Posts Tagged ‘season opener’

Hawthorne Wolfe (second from right) collected one of five hits Friday for a Coupeville baseball squad coached by Chris Smith (middle). (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

After being forced to postpone its season opener Tuesday with 10 of 16 players out sick, just getting on the field Friday was an accomplishment for the Coupeville High School baseball squad.

Once there, a young Wolf squad, which played three freshmen, starting two, out-hit host Lynden Christian, but were undone by errors in a 2-1 non-league loss.

“All things considered, not bad, but we kind of gave it to them,” said CHS coach Chris Smith.

Coupeville gets a chance to bounce right back, hosting Overlake at 1 PM Saturday in another non-conference rumble.

Friday afternoon, the Wolves jumped on their hosts quickly, plating their only run in the first inning, then having a chance to break things open in the second.

The first run of the season came courtesy back-to-back two-out base-knocks from seniors Jake Pease and Dane Lucero.

That would be the only run for the Wolves, however, as Lynden’s pitcher ended the first inning with a strikeout, before escaping a jam in the top of the second.

In that inning, CHS loaded the bases with just one out, as Mason Grove and Sage Sharp walked, followed by Daniel Olson rapping a single.

With the top of the order coming to the plate, the stage seemed set for the Wolves to go bonkers on the Lyncs, but it wasn’t to be on this day.

A strikeout, followed by a ground-out to second shut down the rally, while kicking off a run of 10 straight outs by Wolf hitters.

Coupeville didn’t break the cold streak at the plate until the fifth inning, when freshman Hawthorne Wolfe punched his first high school hit.

A fly-out to center left him stranded, however, and a potential rally in the sixth, sparked by a Lucero walk and an Ulrik Wells single, ended suddenly and savagely with three straight strike-outs.

Lynden only scraped out a single base hit against Coupeville hurlers Lucero, Wolfe and Matt Hilborn, and it went nowhere.

But the Lyncs benefited from some Wolf stumbles, turning three walks and two errors into their only two runs in the bottom of the second inning.

Coupeville finished with four errors on the afternoon.

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Coupeville’s Aurora Cernick set PR’s in the javelin and shot put Thursday at the Island Jamboree in Oak Harbor. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wildcats and Falcons came to play, but the Wolves came to feast.

Making a huge statement right out of the gate, the smallest of Whidbey’s three high schools came out on top Thursday at the season-opening Island Jamboree track and field meet in Oak Harbor.

Coupeville, led by four double winners — Maya Toomey-Stout, Lindsey Roberts, Danny Conlisk, and Sean Toomey-Stout — won 11 of 26 events.

That gave one of the smallest 1A schools in the state more wins than both 3A Oak Harbor, which claimed 10 wins, and arch-rival South Whidbey, which snagged five.

Emma Smith, Mallory Kortuem, and Jean Lund-Olsen also won for the Wolves, while Coupeville added a pair of second-place finishes and seven third-place results to its haul.

Along with the wealth of top-three finishes, CHS also copped 20 PR’s.

The personal best throws and times were spread out across 14 athletes, with six different Wolves claiming a pair of PR’s in the first action of the season.

As he surveyed the scene, longtime Coupeville track coach Randy King was a content man.

“Not bad when you are going against Oak Harbor and South Whidbey!,” he said.

Drafting off of their strong opening day showing, the Wolves return home next Thursday, Mar. 21, when they host Granite Falls and South Whidbey.

The meet, set to kick-off at 4 PM, is the first of three regular-season home events for CHS track and field.


