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Scout Smith had a double and three RBI Friday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

In the moment, this one stings.

When you’re repping an itty-bitty 1A school, playing on the road against a large 2A school, and hold the lead for much of the afternoon, losing a game in the final moment is not what you planned for, hoped for, or fought to accomplish.

So, in the moment, falling 7-6 to Port Angeles Friday, with the tying and winning runs coming in on a wild play in the bottom of the seventh, is a killer for the Coupeville High School softball squad.

But as bad as it stings, and it surely does, you don’t want to forget what the Wolves have accomplished, and what heights they can still achieve.

CHS finished the regular season 11-7 despite a patched-together schedule which had them playing 10 of 18 on the road and a third of their games against 2A schools.

They also swept Klahowya to claim the Olympic League title, their first conference crown since 2002.

That sends them to the West Central District 3 playoffs May 18-19 as a #1 seed, two wins from a trip to state.

The key for the Wolves will be to spend the next week focusing on everything that has gone right, not allowing a few down moments to consume their thoughts.

While tweaks are always necessary — Coupeville has uncharacteristically struggled on defense in recent games, while its big bats are in a bit of a slump — the team is in prime position to make a playoff run if the players embrace their destiny.

Districts are played on turf fields, while the Wolves have spent the regular season on grass, so the squad will head to NAS Whidbey this coming week to get in practice time on the different surface.

When they look for positives from Friday’s game, they can point to a sweet catch in left by Nicole Laxton, who elevated to snare a long drive right before it cleared her head.

The way Mackenzie Davis came charging out of the far dugout on foul balls over the backstop, then floored it, cleats clattering on asphalt to beat Roughrider rivals time and again who had a shorter distance to run, but a lot less heart.

Mollie Bailey’s funky drumming, as the fab frosh kept up a lively beat with her drum sticks when not in the game.

Or they can study Scout Smith’s at-bats, as she was the lone truly consistent Wolf at the plate against PA.

First time up, a note-perfect bunt which set up the game’s opening run.

Second time, a thunderous two-run double which shot down the line in left field and curled inwards at the last possible moment to tear a chunk out of fair territory.

Third time, an RBI ground-out to stretch Coupeville’s lead out to its largest margin.

Where the Wolves did have issues Friday was in keeping a consistent offensive attack going, and then preventing the Roughriders from scraping their way back into the game.

CHS got on the board in the first thanks to a little luck and some nice hustle from Lauren Rose.

The senior shortstop led off the game by slapping a liner that banged off a glove for an error, took second when the throw skipped past the first-baseman, then scooted to third on Smith’s bunt.

Perched on third, Rose bounced up and down, then shot home on a passed ball, making the local scoreboard operator get to work early.

Unfortunately, Coupeville’s offense stalled out for a bit after that, and the Wolves fell behind 2-1 after two innings.

A triple to right from Kiana Watson-Charles, the first of two epic blasts from the PA sophomore, was big.

But a successful double steal by the Roughriders and a ball airmailed into right by Coupeville on another play were the real killers.

The Wolves fought back in the third, putting together their one sustained offensive attack of the game.

It started when freshman Coral Caveness out-hustled a throw to first after PA dropped a third strike.

After Emma Mathusek reached on a fielder’s choice in which PA’s only choice was to look one way, then the other, then hold the ball, CHS got back-to-back two-baggers from Rose and Smith.

Smith’s blast gave Coupeville the lead, before an RBI ground-out from Sarah Wright staked the Wolves to a 5-2 lead.

With Katrina McGranahan humming in the pitcher’s circle — she finished with 10 strike-outs — CHS held the Roughriders scoreless in the third and fourth.

Mathusek singled and came around on Smith’s run-scoring ground-out to push the lead to 6-2 heading into the bottom of the fifth.

That, though, was when Watson-Charles took over the game.

She mashed the stuffing out of the ball, driving a two-run home-run over the left-field fence to cut the margin to 6-4, then came on to pitch.

Retiring all six Wolves she faced across the sixth and seventh innings, Watson-Charles gave PA a fighting chance, and the Roughriders jumped on the opportunity.

They plated a run in the sixth to cut the lead to 6-5, but CHS escaped further damage when first-baseman Veronica Crownover made a nimble, unassisted put-out on a hot grounder for the third out.

There was no escape in the seventh, however.

