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Like this picture, some spring sports standings are in focus, while others are still fuzzy. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Let the battles begin.

Three of the four spring sports which keep win/loss records have started league play, though girls tennis continues to lag behind everyone else.

In fact, the Coupeville High School netters have yet to play a match of any kind, much less a league one, even while baseball, softball and soccer all have played at least five games.

Barring weather shenanigans, Wolf tennis finally gets on the court this coming Wednesday, with a home match against King’s.

While we’ve barely begun to figure out which schools will be crowned league champs, Coupeville is off to a strong start in softball, a decent one in soccer, and will have to make up some ground in baseball.

And if you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned track and field, where the Wolves are off to a brilliant start, it’s only because they don’t keep track of team win/loss records over at the oval.

Otherwise, rest assured that’s the hottest sport in Cow Town at the moment, especially on the girls side of things, where the Wolves have dominated at their first two meets.

But, back in the world of wins and losses, here’s where things sit through Mar. 24:

 

North Sound Conference softball:

School League Overall
Coupeville 1-0 3-2
Granite Falls 1-0 4-3
Sultan 0-0 0-2
CPC-Bothell 0-1 1-1
South Whidbey 0-1 2-2

 

North Sound Conference baseball:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell 3-0 4-1
South Whidbey 3-0 6-0
King’s 0-0 1-4
Sultan 0-0 0-5
Coupeville 0-3 0-5
Granite Falls 0-3 1-5

 

North Sound Conference girls tennis:

School League Overall
Coupeville 0-0 0-0
Friday Harbor 0-0 0-0
Granite Falls 0-0 1-3
King’s 0-0 1-0
South Whidbey 0-0 0-2

 

North Sound Conference boys soccer:

School League Overall
King’s 2-0 3-1-1
South Whidbey 1-0 4-0-0
Coupeville 1-1 3-3-0
Sultan 0-1 0-5-0
CPC-Bothell 0-2 0-3-0

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Coupeville senior Bryce Payne reached base twice Friday, accounting for 50% of his team’s offense in a 12-0 loss. (Karen Carlson photo)

And we’re done with that.

The schedule gets easier from here, as the Coupeville High School baseball squad wrapped a three-game series with Cedar Park Christian, easily the most dominant team in the new North Sound Conference.

The Eagles have advanced to the 1A state semifinals two years running, finishing second in 2017, and they seem primed for another run.

CPC put the finishing touches on a sweep of a young, rebuilding Wolf squad Friday night, rolling to a 12-0 win in five innings.

Outscored 34-3 by the Eagles across three games this week, Coupeville heads to the weekend sitting 0-3 in league play, 0-5 overall.

The Wolves will get a break from conference action, with their next three games coming against non-league foes Chimacum, University Prep, and Friday Harbor.

The first game in that stretch, a match-up with a former Olympic League rival, goes down Monday in Coupeville. First pitch is 4 PM.

After that three-game set, the Wolves play 12 straight league games in April, with series against King’s, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls.

None of them should present as big a challenge as Cedar Park, a deep, talented, state tourney-tested team.

Friday night, starting pitchers Daniel Olson and Ben Hann dueled through a scoreless game for an inning and a half, and then the Eagles bats started poppin’ big time.

CPC scored five in the bottom of the second, with the big blow a three-run tater off the bat of Jensen Lavering.

After that the Eagles tacked on one more run in the third, before closing with six in the fourth, spraying the ball in all directions.

Coupeville’s offense was largely curtailed by Hann, who limited the Wolves to singles by Gavin Knoblich and Bryce Payne and walks from Payne and Matt Hilborn.

The Wolves best shot came in the top of the third, when they had runners at second and third with two outs. It wasn’t to be, though, as Hann whiffed Jake Pease to end the uprising.

The Eagles finished with 11 base-knocks, getting three from Michael Doyle and two each from Brandon McClean and Lavering, who also collected four RBI.