Complete Thursday results:



100 — Maya Toomey-Stout (1st) 13.78; Mikaela Labrador (17th) 16.81 *PR*

200 — Lindsey Roberts (1st) 28.89; Ja’Kenya Hoskins (3rd) 29.80 *PR*; Ja’Tarya Hoskins (4th) 30.13 *PR*

400 — Mallory Kortuem (1st) 1:03.97

800 — Lucy Sandahl (3rd) 2:56.64; Catherine Lhamon (4th) 2:57.13

1600 — Lhamon (5th) 6:09.32; Sandahl (6th) 6:15.88

100 Hurdles — Roberts (1st) 16.37; Ja’Tarya Hoskins (2nd) 18.41

Shot Put — Emma Smith (1st) 30-10; Aurora Cernick (12th) 19-09.50 *PR*; Raven Vick (17th) 17-04 *PR*

Discus — Smith (7th) 72-03; Willow Vick (11th) 60-09; Megan Behan (16th) 55-02 *PR*

Javelin — R. Vick (3rd) 82-03; Cernick (6th) 57-11 *PR*; Behan (7th) 55-02 *PR*; W. Vick (14th) 43-00 *PR*; M. Labrador (17th) 38-03 *PR*

Pole Vault — Kortuem (2nd) 6-06

Long Jump — M. Toomey-Stout (1st) 15-05 *PR*; Ja’Kenya Hoskins (3rd) 15-02 *PR*



100 — Jean Lund-Olsen (1st) 11.55 *PR*; Chris Ruck (17th) 13.49 *PR*; Liem Solow (26th) 14.34 *PR*

200 — Danny Conlisk (1st) 23.78

400 — Conlisk (1st) 51.28

Shot Put — Ryan Labrador (3rd) 39-06; Keahi Sorrows (5th) 37-05; Logan Martin (8th) 34-10 *PR*

Discus — R. Labrador (6th) 93-11; Sorrows (8th) 90-04; Martin (10th) 80-04 *PR*

Javelin — Sean Toomey-Stout (1st) 140-09 *PR*

High Jump — Koa Davison (3rd) 5-04 *PR*

Pole Vault — Solow (3rd) 6-06 *PR*

Long Jump — S. Toomey-Stout (1st) 19-09.50; Ruck (9th) 14-01.50

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Coupeville freshman Izzy Wells was a beast in her high school softball debut Tuesday, sparking an incredible come-back win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

No one saw this coming. No one.

And if you say you did, you’re a cock-a-doodie liar.

I mean, let’s be honest here, there was a time Tuesday afternoon when I already had this Coupeville High School softball story mostly written in my head, and it was going to be a lot different than what you’re about to read.

It was going to be about a rebuilding team coming out on Opening Day, facing a rival with a big win already to its credit, and having the kind of struggles you often have in that kind of situation.

We would have reached down, plucked out the tale of Ms. Unflappable, freshman hurler Izzy Wells, and focused on that primarily, as a way to ease the rawness of a lopsided loss.

Maybe we would have talked about some truly, jaw-droppingly awful calls by the umpiring crew, but, ultimately, we would have looked for some kind of silver lining.

And then the world turned upside down.

Three outs away from being ten-runned, three outs away from absorbing a dispiriting loss, the Wolves, to a player, stood up and pulled off a stunning reversal of fortune like maybe none I’ve ever seen in 29 years of on-and-off sports writing.

You can look at the box score, see Coupeville beat Friday Harbor 18-17 — yes, that was really the score — and have no freakin’ clue of how wild, weird, wacky and, ultimately, wonderful, this one was.

So, let me try and give you some kind of clue, even as my own brain keeps doing dizzy laps around the inside of my noggin, screaming like a 10-year-old jacked out of his mind on Mountain Dew and Pop Rocks.

I mean, we’re talking about a game in which Coupeville trailed 9-0, 12-2, and, finally, 16-6 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning.

A game in which the Wolves didn’t get a hit until the fourth inning.

A game in which CHS led once, and only once, on the final swing of the game, as senior catcher Sarah Wright delivered the latest in a four-year run of crafting epic prairie moments.

A game in which the biggest performance, without question, came from a freshman making her high school softball debut, but also a game in which all 12 Wolf hitters got on base, often at crucial times.

Racing the setting sun, Coupeville’s diamond women did the impossible, brought a standing-room-only crowd to delirium, and sent a shell-shocked Friday Harbor squad off on a very long, and probably very tear-stained, bus and ferry trip home.

