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Madison McMillan cranked a game-changing three-run home run Sunday, keeping Whidbey’s state title hopes alive. (Jackie Saia photos)

Adyson Morales whiffed seven batters for the Inferno.

I assumed something went wrong with my phone.

Working on my sister’s farm Sunday, I peeked once to see how the Whidbey Island All-Star juniors softball team was doing in its loser-out game at the state tourney in Vancouver.

The answer: the Inferno were scuffling, held to three singles and no runs through five innings, and trailing South Hill of Puyallup 5-0.

Three hours later, I grabbed my phone, saw that the GameChanger app was claiming Whidbey had won 19-10, preserving its hopes of a state title, and thought I had tapped on the wrong game.

But it was true. All true.

Really. Seriously. Really.

Staging one of the great comebacks in Whidbey youth athletic history, the Inferno unleashed a tsunami in the final two innings, raining down 19 runs on 21 hits, including nine of the extra-base variety.

Better still, 13 of those runs, including a game-changing out-of-the-park three-run home run from Coupeville’s Madison McMillan, came with the Inferno just a single out away from being eliminated.

South Hill needed 21 outs to stay alive and move on to face Mukilteo Monday night in another loser-out game, but got to 20 outs and then promptly imploded.

Or, more accurately, Whidbey dropped a nuclear bomb on their foes hopes and dreams, creating a beautiful ballet of death and destruction on the diamond.

“That was nuts,” said mentally-exhausted Inferno coach Fred Farris. “Greatest sports moment I’ve been a part of, or frankly ever watched.

“I’m speechless!”

You can sum the first five innings of the game up by simply saying, “Not much was working for Whidbey.”

Maybe still reeling a bit from a one-run loss to Camas Saturday in their tourney opener, the Inferno couldn’t get anything started.

Savina Wells and Loto Tupu whacked singles in the second inning, only to be stranded, and that was almost the full extent of Whidbey’s offensive output until late.

But big bats can stay quiet only so long, and the Inferno finally broke through.

Trailing 5-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning, Whidbey got a one-out single from Taylor Brotemarkle, then started to find its usual free-flowing groove.

After not getting a single extra-base hit up until then, the Inferno unloaded for five doubles in the inning, with Payton Ludemann, Adyson Morales, Wells, McMillan, and Tupu all bashing the ball.

That allowed Whidbey to scrape together six runs and take their first lead of the game at 6-5, but it was a lead which vanished almost as quickly as it came.

South Hill bounced right back to slap four runs on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the frame, regaining the upper hand at 9-6, and things looked dire.

A strong defensive play, with Brotemarkle rifling a throw off a one-hopper to right, and Mia Farris making “an incredible stretch” to haul in the throw at first, kept the damage from being worse.

But things weren’t looking good in the top of the seventh and final inning, as two of Whidbey’s first three hitters went down.

Haylee Burleigh poked a single to left to put one runner aboard, but the end of the season, and the little league careers of many of the Inferno players, seemed a mere moment away.

Who knew that final moment would stretch out into eternity?

With everything hinging on her, Coupeville catcher Teagan Calkins — an artful photographer, a quick cross country runner, and a high-achieving student — ambled to the plate.

And thus began the Ragnarok which would reduce South Hill to a pile of rubble.

Calkins whacked a single to center to keep the game going, Wells followed with an RBI single to short to cut the lead to 9-7, then McMillan got epic.

Swinging the hammer of the gods, one of Coupeville’s best and brightest mashed the kind of dinger which can define a career, and launch years of future softball excellence in her home town.

Boom, 10-9 Inferno — game over on the spot, essentially, even if the two teams played on for a while longer.

Her coach, who has seen a lot of games in a lot of sports in his time, was suitably impressed.

Madison hit it WAY over the fence,” Fred Farris said. “The girls really fed off that.

“It was probably five foot fair and 20 feet over the foul pole, and still climbing!”

There were still 10 more hits, and another nine runs to score before the inning came to an end, and it was artistry, pure artistry.

One out from elimination, the Inferno responded with 13 consecutive hits, with Calkins, Wells, McMillan, and Layla Suto collecting two base-knocks apiece during the streak.

