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Posts Tagged ‘Izzy Wells’

Learn it, live it, love it. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Izzy Wells slaps a two-run single back up the middle.

Darren Crownover broadcasts to the USA, while Kelly Crownover debates having some words with the ump if he doesn’t pull his head out of his rear.

Sarah Wright does her best to frame the pitch.

Rally caps sprout up in the Wolf dugout.

Ron Wright enjoys his afternoon on the prairie.

Coral Caveness squares up, moments before dropping a bunt single.

Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to excel.

That’s a key part of the commitment poster Coupeville High School softball coach Kevin McGranahan has posted on the team’s dugout.

Monday afternoon his team responded, storming back from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, before toppling Cedar Park Christian in extra innings.

Local paparazzi John Fisken also lived up to the poster, clicking away across both the varsity and JV games, and delivering unto us an assortment of glossy pics.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Softball-2018-2019/SB-2019-04-15-vs-CPC/

And, as always, a percentage of any purchases goes to fund scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

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CHS junior Scout Smith, destroyer of worlds, walk-off grand-slam hitter, and newly-certified prairie legend. (Photo by Charlotte Young)

When Scout Smith is older, when she’s in the coach’s box like her mom and dad before her, when she’s possibly coaching her own children, her mind may drift back.

And, in that moment, she will be 16 years old again, a wiry fireball sauntering to the plate, the sun barely peeking out from behind a wall of clouds on the Coupeville prairie.

Scooter will remember the roar of the crowd, the feel of the bat in her hands, the look of fear in the pitcher’s eyes.

It will be April 15, 2019 one more time.

And then, as she squeezes her eyes shut, she will relive the moment she went from being a very good softball player to stepping into history, forever etching her name among the prairie legends.

All she needed was a hit, a poke into open space, a bouncer back up the middle, a way to plate Veronica Crownover and cap one of the great comeback wins in school history.

But very good softball players bounce the winner back up the middle.

Legends beat the ever-livin’ snot out of the ball and bash epic walk-off grand-slam home runs.

Scout Smith is no longer a very good softball player. She’s a legend.

And so it came to pass, that the Wolf softball sluggers, after rallying for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, crushed the very soul out of Cedar Park Christian, winning 8-4 on Smith’s blast in the bottom of the ninth.

The win lifts Coupeville to 4-1 in North Sound Conference play, 6-5 overall, leaving them in a first-place tie with Granite Falls (4-1, 7-5), while Cedar Park (3-2, 7-3) falls a game off the lead.

Riding the high of Monday’s victory, the Wolves travel to Granite Wednesday, where they will bid to take complete control of the league in one 72-hour tear.

For the moment, they will bask in a win in which they never held the lead until the final swing of the game.

Freshman hurler Izzy Wells was droppin’ fire, whiffing 11 CPC hitters, and the Wolf defense played inspired ball.

It didn’t matter where the ball was hit, because a Wolf (and her glove) were there to deny the Eagles time and again.

Wolf catcher Sarah Wright picked runners off multiple bases, shortstop Chelsea Prescott nailed a runner coming home with a sizzlin’ throw, Crownover pulled off multiple unassisted put-outs at first, and somehow Emma Mathusek topped them all.

Running on a full-out sprint in the 7th inning, the Wolf junior flat-out robbed Cedar Park’s best hitter, throwing out her mitt at the last second to swipe a rapidly-dropping ball from the heavens.

What looked like an extra-base hit became just another out, as Mathusek flipped the ball back in, then stalked away, almost daring anyone else to try and hit it within a mile of her mitt.

And yet, as it came up to hit in the bottom of the seventh, Coupeville trailed 4-1, with just a fourth-inning Mollie Bailey RBI single to its credit, and things looked dire.

The Wolves scraped together one run, mashing together a Wright single, a Bailey grounder which was booted for an error, and then a Crownover RBI single.

But, as quickly as the final-inning rally began, it almost ended.

A strikeout and a fielder’s choice grounder left the Wolves down to their final out, still trailing 4-2, while Cedar Park’s extremely-enthusiastic third-baseman celebrated as if the Eagles had just won a state title.