The visiting Wolverines had opened their season by clubbing always-scary Lynden Christian, and they came out bats smoking against CHS hurlers Scout Smith and Chelsea Prescott.

Coupeville is in transition, with Katrina McGranahan, its pitching ace the past four years, now sitting in the front row of the bleachers, offering quiet, sage advice to the group following in her large footsteps.

Smith and Prescott didn’t pitch all that badly over the first two innings-plus, with Smith whiffing three and Prescott setting Friday Harbor hitters back on their heels.

But, the Wolverines benefited from some dubious calls, which prompted one fan to inquire if the ump had gotten two glass eyes installed at their last visit to the eye doctor.

One play in particular, on which Wright came up firing and nailed a runner leaning off first, was textbook fraud.

The throw to teammate Veronica Crownover was so on the money, the tag so flawlessly applied, every person this side of Texas could see the runner was out.

Including the runner herself, and the Friday Harbor coach at first-base.

But, in the first of 27 times Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan was gutted in one afternoon, both umps publicly admitted they couldn’t see the play, while calling the runner safe.

Howlers like that set the table, but give the visitors credit for using their lumber to deliver bone-crunching hits, as Friday Harbor surged out to a 12-2 lead midway through the third inning.

A two-run home-run to deep left field was seemingly the bow on the present the Wolverines were crafting for their coaching staff, but then Wells came stomping into the game to play a very-popular Grinch.

A star in little league, who has gone on to have successful high school volleyball and basketball seasons, the middle child belonging to Lyle and Katy Wells looked a hair nervous as she took the ball from Kevin McGranahan.

With a runner at second, nobody out, and a 10-run deficit, few were expecting the moment to be much more than a chance to give the youngster a taste of high school varsity ball.

Wright, once a raw, but talented 14-year-old herself, is now a seasoned old pro, albeit one who still delights in loudly leading every sing-along chant from the bench.

As their coach departed, she leaned in, whispered something to Wells, then grinned, the kind of smile which covers the prairie, whacked her mitt lightly against her young teammate’s arm and headed back to the plate, showering her newest battery mate with a wave of confidence.

Two pitches later, the transformation was complete.

Wells body language noticeably changed, her back went straighter, her pitches started to hum, and, whether they knew it or not, the Wolves were on the comeback trail.

She whiffed the second batter she faced, escaped the inning, struck out the side in the fourth, and chucked five impressive innings of relief.

Bolstered by their fab frosh, the Wolves, after racking up nine walks, finally broke through with their bats.

When it came, it came all at once, with three straight base-knocks — Chelsea Prescott smoking a two-run triple to left, Wright mashing an RBI triple, then Mollie Bailey crunching an RBI single to center.

Back within 12-6, there was hope … and then it was seemingly gone.

A couple of soft hits which found teeny-tiny holes in the defense helped Friday Harbor inch back out to a 16-6 lead, and things looked bleak once more as the bottom of the sixth approached.

Of ye of little faith.

Three straight walks to open the sixth juiced the bags, a passed ball brought one home, then Wright cranked a two-run single and scampered home when a throw to second skipped wildly away from the shortstop.

Crownover eked out a walk, Wells stroked a single to left, and it was time for the other freshman to get dramatic.

Having made her varsity debut a mere half hour before, Audrianna Shaw was a wild card, and Friday Harbor never saw her coming.

Leaning into a pitch, she went Incredible Hulk on the ball, mashing a frozen rope to center, where it smacked the top of the madly running fielder’s glove and skipped away.

With the lead cut to 16-12, Coupeville went for the KO, only to see their foes dodge the punch when Prescott’s long shot to left with the bags full was run down.

It mattered not, however, as the improbable had become the possible.

Even though Friday Harbor scraped out a run in the seventh to go up 17-12, the air felt different.

Some would say it was just the already-cold weather being affected by the sun sinking over the horizon. Others are more poetic.

Coupeville sent 10 hitters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, and the final nine reached base.

The big blow was a rocket launched into left by Crownover, a booming double which tore the cover off the screaming, pleading ball and plated a runner.

