Posts Tagged ‘Opening Day’

Central Whidbey Little League’s softball opener was played in memory of umpire Joel Wheat (right), seen here with proud papa, Jim. (Connie Lippo photo)

Heartbreak intertwined with triumph.

After opening a new season Tuesday with an emotional tribute to beloved coach and umpire Joel Wheat, the Central Whidbey Little League Majors softball team toasted visiting South Whidbey 22-1.

CWLL officials released a statement acknowledging the league’s unexpected loss.

“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that our Joel Wheat passed away from cardiac arrest this morning.

Joel was an integral part of CWLL and we will miss him.

Joel was an active T-Ball coach last season and umpire for many years.

Please keep Dee and Jim, his young daughter and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers.”

When the teams took the field Tuesday, players, fans, umpires and coaches held a moment of silence, and CWLL dedicated the game to Wheat and his family.

Central Whidbey put together a 13-run first inning to take complete control of the game, with Jada Heaton lashing a game-busting double.

CWLL coach Fred Farris did his best to keep the game from becoming a rout of epic proportions, eventually sending his runners early to give away some outs.

That was about the only thing going right for South Whidbey, as their batters couldn’t touch Central hurler Chloe Marzocca, who whiffed eight across four innings of work.

“She pitched awesome!,” Farris said.

Everyone chipped in for Central Whidbey, with Mia Farris, Heaton, and Madison McMillan rapping out two hits apiece.

Teagan Calkins, Taylor Brotemarkle, Brianna Blouin, and Katie Marti each added a base-knock, while Mayleen Weatherford, Marzocca, and Allison Nastali scampered to first on walks.

Every girl on the CWLL roster scored, and “the girls played almost flawless defense, including a hard liner snared by Mia to end the game.”

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Former Coupeville diamond stars CJ (left) and Hunter Smith show off their new college baseball uniforms Sunday in Kent. (Charlotte Young photo)

Different level, same results.

Former Coupeville High School standouts CJ and Hunter Smith made their college baseball debuts Sunday, and immediately helped their team sweep an Opening Day doubleheader.

The duo, who are freshmen at Green River College, played roles in a pair of wins over visiting Western Washington University.

In the opening game, Hunter started at second base and hit lead-off, drilling a single to keep a Gator rally alive during a 4-1 win.

He also recorded three putouts and two assists while roaming the infield.

In the nightcap, big bro CJ, who was a starting pitcher in high school, made his debut in his new role as Green River’s answer to Mariano Rivera.

Coming out of the bullpen to record the final four outs in a 4-2 victory, he struck out two batters while recording the first save of his new career.

The Smith brothers and their new teammates are right back at it next weekend, with a pair of road doubleheaders.

Green River swings by Pendleton, OR next Saturday, Mar. 9, to play a twin-bill against Blue Mountain, then loops back through Eastern Washington Sunday to play two against Walla Walla.

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Senior goalie Sarah Wright and the CHS girls soccer team kicked off a new season Tuesday in Bellingham. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Right into the fire.

The Coupeville High School girls soccer team has no pushovers on its early-season schedule, and a Wolf team in transition will get a chance to learn quickly against tough competition.

First up was Meridian, which came within a game of making it to the state tourney last season.

The Trojans are already gelling this time around, as they rolled to a season-opening 4-0 win over Coupeville Tuesday in Bellingham.

After absorbing the shutout loss, the Wolves head back to Whidbey, where they’ll play three straight.

The home stand starts Thursday, with Friday Harbor, a 2B state quarter-finalist last year, arriving in Cow Town for a 4:30 match-up.

Then comes defending 1A state champs King’s Sept. 11 and always-tough Sultan Sept. 13, as CHS plays its first-ever games in the new North Sound Conference.

Second-year Coupeville girls coach Kyle Nelson, who led his team to a program-record eight wins last year, came away from the opening day loss with eyes set firmly on the long view.

“We lost, but it gave us a look against a good team and areas we will be looking to improve,” he said. “With many new players, and players in new positions, it was a first chance to start figuring out our system and changes that will need to be made.”

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   “He’s too fast! We need some duct tape to keep this thing on his head!!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I dare you to run! Seriously, just try me, girl! I’ll make your whole family cry!!”

Bringin’ the heat on Opening Day.