They had not.

If you didn’t know Wells was a freshman, nothing about the way she conducts herself on the softball diamond would give you a clue.

Perhaps her insides are a bubbling cauldron of anxiety. It’s possible.

But Wells projects extreme calmness.

Whether she’s firing pitches into Wright’s mitt, pulling off web gems, or standing tall at the plate, Ms. Unflappable is the most self-assured 9th grader since Katrina McGranahan debuted in 2015.

And, with the very same former Wolf ace sitting high in the stands, keeping up a pro-Izzy stream of comments, Wells responded.

Down to her final strike, she whipped her bat through the gentle prairie breeze, rocketing a single into center field, sending Bailey and Coral Caveness careening for home, and suddenly we had a whole new ball game.

Which almost ended on the very next batter.

In her first three trips to the plate, Smith had put good bat on the ball, only to have CPC fielders run down her shots.

Trip #4 was (almost) legendary, as she laced what looked like the game-winner, only to be denied one more time.

Not on getting a hit, as the ball tore a chunk out of the outfield grass this time, but when an admittedly great relay throw nailed Wells by a fingertip at the plate.

Wolf fans, seemingly denied the walk-off win, howled.

They quickly got over it, however.

Wells, who had been aces in the pitcher’s circle through seven innings, was lights out in the extra frames.

She faced the minimum six hitters across the eight and ninth, punching out three Eagles on strikeouts, while getting some help from Bailey, who made a beautiful snag on a checked-swing liner down the third-base line.

That set up magic time, otherwise known as the bottom of the ninth.

Operating under softball’s sometimes odd rules, both teams started play in the 9th inning by being handing a free runner at second.

While Cedar Park’s player never got more than an inch off the bag as Wells blitzed her teammates, Coupeville’s runner, Bailey, went a lot further.

After skipping to third on a passed ball, she took time out from her busy afternoon to dance on the bag, then found herself with nowhere to go even as two more batters got on base.

With one eye on Bailey, a CPC fielder booted Crownover’s chopper, but recovered quickly enough to keep the wily Wolf at third from scampering home.

Bailey was similarly stuck when Caveness dumped an infield single in front of the third-baseman, then found herself forced at home on a Wells grounder.

Bases juiced, two outs, edge of your seat, strangled cries from both sides, a prayer or two curling up into the sky.

Body language told it all.

The CPC hurler, so effective for so long, leaned back, a haunted look in her eyes, relentlessly snapping the ball into her glove, unable to control what had become a twitch over the final innings.

And at the plate, not a muscle moving, steely gaze boring a hole through the universe itself, Scout Smith, lil’ sister of Wolf greats CJ and Hunter, decided it was time to claim the title of “Best Freakin’ Athlete in the Family.”

It wasn’t just that she hit a home-run.

She flat-out destroyed the ball, her bat ripping it nearly in half, sending it on a line up, up and away as Wolf fans exploded out of their seats, tripping over themselves and each other, a shower of sunflower seeds cascading to the Earth as Smith rounded third.

The ball cleared the left field fence in a hurry, and Cow Town went crazy.

It was history. It was a coronation.

Bow before Scout Smith, Destroyer of Worlds. And be glad she’s on our side.

As she hit home plate, she was mobbed by her teammates, who thumped on her, hugged her, and screamed in her ears until all she could do was stagger away, grin plastered from ear to ear.

Caught up in the celebration, CHS coach Kevin McGranahan was a man sitting on cloud nine.

“High school careers are made of nights like this and every girl in uniform contributed to this win,” he said. “Great team win!

“Wolves never say die!!”

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Emma Mathusek (left) and Scout Smith are among the stat leaders for Coupeville High School softball. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Time for the stretch run.

The Coupeville High School softball team returns to action Tuesday, ending a nine-day break between games.

Sitting atop the North Sound Conference at 2-1 (they’re 4-5 overall after facing a brutal, road-game-heavy early schedule), the Wolves are in control of their own fate.

Coupeville closes with seven of 10 on Whidbey, with nine of those being league clashes.