Equally important were four consecutive bases-loaded walks, with Shaw, Smith, Emma Mathusek, and Prescott bringing teammates home while displaying eagle eyes at the plate.

That set up Wright, the four-year starter, the four-year hitting sensation, she of the voice run raspy after three-plus hours of screamin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ and singin’ and laughin’ her head off.

The slump of the pitcher’s shoulders told the tale, almost as much as the way Wright rolled to the plate, lofting her bat onto her shoulder and licking her lips in anticipation.

Friday Harbor’s hurler whipped a good pitch — the best she had thrown all inning — but, with one final laugh, Wright crushed her hopes and dreams, whipping a walk-off hit back up the middle.

Scout Smith came flying home, giving dad Chris, whose CHS baseball team had to postpone its game due to illness, a chance to pump his fists in the air and go home happy.

All across the prairie, bedlam rained.

Bad calls were forgotten, early struggles placed to the side, and, while it’s just one win, in the first game of a 20-game regular-season schedule, its impact could be monumental.

“Just a great game, by a group of girls who never gave in!,” Kevin McGranahan said. “Give Izzy a lot of credit, for coming in and holding them down. Really good first game for her, and Audri, too.”

Coupeville finished with eight hits and 20 walks, with Smith and Mathusek eking out five free passes apiece.

Senior sluggers Wright (1B, 3B) and Crownover (2B, 2B) led the hit attack, with Prescott (3B), Shaw (3B), Wells (1B), and Bailey (1B) also connecting on base-knocks.

Coral Caveness collected two walks, while Chloe Wheeler, Nicole Laxton, and Mackenzie Davis all walked as well, as every Wolf in uniform reached base.

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Aram Leyva uses his Jedi mind skills to freeze the soccer ball in place. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.com)

Sage Downes sends the ball away with a smile and a whispered “You can do it!”

Snoozing in the pre-game sunshine.

Back in action after recovering from a broken foot, Alex Jimenez smokes a pass across the field.

“Well, I’m just saying, if you’d listen to me the first time, maybe we wouldn’t be having this same conversation for the seventh time…”

Owen Barenburg, and the mightiest crop of hair in Wolf Nation, stretch out.

Having heard about the rascally deer who went viral after interrupting a CHS football game this fall, Mr. Whiskers makes his run for internet glory.

Sam Wynn, using the speed he honed as a cross country runner, leads the attack.

Maybe it really is spring.


The Coupeville High School boys soccer squad opened a new season Saturday afternoon, throwing down goals against Chimacum under what looked suspiciously like blue skies and sunshine.

As any battle-hardened Central Whidbey sports fan will tell you, that can’t possibly be true, as “spring” sports in Cow Town are almost always accompanied by sideways rain and howling wind.

But, for the moment at least, the photos don’t lie.

To see everything John Fisken shot before he skipped town and headed back to Oak Harbor, pop over to:


And remember, any purchases help fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes. So, you give some, and some comes back.

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Freshman Tony Garcia scored in his first high school soccer game Saturday, helping lift Coupeville to an 8-0 rout of Chimacum. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It went just about as expected.

Despite playing with a patchwork lineup Saturday, the Coupeville High School boys soccer team routed visiting Chimacum 8-0 to officially open the spring sports season.

Sparked by a hat trick from junior captain Aram Leyva, the Wolves torched the Cowboys for the 11th consecutive time over the past five seasons.

Now non-conference foes, the two schools met 10 times on the pitch during Coupeville’s run in the Olympic League between 2015-2018.

During that time, the Wolves broke double digits seven times, outscoring the Cowboys 91-13.

This time around, Coupeville settled for a few less goals, but pulled off its fifth shutout in its last six games with Chimacum.

Admittedly, Wolf senior goalie Dewitt Cole didn’t have to work especially hard for the bagel job, with the Cowboys only able to muster a single shot on goal in 80 minutes of action.

Coupeville kept the ball on the attack for much of the game, and when Chimacum did get it across midfield and into Wolf territory, the CHS defense immediately snuffed things.

