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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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Ja’Kenya Hoskins (left) pops over from track practice to get a photo with Wolf softball sensation Izzy Wells. (Katy Wells photo)

The breeze was cold, and the bats were hot.

Fueled up on hot dogs and cupcakes, the Coupeville High School varsity softball team ignored relentless prairie wind Friday, bashing 34 hits on Senior Night during a doubleheader sweep of visiting Orcas Island.

In control from first pitch to last, the Wolves strolled to 17-1 and 19-2 wins in games mercy-ruled after the top of the fourth inning.

With the twin thumpings, Coupeville gets to 7-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 15-2 overall.

The Wolves close the regular season with a trip to Darrington next Tuesday, May 3, then turn their gaze to the playoffs.

But first they honored seniors Mckenna Somes, Violette Huegerich, Audrianna Shaw, and Izzy Wells with a pair of romps.

How the day played out:

 

Game 1:

Playing a 12:30 matinee on a weekday to kick things off meant an early exit from school, and limited fans for the first pitch.

It also meant a bit of a slow start for the Wolves, who scraped out two runs in the first, tacked on six more in the second, then hit their stride with a nine-run burst in the third.

The ball jumped off Coupeville bats, with five different hitters collecting an extra-base hit during an all-out assault on Orcas pitching.

Izzy Wells pounded three doubles, and Shaw smacked a pair of two-baggers, but it was freshman Savina Wells who rifled an inside-the-park home run to drive a huge stake through the visiting Vikings.

The fab frosh zipped a frozen rope to deep center, then churned her way around the basepaths without breaking stride, her long legs crossing home way before the ball arrived back in the infield.

Orcas couldn’t get much going against Wolf hurler Allie Lucero, who whiffed four and kept her foes on their heels with well-placed pitches.

One of the few times the Vikings looked like they might be up to something, Coupeville ended the mini rally by picking a runner off third base, Lucero winging the ball to Madison McMillan for the wham-bam tag.

Mckenna Somes reached base four times Friday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

 

Game 2:

With Orcas in town for most of the day, having taken a 6:45 AM ferry as it Island-hopped, Coupeville hosted a between-games barbeque for softball and baseball players, as well as assorted freeloader writer types.

Then, after a tribute to the 12th graders, the Wolf sluggers went right back to work.

This time, Coupeville dumped eight runs on the board in the first, settled for four more in the second, then capped the day with a seven-spot in the third.

Walks were the currency of choice in the nightcap, with the Wolves drawing 15 free passes, led by McMillan and Huegerich netting three apiece.

The latter was twice bonked by wayward pitches, with the second one nailing her in the batting helmet.

“Not again!” said her mom, as the tough-as-nails Huegerich ambled down to first, shaking her head back and forth as she did.

The Wolves still had their bats going when the ball was near the strike zone, rapping out 12 more base knocks, with Somes, Shaw, and Mia Farris collecting doubles.

Shaw, enjoying herself immensely in the final home game of her stellar prep career, alternated between hitting righty and lefty.

Despite not normally being a switch hitter, the senior centerfielder held up rather well, slapping a pair of hits while trying out the less-comfortable left side of the plate.

McMillan also stole home twice in the game, the second time bouncing off both the catcher and umpire as she successfully bowled over anyone and everyone in her pursuit of tapping home plate.

“Next time … next time I want you to slide,” said Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan, with a small smile.

The Orcas catcher, freshman Molina Stone, recovered to make the defensive play of the game, crashing into the fence behind home as she snagged a fast-falling foul ball over her head.

And then, at 5:21 PST an era ended on the windswept prairie, as McGranahan went out to lift Izzy Wells after she recorded the first out in the final half-inning.

The calm leader of the Wolves, the Izzinator is a rare young woman.

She pitched CHS to state as a freshman, saw a pandemic erase her sophomore season and slash her junior campaign in half, and now is writing a mega-successful final chapter in her high school career.

Coupeville is 42-12 since Izzy stepped onto the diamond, and she’s not done yet.

But, for a moment, as her teammates hugged her, as a now-overflowing fan section hollered for her, and as her faithful pooch gazed at her adoringly from the sideline, the elder Miss Wells got a moment well-deserved, and very much earned.

