Posts Tagged ‘Mimi Johnson’

   Mimi Johnson, the newest member of the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (John Fisken photo)

Mimi Johnson did it all.

Down the road, when it sinks in that she and her family (husband Scott and children Elliott and Stella) have really left Whidbey behind for the wilds of Danville, Kentucky, her absence will be enormous.

Mimi wore many hats during her years in Cow Town, as a player, coach, volunteer and business owner, and today we induct her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame for her full body of work.

After this, you may not find her down at the CHS softball field as often, but you will always find her up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

We’re enshrining her as a Contributor, as a way to encompass everything she accomplished.

Back in her high school days, when she was still writing Iverson on her papers, Mimi was a standout softball player for CHS who later went on to play college ball.

After marriage and kids, she joined with brother Matt to do the seemingly impossible and resurrected Ebey Bowl after a decade-long absence.

The bowling alley of their youth had spent years neglected, basically a dumping ground for old car parts and boats, when the duo sparked a Phoenix-like rebirth.

When not working together to run the family insurance business, the brother/sister combo recreated a ’50s-style alley, and the place was popular with a new generation during its second run.

Around all that, Mimi, like her husband, devoted countless hours to Central Whidbey Little League.

Working as a coach, she took several softball teams, at different age levels, to the state tourney, capping her run by leading the Juniors squad to the big dance this year on the very day she was moving off-Island.

Through it all, Mimi rarely, if ever, lost her smile.

She was adept at bringing people together and worked to include players and families from North and South onto her Central Whidbey teams, when the other parts of the Island couldn’t field their own squads.

Mimi got along with everyone, even umpires, and her impact on a generation of young local softball sluggers, who have been ripping through rivals (but doing it with class) at every level, is immeasurable.

And now she’s gone, Kentucky’s gain and our loss.

Except, she’s not really gone.

Mimi’s fun, unassuming style will linger on through seasons to come, as her players go on to take the field for other coaches.

As future softball successes play out, she will be a part of them, if from afar.

And if Kentucky doesn’t work out?

Whidbey is always here waiting, and it wouldn’t be hard to find a coaching job upon her return.

Just start off with “So, yeah, I’m in the Hall of Fame…” and go from there.

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   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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Age 14 or under and love softball? You could soon be in this picture. (Photo courtesy Mimi Johnson)

   Age 14 or under and love softball? You could soon be in this picture. (Photo courtesy Mimi Johnson)

Want to play select softball on Whidbey? Now’s your time.

Island Tsunami Fastpitch Softball is holding tryouts Aug. 10-11 for players interested in joining the current 12U squad or a newly-forming 14U team.

Tryouts will be at Rhododendron Park from 6-8 PM both nights, with registration starting at 5:30.

If players are unable to attend those tryout nights, private tryouts can also be set up.

For more info contact islandtsunamifastpitch@gmail.com.

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(Mimi Johnson photo)

   They call them the Crush, cause that’s what they did to other teams all season long en route to an 18-0-1 record. (Mimi Johnson photo)

(Renae Mulholland photo)

  One of many, many runs Central Whidbey scored this season. (Renae Mulholland photo)

Kyle Van Velkinburgh, who whacked three hits in the championship game, gets photo-bombed by her fan club. (Dustin Van Velkinburgh photo)

   Kylie Van Velkinburgh, who whacked three hits in the championship game, gets photo-bombed by her fan club. (Dustin Van Velkinburgh photo)

Izzy Wells (left) and Abby Mulholland cap their season with sweet treats. (Mulholland photo)

   Izzy Wells (left) and Abby Mulholland cap their season with sweet treats. (Mulholland photo)

They crushed them until the end.

Capping an unbeaten season, the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball squad swept through the Bill Sparks tournament, adding a tourney title to an already impressive season.

By the time the Coupeville Crush were done winning three of three in tournament action, it had finished the year with an 18-0-1 record.

“I am so proud of these girls,” said coach Mimi Johnson. “What a great season!”

Central Whidbey put the cherry on top of the sundae, holding off North Whidbey Purple 14-10 in the title game, held at Skagit River Park.

The Crush exploded early, raining down a five-spot in both the first and second inning.

Izzy Wells, Coral Caveness and Abby Mulholland eked out walks in the opening frame, with Kaela Meffert and Kylie Van Velkinburgh delivering “well-placed hits.”

The runs kept coming in the second, with Meffert taking one for the team to kick things off.

After she was plunked, Wells and Jill Prince walked, while Caveness and Audrianna Shaw whacked base hits.

The Crush almost got more, but North Whidbey somehow ran down a bomb to left off the bat of Sofie Martin, before doubling the runner off of third.

It didn’t matter, though, with Wells reaching double digits in strike-outs from the pitcher’s circle, and the Crush bats remaining hot.

Coupeville scraped out a run in the third, using a bit of everything.

Stella Johnson led off with a solid base knock, her cousin, Thora Iverson, walked, Bam Ries reached on an error and Kenna Somes walked.

North Whidbey crept back into the game in the fourth, a rarity against a Crush team which ten-runned most of its foes this season.

“Their at bat was almost my emotional undoing,” Mimi Johnson said with a laugh. “I don’t like games being this close!”

The Crush never actually lost the lead, though, and continued to put up runs in every inning.

Iverson, Ries and Shaw delivered base hits in the late innings, Anya Lavelle got plunked and Martin stole home to take away some of their coach’s stress.

It was a team effort across the board, with Van Velkinburgh finishing with three hits and five RBI, while the Crush defense was on target.

Mulholland ran down a “beautiful long shot to center field,” while Prince was a vacuum at first, letting nothing past.

The game, the tourney and the season ended in high style, with Wells (and her flame-throwing arm) gunning down the final two hitters.

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The proud Wolves pose with their trophy. (Mimi Johnson photos)

Gunslingers in braids.

Gunslingers in braids.

And the awards keep on rainin’ down.

A couple of hours after Coupeville’s 6th grade SWISH girls’ basketball squad captured second place in their postseason tourney Saturday, the 5th grade Wolves duplicated their feat.

The younger squad, coached by Lark Gustafson and Scott Hay, bounced the Bulldog Ballers 25-22 in their opening game, then were nipped 19-16 in the title game to the Burlington-Edison Hotshots.

In the championship Stella Johnson was on fire, raining down a team-high eight points.

Alita Blouin, Caroline Lhamon, Dakota Thomas and Gwen Gustafson also scored for Coupeville.

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