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Posts Tagged ‘Melody Wilkie’

   Departing Central Whidbey Little League coach Mimi Johnson (front, in sunglasses) snaps a final pic with her players.

   Johnson, assistant coach Connie Lippo (bottom, right) and their players hit the big time.

“Well, we were two and done, but it was fun!”

Tuesday was the final ride for Mimi Johnson, former Coupeville High School softball star (when she was still an Iverson) turned successful little league coach.

She and her family — husband Scott and children Elliott and Stella — are off to new adventures in far-flung states, but before she pumped the gas pedal on the moving truck, she showed up for one final swan song with her girls.

The Central Whidbey Little League All-Star Juniors softball squad, champions of district 11, were in Monroe for the state tourney.

If they had captured one, or both, of their opening games Tuesday (her final day in Washington state), Johnson would have handed the reins to assistant coach Connie Lippo.

Instead, after CWLL fought hard in a pair of losses (7-1 to Camas and 8-3 to Granite Falls), Johnson exited arm in arm with her team.

In the opening game, Central Whidbey struck first, scratching out a run in the top of the first on a pair of singles from Coral Caveness and Melody Wilkie.

Unfortunately, it would be the last run the squad would get against its Eastern Washington rivals.

Central Whidbey loaded the bags in the second, off of a double from Jill Prince and walks to Annabel Thayer and Caveness, but Camas escaped by inducing an inning-ending ground-out to short.

After that, CWLL banged out three more hits, two singles from Maddie Tucker and one from Wilkie, but they came in different innings, and all three times the runner was stranded.

Camas got most of its offense in the early going, using six hits to put up two runs apiece in the first, second and third.

After that Wilkie was lights out, sailing through the later innings with barely a ripple.

The fireball-tossin’ hurler whiffed seven, while giving up only one hit after the third.

Dropped into the elimination bracket, Central Whidbey fell behind Granite 5-0, got three back, but couldn’t quite get over the hump.

The All-Star squad included eight Coupeville players — Caveness, Prince, Wilkie, Marenna Rebischke-Smith, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Stella Johnson, Mollie Bailey and Audrianna Shaw — as well as three girls picked up from Oak Harbor’s program.

That trio is Tucker, Thayer and McKenzie Hodges.

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Melody Wilkie brings the heat. (John Fisken photos)

The ever-crafty Stella Johnson drops a bunt on the unsuspecting defense.

Kylie Van Velkinburgh is ready to rake.

   You don’t get past Audrianna Shaw if you don’t know the password. Spoiler: the runner did NOT know the password.

Mollie Bailey anchors the Central Whidbey defense.

Coral Caveness, about to beat the snot out of the softball.

   Calm and cool in the heat of the moment, it’s unflappable coach Mimi Johnson at work.

Marenna Rebischke-Smith snags an incoming throw.

They can’t be beat.

The Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad swept to a district crown Saturday, while still finding time to shine in the photo game.

The pics above are courtesy wanderin’ paparazzi John Fisken.

To see everything he shot (purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes), pop over to:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-CWLL/20170617-Junior-SB-vs-Orcas/

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Softball sensation Melody Wilkie. (Photo courtesy Debbie Wilkie)

Melody Wilkie paces around the pitcher’s circle, stops, then lets loose with another fireball.

The ball zips homeward, the batter swings and misses (by a lot) and the ball finds its destination in the waiting mitt of catcher Mollie Bailey, one more strike in what often seems like a never-ending run of K’s.

Wilkie, an 8th grader who is using her electric arm to power the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad through a winning season, is already well ahead of the curve for players her age.

Toss in a powerful bat and slick defensive moves, and she’s a fast-rising star in the tradition of Whidbey Island high school hurlers like Katrina McGranahan and Mackenzee Collins.

While she enjoyed running cross country for Langley Middle School, the softball diamond is where Wilkie’s heart truly resides.

“I started playing when I was five,” she said. “I always watched my older brother (Cody) play baseball and he was always having so much fun on the field and it really inspired me to play and be like him.

“There’s so many things I enjoy about softball,” Wilkie added.

“I love the competition and the adrenaline rush in close games; I love always having your team to back you up — they’re always there for me — and I enjoy that there’s always ways to improve.”

That constant desire to fine-tune her game, to find new ways to excel, is what drives Wilkie.

“I think for high school I will really focus on softball and working on my pitching all year around,” she said. “One of my strengths as an athlete would probably be that I always want to improve more and work harder.

“There are lots of areas I would like to improve on.”

Wilkie, who enjoys hanging out with friends and working at a local pet store when she’s not playing softball, would like to have a long, successful run in her chosen sport.

“Some of my goals as I go into high school would be to relax a little in tough situations on the field,” she said. “And I would really like to learn some new pitches as well and improve as an all-around player.

“I would really like to play softball in college,” Wilkie added. “It would be really cool to play for UW. I love watching the Huskies play and I could stay close to my friends and family and still be doing what I love.”

Spending this spring playing on a new team has introduced her to new teammates, coaches and fans, and it’s been a fun ride for the young gunslinger.

“Playing for Coupeville, I’ve made lots of new friends,” Wilkie said. “I have to give a lot of credit to Mollie. When I’m pitching, she always knows what to do and where I should pitch it.

Coral (Caveness), Kylie (Van Velkinburgh), Audrianna (Shaw) and Anya (Leavell) are always there to cheer me on and I think that has really helped me this year,” she added. “My coaches, Mimi (Johnson) and Connie (Lippo), too.”

Whether it’s hurling strikeouts, or cracking game-busting hits (“One of my best memories was my first home run. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited!”), Wilkie’s support crew is always there to cheer her on, through big wins and tough losses.

“There’s so many people that have had huge impacts on me,” she said. “My mom and my dad have always told me to never get upset when I have a bad game, just get it next time.

“Some of my best memories from playing sports would have to be playing with my friends. I love being able to cheer them on and be there to cheer them up too.”

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