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Posts Tagged ‘Mollie Bailey’

Junior Izzy Wells was a major force in the pitcher’s circle and at the plate for a CHS softball team which finished 12-0. (Jackie Saia photos)

They are not the best team in the history of Coupeville High School softball, maybe, but they are the only one to go undefeated.

It’s hard to top the 2002 Wolves of Sarah Mouw and Ashley Ellsworth-Bagby, who went 24-3 and finished 3rd at the state tourney.

But 19 years later, this 2021 edition, playing through a pandemic-shortened campaign, knocked down every rival on its schedule, finishing a pristine 12-0.

Along the way to a Northwest 2B/1B League title, Coupeville outscored its foes 154-41 (and it could have been far, far worse) and trailed just once all season.

There are no playoffs, no chance to advance to state for the fourth time in program history, thanks to the pandemic.

Still, these Wolves, led by a group of seniors who lost their junior season to Covid, will stand large.

They had booming bats. A fireball-chucking pitcher. Slick gloves. And most of all, a savvy mix of heart and desire.

Saturday, Coupeville, giving ample playing time to everyone in a uniform, shredded winless La Conner 15-1 and 26-3, earning a season-capping doubleheader sweep.

The final show of domination was appropriate, expected, and delivered with as much respect for their rival’s feelings as possible in a competitive sport.

These diamond queens took an imperfect scenario and crafted a perfect season out of it. They deserve all the kudos.

Mollie Bailey was a terror at the plate during her senior season.

 

How Saturday played out:

 

Game 1:

Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan got 16 players on the field, with an emphasis on getting game time for the players of the future.

The Wolves bolted out of the gate with a six-run first inning, sparked by singles from Audrianna Shaw and Chelsea Prescott, and the first of two resounding doubles off the bat of Izzy Wells.

From there, CHS tacked on a run in the second, two more in the third, then put the mercy rule into play with a six-run burst in the top of the fifth.

Wells, who has been virtually lights-out in the pitcher’s circle this season — and should be the Vegas favorite if we’re betting on who wins league MVP honors — only tossed two innings on this day.

After that, McGranahan went to sophomore Allie Lucero, and she threw three strong innings in relief.

For Coupeville, 14 of 16 players reached base in the opener, with 11 of them recording a base-knock.

Wells, Prescott, Bella Whalen, and Maya Lucero blasted doubles, Maya Nottingham and Kylie Van Velkinburgh delivered key hits, and Karyme Castro and Heidi Meyers were among those who eked out walks.

Meanwhile, Mckenna Somes and foreign exchange student River Ozturk each had a pair of singles.

Coming on the heels of her nabbing a hit in an earlier game, Ozturk’s strong afternoon brought a smile to McGranahan’s face.

River hit two lasers right back up the middle. She has come a long way in a month since never playing.”

 

Game 2:

The second contest was even more of a blowout, despite McGranahan’s best efforts to keep things from getting out of control.

“We batted lefty and bunted a lot, and gave courtesy leaving-early outs, but still couldn’t keep the score down, even with no stealing,” he said.

“We hit the ball well when they threw a strike, but that was few and far between as they were new pitchers just learning.”

Maya Lucero took the ball in game two, stepping into the pitcher’s circle to replace her twin sister, and tossing all five innings of the nightcap.

She got plenty of support thanks to big hits from players such as Sofia Peters, who rapped a standup double.

Saturday’s games were a juggling act, with McGranahan getting a curtain call for his seniors — Mollie Bailey, Prescott, Lacy McCraw-Shirron, Ivy Leedy, Meyers, Coral Caveness, and Elisa Caroppo — while also building for the future.

“Lots of good experience for a young group of hungry Wolves today,” McGranahan said. “It will only make us better.”

Jill Prince (back) and Gwen Gustafson are part of a talented group of younger players with several more seasons to play.

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River Ozturk, the pride of Turkey, slashed a gorgeous two-run single Saturday as Coupeville softball clinched a league title. (Jackie Saia photos)

Everyone plays.