The run only came to an end when Mia Farris was drilled by a pitch, one of two times Whidbey players were plunked on the afternoon, but by then, South Hill was dead and buried.

The Puyallup nine did scrape out one run in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t mount a rally against Wells, who was on in relief of Morales.

Whidbey’s pitchers combined for nine strikeouts on the afternoon, with Morales netting seven of those.

Calkins and Wells finished with four hits apiece to pace the Inferno, with McMillan thumping three and collecting a game-high six RBI.

Burleigh (2), Morales (2), Suto (2), Tupu (2), Brotemarkle (2), Mia Farris (1), Ludemann (1), and Katie Marti (1) also garnered hits, with Jada Heaton and Lilly Norman rounding out Whidbey’s roster.

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   Angelina Gebhard and the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade JV volleyball squad rallied for an epic win Thursday afternoon. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

As comebacks go, this one was pretty dang incredible.

Rallying multiple times Thursday, the Coupeville Middle School 8th grade JV volleyball squad stormed back from an enormous first set deficit, then liked success so much it promptly rolled to a straight-sets win over visiting Sequim.

The 25-23, 26-24, 15-11 victory, in which the Wolves trailed from the first serve to the next-to-last point of the opening set, was the highlight on a day when the other three CMS teams fell to their big school rivals.

And, if you win, you get first priority in the story.

8th grade JV:

Things were not going especially well.

The JV squad, which had trailed from the first point of the match, fell behind, then watched its deficit steadily grow.

A few strong serves from Samantha Streitler aside, the Wolves were in trouble, trailing 16-8 and lacking any sort of spark.

Or maybe CMS coach Casie Greve and her team were just pulling a long con, cause things flipped and they flipped fast.

Morgan Stevens turned out to be the catalyst, and the finisher.

A pair of aces started the comeback, then Amanda Thomas, Abby Mulholland and Angelina Gebhard caught fire at the line, while Sequim suddenly went ice cold, missing four consecutive serves.

Even with all that, the Wolves didn’t take the lead until Stevens dropped in two straight aces to push CMS up 24-23.

With all the air rushing out of the bodies of the Sequim players, Stevens twirled the ball one more time, launched it skyward and sent a ball across the net which hit the receiver in the arm and bounced away for set point.

At which point the Wolves erupted like they had won the state championship, screaming loudly enough to wake up any cows still grazing out in nearby fields.

Buoyed by the improbable, heart-stopping comeback, the JV dropped the hammer after that.

Stevens continued to be on fire at the service line, while Mulholland and Chloe LaRue put together torrid runs of their own.

In between the service winners, Ella Colwell dropped in a sweet tip for a winner, while LaRue came storming down the sideline to save a runaway ball and redirect it back over the net and through a mob of Sequim players.

8th grade varsity:

The Wolves started in cruise control, then the wheels fell off the car.

After opening with a 25-16 win in the first set, Coupeville suffered through a lengthy dry spell on serve — at one point five of six servers put their first ball into the net during the second set — and things turned sour quickly.

Sequim, which benefited more from CMS errors than anything it accomplished for itself, captured the final two sets 25-18, 15-6.

Part of the visitors success on this day came from something which may trip up its players down the road.

Coupeville coaches preach overhand serving, if at all possible, while Sequim had a staggering amount of girls lofting the ball underhand.

Thursday, that worked, as it meant the visitors put just about everything into play. But it also means a lengthier adjustment for those players down the road as they try and rise through the ranks.

When CMS players hit high school, they will already be prepared to serve at that level, which is huge.

From Izzy Wells, who cracked off a nasty ace which hit the court and burrowed five feet down (part of a string of eight straight winners during the good-times first set), to Jaelyn Crebbin, who frequently unleashes bombs, one loss doesn’t tell the full tale of their potential.

During that opening set, Coupeville also benefited from strong play by Abby Meyers, Noelle Daigneault and Eryn Wood, who closed out the set with a high-flying tip which elicited a scream of approval from her dad, Robert, camped in the bleachers.

