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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.

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Landon Roberts was one of 10 Wolves to reach base Thursday. (Photo courtesy Sherry Bonacci)

They won the battle but lost the war.

Playing on the road for the first time this season, the Coupeville High School baseball squad outhit host Meridian 11-5 Thursday, only to fall 8-4 on the scoreboard.

The Wolves had their chances, putting base runners aboard in every inning, but couldn’t find that one big base knock to truly stagger the Trojans.

The non-conference loss, coming less than 24 hours after a home win against South Whidbey, evens Coupeville’s early-season record at 1-1.

The 2B Wolves get right back at it Saturday, travelling to North Mason to play their third consecutive game against a 1A opponent.

Thursday’s tilt started in favor of Coupeville, and the visitors were still within a run as late as the fourth inning, before several defensive mistakes stung them.

Wolf freshman Chase Anderson put his team on the board in the top of the first, whacking a one-out double, then scampering home to score on an RBI single from starting pitcher Jonathan Valenzuela.

Up 1-0, CHS had a chance to add to its lead in the second inning but stranded two runners after Landon Roberts walked and Aiden O’Neill singled.

Meridian scored the majority of its runs in two frames, pushing across four runners in the bottom of the second inning to claim the lead for good.

Coupeville stranded two more runners in the third, but Valenzuela shut down the Trojans and the Wolves rallied to cut the lead to 4-3 in their half of the fourth.

Scott Hilborn and Anderson delivered back-to-back two-out RBI singles to ruffle the Meridian pitcher, but the Trojans escaped and immediately got some payback.

The hosts tacked on three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Meridian only had one hit in the frame, but four walks and a passed ball proved to be the difference.

Trailing 7-3, Coupeville stranded two runners in the fifth and another in the sixth, before finally bringing home a runner in the top of the seventh, and final, inning.

Meridian had stretched the lead to 8-3, before Peyton Caveness reached on an error, then later scored on another Trojan miscue.

The rally died there, however, with Valenzuela thrown out at the plate while trying to score on a Coop Cooper single, and an ensuing groundout bringing an end to the game.

All 10 Coupeville players to see the field reached base Thursday.

Valenzuela paced the Wolves with three hits, while Hilborn and Anderson collected two base knocks apiece.

Caveness, Jack Porter, Cooper, and O’Neill also had hits, while Roberts, Johnny Porter, and Cole White got aboard thanks to walks.

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Izzy Wells, seen here on a dry day, whiffed eight batters Wednesday on a cold, wet afternoon. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Can’t slow their roll.

Missing two starters out with illness and buffeted by horrible “spring” weather Wednesday, the Coupeville High School varsity softball squad never flinched.

Instead, the Wolves jumped on visiting Meridian, led from start to (very cold and damp) finish and claimed their tenth-straight win.

Their teeth might have been chattering as they sang their farewell song to a small band of loyal fans who survived the day, but Coupeville’s sluggers came out on top 10-6.

The non-conference win, coming over a very scrappy 1A program, lifts the 2B Wolves to 11-1 on the season.

With games against 3A Oak Harbor and 2A Lakewood set for this Friday and Saturday, respectively, Coupeville is sitting at 5-1 against schools from larger classifications.

Wednesday’s war started with the Wolves missing two of the first three hitters in their normal lineup, as senior Audrianna Shaw and freshman Savina Wells were out sick.

Toss in rain which came down steady for close to three innings, plus a persistent, nasty, bitterly cold breeze which knifed onlookers in the kidneys, and things were a bit jumbled.

But Coupeville had senior hurly Izzy Wells in the pitching circle, and the unflappable one kept Meridian largely at bay while fighting all game to get a grip on very-slick softballs.

She also got some help from her defense, with Gwen Gustafson making a bid for the best catch of the season.

With runners at the corners and two outs in the top of the first, a Meridian batter crushed a long shot to right-center.

Gustafson, moving left to right on the slick grass, went to her knees as she made the catch, cradling the ball to her chest and allowing CHS coach Kevin McGranahan to let loose with a wild yelp.

Sparked by her snag, the Wolves immediately jumped on Meridian, banging out four hits and plating three runners in the bottom half of the opening frame.

Mia Farris opened things by ripping a shot off the Trojan pitcher’s glove, with Madison McMillan¬†and Izzy Wells following with base-knocks of their own.

Proving she’s dangerous and delightful with both bat and glove, Gustafson capped the rally by thumping a two-run double.

In a perfect grace note, the ball landed almost exactly where she had moments earlier made her running, sliding snag.