Everyone contributes.

Everyone celebrates.

As the Coupeville High School softball players belted out their theme song one final time this season, serenading their home fans moments before everyone stormed the line for cupcakes, glimmers of sun poked through the cloudy prairie sky.

On a Saturday afternoon in which CHS coach Kevin McGranahan managed to get 23 girls varsity playing time, the Wolves accomplished much.

They bounced visiting Darrington 8-6 and 16-4 to claim a sweet doubleheader sweep on Senior Night.

They rolled to a 9-0 record in this pandemic-shortened season, with road trips to Friday Harbor and La Conner left on the schedule.

They gave their veterans a superb send-off, while also offering their young players — many of whom lost a season to COVID last spring — a chance to learn under fire.

And, they emphatically clinched the Northwest 2B/1B League title, meaning that McGranahan, wife Justine, and Ron Wright have led the Wolf diamond program to conference crowns in three different locations.

The NWL title joins ones the trio won in the 1A Olympic League and 1A North Sound Conference.

While the pandemic will prevent Coupeville, or any teams, from pursuing a playoff run, Wolf fans can bask in the glow of a softball program which is winning the right way now, and is set up for a bright future for years to come.

How Saturday played out:

 

Game 1:

Kevin McGranahan is a gamblin’ man.

With Coupeville up 6-0 after one inning, then 8-1 at the end of two, he liberally substituted, including pulling his battery — fireball-flinging pitcher Izzy Wells and rock-solid catcher Mollie Bailey — at least for awhile.

But then Darrington got really, really stingy on defense, and mounted a comeback on offense, while McGranahan gave his future stars a chance to face mounting pressure.

To a point.

Wells and Bailey returned in the final moments, slamming the door shut on a game which provided valuable lessons to Coupeville’s young guns.

Things started off fully in favor of the Wolves, with seniors Chelsea Prescott, Ivy Leedy, Lacy McCraw-Shirron, Heidi Meyers, Coral Caveness, and Bailey all in the starting lineup.

After Wells set Darrington’s first three hitters down on strikeouts, Coupeville went to work, sending 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the first.

McCraw-Shirron got things going, zipping down to first after a third strike got away from the Logger catcher, and soon came around to score.

From there, the Wolves used five walks, a Darrington error, and timely hits from Wells and Bella Whalen to blow things open.

Whalen’s base-knock was a bomb — a high, arcing two-run double which, for a hot second or two, looked like it might clear the fence for a round-tripper.

CHS tacked on two more runs in the second, courtesy an RBI double to straight-away center from Bailey, and an RBI single ripped back up the middle by Meyers.

But then the Wolf offense vanished for a bit, at least when it came to scoring.

Coupeville put runners on base in three of the next four innings, only to see Darrington escape each time.

Maya Nottingham had an eventful trip (mostly) around the bases, getting plunked on the foot by a pitch to earn a walk, then blasted by a foul ball off of Prescott’s hyper-charged bat while crouched at third.

She came out of the game after that, with pinch-runner Audrianna Shaw eventually stranded after the Loggers turned a slick double play moments later.

The Wolves had two on in the fourth, after base-knocks from Bailey and Whalen, but like Wells after she walked in the sixth, home base stayed cold and distant to them.

Which was OK, as Wells continued to blaze through Darrington’s lineup.

When Allie Lucero made her high school pitching debut in the top of the fifth, the sophomore pulled off a scoreless inning, getting three different batters to pop up to Prescott at short.

The sixth inning was the stumbling block, however, as some defensive confusion and a lil’ artful bunting from Darrington allowed the Loggers to mount a five-run rally, cutting the lead back to just two runs.

Re-enter Wells to the pitching circle, and exit her foes, as she slammed the door shut, recording the final five outs, including three strikeouts to give her 12 K’s in the game.

 

Game 2:

Time for a new debut.

Maya Lucero, twin sister of Allie, got the pitching start, allowing Wells some time to rest in the shade.