While things didn’t go as smoothly after that, the Wolves still got some big plays, such as Audrianna Shaw painting the back line with a spike.

7th grade varsity:

The match was closer than the score might sound, as the Wolves, led by the serving of Kaielle Bepler and Alita Blouin and the hustle of Jill Prince and Gwen Gustafson, fought hard in a 25-8, 25-15, 25-15 loss.

Capping their first season as co-coaches of the young guns, Sarah Lyngra and Kimberly Bepler were thrilled with the progress they saw from their often very raw players.

“Everyone worked really hard, today and all season,” Lyngra said.

Bepler agreed, saying “We saw a big development of skills from the girls as we went from match to match.”

7th grade JV:

The scores were much closer in this one, a barn-burner where a serve here, a spike there, could have flipped the match.

Sequim escaped with a 25-20, 25-18, 25-23 win, but not before Wolves Cypress Socha (nine successful serves), Vivian Farris (7) and Hayley Fiedler (5) sliced ‘n diced the visitors while at the service stripe.

Cypress was awesome today,” Lyngra said. “Her best super, duper day of the season!”

Both coaches were happy to see their player’s continued growth in getting “three hits and over,” pointing to one rally where there were five such combinations before the point was finished.

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Lauren Rose (John Fisken photo)

   Lauren Rose smacked a triple and a single Wednesday, sparking Coupeville to its second win of the season. (John Fisken photo)

Need a win? Make sure Mouse is in the house.

Riding a spectacular game from sophomore third baseman Lauren “Mouse” Rose, the Coupeville High School softball squad rallied for a big home win Wednesday afternoon.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Wolves stormed back to knock off Concrete 5-3 for the non-conference victory.

Now 2-1 on the young season, they’ll go for a two-game sweep of the Lions Friday, when they hit the road for the first time this season.

Wednesday’s game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the way, with the Lions picking up an unearned run in the third.

With the sun dipping over the prairie on a gorgeous, wind-free day, Coupeville finally put together something on offense in the bottom of the fifth.

Veronica Crownover reached on an error and was pinch-run for by the speedy and deadly Robin Cedillo.

The Wolf junior had a chance to kick on the after burners immediately, as Rose found the pitch she was looking for and launched a resounding RBI triple to tie things up.

While Coupeville couldn’t get her home to break the tie, the Wolves carried their momentum over into the next inning, breaking things wide open.

Playing solid small ball and taking advantage of a series of errors from the suddenly frazzled Lions, CHS sent four across the plate, with Sarah Wright, Hope Lodell, Kailey Kellner and Tamika Nastali all stomping on home.

Not content to make their coach’s life an easy one, though, the Wolves gave back two runs in the top of the seventh.

With the bags juiced, Coupeville hurler Katrina McGranahan, who earlier in the day had been honored as a WIAA Player of the Week, put the fire out, fanning a Concrete batter for the 21st and final out of the day.

The Wolves collected four hits on the day, with Rose accounting for 50% of their output (she added a single to go with her three-bagger).

Wright and Tiffany Briscoe chipped in with a hit apiece, while Coupeville tacked on four stolen bases.

As he basked in the afterglow of the win, Wolf coach Kevin McGranahan wore a huge grin as he talked about his scrappy lead-off hitter.

Lauren really sparked it for us today,” he said. “She had a strong game and it was good to see.”

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CJ Smith had a huge steal late in the game, and hit four threws down the stretch, to help ice Coupeville's win. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

  CJ Smith had a game-changing steal late in the game, and hit four free throws down the stretch, to help ice Coupeville’s win. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

It would have been easy to lose.

After falling apart a bit in the third quarter, the Coupeville High School JV boys’ basketball team trailed by four heading into the final eight minutes Saturday against visiting Mount Vernon Christian.

Six minutes later, things looked a bit bleaker, with the Wolves now down by seven with under two minutes to play.

But it was at that exact moment that CHS reached down deep and found a miracle ending, using a mix of three-point bombs and precision free throws to stage a clock-busting 13-3 rally that carried it to an unexpected 54-51 win.