The second-half run begins, and ends, with games against Island rival South Whidbey, though the biggest showdowns will be with co-league leader Granite Falls Apr. 17 and May 1.

As we prepare to swing back into action, a look at season-to-date stats, as plucked from MaxPreps:

 

Hitting:

Player AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. OBP
A. Shaw 7 3 2 1 6 .286 .615
I. Wells 16 4 3 2 .188 .235
C. Wheeler 3 1 2 1 .400
C. Caveness 12 4 2 5 3 .167 .444
E. Mathusek 22 11 8 2 11 12 .364 .576
S. Smith 28 12 7 1 1 3 7 4 .250 .432
C. Prescott 28 10 8 1 3 3 7 5 .286 .429
M. Davis 20 1 2 1 3 3 .100 .217
M. Bailey 23 5 5 3 1 .217 .308
V. Crownover 28 7 14 7 1 2 8 .500 .548
S. Wright 32 10 20 5 1 2 1 1 12 .625 .647
N. Laxton 10 3 2 3 .200 .556

 

Pitching:

Player W/L ERA Gms CG SO Hits Runs BB K IP BF
I. Wells 3-2 10.23 6 3 47 53 17 28 26 169
S. Smith 1-3 6.70 5 2 26 33 8 10 23 117
C. Prescott 0-0 12.25 2 5 11 3 1 4 25

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Sophomore Chelsea Prescott leads Coupeville High School softball in triples and stolen bases. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The stats are starting to pile up.

Seven games into the season, the Coupeville High School softball squad shows remarkable balance.

All 12 varsity players have scored at least one run, while 11 have a hit, a different 11 have a walk, and 10 have collected RBI’s.

Senior catcher Sarah Wright, who slashes out of the cleanup spot, is the early front-runner.

She leads the Wolves in at bats, hits, batting average and on base percentage, as well as being tied for the lead in home runs and RBI.

Other leaders include Chelsea Prescott (stolen bases and triples), Veronica Crownover (doubles and a tie for homers), Emma Mathusek (walks and a tie for RBI), and Scout Smith (runs).

We know all this because softball is the lone spring sport at CHS to currently be posting stats on MaxPreps, which is where I plucked these numbers from.

 

Hitting:

Player AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. OBP
A. Shaw 5 2 1 1 5 .200 .600
I. Wells 15 4 3 2 1 .200 .250
C. Wheeler 2 1 2 1 .500
C. Caveness 7 4 2 5 3 .286 .615
E. Mathusek 17 9 6 2 10 10 .353 .593
S. Smith 22 12 6 1 1 2 7 4 .273 .484
C. Prescott 23 10 7 1 3 3 6 5 .304 .448
M. Davis 18 1 2 1 3 3 .111 .238
M. Bailey 18 5 5 3 1 .278 .381
V. Crownover 23 7 13 7 1 2 8 .565 .615
S. Wright 27 9 17 4 1 1 1 1 10 .630 .655
N. Laxton 9 3 2 3 .222 .562

 

Pitching:

Player W/L ERA Gms CG SO Hits Runs BB K IP BF
I. Wells 3-1 7.33 5 2 31 36 14 24 21 128
S. Smith 1-2 7.00 4 1 19 25 7 10 16 82
C. Prescott 0-0 12.25 2 5 11 3 1 4 25

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Senior softball slugger Veronica Crownover smashed a three-run home run, a two-run double, and the world’s longest RBI single Saturday, as 1A Coupeville shocked 3A Oak Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Something special happened Saturday in Oak Harbor.

Many will immediately think I’m talking about the Coupeville High School softball squad, repping one of the smallest 1A schools in the state, stunning their 3A hosts 8-3 in the first varsity match-up between these programs in maybe forever.

And it was sweet, watching Wolf senior Veronica Crownover smash a three-run home run over the towering left field fence, while missing a second round-tripper by about an inch.

Cranking six extra-base hits, Coupeville’s sluggers proved the size of your hearts can trump the size of the school you’re facing.

The win gave the Wolves a doubleheader split on the day (both Whidbey schools fell to 2A powerhouse Lakewood), and evens Coupeville’s record at 2-2 heading into its first league games.