The fourth Wolf pitcher to see game action this season — Gwen Gustafson has also tossed four innings — Maya opened with two perfect innings, struck out three with a little heat of her own, and went the distance in a game halted after five innings.

She also got to watch as her fellow sophomore, Jill Prince, pulled off one of the best defensive plays seen on the Coupeville diamond this spring.

Bouncing on her toes at third, the granddaughter of Murph Cross reacted like a pro when a Darrington hitter lashed a wicked liner in her direction.

Throwing out her mitt, Prince caught 97% of the ball, only to have the speed and fury of the ball carry it up and off her glove.

But, as the ball shot away, headed towards the Wolf dugout, and hearts sank across the prairie, the rising star immediately flung her non-glove hand out, somehow snatching the angry ball right back out of the air before it could reach the exit.

The pretty, pretty play brought a roar of approval from Prince’s coaches, then from a pack of Wolves who stormed their young teammate, heaping praise on her.

Jill Prince, master of the web gem.

At the plate, Coupeville could do no wrong, punching in nine runs in the bottom of the first, before adding four more in the second to put the game on ice early.

Bailey, Caveness (during one of the few at-bats on which she wasn’t plunked by a wayward pitch), and Shaw all had big hits, while the Wolves took advantage of Darrington’s pitching staff losing contact with the strike zone.

On a day in which 18 of Coupeville’s 23 active players reached base, two in particular stood out.

Bailey, who is part of a farming family which stretches back through eons of prairie history, was in her final moments on her hometown field.

From the little girl with long braids who used to hang out in the stands while older sister McKayla thumped big hits, to the brilliant young woman (still with long braids) now terrorizing opposing pitchers, Mollie has always been Mollie.

There’s little doubt she’s a Bailey, with a lot of Engle tossed in for good measure, but she has always marched to her own drum beat.

Literally, as she’s a drummer.

Mollie Bailey, a bona fide prairie legend, went out like a boss, smacking four doubles in her final appearance on the CHS diamond.

Saturday, she went out the way I hoped she would — Mollie being Mollie.

That meant whacking four doubles across two games, while still finding time to lean over the fence and tell her rooting section, “Dude, I have had to like pee for the whole game.”

Meanwhile, River Ozturk is a newcomer to Cow Town, USA, a foreign exchange student from Turkey who had never played softball before pulling on a Coupeville uniform.

Saturday, though, she also got her moment, coming to the plate twice, and reaching base both times.

The first trip, she got a traditional American welcome, as a wayward pitch smacked into her body, earning her a walk.

Next time up, shocking her coaches to the core, she swung like the second coming of Prescott — a lifelong diamond masher — ripping a two-run single to right field as Ron Wright punched the air in approval.

It was that kind of day, with a little something for everyone.

Bailey led the hit parade with her four two-baggers, while Whalen and Prescott added two hits apiece.

Toss in singles from Wells, Shaw, Caveness (who also had five walks), Ozturk, and Meyers, and the base-knock machine was chuggin’ along.

Also reaching base via walks were Sofia Peters, Ivy Leedy, Nottingham, Karyme Castro, Prince, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Maya Lucero, Mckenna Somes, and Melanie Navarro.

Allison Nastali, Jackie Contreras, Lily Leedy, and Italian foreign exchange student Elisa Caroppo also saw playing time in the home finale.

And a final note of tribute to Prescott, who, along with Bailey, has the most seniority of Coupeville’s seniors.

Chelsea Prescott, enjoying every moment.

A splendid three-sport athlete who spent her little league days on the baseball diamond before transitioning to softball in high school, Chelly is as talented as any athlete to pass through CHS in recent years.

But I hope she is also remembered for the joy she takes in playing, which was never more evident than when she bounced from her home at shortstop to play catcher for a few innings.

Prescott asked her coach for the chance to try something new, and practically danced back on the field when McGranahan told her she could stay behind the plate.