Put the ball in play and let the runs rain down.

“I’m a ballet dancer in my other life…”

Runnin’ for the spotlight.

   “It’s a deal. You hit a homerun, and we’ll use your idea and install a soft serve ice cream machine in the dugout.”

Safe at home and the celebration begins.

Ready or not, little league is back.

While some might argue the second week of April is a wee bit early for Opening Day, Central Whidbey Little League lucked out Monday, enjoying blue skies.

The league’s minors softball and baseball squads opened play at Rhododendron Park and both teams came away with fairly one-sided victories over North Whidbey teams.

Baseball zinged to a 10-1 win, while softball went wild on the base paths, racking up 17 steals in an 11-3 win.

The Hammerheads softball squad got strong work in the pitcher’s circle from Chloe Marzocca and Taylor Brotemarkle, while Teagan Calkins “was a vacuum behind the plate,” according to coach Fred Farris.

Mia Farris, Madison McMillan, Hayden Daniel, Marzocca, Brotemarkle and Brooke Van Velkinburgh all collected base-knocks, with McMillan leading the way with two hits.

Van Velkinburgh had the best play of the night, though, as she blasted a single off a pitch that bounced to the plate.

Not content to pad her ball-strike count, she stepped forward and smartly whacked the ball, serving notice that defenses better not sleep on her.

Mayleen Weatherford, Jada Heaton, Sydney Wallace, Naosha Rose, Katie Marti and Liza Zustiak all came around to score after getting on base thanks to walks.

While the Opening Day action was playing out, intrepid photo ace John Fisken bounced between diamonds to capture photos.

The pics above are courtesy him, but are just the tip of the iceberg.

To see everything he shot (and perhaps purchase some glossies for grandma) pop over to:





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   Coupeville catcher Sarah Wright opened her junior season with a single and triple Saturday as the Wolves massacred South Whidbey 12-0. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They were the last up, so they made their debut count.

With every other Coupeville High School spring sports team having played at least one contest, the Wolf varsity softball squad might have been getting a little antsy.

If the diamond sluggers were, they quickly got over any nerves, thrashing host South Whidbey 12-0 Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

The victory, called an inning early due to the 10-run mercy rule, was extra-sweet for several reasons.

One, it’s the Falcons in the other dugout, so a win is a clarion call for Island supremacy.

Also, for Coupeville, which came within a single strike of making the state tourney a year ago, it was a chance to send a message to a team which did make the trip to the big dance in 2017.

On this day the Wolves stared down Falcon ace Mackenzee Collins, who is headed to Colorado State on a D-1 scholarship, and picked her apart.

CHS sophomore Scout Smith got things going in the first inning with a one-out single, and the Wolves were off and running.

Using their speed and smarts to create havoc on the bases, the Wolves put a ton of pressure on South Whidbey’s defense and the Falcons cracked a bit.

A string of passed balls and a key error or two put Coupeville in prime spot, and its sluggers came up big when presented with a gift.

The top four hitters combined for seven hits, with Lauren Rose bashing a double and Sarah Wright crunching an epic triple.

Wolf hurler Katrina McGranahan, who scored all four times she strode to the plate, joined Rose and Wright with two base-knocks apiece, while Smith had her rally-launching single and crossed home three times.

While Coupeville’s offense was poppin’, McGranahan was lights-out in the pitcher’s circle.

A lead-off double to Collins in the second inning was the only hit she surrendered, and she whiffed three while tossing a complete-game shutout.

Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan boarded the bus for the short ride home with a huge grin on his face.

“It was a total team win,” he said. “We jumped on their ace right away in the first inning; Katrina and Sarah had their usual good days at the plate, but Scout was pesky all day.”

The Wolf softball guru was able to use all 12 players in uniform, giving freshmen Chelsea Prescott, Mollie Bailey and Coral Caveness their varsity debuts.

Prescott started at third-base, while Bailey and Caveness came off the bench to each score a run.

Hope Lodell, Veronica Crownover, Mackenzie Davis (who walked and scored in the fourth), Nicole Laxton and Emma Mathusek rounded out a CHS roster aiming to better last year’s superb 19-5 finish.

“I used the whole bench, so everyone got in the game to chase the jitters,” Kevin McGranahan said. “Great day for Wolf Nation.”

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