If you know me, my first reaction is to say something snarky along the lines of “they might live here, but we own the Island.”

But…

Let’s take a moment to give big props to new Oak Harbor softball coach Alicia Ashburn and her assistants, for doing what previous Wildcat coaches did not, and would not, do.

They stepped up and agreed to play Coupeville, even while knowing if a large 3A school fell to a tiny 1A institution, they would have to deal with Wolf fans dancing in their parking lots.

But they did the right thing, bringing together girls who, while they are at different high schools now, grew up often playing on the same little league or travel ball squads.

CHS coach Kevin McGranahan has been asking for this game since stepping into the job, and Saturday was the culmination of everything he wanted.

A win, yes, but also a chance to test himself and his players against our Island’s biggest high school.

Coupeville and South Whidbey occupy the same 1A North Sound Conference, and will face off three times this season. That was assured.

Saturday’s game, which was added to the schedule late, was a rare gift, one McGranahan greatly appreciates.

“This win was four years in the making and it feels good,” he said. “Both teams played their hearts out, and this is what the game is about.

“Friends that grew up and played little league together, now playing for their respective schools and having a blast doing it. It is the smiles and friendly banter that is what makes it so nice to see.”

As an (admittedly biased) writer, please have no doubt I wanted Coupeville to win. Badly.

I long ago gave up the impartiality of my old school newspaper days.

But I can also appreciate, as McGranahan does, what Ashburn accomplished with a simple “yes.”

Saturday’s game was a thriller, a one-run affair until almost the end.

It offered a special spotlight for Coupeville’s seniors — Crownover, Sarah Wright, and Nicole Laxton — and also for fab frosh Izzy Wells, who chucked a complete-game win from the pitcher’s circle while dealing with a ripped-up finger on her throwin’ hand.

And, hopefully, it is the start of a new rivalry.

The Wolves obviously can’t go toe-to-toe with the Wildcats in sports like football, where the disparity in roster size makes the issue a non-starter.

But softball is, without a doubt, a sport in which the two schools can face off, with both teams taking the field knowing it can, and will be, a true battle.

So, my plea to both sides, but especially to Oak Harbor, which largely controls the decision – let’s make this a yearly event.

The quality of play Saturday, from both teams, and the heart and hustle, the excitement, and the fight shown, makes it a necessity.

And it was a rumble, with Oak Harbor poking across the game’s first run in the bottom of the opening inning.

But, after going down one-two-three in the top of the first, Coupeville brought its bats alive, lighting up the scoreboard for a pair of runs in both the second and third innings.

The Wolves opened the second with three straight base-knocks, with Wright and Mollie Bailey punching singles to set Crownover up for the first, but far from last, hero moment of the game.

Turning on a pitch with a stunning ferocity, the Wolf first-baseman walloped the ball to deep center field, sending both of her teammates streaking for home as she pulled into second base with a stand-up double.

While Oak Harbor escaped the inning with little damage after that, just plunking Laxton for the first of two times she would be drilled in the game, the tide had turned.

Wells was bobbing and weaving, chucking strikeouts and inducing ground-outs, and she stranded a Wildcat at third after a gem of a triple from Sam Scott.

Providing immediate support to their freshman ace, the Wolves picked up two runs in the third off of an RBI double from Wright and the world’s longest RBI single by Crownover.

The hottest hitter in the Northern hemisphere launched a moon shot to dead center, and everyone froze for a moment, watching as the ball hit the very top of the fence, thought about crawling over for a home run, then plopped back onto the field.

Veronica’s dad, Darren, wailed like he had been whacked in the groin with a two-by-four when the ball refused to go out of the yard, but, spoiler alert, a little later in this story he’ll be really, really happy.

Oak Harbor didn’t crack down three runs, though, getting one back in the third on a majestic home run from Kayla Crocker, then another in the fifth on an RBI single by Tamara Bennett.

The damage could have been worse, much worse, in the fifth, but Wolf shortstop Chelsea Prescott pulled off a dazzling double play to stem the tide.

