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Coupeville softball star Sarah Wright has signed to play college ball for Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Softball is carrying Sarah Wright across the country.

The Coupeville High School senior signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for Sewanee: The University of the South, an NCAA D-III school in Tennessee.

While attending the liberal arts college, Wright plans to study politics, but will also spend a fair amount of time hanging around the diamond.

“I can’t imagine my life without softball,” she said in her Senior Night farewell. “And I am blessed enough to continue to play the sport I love.

“Go Tigers!”

The school, which is commonly referred to as simply Sewanee, offers 24 varsity sports.

The softball squad, coached by Merrit Yackey, went 3-27 this spring and graduates five of 11 players, leaving plenty of opportunity for Wright to make an immediate impact.

During her time at CHS, she’s been a four-year starter at catcher, while also pulling some side duty at third base and in the pitcher’s circle.

One of the most-ferocious sluggers ever to pull on a Wolf uniform, she brings smarts, grit, a surprising amount of speed, and eye-popping power to the diamond.

Wright is hitting .621 this season, with 41 hits, including 12 doubles, two triples, and four home-runs, while scoring 32 times and picking up 30 RBI.

During a four-year run she’s shared with fellow seniors Veronica Crownover and Nicole Laxton, the trio has won back-to-back league titles as juniors and seniors, while never losing a game to arch-rival South Whidbey.

Wright also played basketball for three seasons, volleyball for two, and soccer for two, and was named Homecoming Queen her senior season.

Sewanee softball, which plays in the Southern Athletic Association, currently has players from Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas, and Pennsylvania on its roster.

A deep dive into Wikipedia reveals the campus (referred to as “The Domain” or “The Mountain”), sits on 13,000 acres atop the Cumberland Plateau, overlooking the Tennessee Valley.

The school was established in 1857, is affiliated with the Episcopal Church and has a long history of athletic and academic achievement.

The Sewanee Review, founded in 1892, is the oldest continuously-published literary magazine in the country, while 26 Rhodes Scholars have been launched from the campus.

Playwright and Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams, author of landmark plays such as The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, left his literary rights to the school.

There’s now a performance venue and teaching facility on campus named in his honor, and the school offers Tennessee Williams teaching fellowships.

The school can also lay claim to one of the great early-day athletic success stories.

The 1899 Sewanee Tigers football team went 12-0, with 11 shutouts, outscoring their foes 322-10.

Five of those wins came during a six-day, 2,500-mile road trip by train.

In a 2012 vote held by the College Football Hall of Fame, the 1899 Sewanee team nipped the 1961 Alabama squad and was named “the greatest collegiate football team of all time.”

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CHS softball lead-off hitter Scout Smith is in the top three on her team in 10 of 11 offensive categories. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They’re on a tear, and it shows on the stat sheet.

The Coupeville High School softball team has won seven of its last nine games heading into Tuesday’s regular-season finale at South Whidbey.

During that run the bats have been booming, and the runs have been shooting across home plate.

Seven starters are hitting .312 or better on the season, lead-off hitter Scout Smith has scored 35 times in 18 games, and, as a team, the Wolves have smacked nine home runs.

Well, 10 if you count the one a blind ump stole from Nicole Laxton

As you prepare for Tuesday’s game, and the district tourney out there on the horizon, take a gander at season-to-date numbers:

 

Hitting:

Player AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. OBP
A. Shaw 16 4 2 1 6 .125 .364
I. Wells 40 9 8 2 3 4 2 .200 .289
C. Wheeler 9 1 1 1 4 3 .111 .385
C. Caveness 32 10 10 1 8 5 .312 .476
E. Mathusek 50 24 18 4 1 1 2 19 23 .360 .549
S. Smith 62 35 26 10 1 1 5 13 16 .419 .538
C. Prescott 64 23 20 3 3 7 9 18 .312 .405
M. Davis 30 4 5 1 1 8 5 .167 .359
M. Bailey 51 15 17 2 3 10 12 .333 .443
V. Crownover 55 15 26 9 3 8 26 .473 .537
S. Wright 61 28 36 8 2 4 3 7 29 .590 .643
N. Laxton 30 7 7 1 4 5 .233 .410

 

Pitching:

Player W/L ERA Gms CG SO Hits Runs BB K IP BF
I. Wells 8-4 6.83 13 8 90 87 48 77 69.2 377
S. Smith 3-3 6.74 9 4 46 53 17 18 36.1 194
C. Prescott 0-0 12.25 2 5 11 3 1 4.0 25

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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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“Get off me, ball!! Way to wear it, babe!!!” Coupeville catcher Sarah Wright leads the dugout chatter after a teammate gets plunked. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Mollie Bailey: “I’m stealing second, coach.” Ron Wright: “Don’t even think about it.” Bailey: “They don’t call me Wheels for nothing, my man.” Wright: “No one calls you Wheels, shorty. Do we have to have this conversation every freakin’ time you get on base?” Bailey: “Yes, yes we do…”

Young stars (l to r) Izzy Wells, Audrianna Shaw, and Coral Caveness ponder the fate of the universe.

Homer-hittin’ titan Veronica Crownover arrives for the party.

