Posts Tagged ‘Melanie Navarro’

CHS seniors (l to r) Maya Lucero, Gwen Gustafson, Melanie Navarro, Sofia Peters, and Allie Lucero join coach Kevin McGranahan on their prairie field of dreams. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sports are weird sometimes.

Take this spring, where a winless Concrete baseball team is playoff eligible, while the Coupeville High School softball squad is not.

The Wolf sluggers can finish 14-6 with a win in their season finale against South Whidbey — a team they beat 20-2 the first time around.

But they won’t go to the postseason, because only one 2B softball program advances from District 1, and, this year, that’s Friday Harbor, thanks to a pair of one-run victories over CHS.

Meanwhile, all four 1B schools in the Northwest 2B/1B League make the baseball playoffs, regardless of record.

That’s because a much-larger pool of 1B schools in our district and District 2 makes it possible for a full-scale, 12-team bi-district tourney to be played.

A Wolf softball team which was truly dominant at times, a squad which held its own with big-timers like Forks, Onalaska, and Meridian, stays home.

While Concrete baseball, which is 0-14 and forfeited three games this season, may take the field this Saturday to face Pope John Paul II in a playoff rumble.

Emphasis on may, as two of those forfeits came in Concrete’s final two games.

Sports are weird sometimes.

But we’re not here to disparage the Lions. They are building for the future, and anything can happen in the playoffs.

Case in point, the 2011 edition of the Coupeville Wolves, who had six freshmen in the lineup while going 0-17 as the only 1A school playing softball in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

That team shocked the world in the playoffs, however, eliminating Meridian 5-1 behind Alexis Trumbull, Bessie Walstad, and Breeanna Messner.

Coached by Jackie (Calkins) Saia, mom of current Wolf freshman phenom Teagan Calkins, that squad launched the rebirth of Wolf softball, and now the program is a consistent winner, year in, year out.

So good luck, Concrete baseball — if you take the field Saturday — and go open a can of whup ass on the private school dandies.

But this blog isn’t called the Concrete Clarion, so let’s swing the focus back to Cow Town.

Coming off of an emotional 3-2 loss in extra innings Thursday at Friday Harbor, the Wolves mood probably resembles the weather outside – gray and gloomy.

But it shouldn’t. At least not completely.

As one fan said, “There’s always next year!” and it’s true, the Wolf roster is chock full of star players with multiple years left to play.

Madison McMillan, Mia Farris, Taylor Brotemarkle, Jada Heaton, and Chloe Marzocca? All sophomores.

Calkins, the team’s starting catcher and leadoff hitter, has three years left, while Haylee Armstrong, who lashed a laser of a triple against the Wolverines?

She just an 8th grader, which means she’s been launching moon shots and chasing down balls in the outfield while still attending middle school classes.

Those core players, and others, should have many more chances to conduct group sing-a-longs on the prairie after wins in the future.

But, for Coupeville’s five seniors — Melanie Navarro, Allie Lucero, Sofia Peters, Maya Lucero, and Gwen Gustafson — next week’s clash with South Whidbey marks their final moments in a Wolf jersey.

They are an amazingly resilient bunch of young women, bright, outgoing, dedicated — and we can’t put enough emphasis on that last word.

These five are the last group which took a hit when the world shut down over the pandemic.

Just as they were about to make the jump from little league to high school games, Covid-19 restrictions erased all spring sports in 2020.

When they returned as sophomores, games were played again, but only against league rivals, which limited Coupeville to 12 games, instead of the normal 20, with no playoffs.

It wasn’t until their junior campaign that the Wolves played a full schedule, and, through no fault of their own, the seniors exit having played just 2.5 of the four, or five, seasons many others are given.

Through it all, they remained dedicated.

They found ways to work on their skills when government officials shoved them apart, and they proudly returned to the prairie diamond the first chance they got.

With one game left to play, this five-pack has led Wolf softball to a 41-9 record in their time on the field, a superior winning percentage in any world.

They are a group, and yet each one brings a unique skill set to the game.

Navarro, beloved by CHS football coaches for her stellar four-year run as that team’s manager, brings power to each swing, sending tremors down the spine of rival pitchers as she blasts home runs over far-flung fences.

Seeing her team pour out of the dugout to swarm Melanie after each tater, while her parents proudly beam from behind the fence, has been one of the true feel-good stories of this school year.

Gustafson, the third Wolf from her family I have written about, after older siblings Amanda Fabrizi and Clay Reilly, remains as happy an athlete as any I have witnessed.

Her smile carrying from one end of the prairie to the other, Gwen truly seems to enjoy every moment she is given on a court or diamond, an admirable trait.

Peters, the daughter of a coach, like Gustafson and the Lucero twins, is a two-way winner.

