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Posts Tagged ‘Izzy Wells’

Izzy Wells? A lovely human being, and a pretty darn good athlete, too. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She was the serene superstar.

Now, I don’t live inside the brain of Izzy Wells, so it’s possible there were fireworks going off in there every single game.

Her stomach might have been dive-bombed by butterflies, and non-stop cold sweats may have been the rule.

If so, she hides it really, really well.

Throughout her athletic career in Coupeville — from little league exploits to middle school success on to high school excellence, Izzy projected such utter calmness in everything she did.

When she was in the pitcher’s circle on the softball diamond, she could be up by 10 runs or down by five, and she had an uncanny knack to look peaceful, yet determined every time.

It’s a rare trait, one which Wells displayed both as a newbie and as a grizzled vet, and it makes for a highly successful pitcher.

“I’m gonna throw it … but you’re not gonna hit it.”

Now, the Izzinator could break off a nasty fastball which drilled a hole through a rival’s bat as it finished its journey into a waiting catcher’s mitt.

She could chuck BBs with the best of them.

But it was that calmness which flowed out of her, and around her, which centered her team and was — in my opinion at least — her greatest weapon.

Izzy never seemed to get too high or too low, with just a small smile peeking out in rare moments when her sheer awesomeness overwhelmed even her.

Even with a pandemic making the middle part of her high school days a royal pain, she had a run of success which matches up with any Wolf hurler who ever stepped into the circle.

As a freshman, she was the staff ace for a team which got stronger as the season went on, roaring from behind to smack big, bad Granite Falls en route to earning a ticket to the state tourney.

Izzy, chucking liquid heat on her home field, stared down the most-feared hitter in the league, senior slugger Samantha Vanderwel, with a crucial game on the line late in the regular season.

The first time Coupeville faced the homer-happy Tigers, it lost badly. The second time, the Wolves were nipped.

Meeting #3 ended with Izzy firing a laser, Vanderwel swinging with every ounce of her strength and hitting nothing but air, and Wolf catcher Sarah Wright screaming like a banshee in celebration.

In the circle, a slight dip of her head, a half-smile, and then Wells vanished under a dogpile of her teammates.

It was the turning point, as Coupeville roared from behind to tie for a league title, earn a #1 seed to districts — where it beat Granite again — then go on to state for a three-game run which included eliminating highly ranked Deer Park.

The pandemic robbed Izzy of her sophomore season, but she endured, leading CHS to a 12-0 mark in a cut-down junior campaign and a 16-3 record as a senior — when her catcher was often lil’ sis Savina.

Savina (left) and Izzy — how it started…

How it’s going.

Coupeville went a truly impressive 43-13 during Izzy’s time in uniform, with her morphing from a young gunslinger to an all-around weapon as her batting skills boomed in her final two seasons.

She could crank the ball deep into the prairie clouds or slap hits past diving infielders and was always one of the smarter base runners to play for the Wolves.

And yet, as talented on the softball field as she was — and that’s my enduring image of her, Izzy standing motionless in the circle, eyes narrowing ever so slightly behind her face mask as she mentally mapped out her next strikeout — she was successful in everything she did.

A volleyball spiker, a soccer ace, and Miss Dependable on the basketball court, dropping in buckets with her patented super-soft layup.

“Scuse me, pardon me, coming through to score another basket.”

Izzy rang up 204 points across four seasons of varsity ball, finishing as the #3 scorer during both her junior and senior campaigns.

She could give you some of everything on the hardwood, bringing defense, teamwork, and a strong hoops IQ to everything she did.

When I call Izzy a “glue” player, it’s a high compliment.

She helped hold things together, and, again, was always the face of calm in the heat of athletic battle, whether her team was romping to a win or fighting tooth and nail to stay alive.

Hanging out with fellow seniors (l to r) Violette Huegerich, Mckenna Somes, and Audrianna Shaw.

Through it all, the happiest I saw her was when someone close to her, from sister Savina to friends like Ja’Kenya Hoskins and Mckenna Somes, were successful in their endeavors.

Izzy rightfully earned honors of her own — up to and including being named league MVP in softball — but seeing her pride and joy in other’s accomplishments truly highlights her quiet leadership.

In the classroom she was a talented scholar, finishing in the top 10 of all graduates from the CHS Class of 2022, and, in her spare time, she is helping raise what is arguably the town’s most-popular dog.

The Wells clan, featuring a scene-stealing pup.

Looking ahead, I can’t envision any world in which Miss Wells doesn’t go on to accomplish truly amazing things in her future.

Over the course of the 10-year run of this blog, Izzy has been one of my personal favorites, and I am very happy to induct her today into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

After this you’ll find her hanging out up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab, a designation she more than earned.

It’s for Izzy’s play on the diamond and the hardwood, the pitch and the court, for her work in the classroom or with a musical instrument in hand, and for the way she remains one of the highest-quality people to ever rep the red and black.

