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Posts Tagged ‘Scott Hilborn’

The bright future of Coupeville baseball. (Photo courtesy Jeff Porter)

One more game, before another shutdown.

Coupeville’s Babe Ruth baseball squad hasn’t had much time on the diamond this summer, with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic throwing a huge wrench into things.

But Thursday the Wolves took the field to host Anacortes, and, while they fell 5-3 despite a late rally, they got to play, which was a win in itself.

It was Coupeville’s sixth, and final, game of this shortened season, as it only has nine players and won’t go on to play in any tournaments.

The mere fact the Wolves were on the CHS diamond might have come to a surprise to some, as Washington state Governor Jay Inslee issued new limits on gatherings which went into effect July 20.

Counties in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, such as Island County, are currently restricted to 10 people getting together.

However, after some digging by Oak Harbor Babe Ruth officials, it was determined there was an exclusion for outdoor sporting events.

Which brings us to Thursday, when the scrappy Wolves fell behind 5-0, then almost came all the way back in the bottom of the seventh and final inning.

Coupeville opened its last at-bats of the game, and season, with four straight walks, as Camden Glover, Johnny Porter, Marcelo Gebhard, and Aiden O’Neill all got aboard thanks to eagle eyes.

That set up the top of the order, and Scott Hilborn and Jack Porter responded, whacking back-to-back singles to make the Anacortes coaching staff start sweating in the autumn-like weather.

But the visitors got away with one, finding a way to stop the Coupeville onslaught and deny Wolf fans a chance to storm the field in celebration.

Anacortes got on the board early, plating two runners in the first, then two more in the second.

A final tally in the top of the sixth provided a little bit of a cushion.

Jack Porter, Johnny Valenzuela, and Hilborn split the pitching duties for Coupeville, with Valenzuela whiffing seven hitters across five innings of work.

Hilborn and Jack Porter paced the Wolf offense, collecting a pair of singles apiece, while Chase Anderson and Valenzuela also picked up base knocks.

Coupeville tallied seven walks, led by two each from Gebhard and O’Neill, to go with its six hits.

Eight of the nine Wolves in uniform reached base Thursday, with Landon Roberts rounding out the lineup for a team with a bright future, and, hopefully, many more games ahead of it.

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A star regardless of the sport, Scott Hilborn struck out seven batters while collecting three hits and three RBI Thursday in Coupeville’s baseball clash with South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Coupeville and South Whidbey faced off on the baseball diamond Thursday, playing to a 6-6 tie in a game called after two-plus hours of play.

It was the second game between the next-door neighbors in the last three days, and, quite possibly, the last time either hardball squad will play this summer.

Earlier in the day, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced that counties in Phase 3 of his reopening plan will revert to a 10-person limit on gatherings as of Monday, July 20.

That decision was made after the state Department of Health recorded 1,000+ new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period, well above the previous one-day mark of 716 new cases.

Leading the spike is a considerable increase in positive cases among state residents in their 20’s and below.

While Coupeville’s diamond men only got two games in the book, they sit at a very-respectable 1-0-1.

The Wolves bounced South Whidbey’s Crabs 2-1 Tuesday, before fighting to the hard-earned Thursday tie.

Playing on the south end of the Island for the second time, Coupeville got to be the home team, and ended up having to rally to claim the tie.

Coupeville fell behind 3-0 as South Whidbey hit around in the top of the first against Wolf hurler Camden Glover, but then the “home” team immediately began its comeback.

Scott Hilborn lit the fuse with a lead-off single, beating out a shot to short, before Jack Porter followed with a resounding double on mom Jenny’s birthday.

Back within 3-2, Coupeville kept coming and eventually reclaimed the lead.

With Porter firing BB’s on the mound, the Wolves defense shut down South Whidbey, then Coupeville’s offense started really clicking.

A couple of second inning walks set the table for Hilborn, and the CHS sophomore-to-be responded, smoking a stand-up three-run double to left center.

Porter’s bat continued to be red-hot as well, as he cracked another two-bagger, followed by a sharp single from Chase Anderson.

Trailing 6-3, South Whidbey chipped away, plating a pair of runners in the third, then knotting things back up by pushing a runner across in the fifth.

While Coupeville put runners on base down the stretch, with Hilborn and Porter collecting singles to go with walks to teammates such as Johnny Valenzuela, the Wolves came up just short of getting a go-ahead run.

Wolf pitchers Glover (1), Porter (5), and Hilborn (7) combined to whiff 13 South Whidbey hitters on a balmy mid-summer night.

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A Coupeville hitter turns on the ball Tuesday during the first baseball game of the summer. (Photo courtesy Jon Roberts)

Play … ball?

While they wait for word on the fate of school sports during a pandemic, Coupeville baseball players returned to the diamond Tuesday for what coaches termed a “pick up” game.

The first of two games planned with next-door neighbor South Whidbey (the second is set for Thursday), the contest ended with a nail-biter of a 2-1 win for the Wolves.

Coupeville came from behind to knot things up, then pushed across the eventual winning run in the top of the seventh, and final, inning.