She can lash hits and knock down grounders and has shown an ability to pass on her knowledge to the next generation, joining dad Mike in guiding little league girls who will one day inherit her place on the CHS diamond.

A few years down the road, there will be a young woman who delivers a tear-stained Senior Night farewell in which she thanks Sofia for being her inspiration, and the circle will be complete.

And then there are the Lucero twins, who, at times seem interchangeable (thank heavens for uniform numbers…), and yet emerge as very distinct the longer I watch them play.

I mean, Allie throws and hits left-handed while Maya operates from the right side, so there’s that.

But they also have their own styles, in how they approach their time in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate, while sharing a quiet passion installed in them by being part of a diamond-mad family.

With no disrespect to the first three, it is the Lucero twins who I see as the heart and soul of this squad.

These five young women have dealt with world-shaking events and emerged stronger for it.

I have no doubt they wanted to end their runs in the playoffs — you could see that on their faces, and in the effort given.

But when they exit after next week’s finale in Langley, they should do so with heads held high.

Melanie, Maya, Gwen, Sofia, and Allie will always be remembered as one thing — winners, pure and simple.

Down the road, as they pursue excellence in other parts of their lives, they may return to the prairie diamond they once ruled.

When they do so, let them walk with pride. They earned it.

Once more, with feeling.

Read Full Post »

Wolf slugger Madison McMillan abuses the softball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kevin McGranahan stayed busy on a milestone day.

Amid a flurry of lineup changes, his Coupeville High School varsity softball team bashed host La Conner 24-7 in a six-inning affair Thursday afternoon.

The victory, McGranahan’s 90th as CHS head coach, lifts the Wolves to 5-1 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 7-4 overall heading into a weekend non-conference doubleheader at Onalaska.

The rumble with the Braves came with its own hurdles, as La Conner is winless and while Coupeville wanted to win, it wanted to do so with class and a sense of fair play.

So that kept McGranahan hopping, as he got action for 16 players, including starting three girls who normally come off the bench.

“I mixed up the lineup and tried to get players at least two innings and a couple at-bats for everyone,” he said.

Mixing and matching players left and right, while trying to give scorekeeper Gordon McMillan carpal tunnel syndrome, the CHS softball guru kept things interesting.

Fifteen different Wolves, including three 8th graders, reached base, as Coupeville piled up 14 hits and 17 walks, though McGranahan’s squad limited their base-stealing and taking extra bases.

South Korean foreign exchange student Layla Heo made her first varsity start.

Coupeville jumped out to an 8-0 lead, gave some runs back in the middle innings thanks to some walks and one well-cracked double, then fired up the bats to put things out of reach.

Freshman catcher Teagan Calkins lit up dad Shawn’s Facebook Live stream right from the start, launching a long triple to deep center field to lead off the game.

She soon scampered home on a wild pitch, heading for the camera with a grin on her face, a star made for prime time, as the Wolves slapped six runs on the board in the top of the first inning.

Madison McMillan cracked an RBI double which went to the heavens, high-fived the sun, then dropped back to the field, while her teammates took advantage of La Conner errors to get the offense rolling.

But the Braves proved resilient, limiting Coupeville to just a single run apiece in both the second and third, before scraping together a rally to get within 8-5.

The Wolves pushed it back to 13-5, scoring twice off of wild pitches, once on a bases-loaded walk to Bailey Thule, and twice on a booming double from Calkins snazzy, still-fairly-new bat.

La Conner hung tough, cutting things to 13-7 by the end of the fourth, before McGranahan went back to his starters to emphatically close things out.

CHS pitcher Maya Lucero, who tossed two scoreless innings to open the game, came back around to fling two more lights-out frames, while twin sister Allie pasted a three-run double.

Mia Farris, Sofia Peters, and Gwen Gustafson all had big run-scoring hits in the latter stages of the game, with a nine-run sixth inning finally tipping things into mercy-rule land.

With the win, McGranahan gets to 90-42 as Wolf softball coach.

He’s in his seventh season at the head of the diamond program, though it would be his 8th campaign if the pandemic hadn’t completely erased the 2020 schedule.


Thursday stats:

Capri Anter — Two walks
Haylee Armstrong — One walk
Taylor Brotemarkle — Two walks
Teagan Calkins — One double, one triple, one walk
Mia Farris — Two singles, one double, one walk
Gwen Gustafson — Two singles
Jada Heaton — One double
Allie Lucero — One single, one double
Maya Lucero — One single, two walks
Chloe Marzocca — One single
Madison McMillan — One double, two walks
Melanie Navarro — Three walks
Sofia Peters — One double, one walk
Bailey Thule — One walk
Melanie Wolfe — One walk

Read Full Post »

Mia Farris picked Princeton to beat Arizona in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney (seriously), and hammers homers on the softball diamond. Truly a woman for all seasons. (Jackie Saia photo)

It was a tasty appetizer.