One bright point for Coupeville was an error-free day in the field.

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A strong defense, led by senior captain Teo Keilwitz, carried Coupeville High School soccer to a 2-0 win Friday night under the lights. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You want pretty? Probably should have gone to a different game.

Want a victory, garnered by any means necessary? Then you were at the right stadium.

Playing under the lights Friday night, and missing three starters, including their leading scorer, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad gutted out a 2-0 win over visiting Sultan.

And, in the end, the W, especially with it coming in a league game, is what mattered most.

“We got a win in a game that was a hard fight, and we were able to take advantage of Mother Nature a bit, so that was good,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

“The guys worked hard and deserved the result.”

The win lifts Coupeville to 1-1 in North Sound Conference play, 3-3 overall.

The Wolves sit in third-place in the five-team league, a game off of King’s (2-0, 3-1-1) and a half-game back of South Whidbey (1-0, 4-0).

Sultan (0-1, 0-5) and Cedar Park Christian (0-2, 0-3) round out the standings.

Friday’s clash, played in a persistent, though not overpowering wind, fell on the chippy side.

Sultan has always been a soccer program which seems to pride itself on being physical, and the Wolves got into mini-scraps with the Turks more than once.

A few yellow cards were waved in the air before the clock ran out Friday, but Coupeville dodged any red cards, while controlling play on both sides of the field.

Starting goaltender Dewitt Cole carried a shutout into the second half, while facing only one truly legitimate shot on goal.

The Wolf defense, anchored by scrappers like James Wood, Teo Keilwitz, and Owen Barenburg, kept the Turks bottled up all night, refusing to give their goalie much to worry about.

Until he came down wrong on his leg after a brief bit of action in front of the net and had to exit the game about 10 minutes into the second half.

With his senior goalie stuck on the bench the rest of the way, Nelson turned to freshman Miles Davidson, who entered the game with PA announcer Eryn Wood giving him a rousing intro.

Once on the field, the man known simply as “Turducken” played lights out, making several scrambling saves and putting in a solid half-hour of scoreless ball.

Coupeville had collected both of its goals in the first half, thanks to Sage Downes and Aram Leyva.

Downes slashed in from the left side five minutes into the game, slapping a ball past Sultan’s flailing goalie for his fourth score of the season.

While that would be the only goal the Wolves would really need, Leyva tacked on a bit of insurance right before the half.

The junior captain was awarded a penalty kick in stoppage time and promptly blew the ball past the over-matched Sultan net-minder, who waved at the orb weakly as it shot past his head doing 75 MPH in a 50 zone.

It was Leyva’s sixth goal of the season, and 25th of his career.

The Turks one really good shot (in an 80-minute game) came 15 minutes in, when a sudden, unexpected hole opened in the Wolf defense.

With the ball on his foot, a Sultan player ripped a liner at Cole, only to see the ball clang off the bar and skitter away.

That was the first, last, and only time the Turks would get a clear look at the net, thanks to a Wolf defense which imposed its will.

With starters Derek Leyva, Xavier Murdy, and Chris Cernick unavailable for duty, Nelson gave quality field time to young guns like Aiden Burdge, Dakota Eck, and Andrew Aparicio, and they all responded strongly.

Friday’s win was the last time Wolf fans will see their team play on its home turf for almost a month.

Coupeville’s next five games, which include four league contests, are on the road, and the Wolves don’t return to Mickey Clark Field until Apr. 19.

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Opposing teams, beware, Coupeville catcher Sarah Wright is coming to kill all your softball dreams. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Hit ’em hard, hit ’em fast, and bury ’em a mile deep.

Delivering an emphatic message to the rest of the league, the Coupeville High School softball squad delivered a knockout punch Thursday in its North Sound Conference opener.

Powered by a first inning three-run home run off the bat of senior catcher Sarah Wright, a cannon shot which sailed over the center field fence and was last seen taking out a passing 747, the Wolves decimated visiting Cedar Park Christian 13-2.