Scooping up a hot grounder, the CHS sophomore alertly spun, tagged a runner going by her, then delivered a wicked throw into Crownover’s glove, beating the incoming Wildcat by a millimeter.

Maybe a millimeter and a half.

Oak Harbor’s defense also came up big-time during the middle part of the game, stiffing Coupeville in two consecutive innings.

The ‘Cats escaped a base-loaded jam in the fourth, started by an epic triple off the bat of Scout Smith, then nailed a runner coming home in the fifth thanks to a powerful, precise throw from left field.

With the game sitting at 4-3 headed into the top of the sixth, the overflow crowd, a mix of partisan fans from both towns, was agitated, full of angst and popping M & M’s like they were going out of style.

Wait, that was just me…

But it was OK, cause M & M’s are delicious, and because the Wolves reached a special level with the game hanging by a thread.

Emma Mathusek got things rolling with a single, slapping the ball into the gap like she was playing pool and taking people’s money while doing it.

A one-out double from Wright put runners on second and third, but an alert Oak Harbor fielder kept anyone from scoring, setting up the magic moment.

Or two moments.

The first was a miracle, because it makes no sense how it happened.

Bailey looped a ball towards second base, and the ball, operating with a mind of its own, somehow evaded every Wildcat in the area, dropping suddenly and burrowing into the ground for an improbable, but much-appreciated, RBI single.

And then a shadow covered the field.

Striding to the plate like she was preparing to sack a rival’s castle in olden times, twisting her bat until it screamed for mercy, Veronica Crownover was on a mission.

After whacking her double and top-of-the-wall single, Oak Harbor had intentionally walked her the next time up.

This time, with two runners on base, and after some serious eyeballing of her dugout, the Wildcat hurler came after Crownover, two young women fixing for a back-alley brawl.

Don’t get in a back-alley brawl with Veronica Crownover.

Almost breaking her bat in half, and almost (almost…) making her hitting coach smile in approval, the two-time All-League player hit the ball halfway to Deception Pass Bridge.

By the time the bright yellow orb descended, it was on the other side of the towering left-field fence, some 219-plus feet away, her father had screamed loud enough the relatives back in Pennsylvania had heard him, and the game was a done deal.

Oak Harbor still had two innings to hit, but Wells closed the game with her best pitches.

Ignoring the pain of a shredded finger, she gave up just a pair of walks once she had an 8-3 lead, ending the game by getting a final ‘Cat to loft a soft fly which landed with a sweet lil’ plop as Mathusek pulled the ball in and squeezed it tightly to her chest in center.

Coupeville’s most complete game of the still-young season, it featured 12 hits, with Crownover (HR, 2B, epic 1B), Wright (2B, two 1B’s), and Bailey (two 1B’s) leading the way.

Smith had her triple, Mackenzie Davis smoked a double, while Wells and Mathusek added singles.

Wells, who has both of Coupeville’s wins from the pitcher’s circle, finished with a high school career-high six strikeouts.

 

Game One:

Lakewood hit with power, fielded with grace, pitched with precision, and put on a show, rolling to 4-1 with an 18-5 win over Coupeville, followed by a 14-1 dismantling of Oak Harbor.

The Wolves had their moments, racking up seven hits, including doubles from four different players, and had a nice four-run rally in the third inning.

Laxton led off the frame with a single, followed by Smith, Mathusek, and Prescott crunching back-to-back-to-back doubles.

Mathusek’s shot brought two runners around, Prescott’s plated a third, and the Wolves garnered a final run on a rare Lakewood error.

With four runs in, the bases juiced, and just one out, there were a few fans (OK, maybe just me) who entertained thoughts of Coupeville coming all the way back from the 15-1 deficit it faced at the start of the inning.

It wasn’t to be, however, as Lakewood used a strikeout and a slightly dubious interference call on a Wolf runner to bring things to an end.

Smith (1B, 2B) paced the Coupeville attack, while Mathusek (2B), Crownover (2B), Prescott (2B), Laxton (1B), and Wright (1B) also collected a base-knock.

Freshman third-baseman Audrianna Shaw walked twice.

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