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Posts Tagged ‘Softball’

Hannah Davidson joins her friends in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Her destiny was always to be a Wolf.

A family move to California pulled Hannah Davidson away for a bit.

But then, like a Valkyrie arriving on the battle field, she returned to Whidbey and reunited with her childhood friends and teammates.

After accomplishing great things with her Coupeville pack — Scout Smith, Maya Toomey-Stout, Emma Mathusek, Avalon Renninger, and many more — Hannah is killing it in college, but always connected to Cow Town through our memories.

And today, she rejoins her friends, inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, forever immortalized for her play and her heart.

When you bounce up to the top of the blog, you’ll find Hannah hanging out under the Legends tab, a worthy spot for a very-talented young woman.

She made her first big impact (on the local sports scene at least) as a key member of a Central Whidbey Little League Juniors softball squad which battered foes while winning a league title and compiling a 13-3 record.

Younger versions of (left to right) Emma Mathusek, Scout Smith, Davidson, and Maya Toomey-Stout. (Charlotte Young photo)

Those young Wolves, featuring a 10-woman roster pulled together at the very last second, were a run-scoring machine, outgunning their rivals 185-85.

Hannah swung a big bat for that squad, while also playing nimble defense at first base, as showcased in the season finale.

Facing off with Anacortes, its arch-nemesis, Central Whidbey clung to a late lead when a throw to first, with runners on base, went wayward.

Not letting the play end there, Hannah alertly whirled, as the base coach behind her lurched backwards, lost control and did an awkward, but very entertaining, half-cartwheel.

Snagging the skittering ball as it ricocheted back up off the edge of the dirt, she spun and pegged a flawless throw to second base.

Staying low and blocking the bag in anticipation, Mathusek was exactly where she needed to be, slapping the tag on one very surprised incoming runner to end the inning.

That calmness under pressure and ability to pull off top-notch plays while fitting her skill-set into her team’s needs benefited Hannah greatly during her high school days.

She was an All-Conference player in two sports as a senior during the 2019-2020 school year, helping CHS volleyball and basketball teams achieve great success.

On the volleyball court, Hannah was a masher with an often surprisingly light touch around the net.

Hannah and Emma rejoice in a volleyball win. (Brian Vick photo)

She could come in hot and wail the ball off the back line, or off a rival girl’s shoulder, but she was also deadly with her tips.

Bouncing on her toes, ready to go in either direction, then finish with power or precision, Hannah was a boon to her teammates, and a danger to opposing defenses.

As a senior, she helped lead the Wolf spikers to one of the best seasons in program history.

Coupeville capped Cory Whitmore’s fourth season as coach by opening 7-0.

Losing only to state powerhouse King’s during the regular season, the Wolves finished 14-5, tying the program record for wins and narrowly missing a trip to state.

Jump forward to basketball season, and Hannah was a player who could give you something different each night, depending on the opponent and what would benefit the Wolves most.

First she sucks in the defense, then she beats it with a crisp pass. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She used her natural height and strength to pound the boards, pulling down rebounds on both ends of the floor, was a strong passer, and was never shy when it came to sacrificing herself on defense.

With the ball, Hannah was a complementary scorer, one who raised her season scoring totals in each of her three campaigns on the CHS varsity.

Playing alongside sharpshooters such as Chelsea Prescott and Ema Smith, bulldog creators like Scout Smith, and open floor weapons in Mikayla Elfrank and Lindsey Roberts, she still finished as the #88 scorer in program history.

Not bad, considering Wolf girls have played hoops since 1974.

While Hannah never played softball in high school, she did put in a season of track and field as a sophomore, tossing the discus and javelin.

She had six top-four finishes, including a 1st place performance in the javelin at a home meet, and successfully advanced to the postseason in both events.

Through it all, regardless of the sport, Hannah embraced her teammates, and seemed to deeply enjoy her time as an athlete competing with her tight-knit group of friends.

I’m sure she would have done well in Cali, if that had been her destiny, but it’s especially nice that she got the opportunity to return to Coupeville and be with her sisters from other misters.

Smart and strong, confident and caring, Hannah has been a visible inspiration to her brothers, two of whom are already following her trail as Wolf athletes.

As she pursues her college studies in Boise, the milestones will keep coming.

Athletically, academically, and in real life, Hannah is a bright, shining example of a young woman striving to be the best she can be, in every way.

Once a Wolf, always a Wolf.

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Emma Puharic (right), with aunt Beth Tristao.

Always be humble and kind.

And passionate, and committed, and hard-working, and brave, and smart, and an overall truly lovely human being.

In short, be like Emma Puharic.

The Coupeville High School grad, who was a four-year player for the Wolf softball program before heading out into the adult world, is a bright, shining example of the best of what Cow Town can offer.

I worked with Emma for several years at Christopher’s on Whidbey, and knew her from before through my days at Videoville.

Waitressing in a high-volume, sometimes high-stress restaurant environment is one of the tougher jobs you will find.