The five-inning win, called early thanks to the mercy rule, lifts CHS to 1-0 in league play, 3-2 overall.

It also gives the Wolves a huge shot of confidence as they prepare for a week-long, four-game road trip.

Coupeville hits Granite Falls next Tuesday, Mar. 26, then swings by Sultan Mar. 28, before wrapping things with a doubleheader Mar. 30 in which it’ll face Fife and Forks.

The first two are league games, the second two non-conference tilts offering a chance to dance with some heavy hitters.

All the big bats Thursday belonged to the Wolves, who jumped on Cedar Park early, then never let up, ringing up runs in each of the four innings in which they came to the plate.

With freshman hurler Izzy Wells in fine form, flinging seven strikeouts while surrendering just three hits, everything was clicking for Coupeville.

“So, good start to league play,” said CHS coach Kevin McGranahan. “We took control from the first at-bat and never looked back.

Izzy controlled the hitters and we just played a good solid softball game.”

The tone of the game was set in the first inning, a frame in which Wright wrote a perfect script both in the field and at the plate.

She closed the top of the inning by popping up from behind home and unleashing a wicked shot into the glove of Wolf third-baseman Chelsea Prescott, who slapped the tag on an Eagle who had leaned the wrong way at the wrong time.

Sparked by the defensive gem, Coupeville came out swinging in its half of the inning.

Lead-off hitter Scout Smith lashed a scorcher across the infield which crawled up the CPC second baseman’s glove and shot off to frolic in wide open spaces.

Two passed balls later, she was camped out at third, to be shortly followed by Prescott earning a walk and strolling down to first.

At that point the Cedar Park pitcher stepped back and let a gush of air out of her lungs, her shoulders sagging.

Course, she could have just waited a nanosecond, because Wright would have knocked all the air out of her lungs free of charge.

Launching the ball away from that strange thing hanging in the sky (we were later told it was the sun, but this is spring, and the sun never shines during spring sports…), the senior slugger had all day to stroll the base-paths.

If the ball ever landed, and that is still in question, it most likely hit somewhere up around Ebey Bowl, took a hard bounce or two, then landed in front of a startled cow.

The game went on for another hour or so, but it effectively ended the moment Wright’s home run left the park.

From there it was a romp, as the Wolves stretched the lead out to 8-0, gave back two runs just to make the appearance of playing fair, then slapped on another five-spot to close the afternoon.

Coupeville plated four runs in the second, after getting runners on base the old-fashioned way, thanks to Nicole Laxton being plunked for the 11,798th time in her career, Wells reaching on an error, and Smith walking.

With the bags juiced, Emma Mathusek whistled a two-run double into the deepest, darkest part of left field, a resounding shot which had inside-the-park grand slam written on it until the ball skidded under the fence.

That forced the ump to signal a ground-rule double, sending Smith back to third and forcing Mathusek, flying around second, to come to a skidding stop, followed by a few hops back to the bag, where she perched, epic grin washing across her face.

Smith made it home a moment later, anyway, alertly darting in on a passed ball, while Mathusek tapped home when Wright ripped a hot shot off the third-baseman’s glove.

Three straight singles, coming off the bats of Laxton, Wells, and Smith, delivered the lone run in the third inning, before CHS sent nine batters to the plate during a five-run fourth.

Chloe Wheeler came off the bench to eke out a bases-loaded walk to pick up an RBI, followed by Coral Caveness smoking an RBI single into an impossibly-small gap between Cedar Park’s second-baseman and first-bagger.

Not to be outdone, Wells roped a two-run single which skidded down the third-base line, frantically hugging fair territory all the way.

The game’s final run is the kind which brings a smile to a coach’s face, as two of his players stayed alert and took advantage of opportunity, instead of being lulled to sleep by a big lead.

When a third strike made a run for freedom, skidding off the CPC catcher’s mitt and heading out for a stroll, the batter, Smith, took off like she was running the 100 at the Olympics.

