merrily past a charging fielder.

Rose cracked a single to center, one of two times she reached base, while Katrina McGranahan peppered a pair of singles, including one in her final at-bat on the field she has claimed as her own.

Coupeville rallied from an early two-run deficit to build a 4-2 lead after two innings, plating three in the first and a single run in the second.

The big base-knocks came from Katrina McGranahan and Scout Smith, who both collected RBI singles, but Sequim’s extra-base power soon chipped away at the lead.

Four runs in the top of the third gave the visitors the lead, and after Chelsea Prescott and Lodell got one back with a pair of triples, Coupeville’s offense sputtered out for a bit.

Sequim took advantage, pushing the lead from 6-5 out to 13-5 while the Wolves went down in order in the fourth and fifth innings.

CHS got metal on ball, with Emma Mathusek being flat-out robbed when a Sequim infielder made a sensational stabbing catch on a liner back up the middle that had extra bases written all over it.

Coupeville shut down the visitors over the final two innings, with Lodell making a superb catch in deep center on the run, but was never able to get its offense back to its early-game fireworks.

The Wolves finished with seven hits, with Katrina McGranahan leading the way with a pair of singles.

Prescott and Lodell had their triples, while Rose, Smith and Veronica Crownover all added a base-hit.

While the loss chips away slightly at Coupeville’s record, that was largely overlooked in the post-game Senior Night festivities.

Catcher Sarah Wright, reading the words written by Katrina McGranahan, choked up and had to fan herself for a moment when she neared the end, where the Wolf hurler talked about her partner.

“We started the sport together and I’m happy to be ending the sport with you. I loved watching you grow not only as an athlete but a person as well. I love y’all, thanks for being a part of me.”

It was a sentiment spread to all her teammates by Lauren Rose, known as “Mouse,” “Munchkin,” “Lo” and “Keebler Elf” at various points over the years.

“I am beyond blessed to have so many memories with this group of girls from little league with the juniors and seniors to these past couple years with the underclassmen,” Rose wrote.

“Without you guys this team would not be nearly as exciting as it is. It may be Senior Night but our season is far from over!”

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   Coupeville freshman Coral Caveness has provided strong defensive play at second base this weekend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If Lynden Christian was expecting an easy Saturday, that’s not what it got.

Facing a Coupeville High School softball team playing its third game in as many days, with all three games in different towns, the undefeated Lyncs barely escaped with their perfect record intact.

Storming back from six runs down, powered by the last three hitters in their lineup, the Wolves came as close as any team to toppling LC this season before falling 7-5.

The non-conference road loss drops Coupeville to 9-4, while Lynden Christian rises to 13-0.

While it wasn’t a win, the day was full of positives for CHS coach Kevin McGranahan, an old pro who knows a narrow loss to a top-notch team often means far more than just mashing another also-ran.

“Nothing to be ashamed of, ladies. That’s the fight I want to see!,” he told his players afterwards.

Lynden Christian is undefeated because they are highly-proficient and fundamentally sound.

Taking advantage of a few “early errors and ticky-tack mistakes,” the Lyncs built a 7-1 lead before the very-determined Wolves mounted a sustained comeback which forced LC to bring back its top pitcher and bear down big time at the end to escape.

Coupeville’s bats took a few innings to warm up, with the first six Wolves going down in order.

Hope Lodell finally broke though, leading off the third with a beautiful bunt that she dropped to the left of the plate with a precise flick of the wrist.

She had barely scampered across the bag at first when freshman Mollie Bailey followed with a sharply-slapped single past the pitcher’s backside, putting CHS into business for the first time.

And while Lynden escaped the inning fairly unscathed, with the Lync catcher gunning down Lodell by half a step at third on a steal attempt to blunt the rally, the Wolves were finally clicking.

Down 5-0 headed to the top of the fourth (LC got three in the first and two in the third, with both mini-runs aided by Wolf errors), Coupeville finally got on the board.

Katrina McGranahan grooved a pitch, lashing a lead-off triple off the wall in right, then Chelsea Prescott brought her home with a long sac fly.

While Lynden scraped out two more runs in the fourth, when an epic fly ball snuck barely under the glove of a sprawling Lodell in center, the Wolves were on the prowl.

Back-to-back-to-back singles from Lodell, Bailey and Emma Mathusek, Coupeville’s 7-8-9 hitters, kicked off the fifth, before Smith brought home a second run with a grounder to second.

With the lead cut to 7-3, Coupeville launched an unexpected rally in the sixth, getting things started with two outs and no one on board.

Veronica Crownover spanked a single over the shortstop’s head to spark another run of Wolf hits.

Lodell followed with her third base-knock of the day, a booming double to left-center, then Mackenzie Davis rifled an RBI single to right on the very next pitch.

Back-to-back walks to Mathusek and Smith loaded the bags, then forced home yet another run and Lyncs fans were openly sweating on a reasonably cool day.

But Lynden is undefeated for a reason, and it stared down into the abyss without blinking.

A big strikeout brought the sixth to an end, and, with their closer firing cannon balls from short range in the seventh, the Wolves went down 1-2-3, though the final two outs were both on hard-hit balls.

Lynden Christian’s defense was impeccable, however, with not a single bobbled ball, and that made life extra-tough for a Coupeville squad looking for a final miracle.

The Wolves finished with eight hits, and seven of those came from their 7-8-9 hitters.

Lodell (1B, 1B, 2B) led the way, while Crownover, Bailey, Davis and Mathusek added singles.

Katrina McGranahan tripled, Smith led the squad with two RBI and fab frosh Coral Caveness had a couple of big defensive plays at second.

While he was pleased with the comeback, Kevin McGranahan was also all smiles over the fact the bottom third of his hitting order proved so potent.

He knows Coupeville’s big mashers will be on fire virtually every game, but getting contributions top to bottom is key to the Wolves being explosive come playoff time.

“The bottom of our lineup is clicking well and did the most damage today,” he said. “Emma is really doing well in the nine-hole and learning that role is very important.”

JV falls:

Facing a Lynden squad heavy in seniors and varsity players pulling double duty, the Wolf young guns jumped out to an early lead, but couldn’t hold on.

The 14-3 loss was Coupeville’s first JV defeat, leaving them at 3-1.

Davis provided half the Wolf offense, smacking a pair of singles, while Caveness and Bailey also collected base-knocks.

Caveness put CHS on the board in the first, beating out an infield chopper, stealing second, zooming to third on a ground-out, then coming around to score on a passed ball.

Coupeville’s other two runs came home in the fourth, with Thora Iverson scoring on a Chelsea Prescott ground-out and Bailey unleashing an ultra-rare slide to get under a tag after streaking for home on a wild pitch.

Iverson also had a sensational running catch on a wildly-drifting pop-up, pulling the ball into the tip of her glove at the last second, and fans were treated to a dance-off between Bailey and Wright.

Lynden Christian plays music between innings and Coupeville’s catchers, who share an irrepressible nature that would have made Footloose-era Kevin Bacon proud, have never turned down a chance to bop to the beat … ever.

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