With Christopher’s smack-dab in the heart of festival land, be it mussels, water, or arts ‘n crafts being celebrated, Emma was on the front line.

What is remarkable is she never bent, never broke, the rare person who could still be humming to herself, smile intact, after brutal shifts.

If people were kind to her, she was kind back to them.

But, if they were rude to her, she was … kind back to them.

Regardless of age, attitude, or the size of the possible tip, Emma listened, she had a kind word for all, and she hustled her rear off, never letting them see her sweat (or get pissed in public).

Almost universally, even the toughest customer left the restaurant with a smile after encountering her.

Then, after closing, when most of her coworkers would sit around and (rightfully) complain about the indignities of restaurant life, Emma would flash the ol’ megawatt smile, say “See you tomorrow,” and head out with a bounce in her step.

She had things to do, and places to be, and marinating in self-pity was never high on her list.

It is an attitude which has carried her far in her 28+ years on the planet.

Beloved by her CHS classmates, Wolf teammates, and anyone who ever worked with her, Emma has gone on to spread joy to every place she visits.

Her greatest impact may be on the students she taught while working in the Federal Way school system.

Back in 2016, Emma popped this up on Facebook and it remains one of the best posts to ever grace that social network:

I just got through to the toughest kid at my school, who every teacher and administrator dreads.

He now knows division and LIKES it.

I’d say today is a success.

Emma Puharic, changing lives and putting a smile on the face of the world since 1992.

That’s carried over to all aspects of her life, where she has been one of the most deeply-committed former Wolves when it comes to fighting for the equality of all.

Now, this is a sports blog (mostly), so when we induct Emma into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame today, it will officially be as a softball player.

Puharic, fourth from left in back row, during her senior season at CHS. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

She was an outfielder, one who brought a good bat and mitt to the game, but, more importantly, a great attitude.

Emma enjoyed her four years in the red and black, something captured when I interviewed her a few years after graduation for a “where are they now?” story she insisted didn’t really need to be written.

She agreed only after I told her the story was mainly for her former teammates, the young women who she played with, and held dear.

“I enjoyed being around my friends and getting the chance to get off-Island and travel with my teammates,” she said at the time. “I also liked meeting the younger girls each season that I am still friends with today.

“I’ve learned that it’s important to remember the friendships you’ve made through sports and high school.

“I still talk to most of my friends that I had in school and I’m so glad that we are all still close.”

As I mentioned above, Emma enters our Hall of Fame today, inducted as a softball player, but really for being a remarkable human being who just happened to play some ball back in the day.

After this, you’ll find her hanging around up at the top of the blog under the Legends tab.

Emma deserves far more — all the positive recognition in the world — and I hope she gets it every day from those around her.

For the moment, though, let’s be at the front of the line when it comes to telling her how awesome she is in our eyes.

Thank you, Emma, for being bold, for protecting others, for always looking for the positive in a flawed world.

You make the universe a better place.

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Teagan Calkins (left) and Mia Farris celebrate during a softball win. (Jackie Saia photo)

Onward and upward.

After losing a season to COVID-19, Central Whidbey Little League is moving forward with plans to play in 2021.

The league issued the following letter Thursday morning:

 

Dear CWLL Families!

As we begin planning for the 2021 baseball and softball season, we are reaching out to you to advise that Little League International and our local District 11 have requested that all leagues begin preparations for the 2021 season, subject to current COVID-19 safety protocols.

Accordingly, CWLL is planning our 2021 season, that will include:

T-Ball, Rookies and Minors: 4-11 years of age
Majors: 10-12
Juniors: 13 -15

Players will be placed in a division age-appropriate and commensurate to their skill level, subject to our Player Agent’s approval.

We anticipate commencing with sign-ups early January, 2021.

The district has proposed the following schedule, again subject to the COVID-19 situation and the availability of fields in other District 11 leagues:

T-Ball, Rookies and Minors: Practices beginning early March, with games starting the end of March, and ending the latter part of May.

Majors: Practices beginning mid-late March, with games starting early April, and ending the end of May.

Juniors: Practices beginning the end of May, with games starting the second week of June, and ending July 10-11.

As with all volunteer organizations, CWLL’s growth, much less its continuation, is solely dependent on the number of volunteers engaged in its activities.

CWLL finds itself in a unique and challenging position at this time.

The vast majority of our board, volunteers, umpires, and some of our coaches are presently serving their last year of participation.

Most have kids or grandkids that are ‘aging out’ after the 2021 season.

In our opinion, it is imperative if CWLL is to continue, we need parents, grandparents, family members and/or your neighbors to join our league.

To learn how we operate and how we, you, can continue offering all the kids of Central Whidbey the opportunity to play little league baseball and softball and make lifelong memories!

Regardless of your level of knowledge, CWLL will teach you … coaching, umpiring, concession stand, scorekeeping, administrative, fundraising.