Hurrying to make the play, the Eagles failed twice.

The throw was late to first, with Smith bending away from the tag, while Caveness broke for home once the ball was launched and scampered home to score.

That left Ms. Unflappable to close out the game from the pitcher’s circle, and Wells exited in style, ripping off back-to-back swinging strikeouts, before inducing a tepid game-ending grounder to Prescott.

 

JV gets some work:

A day after bonking Concrete’s varsity, the Wolf JV got to play a quick three-inning scrimmage with Cedar Park, which used a mix of varsity and JV players.

While CPC was up 8-5 when the game was called, it doesn’t go down as an official loss since it wasn’t a complete game.

Wolf sisters Heidi and Abby Meyers, who held down second and short, were the stars of the scrimmage, gobbling up everything that came their way.

Also of note was the season debut of Marenna Rebischke-Smith, returning to hold down first-base after recovering from a broken leg she suffered during winter cheer season.

Coupeville generated all its scoring in the bottom of the first, and might have gotten more if JV games didn’t have a restrictive five runs per inning rule.

The Wolves sent 10 runners to the plate, with lead-off hitter Lily Leedy kicking things off with a walk, then ending them with a two-out RBI single.

In between, CHS got base-knocks from both Meyers sisters, with Heidi belting a stand-up double, Morgan Stevens, and Mollie Bailey.

Audrianna Shaw, who had Coupeville’s only base-hit in the final two innings, walked in the first, as did Ivy Leedy, though she got her base thanks to being nailed by a wayward pitch.

Which, in honor of ball-magnet Laxton, is known as “getting Nicoled.”

 

To see pics from Thursday’s games, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Softball-2018-2019/SB-2019-03-21-vs-CPC/

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Matt Hilborn struck out nine Cedar Park Christian batters in six innings Wednesday afternoon. (Karen Carlson photos)

Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich was a rock behind the plate, while also collecting one of Coupeville’s three hits.

Movie buffs will tell you it’s a simple truth.

You can push King Kong around, harass him, pester him, think you have him exactly where you want him, and then, in the blink of an eye, the beast is liable to break free and pop you like a ripe grape.

And so it went for the Coupeville High School baseball squad, which played visiting Cedar Park Christian dead even for six innings Wednesday, only to get squashed in the game’s final frame.

Tied 3-3 heading into the seventh against the North Sound Conference’s biggest, baddest diamond team, the Wolves were primed for an upset of gargantuan proportions.

But it wasn’t to be, as pitch count limits plucked Coupeville ace Matt Hilborn from the mound, and the Eagles promptly savaged the inexperienced Wolf bullpen to claim a 12-3 win.

The loss drops the rebuilding Wolves to 0-2 in league play, 0-4 overall.

The teams, who tangled Monday with CPC winning 10-0, wrap up their season series Friday in Redmond.

Sophomore Daniel Olson, who celebrated his 16th birthday Wednesday by crunching a two-run RBI single, will get the ball in the finale.

After a brief bit of trouble in the top of the first, Hilborn was at his best while facing a powerhouse squad which boasts back-to-back runs to the state tourney semifinals.

The Eagles, as deep and talented as any team Coupeville is likely to face this season, pushed a pair of runs across in the opening frame, only to be denied any more by a bang-bang double play.

With a runner breaking to second on an attempted steal, Hilborn induced the batter to shoot a soft liner back to the mound.

The Wolf senior calmly speared the incoming ball, turned, took a measured step or two towards first-baseman Dane Lucero, then doubled off the wayward runner.

The first inning, when he surrendered a double to right and a two-run single to center, was the only inning in which Hilborn allowed more than a single runner on base at any time.

He sailed through three straight shut-out innings after the first frame, with a little help from catcher Gavin Knoblich, who gunned down a would-be stealer by a country mile.

Given a chance, the Wolf offense answered and reclaimed the lead for Hilborn.