Shaw flies home.

Mackenzie Davis comes up firing.

Wolf tennis stars Genna Wright (left) and Tia Wurzrainer have no fear of the sunshine.

Wells delivers the high, hard cheese.

There was a little bit of everything for everyone.

Saturday brought with it three Coupeville High School softball games, two for the varsity and another for the JV squad.

Toss in some rare early-spring sunshine, a lot of wins, and some steady camera-clicking by John Fisken, and it was a fairly complete day.

To see everything the paparazzi shot, pop over to:

https://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/Coupeville-Softball-2018-2019/SB-2019-03-16-vs-OH/

And, remember, a percentage from any purchases goes to help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes.

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CHS softball coaches Kevin McGranahan (left) and Ron Wright run players through practice drills. (Photos by JohnPhotos.net)

Mollie Bailey is one of nine returning players from a team which came a win shy of advancing to state.

Third time’s the charm.

At least that’s the hope for the Coupeville High School softball squad, which has fallen a single win shy of the state tourney two years running.

And, while the Wolves will miss a trio of graduated All-Conference players in Hope Lodell, Lauren Rose, and Katrina McGranahan, the roster is loaded with experience.

Seniors Sarah Wright, Veronica Crownover, and Nicole Laxton top a lineup with brings back nine letter winners.

Joining them are juniors Scout Smith, Emma Mathusek, and Mackenzie Davis, as well as sophomores Coral Caveness, Mollie Bailey and Chelsea Prescott.

Having that kind of experience, and having it so precisely balanced between the classes, is huge.

“Returning nine of 12 varsity players will be key to our run this season,” said Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan.

“My goals for this season are that the team comes together as a fast-pitch family and trusts in the process,” he added. “If we can do that, we should have no problem competing for a league title and going to districts.

“Sky is the limit for this little team that could.”

Rounding out the varsity roster will be junior Chloe Wheeler, coming off a strong JV season, and freshman Izzy Wells.

The Wolves need to replace Lodell in center field, Rose at shortstop, and, maybe most importantly, Katrina McGranahan in the pitcher’s circle.

Smith was Coupeville’s #2 pitcher last season, while Prescott and Wright also saw time flingin’ heat. Wells arrives at the high school level after being a top hurler in little league.

As the pitching situation firms up, the Wolves will be a force to reckon with when they’re up to bat.

Wright and Crownover, who anchor the team at catcher and first base, respectively, can mash with any diamond duo, Prescott combines power and speed, and the rest of their teammates have shown discipline and skill at the plate.

“Strengths will be our speed and ability to push the opposing defense,” Kevin McGranahan said.¬†“Also our mental toughness will get us through the inevitable bad days.

“Things to work on will be just gelling as a team and our communication on the field.”

Coupeville is coming off a league title in a depleted Olympic League, after narrowly missing the crown a year before against a conference at full force.

The past two seasons the Wolves played in a winner-to-state game, but came up a single strike shy of upsetting Bellevue Christian in 2017, then were stung by Klahowya’s bottom-of-the-order hitters in 2018.

Now, CHS is part of the new North Sound Conference, which pits them against Cedar Park Christian, Sultan, Granite Falls, and South Whidbey.

King’s doesn’t field a softball team, so the Wolves will play 12 league games, clashing three times with each conference foe.

South Whidbey has advanced to state in back-to-back seasons, and might appear to be the league favorites, except…

The Falcons lost all-universe pitcher Mackenzee Collins to graduation, and, even with her flingin’ heat, Coupeville crushed the Falcons 12-0 and 10-0 in non-conference games last season.

With a 6-5 win in 2017 and a 4-1 victory in 2016, CHS has won four straight against SWHS under Kevin McGranahan.

Seniors Crownover, Wright, and Laxton have never lost to their Island rivals, and you have to go back to the regular-season finale in 2015, during Deanna Rafferty’s one season of coaching, to find the last time the Falcons beat the Wolf sluggers.

For Kevin McGranahan, though, it doesn’t matter which team is in the other dugout.

He’s been trying (unsuccessfully) to get Whidbey’s third team, 3A Oak Harbor, on the schedule, and looks forward to match-ups with 1A bruisers like Forks and Lynden Christian.

“Teams that stand in our way … well this is a tough question, as you know we will play anyone, anytime, anywhere … unlike our friends to the North, who keep ducking us year after year.

“I think this year we will not take any of our league opponents lightly; never should take anyone lightly,” McGranahan added. “This year in the new league we need to feel it out and put a choke hold on it early.”

Having four league rivals, and 12 conference games, after making do with just arch-rival Klahowya last season after Chimacum and Port Townsend suspended their programs, is just a bonus.

“I like the idea of being in the new league,” McGranahan said. “It gives us a real chance to earn a league title, not that we didn’t last year, but this year we have a better league schedule and not just three games for the title.

“Also the district tournament is A LOT closer!”

Coupeville kicks things off with a home game against non-league foe Friday Harbor Mar. 12, and currently has a 19-game regular season schedule.

After ending March with a four-game road trip, the Wolves get to close with seven of their last 11 games on their own field.

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