Please consider helping us out so our kids can enjoy this beautiful game for years to come!

If you have any questions or have any interest in ensuring CWLL’s continuation, we can be reached at centralwhidbeyll@gmail.com

On behalf of the 2020/2021 CWLL Board Of Directors, thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

Gordon D. McMillan
CWLL – President

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Coupeville grad Melia Welling is working towards joining the Air Force. (Photo courtesy Charlie Welling)

Celebrating graduation with mom. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Melia Welling is on the highway to success.

The 2020 Coupeville High School grad has smartly used her time in quarantine to prepare for the next step in life.

Welling, who was a team leader for a Wolf competitive cheer squad which finished 3rd at state her junior season, then went to nationals a year later, plans to join the United States Air Force.

She’s currently studying for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and created an individualized workout plan to condition herself ahead of her jump into a new life.

“My workout contains a lot of cardio and lots of endurance,” Welling said. “I have currently gone from an 11-minute mile to an eight-minute mile.”

She’s always been active, playing softball in high school as well as steadily rising in the cheerleader ranks.

The latter gave her a chance to compete alongside close friends like Ja’Tarya Hoskins and Marenna Rebischke-Smith, something she treasures.

“Looking back at high school, I always just kind of go back to sports,” Welling said. “I think about going to nationals with the rest of the CHS cheer team.

“It was an awesome way to end my senior year as a cheerleader.”

While her cousin and fellow CHS grad, Mitchell Losey, went into the Army, her decision to pursue military life has been a personal one.

“I always sort of knew I wanted to do something remotely close to the military because I like structure and having a plan,” Welling said.

“I have just had my mind set on it for a while, so I have just been pushing myself forward towards the military.”

Welling plans to use her time in the military to start a law enforcement career, and has high hopes for her future.

“Looking ahead, I am hoping to be making a difference not just in my life, but in others as well,” she said.

“I am hoping to learn a lot of different things while in the Air Force, and that is what I am mostly excited about.”

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Central Whidbey’s John Rachal fires the ball back in during a playoff game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Celebrating during a run to the state tourney are (l to r) Madison McMillan, Allison Nastali, Chloe Marzocca, and Savina Wells. (Photo by Jackie Saia)

Central Whidbey Little League finds itself at a crossroads.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic prevented any games from being played this spring, and the future is hazy.

While CWLL is moving forward with the hope of returning its players to the diamond in 2021, a looming crisis involving a lack of volunteers could become a major issue.

Despite being the smallest league in the region, with 90-100 players, Central Whidbey is required to have the same compliment of board members and volunteers as bigger leagues.

North and South Whidbey, Anacortes, La Conner, Sedro-Woolley, and Burlington have larger parent bases to draw from, while CWLL has had to scramble to fill all of its positions in recent years.

That may get harder very soon, unless a new generation steps up.

“CWLL finds itself in a very challenging position,” said President Gordon McMillan. “Probably not unlike many other non-profits and youth organizations in these unique times.

“And we are facing another huge challenge; the majority of the current board and volunteers have children (or grandchildren in my case!) that are “aging out” of little league in the next year or so,” he added.

“We have very few volunteers that have younger kids playing; with no line of succession, it is clear, in my opinion, CWLL may very well not survive.”

If Central Whidbey is unable to fully staff up, its players might have to try and latch on with North or South Whidbey in the near future, something which could prove difficult – especially if those organizations decide they can’t handle the influx.

“This would be tragic,” McMillan said.

The league president would hate to see Coupeville’s ballfields sit silent.

“CWLL has by far the most beautiful setting,” McMillan said. “I like to call Rhody Park our “Field of Dreams.”

“Island County Parks have been very accommodating and generous in their support of CWLL and it should be duly noted. Rhody belongs to all of us … and the county should be recognized!”

Baseball and softball have a place deep in McMillan’s heart, a big part of the reason he and others have worked so hard to make CWLL the success it is today.

“Little League has touched so many of our lives, the vast majority in a positive manner, I believe,” he said.

“Not every child can play football or basketball, but I venture a guess that every child has picked up a ball, a bat, a glove, and played some sort of baseball/softball/Wiffle ball … neighborhood … sandlot … school PE … or little league.”

For McMillan, little league made an impact on his life, first as a player, then as a coach and official through two generations of his offspring.

“Little League has been a passion of mine since 1956, when I first “made the team” in North Vancouver, BC,” he said.

“I have coached three of my kids and one granddaughter (Madison) and only hope they have, or will have, the same warm and wonderful memories as I have, and look back someday, not remembering the wins and losses, but the fun, camaraderie, and life lessons

“Then, and only then, did we, as coaches, umpires, administrators, concession operators, field maintenance crews, score keepers, spectators, etc. do a good job!”

 

If you’d like to become a volunteer, or have any suggestions for CWLL officials as they navigate the waters ahead, contact McMillan at centralwhidbeyll@gmail.com.

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