A Camden Glover sac fly to right plated Johnny Valenzuela with the go-ahead score, then Scott Hilborn, the third Wolf pitcher of the night, shut down South Whidbey in the bottom half of the inning to ice the win.

Hilborn, “looking ever much like Mariano Rivera,” according to Coupeville coach Jon Roberts, set down his rivals 1-2-3.

After forcing an infield out, the Wolf reliever closed the game with back-to-back strikeouts.

Coupeville set South Whidbey players on their heels thanks to a trio of top-notch hurlers, with starter Chase Anderson teaming up with relief aces Valenzuela and Hilborn to notch 9 K’s.

Anderson and Valenzuela each put in three innings apiece on the hill, with Valenzuela topping all Wolf pitchers with four strikeouts.

South Whidbey actually eked out the first run of the game, sending a runner around the bath-paths in the bottom of the first inning, but after that, Coupeville’s hurlers were in full lock-down mode.

The Wolves scratched out a run of their own in the top of the second, then the two squads remained deadlocked until the seventh.

Coupeville’s first run came courtesy Valenzuela, who singled, stole second and third, then streaked home when South Whidbey’s catcher lost the ball on what should have been a third strike.

From there, it was a defensive-minded stalemate, with the Wolves twice stranding a runner at third.

Coupeville finally found that elusive run in the seventh, thanks to walks to Valenzuela and Landon Roberts (who was plunked by a wayward pitch), which set Glover up for his heroics.

Jon Roberts, who has been waiting all summer to see his team in action, was happy for the game and happy for the victory, but interested in seeing his players continue to improve during difficult times.

“The win was great, but the game showed some areas that need serious work,” he said. “Batting will be a focus of the team. The number of strikeouts was way too high. We will be hitting the cages and trying to solve this issue.

“Besides that, it was great to be back on the field competing! You just gotta love baseball!”

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Scott Hilborn, who will be a freshman at Coupeville High School this fall, rumbles for yardage in a middle school game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The younger brother is ready to make a big name for himself.

As he preps for his freshman year at Coupeville High School, Scott Hilborn is among the most-anticipated athletes headed towards their fall debut.

A standout football and baseball player during his middle school days, he has the same talent and drive which made older brother Matt a CHS star in the same sports over the past four years.

While his older sibling has graduated, Scott is ready to start writing his own success story.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to compete against others,” he said. “And, in addition, it helps me stay in shape.”

That, and farm work, as he gets plenty of time in the barn when at home.

Parents Steve and Wendi Hilborn own Penn Cove Farms, which makes Matt and Scott throwbacks to the olden days in Coupeville, when many top athletes toiled on local farms.

When he’s not knee-deep in the manure, the younger Hilborn enjoys math class, and proving himself on the diamond and gridiron.

He’s been at baseball longer, with his dad as his coach throughout little league play, and would give that sport the edge when it comes to picking a favorite pastime.

“Baseball is my favorite sport,” Hilborn said. “Just because I have been playing it since I was little and I just started football.”

When he steps back and takes a look at his skill-set, he sees strengths, but also wouldn’t mind a sudden growth spurt.

“I think I excel at agility and hand/eye coordination,” Hilborn said. “However, my size is really holding me back.”

But, while he might not be a tree topper heading into his freshman year, don’t sleep on him any time soon.

Having watched him play a couple of years, I’m here to tell you his speed, his tenacity, his strength (farm work, good for every Coupeville athlete!), and his intangibles make him one to watch.

If he has half the career his brother did, Scott Hilborn will walk away from high school with his fair share of praise and awards.

But, trust me, he wants more than just that.

“My main goal in high school is just to be better than my brother,” Hilborn said.

And then he went right back to work.

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Injuries and a lack of depth on the roster has brought the Coupeville Middle School football season to an early end. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolves, who were low on experienced players, went 0-3, but showed marked improvement.

Down, but not out.

Injuries and lack of depth on the roster is slicing the Coupeville Middle School football schedule in half.

The Wolves, who scrambled to field a team, opened the season with 14 players under first-year head coach Brett Casey.

After cancelling their first game because of not enough players being eligible, CMS played twice against Sultan and once again Langley, going 0-3 but showing marked improvement.

But injuries have reduced the roster to 12 players, and Friday morning Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith pulled the plug on the remainder of the season.

The Wolves final two games, home contests against King’s Oct. 10, and Langley Oct. 17, have been cancelled.

While the season didn’t completely play out as Casey and assistant coaches Junior Scroggins and Michael Davidson would have liked, the trio remain committed to building the program.

Casey is already moving forward with an eye on the future:

I am disappointed that the season is over. We had two games left and 12 players; the decision to cancel the season did not come from me.

Moving forward, I am trying to get the boys in the weight room to introduce them to that and keep them in shape for their next sport.

Looking back on this season, the boys were improving each week and that is what I was looking for.

The offense started to understand who they needed to block on plays and the running backs were seeing the holes they needed to hit.

Defensively, they were swarming the ball carriers and were trying to force fumbles.

They were figuring out how to play as a team, which was something we talked about during our shortened season.

Next year, the coaches will be able to talk to the boys before school is out and get more kids out.

I have talked with the (high school) varsity coaches and we will piggyback off of them during spring ball.

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