Talking to herself after each pitch, sometimes laughing at her limited knowledge of the position (yet picking up a lot of the nuances super-fast), she would fire the ball back into Maya Lucero’s mitt, a huge smile visible under the mask.

Prescott’s bat, her wheels, her glove, and her fire, have assured she will be remembered as one of the best to wear the CHS softball uniform.

But Saturday, in her final moments in front of the fans who watched her develop into a star, she reverted back to just being a kid having fun.

What a nice way to exit, for her, and her sisters from other misters.

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Heidi Meyers dares you to run. (Jackie Saia photos)

They rule the diamond.

The Coupeville High School softball squad is a perfect 7-0 heading into a home doubleheader Saturday against Darrington, with first pitch set for 1 PM.

Senior Night festivities are set to go down before the start of the first game.

In preparation, we present a collection of pics from Jackie Saia, who beautifully captures a lot of the little moments which often slip by as the roar of the game attracts all the attention.

Maya (left) and Allie Lucero get recharged between games.

Chelsea Prescott, softball Terminator.

Ivy Leedy

The Wolves line up for their postgame serenade of fans.

Lily Leedy hides from the blustery Whidbey weather.

Allison Nastali

Prairie strong.

Mollie Bailey has a heartfelt conversation with her #1 fan.

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Bella Whalen leads Coupeville in triples, and is in the top four in all 10 offensive categories. (Tiffani Blazek photo)

Rack up some numbers.

As the Coupeville High School softball team has rolled to a 7-0 start on the season, it has gotten production across the board.

Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan has found varsity at-bats for 16 players, with his leading ladies collecting some sweet stats.

Seniors Mollie Bailey and Chelsea Prescott are pacing the CHS hitters, with the former topping the team in hits, doubles, RBI, and batting average.

Prescott isn’t too far off, currently holding the top slot in runs and stolen bases, while tying with Bailey for #1 in doubles.

While both of those stars are playing their final games in a Wolf uniform, junior Izzy Wells and sophomore Bella Whalen are among the young guns ready to lead the program.

Wells has been the best pitcher in the Northwest 2B/1B League by a mile, while Whalen is in Coupeville’s top four players in 10 different offensive categories.

Where the Wolves stand heading into a home doubleheader Saturday against Darrington:

 

Hitting:

Player AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. OBP
A. Shaw 29 13 13 2 1 3 3 5 .448 .457
M. Bailey 27 4 15 3 1 2 10 .556 .567
C. Prescott 27 14 11 3 9 4 6 .407 .375
B. Whalen 24 8 12 2 2 2 5 8 .500 .548
G. Gustafson 22 9 8 3 5 1 .364 .433
I. Wells 21 6 8 2 1 7 4 .381 .536
K. VanVelkin 19 8 8 1 3 1 .421 .500
C. Caveness 12 3 3 1 2 6 .250 .450
J. Prince 11 1 2 2 2 3 .182 .267
M. Lucero 11 1 4 2 1 3 .364 .417
H. Meyers 10 3 1 .300 .300
A. Lucero 4 1 2 1 1 1 .500 .500
L. McCraw 3 1 1 .000 .250
M. Somes 2 1 .000 .333
S. Peters 1 .000 .000
M. Navarro 1 1 .000 1.000

 

Pitching:

Player W/L ERA IP ER K BB K/BB BB/7
I. Wells 7-0 2.12 43.0 13 58 10 5.800 1.628
G. Gustafson 0-0 5.25 4.0 3 2 4 0.500 7.000

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Coupeville senior Mollie Bailey reached base all four times she hit Saturday, while also teaming with pitcher Izzy Wells on a shutout. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It ended, appropriately, with a bang.

Or rather, back-to-back bangs, as Izzy Wells and Bella Whalen crushed consecutive triples Saturday to cap a 10-0 win for the Coupeville High School softball squad.

Now 3-0 on the pandemic-shortened season after dismantling visiting Orcas Island, the Wolves hit the road for their next five games.