A big factor in the smothering defense was a rare appearance in the backfield by goal-scoring phenom Derek Leyva.

Trying to ease his sharpshooter into the season, without putting too much strain on Leyva’s brace-clad knee, Coupeville coach Kyle Nelson stationed the junior on the back side of the field, with orders to take it easy.

And, with the exception of one goal-scoring run late in the game, which pleased his fans even while offering a bit of agitation to the CHS coaching staff, he listened.

Even playing at 50%, Leyva towered above his foes, and he controlled his side of the field with a few deft moves here, a slide to the side there.

Chimacum couldn’t get the ball past him (or fellow defenders like Sam Wynn), and the Cowboys certainly couldn’t take the ball back once it was on Leyva’s toe.

Once the ball was back on the move, punched up from the back or launched half the field, the Wolves attacked, attacked, and attacked some more.

While eight shots got past the Chimacum goaltender, Coupeville could have easily doubled the score with just a bit more precision.

The Wolves whacked shots from the left, the right, up top, even almost from mid-field, sending the Cowboys scrambling.

One shot hit the crossbar and ricocheted off, several more just slid past the opening, and at least three went high into the air, and would have been successful field goals in football.

Spurred on their fans, who included a group of CHS female soccer players camped out in the press box, the Wolves played opportunistic ball, and it paid off.

“Go, Chris, go, go, go …. YEEEEEEESSSSS,” was the call from Avalon Renninger, when Chris Cernick broke through for the first goal of the season.

It came in the game’s 13th minute, after Aram Levya sucked the defense in, then dished the ball into the middle and onto Cernick’s waiting foot.

The lanky Wolf junior, coming off a breakout season on the basketball court, swung from his heels and pegged the ball into the corner of the net, giving Coupeville all the scoring it would need.

Not content to play a thriller, the Wolves kept hammering away, however.

Aram Leyva notched the first of what would be three goals on the day when he broke free, pulled in a pass, then slapped home a shot as the goaltender meekly fell to the ground.

From there, the scores kept coming in the first half.

Freshman Tony Garcia skipped in a ball while on a run up the right side, Aram Leyva bulldozed his way through two defenders for his second goal, then Sage Downes angled in a ball off a breakaway.

While the frequent goals were a first-half highlight, the two plays which will probably be remembered longest didn’t involve anyone scoring.

At one point, a teeny-tiny dog came barreling on the field, looking for a tasty treat or at least a good chase.

Aram Leyva almost corralled the wayward pooch, but it broke free and then went on a zig-zag run, much to the delight of Renninger and fellow booters Mallory Kortuem and Natalie Hollrigel in the booth.

“Look at that cutey go! Dog’s got moves!!”

Once the ball was back in play, Aram Leyva flipped the script from cute to painful, hammering a pass which came right back to him … thanks to it caving in the face of a Chimacum defender.

The ensuing crack was loud enough to make people think someone was duck hunting nearby, followed by the hapless Cowboy keeling over to kiss the sweet, sweet grass.

“Dude’s dead…”

Spoiler, he wasn’t, and managed to get up and stagger off the pitch, but was later heard asking if anyone got the licence plate number of the semi-truck which hit him.

After all the fireworks offered in the first half, the game was fairly tame after the break.

Coupeville sprayed a bunch more shots, Cole made his one, and only, true save with 18 minutes to play, and then the Wolves tacked on three more goals late in the game.

Aram Leyva completed his hat trick, rising above the masses to mash in a header off a nice corner kick from Downes, before Derek Leyva strolled up-field and banked in a shot of his own.

The final capper came courtesy Downes, who, moments after airmailing a shot all the way out to the highway, turned down the volume a bit and went to the left foot, tapping in his second goal on Opening Day.

The win, and the way it played out, were especially nice since Coupeville played minus some of its top players.

Only half of the 14 players listed on the varsity roster saw action, thanks to a busy Saturday full of SAT tests and Science Olympiad competitions.

That enabled JV players such as Garcia, Ben Smith, Zach Ginnings, Andrew Aparicio, and Eli Kastner to get substantial game time.

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