She was ever-more successful as she got older, but the middle of Lyle and Katy Wells three children has been a truly lovely human being every step of the way.

It was always easy to root for you, Izzy, and that will never change.

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Izzy Wells, best softball player in the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Izzinator was a dominator.

Coupeville High School senior pitcher Izzy Wells capped her prep softball career by being tabbed as the Northwest 2B/1B League MVP.

Unhittable while chucking BB’s, and owner of a booming bat when camped out at the plate, she led the Wolves to an 8-0 mark in conference action, 16-3 overall.

Coupeville, despite losing a season-and-a-half to Covid, finished 43-13 during the Age of Izzy.

Allie Lucero rakes.

Wells wasn’t the only Wolf honored by NWL coaches, as the league champs landed six players on All-Conference teams.

Senior Audrianna Shaw joins freshmen Mia Farris and Madison McMillan in collecting First-Team honors.

Making the Second-Team list were freshman Taylor Brotemarkle and junior twin titans Maya and Allie Lucero.

Wolf head man Kevin McGranahan was tabbed as NWL Coach of the Year as well.

Mia Farris plays lock-down defense among the spring flowers.

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Audrianna Shaw erases another rival batter. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf seniors (l to r) Violette Huegerich, Shaw, Mckenna Somes, and Izzy Wells led Coupeville High School softball to a 16-3 record this spring. (Jackie Saia photo)

It’s not over until all the awards are bestowed.

The Coupeville High School softball program put an official cap on things Tuesday, handing out letters and honors to a wide range of players.

The banquet marked the end of another very-successful season for the Wolves, with the varsity going 16-3 and the JV finishing 6-2-1.

Led by diamond guru Kevin McGranahan, CHS coaches doled out the following:

 

Varsity awards:

MVP — Izzy Wells

Offensive MVP — Audrianna Shaw

Defensive MVP — Madison McMillan

Rookie of the Year — Mia Farris

Hustle Award — Taylor Brotemarkle

Captains — Allice Lucero, Maya Lucero, Audrianna Shaw, Izzy Wells

Four-Year Awards — Audrianna Shaw, McKenna Somes, Izzy Wells

 

Varsity letter winners:

Taylor Brotemarkle
Mia Farris
Gwen Gustafson
Violette Huegerich
Allie Lucero
Maya Lucero
Madison McMillan
Melanie Navarro
Sofia Peters
Audrianna Shaw
Mckenna Somes
Izzy Wells
Savina Wells

 

Melanie Navarro swats another hit. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

 

JV awards:

Offensive MVP — Melanie Navarro

Defensive MVP — Teagan Calkins

Hustle Award — Katie Marti

Most Improved — Edie Bittner

Heart of the Wolf — Jada Heaton

 

JV certificates:

Edie Bittner
Teagan Calkins
Camryn Clark
Alondra Cruz
Jada Heaton
Katie Marti
Chloe Marzocca
Candace Meek
Maya Nottingham

Teagan Calkins wants the pitch right there … or else! (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Covid turned four seasons of high school softball into 2.5 for Izzy Wells, but she led Coupeville to a 43-13 record during that time. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Izzy Wells and Audrianna Shaw will be remembered as elite softball players, two of the best to ever wear a Coupeville High School uniform.

Their prep careers ended Saturday at Fort Borst Park in Centralia, as the Wolves fell 15-4 to Toledo in a winner-to-state, loser-out game.

But that final score is a bit deceptive, as the game wasn’t a blow-out until the very end, when the Riverhawks busted open a 5-4 thriller with 10 runs across the final three innings.

Coupeville finishes 16-3, while Toledo carries a 16-9 record as it preps for a trip to the 12-team 2B state tourney in Yakima.

For Wells and Shaw, the state tourney is where their high school diamond journey really got going.

As freshmen, the duo was part of a 2019 Wolf squad which played three games in one day at the 1A big dance, a run which included eliminating highly ranked Deer Park.

But then the world, and their softball dreams, took a major hit, with a pandemic shutting down school sports.

Wells and Shaw lost their entire sophomore season, before playing a chopped-down, 12-game junior campaign while wearing masks and having no chance for a postseason.

Jump forward to their senior year, and the duo led Coupeville to another league title, only to be stung once again by the vagaries of life.

CHS played the waiting game during an 18-day gap between the regular-season finale and Saturday’s playoff game.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association dictates you have to have 50 schools playing a sport for a 16-team state tourney, and 2B softball only had 49 this spring.

So, welcome to a 12-team championship event.

Welcome to Coupeville’s home, District 1, being told its champ would not automatically qualify for the big dance, as previously promised.

And welcome to the Wolves being forced to sit 18 days between games, travel 138 miles, then play a sudden-death contest against District 4’s #5 team for that elusive ticket to state.

A Toledo squad which was playing its third game of the day and sixth during the five-day District 4 tourney.

Which could have meant the Riverhawks would be tired. Or, more likely, that they would be in a groove.