PA used a single, a Coupeville error (on a hard-hit ball by Watson-Charles) and a walk to load the bags with one out, then won the game on the kind of shot you usually see on a pool table.

The ball came off a Roughrider bat and skittered wildly past the pitcher’s circle as the tying run charged home.

In the rush to make the play, Coupeville’s throw home skipped wild, as well, allowing the winning run to also tap the plate.

In the immediate aftermath, it was a rough way to lose the regular-season finale.

But, this is a talented Wolf team, full of players capable of great things. Their moment is still there, waiting to be seized.

“This was a tough game for us,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan. “We have a lot of things to work on this week and we will definitely give districts our best.”

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   Coupeville sophomore Derek Leyva knocked in his 16th goal of the season Tuesday at Port Angeles. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Game by game, he’s chipping away at a record.

Coupeville High School sophomore Derek Leyva banged home his 16th goal of the season Tuesday, scoring for the eighth time in 10 games.

His tally wasn’t enough to save the Wolves against a very-good 2A school, as Coupeville fell 6-2 at Port Angeles, but it did get him one score closer to toppling his cousin.

Abraham Leyva, who graduated in 2016, owns the Wolf boys single-season (20) and career (45) scoring records, but Derek is making a bid for history in his first year at the school.

He has five regular season games left, and, most likely, at least one playoff contest, as he makes a run at the single-season scoring mark.

Coupeville, which also got a goal from James Wood Tuesday, his second of his sophomore campaign, is off for six days now.

The Wolves, 4-4-2 overall after the loss to Port Angeles, close the regular season with five straight 1A Olympic League contests.

That final stretch starts next Monday, Apr. 16, when CHS (3-1 in league play) travels to Klahowya (4-0) to face the three-time defending league champs.

After that comes back-to-back games against Port Townsend (1-3), a road clash with Chimacum (0-4), then Senior Night Apr. 30 against Klahowya.

The Olympic League has not posted playoff brackets yet for 1A, but, in previous years, the top three teams made the postseason.

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   Payton Aparicio eyeballs a pair of noisy fans. “I hear one more peep out of you two and I’m coming up there!!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   “Yeah? I’d like to see you try and … oh crud, Bob, she’s got a ladder! Dear sweet lord in bird heaven!!”

Zara Bradley pounds out a forehand.

   “Where do you think you’re going??” No tennis ball escapes the reach of Sage Renninger.

   “Get on my racket, ball!” Megan Behan uses her Jedi mind tricks to mesmerize the incoming fuzzy yellow target.

   One match into her high school career, and fab frosh Genna Wright is already slapping shots at #1 singles. Her middle name? “Talent.”

Avalon Renninger fires up a wicked serve.

Emily Fiedler floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.

He was a tad late, but he made up for it by working quickly and efficiently.

There was some confusion among fans as to when Monday’s season-opening Coupeville High School girls tennis match started, making for a few “late stragglers.”

One of those was photo bug John Fisken, but, once he was in place, camera in hand, the lenses were clicking madly.

The shots seen above, which capture a mix of varsity and JV players, are courtesy him.

To see everything Fisken shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-2018-Coupeville-Tennis/GT-2018-03-12-vs-Pt-Angeles/

And, when you do, remember, purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes. Circle of life and all.

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   Showcasing her ferocious serve, Avalon Renninger teamed up with fellow sophomore Tia Wurzrainer Monday to win in straight sets. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Small, but important steps.

A young, plucky and undermanned Coupeville High School girls tennis team didn’t get the win Monday, but it did flash a lot of positives.

The Wolves fell 5-2 to visiting Port Angeles, a large 2A school which carries 31 players on its full roster (double Coupeville’s body count).

But, having sunshine instead of howling wind and slashing rain on Opening Day was a good sign.

Brighter than the sun was the play of sophomore sensations Avalon Renninger and Tia Wurzrainer, who romped to a win at second doubles.

While Coupeville’s top doubles duo, seniors Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger, were huge favorites and easily lived up to the hype with their own straight-sets victory, the younger Wolf aces were somewhat of an unknown entering the match.

Both Wurzrainer and Avalon Renninger had strong freshman years, but they are a new pairing as a doubles team, so there might have been some kinks to work out in their first official match.

Not so.