Coupeville stretched the lead out to 4-0 with a run in the second, thanks to Sofia Peters alertly scrambling to first on a dropped third strike, followed by walks to McKenna Somes, McMillan, and Wells.

With non-stop rain slashing down, the Wolves made a bid to ten-run Meridian, pushing four more runs across in the third, but the Trojans refused to completely crack.

Back-to-back singles from Maya and Allie Lucero, plus a walk to Somes, juiced the bags.

Then, pop-pop, Farris crushed a three-run double down the right field line — the ball skidding on wet grass as it sailed past first base — followed by McMillan cranking a laser the opposite way for an RBI double.

Allie Lucero and twin sister Maya combined for five hits against Meridian.

While the scoreboard was entirely in favor of Coupeville, there was to be no rescue from the weather, however.

The rain slowed down enough it didn’t totally destroy the field, allowing everyone to remain soaked, cold, and still playing as the game ended up going a complete seven innings.

Meridian, a traditional powerhouse enduring a down season, proved resilient and chipped away at Coupeville’s lead, though the Izzinator never let the Trojans fully back in the game.

Battling cold fingers, Wells still cracked off eight strikeouts on the day, peppering Somes‘ catcher’s mitt with some nasty, if damp, fireballs.

The Wolf defense, inspired by Gustafson’s highlight reel catch, handled the slick ball with style, with shortstop Taylor Brotemarkle and first-baseman Allice Lucero making nifty snags.

Coupeville pushed two more runs across, with the Lucero sisters and Sofia Peters coming up with big late-game hits, and a water-streaked scorebook was finally slammed shut.

A non-conference victory over a traditionally tough rival, coming under duress, brought a small smile and a firm nod of approval from the Wolf coach.

“Tough game in very tough weather, but the girls ground it out and showed their heart,” McGranahan said. “This type of win is good for us.”

 

Wednesday stats:

Mia Farris — 2 singles, 1 double
Gwen Gustafson — 1 double
Allie Lucero — 1 single, 1 double
Maya Lucero — 3 singles
Madison McMillan — 1 single, 1 double, 2 walks
Sofia Peters — 1 single
Mckenna Somes — 2 walks
Izzy Wells — 1 single, 1 walk

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Mikey Robinett and Coupeville will have a week off, with Saturday’s home game cancelled. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The game that wasn’t, then was, is now no more again.

Coupeville High School’s clash Saturday at home against 1A power Meridian has been cancelled a little over 24 hours before kickoff.

Injuries, not Covid, are the culprit.

“I just received communication from our football staff that we’ve had some mid-week injuries that leaves us with just 13 healthy bodies for this weekend’s game,” said CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

“Unfortunately, we are going to need to cancel tomorrow’s game.”

The match-up had only recently been added to the schedule, after Meridian’s league game with Lynden Christian was wiped from the schedule when the latter school switched to remote learning in the wake of Covid outbreaks.

Coupeville had an opening on its schedule, and moved in to replace the Lyncs, but are now also sidelined.

The Wolves, 1-3 on the season, return to action, hopefully, next Friday, Oct. 15, when they travel to La Conner for a Northwest 2B/1B League bout.

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Coupeville coach Marcus Carr and QB Logan Downes have picked up a home game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Reach for the heavens, and prepare for impact.

Coupeville High School has filled an open date on its football schedule, adding a home game against 1A power Meridian Saturday, Oct. 9.

The game will kickoff at 7 PM, and be part of a two-sport doubleheader at Mickey Clark Field.

That’s because the Wolf boys soccer squad also hosts Providence Classical Christian at 3 PM that day.

Meridian’s football team was slated to play league rival Lynden Christian Oct. 8, but the Lyncs cancelled the game because of Covid issues.

The Bellingham Herald reported Wednesday that Lynden Christian, which houses preschool though 12th grade on its campus, is moving all grades to remote learning after a recent surge in cases.

The addition of the game gets Coupeville back to an eight-game regular season schedule after its contest with East Jefferson earlier this season was KO’d by a wind storm which shut down the ferry system.

The Wolves, 1-0 in Northwest 2B/1B League play, 1-2 overall, play at Friday Harbor Oct. 1, then get a week to prepare for Meridian, which is currently 3-1 heading into a clash with Nooksack Valley.

The Trojans opened the season with a 54-8 loss to Burlington-Edison, but have rebounded to beat Evergreen 55-6, Grandview 34-15, and Bellingham 26-14.

Meridian boasts a proud football tradition, having played in six state championship games, winning titles in 1999, 2003, and 2006 under legendary former coach Bob Ames.

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