Choose the latter, as Toledo, which began the season 4-6, won for the twelfth time in its last 15 games.

The Riverhawks won four of six at the D4 tourney, outscoring foes 75-23 and losing only to Forks and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley, which are also state bound.

In the early going, it looked like Coupeville would add another loss to Toledo’s record, as the Wolves jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings of play.

After Izzy Wells, prowling the pitcher’s circle, ended the top of the first with an emphatic strikeout, CHS pushed three runs across in the bottom of the frame.

Walks to Shaw, Gwen Gustafson, and Izzy Wells set the table, with freshmen Mia Farris and Savina Wells both coming up with well-placed singles to key the early onslaught.

Savina Wells is one of four freshmen who started this season for a 16-3 CHS diamond crew.

A third Wolf fab frosh, shortstop Taylor Brotemarkle, walked to open the second inning, before coming around to score on an RBI single from Farris.

Up 4-0, things were looking good, but, while it didn’t yet know it, Coupeville wouldn’t score again this season after Brotemarkle slapped home.

The Wolves put runners on base in every inning, finishing the day with seven hits and eight walks, but couldn’t sustain any late rallies.

That gave Toledo time to get its own bats poppin’, with the Riverhawks cutting the deficit to 4-3 in the third, before surging ahead 5-4 through four frames.

Two more tallies in the fifth stretched the lead to 7-4, with a pair of four-run innings in Toledo’s final at-bats making the score far more lopsided than expected.

“They hit the ball all over the field,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan. “Our girls played well, but the hits were all solid and well-placed.”

Even as the season wound down, the Wolves continued to scrap for every out, something which pleased their coach.

“The girls were focused and ready to play and left it all on the field,” McGranahan said.

Izzy Wells and Audrianna Shaw, four-year varsity players who got to actually play 2.5 years, depart, with fellow seniors Mckenna Somes and Violette Huegerich also set to graduate.

But Coupeville is built for the future.

Four of Saturday’s starters — Farris, Brotemarkle, Madison McMillan, and Savina Wells — are freshmen, while a fifth — leftfielder Teagan Calkins — is only an 8th grader.

 

Saturday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 walk
Mia Farris — 2 singles
Gwen Gustafson — 2 walks
Allie Lucero — 2 walks
Maya Lucero — 1 walk
Madison McMillan — 1 single
Audrianna Shaw — 2 singles, 1 walk
Izzy Wells — 1 walk
Savina Wells — 2 singles

Mia Farris is ready to sprint into even more success.

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Izzy Wells whiffed 12 in a six-inning no-hitter Tuesday in Darrington. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Level achieved.

Taking care of business Tuesday, the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad capped another perfect run through conference play with a 10-0 win at Darrington.

The victory lifts the Wolves to 8-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 16-2 overall, but the season is far from done.

The current plan calls for Coupeville’s sluggers, the best in District 1, to twiddle their collective thumbs until May 21, when they’ll travel to Centralia for a winner-to-state, loser-out game against the #5 team from District 4.

That’s a long gap, made necessary by D-4, which has 20 schools playing 2B softball, holding its postseason tourney first.

Since teams can play 20 games before the playoffs, there is some hope Coupeville may be able to rustle up another non-conference game or two between now and then.

Otherwise, it’s practice, practice, and more practice as the Wolves prep for their state play-in game.

“We have to come out ready to go on the 21st in Centralia,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan. “Gotta treat every game from here on out like a loser-out game, because, as of right now, they are.”

While Coupeville might not have played its best game of the season Tuesday, the Wolves delivered another solid performance.

The 16th win is the second-most for a Wolf team in McGranahan’s six seasons as coach, trailing just his 2017 squad, which finished 19-5.

CHS was patient at the plate, drawing 12 walks off of Darrington’s pitchers, then delivering a couple of key base-knocks to keep everyone honest.

Wolf hurler Izzy Wells had the first big bash, smacking a double to left, while fellow senior Audrianna Shaw went yard, launching a solo shot over the fence in left-center.

“It was a no doubter,” McGranahan said of Shaw’s moonball.

Darrington had no chance at the plate. Like zip, zero, zilch.

Flinging liquid heat, Izzy Wells tossed a six-inning no-hitter, missing out on a perfect game by one batter, as she walked a single hitter in the second inning.

She struck out 12 and recorded another three outs on groundouts back to the pitcher’s circle, giving her teammates plenty of time to enjoy nature while largely standing around.

What Izzy Wells looked like to the Darrington hitters.

 

Tuesday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 single
Mia Farris — 1 walk
Gwen Gustafson — 2 walks
Allie Lucero — 1 single, 1 walk
Maya Lucero — 1 single
Madison McMillan — 2 walks
Sofia Peters — 1 single
Audrianna Shaw — 1 single, 1 home run, 2 walks
Izzy Wells — 1 double, 2 walks
Savina Wells — 2 walks

One win from the state tourney.

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