The left-handed Renninger controlled the match on her serve, zinging low, hard shots which bit a chunk out of the court as they skidded away from the Port Angeles netters.

Her running mate was particularly deft at the net, as Wurzrainer delighted her fervent fan club with a series of crisp put-aways.

Their play brought a quick smile to the face of longtime Coupeville net guru Ken Stange as he restlessly prowled the outside of the chain link fence.

With a solid line-up of doubles duos, the Wolves should give rival teams trouble all year long.

Singles is a little more of a work in progress, as CHS deals with the loss of its top three players from a year ago to graduation.

With Valen Trujillo and Co. off to pursue new avenues in life, Wolf freshman Genna Wright got a chance to jump right into the cauldron of playing first singles on opening day.

A naturally-talented athlete and one of the most gung-ho people on the planet Earth, the fab frosh was a First-Team All-Conference player in soccer and a one-woman wrecking crew in basketball.

While she might not have the same amount of experience in tennis as she does in her other sports, Wright came out swinging Monday, making her far more seasoned foe battle mightily for every point.

At one point, the two players went back and forth on a sustained rally, before the freshman dumped a back-hand winner just out of the reach of her rival.

Walking back to the service line, head down, hat pulled low, Wright wore a giddy grin, a star of tomorrow savoring a winner today.

Complete Monday results:

Varsity:

1st Singles — Genna Wright lost to Summer Olsen 6-0, 6-1

2nd Singles — Heather Nastali lost to Hailey Horton 6-1, 6-0

3rd Singles — Nanci Melendrez lost to Kailey Droz 6-0, 6-0

1st Doubles — Payton Aparicio/Sage Renninger beat Saige Hefton/Casandra Shamp 6-0, 6-3

2nd Doubles — Avalon Renninger/Tia Wurzrainer beat Jocelyn Reifenstahl/Emily Metzeler 6-2, 6-1

3rd Doubles — Claire Mietus/Maggie Crimmins lost to Paulina Crawford/Madison Saiz 6-2, 6-2

4th Doubles — Jillian Mayne/Zara Bradley lost to Hanna Brown/Emily Rygaard 6-0, 5-3 (PA left to catch ferry)

JV:

5th Doubles — Elaira Nicolle/Megan Behan trailed 3-0 (ferry)

6th Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Emily Fiedler lost 6-2

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   CHS volleyball coach Cory Whitmore has been pleased to see his team win 20 of 23 sets this season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

After a win over a large 2A school Thursday, the Wolves are 7-1.

1A or 2A, home or away, it matters not.

Carving up teams left and right, the Coupeville High School volleyball squad is on a tear of late.

Thursday night the Wolves added to their hot start, making quick work of host Port Angeles to the tune of 25-16, 25-22, 25-23.

The non-conference win, coming against a school with a student body nearly three times Coupeville’s size, lifts CHS to 7-1 on the season.

The Wolves will carry a five-match winning streak home to face another 2A school, Sequim, next Tuesday, then plunge fully into their pursuit of a second-straight 1A Olympic League crown.

Facing off with Port Angeles, Coupeville had a good mix of opportunistic offense and quality defense.

“I was happy to see our passing come back strong,” said Wolf coach Cory Whitmore. “We weren’t without mistakes, but we managed the serving with greater efficiency in fixing those mistakes and turning them into offense.

“We were sporadic with our attack but I was very proud of how our outsides both produced strong numbers on a mix of shots,” he added. “Glad to get the win on the road.”

Kyla Briscoe loomed large, leading the Wolves with 10 kills, while teammates Payton Aparicio and Katrina McGranahan chipped in with seven apiece.

Lauren Rose doled out a game-high 18 assists and added five service aces to go with the nine Aparicio blasted.

McGranahan, the reigning 1A Olympic League MVP, was a force wherever she set up on this night.

Katrina played a great all-around game with her blocking, serving and hitting,” Whitmore said.

JV falls for first time:

After reeling off six straight wins to open the season, the young Wolves suffered the first ding on their record, coming up on the wrong end of a 28-26, 25-19, 27-25 tally.

“A tough day, but a great learning and growing experience for the team,” said Coupeville JV coach Chris Smith. “The good news is we battled in all three sets and just came up short to a team that was very similar to us.

“We have a three-day break and then we will come back energized and focused on the areas we need to continue to improve upon.”

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