But while CHS fans likely won’t see their sluggers in person again until March 26 (unless postponed games against La Conner are rescheduled before then) they got the full experience on a sunny weekend afternoon.

Coupeville stung Orcas with big hits — 10 of them to be exact, including a third triple off the bat of Allie Lucero — a big pitching performance from Wells, and a pretty-impressive collection of web gems.

Calmly flicking fastballs into catcher Mollie Bailey’s glove like she was in her backyard playing catch, Wells whiffed eight Orcas hitters while surrendering just a single, solitary bloop hit.

Not that she didn’t get some help, with Jill Prince, Chelsea Prescott, and Audrianna Shaw all proving they know how to wield their leather while operating in the field.

It was a Coupeville sort of day from start to finish, with the Wolves getting out in front quickly.

After Wells tossed a 1-2-3 top of the first, packaging K’s around a comebacker to the mound, the Wolves jumped on the scoreboard in their half of the inning.

Shaw led off with a walk, with Gwen Gustafson poking a single into the gap between second and first to set the table.

An out later, Bailey started off a big day with the bat, finding her pitch and grooving a two-run single into right-center.

Gently rocking back and forth on the bag at first, the heir to an impressive prairie heritage calmly nodded, as if to say, “Oh, you know I shall return.”

She was right, as the senior reached base all four times she strode to the plate Saturday, collecting a pair of base-knocks while also blistering the ball twice on rockets which smacked off of Orcas gloves and were recorded as errors.

Bailey’s second official hit plated the game’s third run, sending Shaw scampering home in the bottom of the third.

A single from Wells and a walk to Whalen loaded the bags and raised hopes of a big inning, but the visitors escaped when their shortstop made a nice play on a hot grounder back up the middle, robbing Wolf second baseman Heidi Meyers.

Back in the pitcher’s circle, Wells retired the first 14 batters she faced, allowing only a shallow single in the fifth and a walk in the sixth.

Behind her, fellow Wolves came hard on every defensive chance they had.

Prince, hurtling across the diamond from third like she was shot out of a cannon, pulled in a dangerous popup which threatened to drop between Wells and the infield.

Not to be outdone, Prescott snagged a hot shot inches from the ground in the hole at short, while Shaw made a sensational diving catch while on her horse right after moving from left field to center.

Audri did a great job out there,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan. “She is stepping up and taking control of our outfield, directing the younger girls, always talking.”

Shaw also had an impact with her bat, bashing a single to center to key a three-run rally in the fourth.

An RBI single from Prescott made it 4-0, before Bailey nuked a ball off the pitcher’s mitt and into center, plating two more Wolf runners.

Coupeville had a chance to add to its lead in the fifth, after Allie Lucero hammered the snot out of the ball, arriving at third with a one-out, standup triple which produced a yelp of approval from dad Aaron.

Unfortunately, Orcas clamped down, recording back-to-back outs, including a superb snag by first-baseman Portia White on a drifting foul ball over by the dugout.

If the Wolves were concerned, they didn’t show it, waiting another inning, then ending things early by sending four of six hitters all the way around the base-paths.

Gustafson whacked a one-out single off the shortstop’s glove, Prescott and Bailey mashed pool shots which found leather, then freedom, and finally the Wolves got epic.

Wells parked a towering two-run triple to deep center, barely missing a game-ending homerun, before Whalen went and got medieval on a pitch.

The Wolf first-baseman, staying true to the line of power hitters who have held the position at CHS, from Hailey Hammer to Veronica Crownover, tattooed a liner down the left field line, then went screaming into third as Wells tapped home with the final run.

The back-to-back jacks capped a day on which seven Wolves recorded at least one hit, led by Wells, Gustafson, and Bailey, who recorded two apiece.

Shaw, Whalen, Allie Lucero, and Prescott each chipped in with a base-knock of their own, while Meyers, Prince, Kylie Van Velkinburgh, Maya Lucero, Lacy McCraw-Shirron, and Karyme Castro all saw field time.

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