After going three up and three down in the first two innings, Coupeville got a run back in the third, then shot ahead by plating two in the fourth.

Olson, who was my unofficial, but super-efficient, video store manager at David’s DVD Den when he was in kindergarten, had an especially strong day while dreaming of birthday cake under blazing blue skies.

He was the first Wolf to reach base, and the first to score, after scampering down the line as the CPC shortstop botched his chopper to lead off the bottom of the third inning.

Walks to Bryce Payne and Hawthorne Wolfe juiced the bags, before Olson was waved home after the field ump called a balk on a botched pick-off play at first.

While the Eagles escaped after that, thanks to a strikeout and a pop-up snagged in foul territory, the game remained a nail-biter.

Lucero made an especially impressive defensive play as well, chasing down a foul ball behind first base while hurtling within a whisper of entangling himself in the net.

Perhaps sparked by that, or by Hilborn’s calm demeanor on the mound, Coupeville snatched the lead in the bottom of the fourth.

Collecting all three of their hits on the afternoon in one unbroken streak, the Wolves started things with a lil’ flare off the bat of lanky right fielder Ulrik Wells.

The ball skittered off his bat, looped through the surprisingly warm air, then somehow split three defenders converging between the mound and first base.

Against all odds, the orb made it down to the ground, evading all three mitts, and Wells, taking long strides, found himself perched on the bag as CHS coach Chris Smith yelled “Yeah, baby!!” from across the diamond.

Knoblich followed his mate with a smash deep into the hole at short for hit #2, before Olson lofted a gorgeous liner which splashed down into center, giving both of his teammates ample time to hurry home.

Up 3-2, the Wolves put runners at second and third with one out, Olson accompanied by Payne, who eked out another walk, only to have CPC slip away one more time.

The Eagles knotted the game back up with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, with both pitching staffs matching goose eggs after that until the seventh.

Hilborn went out strong, stranding a runner at first in the sixth, rearing back to toss his ninth strikeout before getting a pair of pop-ups.

His velocity might have been down a bit at that point, but he was still gunnin’. Then, enter the state, and exit Hilborn.

Pitch counts, which were instituted to prevent overuse of young hurlers, are the law of the land in Washington state, so it was off to shortstop for Coupeville’s starting ace.

With Lucero having used up his pitches Monday, and Olson slated to start Friday, Chris Smith went to his bullpen, which is very much a work in progress, featuring two freshmen and a varsity newcomer.

Wolfe, Cody Roberts, and Jonny Carlson combined to face 13 hitters in the seventh, and were stung by Cedar Park’s state tourney-tested hitters.

A pair of doubles to deep center, which combined to plate five runners, were killers, but Coupeville’s next gen hurlers did get all three of the inning’s outs by strikeout.

Roberts whiffed one, while Carlson gunned down two of the four hitters he faced.

With a tie ball game suddenly turned into a rout, Smith used the seventh to get some game action for some of his other role players, with Andrew Score pinch-hitting and Gavin Straub pinch-running.

Score, playing in front of older brother, and former Wolf first-baseman Kory, launched a long, arcing fly to center which required the Eagle fielder to take off sprinting before making a pretty sweet catch.

Ever the philosophical coach, Smith talked to his players about the big picture after the game, and had praise for both his veteran hurler, and his younger guys.

Matt pitched a gem of a game, and against a very good hitting team,” Smith said. “He gave us all he could, six great innings, and I’m very happy with his performance out there.

Daniel delivered a huge hit for us; that was beautiful,” he added. “He’s been getting the bat on the ball really well lately, which is why we moved him up in the lineup. It really paid off.”

While Smith wants wins, having his squad, which lost eight seniors to graduation, be able to compete with a team which has valid dreams of winning a state title, is a big first step.

“We want to make them earn it, and we did,” he said. “We need to keep working on our offense, but we’re going in the right direction.

“As long as we keep making sure they have to earn everything, I’m pleased.”

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