The full meal arrives Saturday, when the Coupeville High School softball team hosts a doubleheader in which it will square off with top-level rivals Forks and Granite Falls.

In preparation for those tilts, the Wolves romped to a 20-2 win over visiting La Conner Tuesday in the Northwest 2B/1B League opener for both programs.

The victory, which lifts CHS to 1-0 in conference action, 2-1 overall, was a savage affair.

Or could have been, as the Wolves did everything in their power not to unnecessarily embarrass the overmatched Braves.

Ten of the 12 outs Coupeville recorded came via things such as leaving the base early, as La Conner was only able to record two putouts on its own.

Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan also went all the way down his bench, giving an at-bat to all 16 eligible players, with 8th graders Haylee Armstrong, Capri Anter, and Melanie Wolfe making their high school softball debuts.

Anter got the spotlight role, coming on in relief of senior hurler Allie Lucero to chuck 2.1 innings from the pitcher’s circle.

“Great day for softball and a lot of needed reps for the younger players,” McGranahan said. “The veteran players were extremely supportive.”

Those older Wolves keyed an explosive 17-hit, 13-walk performance, with the big plays coming from the very start.

Chloe Marzocca, ready to get medieval on the softball. (Jackie Saia photo)

Leading off in the bottom of the first inning, Mia Farris clouted an inside-the-park home run, launching a long shot which dropped over the head of the centerfielder and rolled to the fence.

Not content to stop there, the Wolves added another dinger before the opening frame was done.

Melanie Navarro, who is on a tear to rival any put together by a Wolf softball slugger, walloped a grand slam, the ball clearing the fence at its furthest point from the plate.

The socko slam was the fourth tater for the senior in three games, with three of those four landing outside the fence.

Navarro has lashed a longball in every game this season, with two against South Whidbey in the opener, followed by shots against Meridian and La Conner.

Along with the pair of home runs, the Wolves got doubles from Gwen Gustafson, Madison McMillan, Sofia Peters, Chloe Marzocca, and Anter.

Up 5-0 after one inning, Coupeville pushed the lead to 10-0 after two, 17-2 by the third, and settled for the 20-2 romp.

Allie Lucero and Anter combined to whiff nine La Conner batters, while giving up just a single hit on the afternoon.

In addition to the players previously listed, Taylor Brotemarkle, Jada Heaton, Maya Lucero, Teagan Calkins, Bailey Thule, and foreign exchange student Layla Heo saw action against La Conner.

Read Full Post »

Softball sluggers (l to r) Mia Farris, Jada Heaton, and Taylor Brotemarkle are all key contributors as sophomores. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Heaton)

The rally caps almost worked.

Trailing by six runs heading into the final inning Thursday, the Coupeville High School softball squad brought the go-ahead run to the plate but couldn’t quite topple host Meridian.

Instead, the Trojans made a game-saving defensive play on a blast to center field, slipping away with an 11-9 win.

The narrow non-conference loss, coming less than 24 hours after a big home victory over South Whidbey, evens Coupeville’s record at 1-1.

“We kept our heads up and almost came all the way back,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan.

“Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn; tonight, we learned, and those lessons are valuable.”

The 2B Wolves, who have opened with back-to-back games against 1A foes, now return home to face Northwest 2B/1B League rival La Conner next Tuesday, Mar. 21.

Coupeville plays seven of its next nine tilts at home.

Thursday’s rumble with always-competitive Meridian started in favor of the Wolves, as they jumped on the Trojan pitcher for a quick three runs in the top of the first inning.

Teagan Calkins reached on an error and Mia Farris crunched an RBI single, before Taylor Brotemarkle and Madison McMillan plated runners while giving themselves up.

The lead didn’t hold for long, however, as Meridian took advantage of several Coupeville defensive miscues to build a 7-3 lead by the end of the third inning.

The Wolves pushed one runner across in both the fourth and fifth, with Sofia Peters smacking an RBI double and Melanie Navarro shooting an RBI single into a gap.

Unfortunately for the Wolves, Meridian tacked on two more runs in its half of the fourth, then did it again in the bottom of the sixth.

That left CHS trailing 11-5 headed to the game’s final frame, but the Wolf hitters made a solid stand in the top of the seventh.

Brotemarkle and McMillan rapped singles to set the scene, before Navarro mashed her third home run of the young season.

A day after walloping two taters against South Whidbey, the Wolf senior sent a three-run dinger sailing out of the park and Coupeville was back in business.

Singles from Allie Lucero and Peters kept the comeback alive, but Meridian found a way out at the last moment, tracking down a shot to center for the game’s final out.