 

Friday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 2 singles, 2 walks
Teagan Calkins — 1 double
Mia Farris — 2 singles, 1 double
Gwen Gustafson — 1 walk
Violette Huegerich — 4 walks
Allie Lucero — 1 single, 1 double, 2 walks
Madison McMillan — 3 singles, 1 double, 3 walks
Melanie Navarro — 2 singles, 2 walks
Sofia Peters — 1 single, 1 walk
Audrianna Shaw — 3 singles, 3 doubles
Mckenna Somes — 2 singles, 1 double, 1 walk
Izzy Wells — 2 singles, 3 doubles, 1 walk
Savina Wells — 4 singles, 1 home run, 1 walk

Melanie Navarro sends the softball flying far away. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Fab frosh Mia Farris was superb at the plate and in the field Saturday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“A tough game, but a good game. I don’t call it an L (for a loss), I call it (an L for) learning.”

While Saturday’s royal rumble on the diamond didn’t end in favor of the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad, Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan was philosophical afterwards.

His 2B Wolves, playing their third game in four days — all against schools from bigger classifications — hung tough for five innings with 2A Lakewood, before falling 23-13.

The non-conference home loss snaps an 11-game win streak for Coupeville, but the many positives from Saturday’s game are what matter most for a Wolf squad sitting at 12-2 on the season.

With McGranahan’s crew looking to return to the state tourney, they have looked to “play up,” and are 6-0 against 2B rivals and a very strong 6-2 against schools from bigger classifications.

This week was a whirlwind, with victories over 1A Meridian and 3A Oak Harbor, and there were huge chunks of the game Saturday when it seemed the Wolves would complete the trifecta.

Rallying from five runs down, Coupeville went ahead by as much as 10-6 in the middle stages of the game, and only trailed 13-12 heading to the sixth inning.

Ultimately, though, the visiting Cougars proved to be too tough, spraying the ball to all fields in the late going, while clamping down on defense.

Lakewood threw out two Coupeville runners at home plate — both on wham-bam plays which were a whisker away from going the other way — and closed the game with a sensational double play.

The Wolves, who started four freshmen, threw down and left everything on the field.

But some days it’s just not quite enough.

Saturday’s brawl on the prairie came on a beautiful, sunny, largely wind-free day — or basically the exact opposite of their last home game, when ice-cold rain slashed and wind howled for two hours straight.

Lakewood came off the bus hot, its bats popping during a five-run top of the first, before Wolf shortstop Taylor Brotemarkle made a superb running snag on a fly ball into left to start the turnaround.

Coupeville pitcher Izzy Wells promptly whiffed the next two batters, and the Wolves were ready to go on the offensive.

“We got sticks, too!” McGranahan told his players, and they responded.

While CHS only pushed across a single run in the first, on a double steal with Audrianna Shaw streaking for home, it got busy in the following frames.

Base-knocks from Gwen Gustafson and Maya Lucero set the stage in the second, with Shaw and Mia Farris rapping back-to-back two-run singles to cut the margin to 6-5.

That set up the third inning, which was the highlight of Coupeville’s day.

On defense, the Wolves set Lakewood down 1-2-3 with Madison McMillan, Brotemarkle, and Allie Lucero all making sterling plays to rob the Cougars on line drives.

McMillan went to her knees at second for her snag, while Lucero stretched to twice her height at first to bring down a ball which had extra-base hit written all over it.

Madison McMillan dares you to run. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Spurred on by the defensive stand, Coupeville poured five runs on the board in its half of the third, romping to a 10-6 lead.

Brotemarkle spanked an RBI single which left a fiery trail as it exited the infield, Farris and Gustafson rapped equally torrid run-scoring base-knocks of their own, but it was Shaw who brought the house down.

Smashing the crud out of the ball, the Wolf senior sparkplug laced a two-run triple to straightaway center, sending a ripple of cheers through her substantial cheering section.

Lakewood wouldn’t go away, however.

A three-run double in the fourth pulled the Cougars within 10-9, before a rally in the top of the fifth sent the visitors ahead 13-11.

Coupeville pulled back within one run after an RBI single from Izzy Wells, but then Lakewood snuffed out the hopes and dreams of the home fans.

Five-run rallies in both the sixth and seventh stretched the lead out, while the Cougar gloves were at their best in the waning moments.

The Wolves loaded the bags in their half of their sixth, sparked by a gorgeous pinch-hit double from Sofia Peters, but Lakewood escaped when it tracked down a long two-out fly ball to right.

In the bottom of the seventh, Coupeville picked up an RBI single from McMillan, only to have the game end with an emphatic exclamation point half a second later.