It was the third win in the last four games for the Wolf JV, and one that will leave a lasting impact.

“Very proud of our boys. They showed great resolve today,” said Coupeville coach Dustin Van Velkinburgh. “They stayed together, worked their tails off and were rewarded for their hard work with a win they will remember for a long time.

“They showed their heart.”

The ending was a wild one, as the Wolves got their points from three players who all shone brightly under pressure.

DeAndre Mitchell started the rally with a trey, then hit two free throws, while Gabe Wynn (a three-pointer and a free throw) and CJ Smith (four free throws and a huge steal) chipped in with four apiece during the run.

In a game where both teams lived at the charity stripe, Coupeville started slowly (8 of 22) but found its groove in the fourth, draining 14 of 19 down the stretch.

The Wolves, paced by big-time rebounding from Jared Helmstadter, went to the locker room with a six-point lead.

“We played with heart and enthusiasm in the first half, especially on the defensive end,” Van Velkinburgh said.

MVC rallied in the third, throwing together a 17-5 run, but Coupeville blunted the surge a bit by successfully pulling off a basket on an in-bounds play to end the quarter.

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Morgan Payne scored a huge breakaway bucket in the fourth, part of an epic Coupeville rally that fell one slim bucket short. (John Fisken photo)

Morgan Payne scored a huge breakaway bucket in the fourth, part of an epic Coupeville rally that fell one slim bucket short. (John Fisken photo)

For seven minutes and 52 seconds, it was a storybook ending come true. Then the story dribbled away at the very end.

Unable to get off a game-tying shot in the final eight seconds, while their top scorer was locked to the bench after getting a fifth foul, the Coupeville High School boys’ basketball team could only pull off 99% of a miracle comeback Friday night.

Trailing by 12 points entering the fourth, the Wolves suddenly got physical with visiting La Conner and ripped off a game-ending 15-5 run fueled by Nick Streubel rampaging through the paint and a miracle defensive play from Gavin O’Keefe.

Then the ball took a bad bounce off a knee and flopped out of bounds and all the dreams died in a 47-45 loss that dropped the Wolves to 0-6.

A complete reversal from a season ago, when Coupeville lost by 49 points to the Braves, who went on to place fourth at the 2B state tourney, the game revived memories of a few years ago for Wolf fans.

The joint was jumping, Streubel was unstoppable in the paint, throwing down 11 of his team-high 13 points down the stretch, and fate seemed to be smiling on a Wolf squad in desperate need of more than another moral victory.

A steal and breakaway bucket from Morgan Payne pulled Coupeville to within two, then Streubel rammed home a rebound to knot things at 43.

Riding a 13-1 run, the Wolves held La Conner without a field goal for more than six minutes in the fourth.

The biggest stop had come from O’Keefe, the senior guard playing for the first time since game two of his junior season.

Having fought back from two broken legs, he put on an extraordinary burst of speed, coming from one end of the court to the other, to spike a ball away from a La Conner player who was inches away from what had seemed like a sure-thing layup.

The run was finally broken when Streubel, who played the entire fourth quarter with four fouls, was whistled for a phantom fifth. Taking advantage, La Conner hit two free throws, then scored off of an inbounds play to stretch the lead to 47-43.

Joel Walstad calmly backed his man down and hit a short jumper to cut the lead back to two, then Coupeville forced a shot clock violation to reclaim the ball with 8.1 seconds to play.

The Wolves tried to get the ball up-court down the left side, but there was a bit of confusion, and a ton of hard-nosed Brave pressure, and Coupeville’s final shot failed to materialize.

The ending, while frustrating, couldn’t erase the positives, of which there were many, for the Wolves.

Coupeville came out strong, leading by one after the first quarter. Then, after briefly falling asleep at the wheel early in the second, they closed the half with a 7-2 run fueled by five from Wiley Hesselgrave.

Streubel (13) was joined by Anthony Bergeron (9) and Hesselgrave (8) atop the scoring chart, while Walstad banked in five, including a three-point bomb.

Payne and Aaron Trumbull banged home four apiece, and O’Keefe sweetly swished his first in-game jumper since 2012.

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