Peters paced the Wolves with three hits, including a two-bagger, while Navarro (1B, HR), McMillan (1B, 3B), Allie Lucero (1B, 1B), and Farris (1B, 1B) each had a pair of base knocks.

Calkins and Brotemarkle rounded out the hit parade, with a single apiece, while Gwen Gustafson, Maya Lucero, and Jada Heaton also saw game action for Coupeville.

Read Full Post »

“Excuse me ladies, I have to go be awesome now.” (Jackie Saia photos)

Melanie Navarro is just here to mash softballs and chew gum, and apparently, she was all out of gum Wednesday afternoon.

So, the Coupeville High School senior instead kicked off her final season on the prairie by swinging a big bat, whacking two home runs en route to a three-hit, six-RBI performance.

Powered by Navarro, the Wolves dominated visiting South Whidbey in every facet of the game, rolling to a 20-2 win in a game called after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Playing in its season opener, Coupeville was in control from first pitch to last pitch.

And frankly, the 2B Wolves could have waxed the 1A Falcons by a lot more than 18 runs, if CHS coach Kevin McGranahan hadn’t carefully done what he could to keep the game from getting too out of hand.

Coupeville picked up most of its outs by having runners intentionally leave base too early, a quiet, but effective way to show some mercy.

In a game in which the Wolves swung aggressively — Maya Lucero launched a wicked liner off of McGranahan’s jaw as the diamond guru patrolled the third-base box, leaving a visible mark — CHS scored early, and often.

Wolf hurler Allie Lucero zipped through the top of the first inning 1-2-3, collecting a pair of strikeouts and a soft comebacker to the pitcher’s circle, and then the hometown bats started booming.

Coupeville put up nine runs in the bottom of the first, and there was little South Whidbey could do to stop the rampaging Wolves.

Freshman catcher Teagan Calkins was plunked by the first pitch she saw, then came around to score on an RBI double to center from Mia Farris.

Taylor Brotemarkle followed by eking out a walk, Madison McMillan got aboard on an error, and it was time for Navarro to launch her season of longballs.

Home run #1 came on a laser shot to the deepest part of centerfield, the ball splashing down right in front of the fence, then kicking away from the Falcon fielder.

Running full tilt, with no lag in her step, Navarro easily beat the throw home, her three-run tater staking CHS to a 5-0 lead.

Not that the Wolves were done.

Singles from Allie Lucero, Jada Heaton, and Calkins kept the runners bouncing from base to base, with two Falcon errors helping them come around to tap home.

Up 9-0, McGranahan moved things along by having a runner drift off base to prematurely end the first frame, but the Wolves scored in every inning, so there was little slow to their roll.

Navarro came back around in the second to crush a two-run home run over the fence, the ball heading up to high-five the moon, then she departed the game for a bit as the Wolves got field time for most of their roster.

Melanie Navarro (jumping in middle) is mobbed by her teammates after launching a longball.

South Whidbey stayed plucky, pushing across a pair of runs in the top of the third to cut the margin down to 11-2, but Coupeville tacked on three more in its half of the inning, and six more in the fourth to set the final score.

The brief Falcon rally was ended, emphatically, thanks to McMillan pulling off a dandy unassisted double play at third base.

Spearing a liner for out #2, the Wolf super sophomore whirled and tagged a drifting runner for out #3, her grin beaming from behind her face mask.

The third inning featured back-to-back big hits from Farris and Brotemarkle, plus Chloe Marzocca thrashing a shot down the right field line for a base knock of her own.

Taylor Brotemarkle (left) and Chloe Marzocca, killers in red and black.

In the fourth, it was a rat-a-tat attack, after foreign exchange student Layla Heo led off with a walk in her American softball debut.

Farris and Brotemarkle both smoked shots down the third-base line, before Navarro, back in the lineup, completed a 3-for-3 afternoon with an RBI single.

The final big blow on opening day jumped off of Heaton’s bat, as the sophomore slugger crunched a two-run single to bring in runs 19 and 20.

It was an equal opportunity kind of day for the Wolves, who delivered hits from the top of the lineup to the bottom.

Farris and Navarro led the way, collecting three hits apiece, while Brotemarkle smacked a pair of base-knocks.

Calkins, McMillan, Allie Lucero, Heaton, and Marzocca each had one base hit, while Coupeville racked up eight walks, with Calkins and McMillan earning two each.

Allie and Maya Lucero split pitching duties, with the latter relieving the former midway through the third, and the duo combined to whiff seven Falcons across five innings.

McGranahan got 12 players on the field, with Sofia Peters starting at second base and providing strong defensive play, and newcomer Bailey Thule garnering her first varsity at-bat.

Thanks to Mother Nature messing with the schedule, the Wolves get right back at it Thursday, traveling to Meridian for another non-conference rumble.

After that, Coupeville plays seven of its next nine games on its home field.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »