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Posts Tagged ‘Softball’

Katrina McGranahan, a killer with a soaring spirit. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Already a star, even before she stepped into the hallways at Coupeville High School.

An athlete who enjoyed every moment she was given.

Katrina McGranahan entered as a star, and exited as a legend.

The Coupeville High School senior, who celebrates her 18th birthday today, excelled at every sport she played, even the one she didn’t really enjoy.

And, while she gave up basketball shortly into her high school career, after dominating in middle school, McGranahan embraced stardom and a role as a quiet leader in both volleyball and softball.

On the court, she broke through as a freshman, making her varsity debut late in the season and flashing signs of the big-time power hitter she would become.

For the next three seasons, McGranahan was front and center, an All-Conference pick, a league MVP, an invaluable contributor on squads which won back-to-back league titles and returned to state after a 14-year absence.

Her kills at the net were delivered with precise power, her blocks with high-flying grace and her service aces with an extra bit of zing.

As good as she was on the volleyball court, it is softball which holds her heart, and the diamond is where Killer Kat has truly soared.

A dangerous hitter who combines power, an ability to hit to all fields, speed and smarts, McGranahan has been Coupeville’s most consistent weapon since day one of her freshman campaign.

When she’s at shortstop, she displays a gun for an arm and a nose for always tracking down even the hardest-hit or weirdest-hit balls.

One of the best plays I have ever witnessed on the prairie came courtesy McGranahan, who, battling epic winds, started to retreat as a pop up corkscrewed over her head.

Then the prairie breeze slammed into the ball in mid-air like a runaway freight train, the ball came to a dead stop in mid-flight, made a little scream and pitched forward, careening towards the Earth.

McGranahan spun in mid-stride, launched herself face-first into oblivion and somehow, against all odds and most of the laws of the known universe, reached the ball with the tip of her glove.

That she touched the ball was a miracle.

That she somehow speared said ball was extraordinary.

That she held onto said ball, pulling it back into her body as she slammed into the unforgiving infield dirt, and completed the play, refusing to let the ball separate itself from her glove?

That made even the impartial umpire behind her scream like a little girl who has just gotten a pony.

And, you know, with all this talk of shortstop, McGranahan rarely played there.

Because, from day one to the final moments of her prep career, she was the young woman who reached out, game after game, took the ball and strode into the pitcher’s circle, ready to face whatever came her way.

Instead of easing into the role while being an understudy as a freshman, McGranahan was thrown into the fire right away as veteran hurler McKayla Bailey rehabbed an injury.

Katrina never blinked, never hesitated. She snapped off strikes as a 9th grader and was still snapping off strikes as a 12th grader, and all that changed was who was behind the plate to catch her pitches.

Over the past six years, in all of her sports, I have witnessed her deliver big moment after big moment, capture epic wins and fight to the final moment in agonizing losses.

I have seen her smile many times as an athlete, and I have seen her cry a few times as well, and the fact there was many more smiles than tears makes me happy.

If Katrina had never played a sport, her strength, spirit, warmth and class would have still made her stand out.

But she was an athlete, one of the best I have written about, a young woman who cared deeply for her teammates, a warrior who fought for every play but had the grace to accept the outcome, good or bad.

As she moves on to play college ball, my enduring image of Killer Kat will be of her pacing in the pitcher’s circle, her fingers kneading the ball, the game on the line, and yet, amid the tension, a huge smile on her face.

She was a killer, but one who was enjoying every moment.

So, today, we wish Miss McGranahan a happy birthday (and much cake) and we officially welcome her into the company of her fellow legends, inducting her into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

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

There was never a doubt she would end up here.

I knew it from the first time I watched her play in middle school, and the last six years have simply reinforced my first opinion.

Sometimes it’s nice to be right.

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Justine McGranahan, the final word on softball stats. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The games ended Saturday, but the stats-perusing will go on for awhile.

With the season having come to an end for the Coupeville High School softball squad, the focus turns from the field to the agate, with every last walk and stolen base totaled up.