Gustafson smoked a shot between second and third, but Lakewood shortstop Natalie Krueger speared the ball at her ankles while on the move, before doubling McMillan off of first.

It was a remarkable double play, and one which received an appropriate amount of applause from even the Coupeville side of the field.

In a game in which 36 runs scored, there were more than a handful of defensive gems from both teams — Mia Farris also had a great jumping catch in right field for the Wolves — and the mood of the game was often electric.

In the break before the two JV teams played, a Lakewood player distributed cupcakes to the Coupeville players.

Also, as seen in the photo below, Taylor Brotemarkle and her rival #9 also made an unexpected connection.

Taylor Brotemarkle has a new friend. (Kimberly Brotemarkle photo)

All in all, it was a good day for the Wolves — a rugged test against a strong team, which will help prep Coupeville for the postseason.

A win would have been the cherry on top, but sometimes you take your cupcake and your lessons learned and you move on.

Right back to aiming for personal and team growth, every step of the way.

Cause that’s the real win.

 

Saturday stats:

Taylor Brotemarkle — 1 single
Mia Farris — 3 singles
Gwen Gustafson — 1 single, 1 double
Allie Lucero — 2 singles, 1 walk
Maya Lucero — 1 single, 1 walk
Madison McMillan — 2 singles, 1 walk
Sofia Peters — 1 double
Audrianna Shaw — 3 singles, 1 triple
Izzy Wells — 3 singles, 2 doubles
Savina Wells – 1 walk

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Freshman Madison McMillan walloped four hits Friday, helping Coupeville softball beat Oak Harbor. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves run Whidbey.

Pounding out 17 hits Friday, the Coupeville High School varsity softball team drilled host Oak Harbor 13-7, completing a three-game sweep of their Island rivals this season.

Take two wins over 1A South Whidbey, toss in the destruction of the 3A Wildcats, and the 2B Wolves are sitting sweet at 12-1 on the season.

Coupeville, which is 6-1 against schools from bigger classifications, carries an 11-game winning streak into a home game Saturday against 2A Lakewood.

First pitch is 1 PM, with JV following varsity.

Friday’s tilt in the big city gave the Wolves a chance to show resiliency, as they had to battle back late to claim the victory.

After leading all afternoon, Coupeville gave up four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and suddenly found itself down 5-4 with two frames left to play.

To which the Wolves said, “No worries,” and dropped the hammer.

CHS smacked five hits and eked out four walks in the top of the sixth, plating seven runs to turn a taut thriller into a runaway.

The base-knocks came from everywhere, with Gwen Gustafson leading off the inning with a double, then coming back around to smack a single later in the frame.

Gwen Gustafson, sliding in to second here, had a hot bat Friday.

Madison McMillan, Allie Lucero, and Teagan Calkins also collected hits in the inning, with Mia Farris, Melanie Navarro, Audrianna Shaw, and Calkins garnering free passes.

It was a big moment for Calkins, an 8th grader who collected her first varsity hit, and did it at a crucial moment.

While Oak Harbor got a single run back in both the sixth and seventh innings, Wolf hurler Izzy Wells closed out the game with a few snaps of her fastball-chucking wrist and the celebration was on.

The senior righty whiffed 11 ‘Cats across seven innings of work.

Coupeville opened the game by slapping a quick two runs on the board in the top of the first, before going three innings without a score.

Other than the third inning, the Wolves had runners aboard in every frame, but couldn’t break through again until the fifth, when they tapped home twice to stretch their lead to 4-1.

 

Friday stats:

Teagan Calkins — 1 single, 1 walk
Mia Farris — 1 single, 1 walk
Gwen Gustafson — 1 single, 1 double
Allie Lucero — 3 singles, 1 walk
Maya Lucero — 1 single
Madison McMillan — 4 singles
Melanie Navarro — 1 walk
Audrianna Shaw — 2 singles, 1 walk
Mckenna Somes — 1 single
Izzy Wells — 1 single, 1 double

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Izzy Wells? She’s pretty good at this softball thing. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

This was a big one.

The Coupeville High School varsity softball team is chasing a return to the state tournament this spring, and games against quality foes will prep the Wolves for high-pressure contests to come.

Which is why CHS coach Kevin McGranahan had a huge smile on his face Wednesday after watching his team dismantle visiting Cedar Park Christian-Bothell.

Powered by sisterly sluggers Izzy and Savina Wells — who combined for five RBI — Coupeville KO’d the Eagles 7-4 in a game in which the home team never trailed.