Wolf senior Katrina McGranahan finished atop the heap, leading her team in six of 11 offensive categories and all 11 pitching categories.

Also landing atop at least one offensive category were senior Lauren Rose, juniors Veronica Crownover and Sarah Wright and freshman Chelsea Prescott.

A final look at season-to-date stats, as compiled by CHS coaches and posted on MaxPreps:

 

Hitting:

Player AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. OBP
C. Caveness 44 10 11 4 3 7 .250 .298
H. Lodell 61 11 18 4 1 3 5 4 .295 .358
E. Mathusek 43 8 11 3 5 8 .256 .347
S. Smith 74 23 24 3 3 4 17 .324 .367
L. Rose 52 21 15 2 1 6 11 5 .288 .413
C. Prescott 61 22 15 2 2 5 6 13 .246 .313
M. Davis 23 4 4 2 3 3 .174 .296
K. McGranahan 70 30 30 1 4 1 14 9 16 .429 .518
M. Bailey 21 8 6 1 1 4 5 .286 .400
V. Crownover 69 15 28 7 3 4 19 .406 .438
S. Wright 76 24 27 5 3 2 1 1 27 .355 .364
N. Laxton 20 2 4 1 5 .200 .273

 

Pitching:

Player W/L ERA Gms CG SO Hits Runs BB K IP BF
K. McGranahan 10-6 3.37 19 13 3 89 92 42 103 108 516
S. Smith 2-3 9.00 6 1 31 40 9 6 21 120
C. Prescott 0-0 3.50 1 3 1 2 2 12

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Lauren Rose is one of three Wolf seniors who will play in an All-Star fastpitch softball game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’ll be joined by slugging sensation Katrina McGranahan.

Hope Lodell, here dropping a bunt, rounds out the terrific trio.

One more day on the diamond as teammates.

Coupeville High School seniors Lauren Rose, Katrina McGranahan and Hope Lodell have been invited to play in an annual All-Star fastpitch softball game hosted by the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable.

The game is set for May 30 at the Kitsap Fairgrounds and will be a nine-inning affair, with first pitch at 4 PM.

The Wolf trio, who were four-year starters and perennial All-Conference players for CHS, will wear their school uniforms.

McGranahan has been Coupeville’s primary pitcher the past four years, while Lodell patrolled center field.

Rose was a jack of all trades, catching as a freshman, doing duty at third-base as a sophomore and junior and closing her prep career at shortstop.

Coupeville won 47 games and an Olympic League title during their run, twice coming within a game of advancing to the state tournament.

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Coupeville freshman Coral Caveness (in sunglasses) smacked two hits Saturday in a playoff game. (Photo by Kelly Crownover)

They were among the best to ever wear the uniform.

Coupeville High School seniors Hope Lodell, Lauren Rose and Katrina McGranahan were not only four-year players for the Wolf softball squad, but four-year stars.

All three were on the field, claiming the spotlight, from the first day of their freshman season, and their stellar play and quiet leadership helped the program blossom.

The trio’s journey ended a few days earlier than hoped, when Coupeville was eliminated from the district playoffs Saturday after a 7-4 loss to Olympic League rival Klahowya.

The defeat denied the Wolves (12-9) a trip to state, the second-straight season CHS fell a single game short of the big dance.

Klahowya (12-7), which snapped a two-year, six-game losing streak against Coupeville, advances to state for the first time since 2004.

While the loss ends the on-field run for the Wolf seniors, it can’t dim what they accomplished.

The trio won 47 games over four seasons, led CHS softball to a league title this season, its first in 16 years, and were the heart and soul of the program.

Last year’s team went 19-5, the second-best finish in the 40 years the Wolves have played softball, but Mouse, The Surgeon and Killer Kat shone as brightly in defeat as they did in victory.

And all three went down fighting Saturday, on a day when the game wasn’t decided until late, and when a hit here, a bad bounce there, and the result would have likely flipped.

Coupeville was hanging tough at 2-2 late in the top of the fifth, having pulled off the defensive play of the game.