The non-conference victory, coming against a quality 1A foe, lifts the 2B Wolves to 7-1 on the season.

Next up is a road trip Thursday to Sultan for another non-league tilt, before a Northwest 2B/1B League doubleheader Friday at La Conner.

While CPC resides in a different classification now, the Eagles are former league rivals of the Wolves, from back when both schools lived in the 1A North Sound Conference.

The last time any Washington state high school softball teams vied in a state tourney, Izzy Wells was a freshman phenom, and getting past the Eagles was a major step to the Wolves advancing to the big dance.

Jump forward three years, with the last two postseason-free thanks to Covid, and the Izzinator is now a battle-hardened senior flinging fastballs caught by Savina, her freshman catcher.

Wednesday the duo clicked as usual, with Izzy Wells whiffing 12 Eagles, with the final punchout coming on the game’s last out.

The sisters also led the way at the plate, but they weren’t the only ones, as Coupeville rained down 10 hits on the Eagles.

The first big base-knocks came early, with the Wolves erupting for three runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Audrianna Shaw opened things with an emphatic leadoff single to right field, before CPC recorded back-to-back outs to (almost) escape untouched.

I say almost, because Izzy Wells, Madison McMillan, and Mia Farris erupted for consecutive RBI singles, plating their teammates with well-smacked hits.

The elder Wells went to left field with a shot, McMillan tore the top of the shortstop’s glove off with a laser, then Farris capped things by spanking a ball between two CPC fielders.

Coupeville added another two-out run in the second, with Savina Wells lashing a liner to straightaway center to send Gwen Gustafson motoring for home.

Cedar Park fouled off a ton of pitches, sending Wolf bench players running in every direction to retrieve runaway balls, but couldn’t break through against Izzy Wells.

One of the few times the Eagles made solid contact, a batter lofted a long fly only to see Shaw, gliding across the top of the grass in centerfield, smoothly snag the ball out of the air while in mid-stride.

Coupeville’s defense was first-rate most of the game, as evidenced by a one-two-three inning in the fourth.

McMillan snagged a pop-up between short and third and Savina Wells scraped the heavens to pull down a foul ball which hit the clouds behind home.

But it was the third out which was the most eye-popping, as Allie Lucero scrambled to pull in a foul ball over first, then went airborne like she had time travelled back to The Karate Kid and run afoul of “Sweep the leg, Johnny!”

The ball hit Lucero’s mitt, both of her legs violently shot out from beneath her, and the slick-fielding lefty went face-first into the sweet, sweet grass.

While never dropping the ball, it should be noted, which caused her teammates, coaches, and fans to go bonkers.

Allie Lucero is a defensive dynamo.

CPC got one run across on a Wolf error to cut the deficit to 4-1, but that was where it remained until a wild fifth inning.

The frame started with a sickening injury, as two Eagles players thunked into each other while chasing after a Shaw foul ball.

Neither the CPC catcher or third baseman called each other off on the play, and the duo met while traveling at full steam, sending both players crashing.

With no protective gear or face mask, the infielder took the worst of the collision, and remained face down for some time, eventually leaving a spattering of blood in the dirt.

Her face wrapped in gauze, one eye covered, the battered Eagle was able to eventually walk off the field largely under her own power, but it rattled her teammates.

Given a second chance, Shaw eked out a walk, then stole second to launch a game-busting three-run rally.

Once again, the rampaging Wells sisters brought the heat, with Savina punching an RBI single — but only after she bounced a foul ball off the windshield of a moving car.

Putting the final punctuation point on an unusual half-inning, Izzy launched a moon shot, almost clearing the fence, before outrunning the relay to claim a two-run homerun.

While CPC got the three runs back in the top of the sixth, that was as much of a comeback as it could mount on this day.

Izzy Wells ended the sixth by corralling a high pop-up, before coming back around to garner strikeouts #11 and #12 as she closed out the game in the seventh.

With Coupeville’s league games having been blowouts, getting the chance to play quality bigger-school foes like CPC or Lynden Christian — the only squad to upend the Wolves this season — is huge.

“We finally played a competitive game and we played mostly clean,” Kevin McGranahan said.

“Bats looked good against real pitching and we never wavered, even when they were trying to come back.

“It was a good test to see where we are now, compared to where we were when we played Lynden Christian.”

 

Wednesday stats:

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

Savina Wells rips the hide off the softball.

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