Left fielder Mackenzie Davis fielded a hit with two runners on base and just one out, came up firing and laid a strike into Scout Smith’s glove at second.

The sophomore infielder pivoted and fired a rocket to catcher Sarah Wright, who slapped the tag on the incoming runner, preserving the tie and igniting the Wolf faithful in attendance.

At that moment, with CHS having crawled back from an early 2-0 deficit, all the momentum seemed in favor of the Wolves.

It wasn’t to be, however, as the Eagles cracked back-to-back huge hits to bust the game open.

A two-run double broke the tie, then an RBI single stretched the lead to 5-2 and, in two quick, lethal swings, KSS seized the day.

Coupeville didn’t go down quietly, though, as McGranahan came back to end the inning with the seventh of the eight strikeouts she tossed in her final game as a prep pitcher.

She added a spectacular diving catch in front of the circle in the sixth, but Klahowya scraped out two more runs in the seventh to really seal the deal.

Down to their final outs, the Wolves plated two of their own, setting the table with a single from Coral Caveness and a frozen rope of a double from Rose.

One run scooted home on an RBI ground-out from Smith, before McGranahan whacked an RBI single in her final at-bat.

While the late innings were full of offensive fireworks, much of the game was a pitcher’s duel between McGranahan and KSS hurler Amber Bumbalough.

In the four years the schools have played each other, Klahowya held the advantage in the first half, winning five of six games.

Years three and four belonged to Coupeville, as the Wolves won all six before Saturday, with this year’s three-game regular season sweep coming thanks to a 60-22 advantage.

In their final match-up with Bumbalough, the Wolves had the D-1 recruit on the ropes several times, but she escaped with a little skill and a little luck.

After surrendering two runs in the top of the first, CHS got one back on a single from Smith and a thunderous one-out triple off of McGranahan’s bat.

Klahowya escaped though, inducing a grounder for out #2, then nailing McGranahan at the plate on a wham-bam play off a passed ball.

Coupeville had a golden opportunity in the second, with Veronica Crownover and Chelsea Prescott camped at second and third with no outs.

Bumbalough reached deep for a little magic, though, punching out back-to-back Wolves, before forcing a chopper to first for the third out.

The game stayed 2-1 until the bottom of the fourth.

Prescott walked, stole second, then took off like a rocket and scored when Crownover, the team’s leading hitter this season, sliced an RBI single through the gap.

After a Caveness single and a drawn-out, testy exchange between the Klahowya coaching staff and the umps, Bumbalough took matters once again into her own hands.

With the go-ahead runs at second and third, she cracked off an inning-ending strikeout.

The two pitchers, who have dueled for four years running, finished their final meeting with eight strikeouts apiece.

Coupeville, which went 7-6 against Klahowya between 2015-2018, rapped eight hits in their final game in District 3.

The Wolves, who jump back to District 1 and the new North Sound Conference next year, got two hits each from McGranahan (3B, 1B) and Caveness (1B, 1B).

Rose smoked a double, while Prescott, Crownover and Smith added a base-knock apiece.

While the Wolves will miss their three seniors, they are primed to be a contender for years to come, as their roster was extremely balanced.

CHS had three seniors (Rose, Lodell, McGranahan), three juniors (Wright, Crownover, Nicole Laxton), three sophomores (Smith, Davis, Emma Mathusek) and three freshmen (Prescott, Caveness, Mollie Bailey) on their varsity roster.

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Wolves (back, l to r) Veronica Crownover, Nicole Laxton and (front) Mackenzie Davis, wait out a rain storm Friday at the district softball tourney in Lacey. (Kelly Crownover photo)

The rain might have been an omen.

Fresh off of beating Vashon Island in the district playoff opener Friday, the Coupeville High School softball team found itself beset by liquid sunshine.

And, while the umbrellas were finally put away and the Wolves were allowed to take the turf in Lacey, all the hits had been washed out of their bats.

After raining down base-knocks against the Pirates, Coupeville was one-hit by Bellevue Christian and fell 14-1 in the District 3 title game.

The Wolves can still punch their ticket to state, though, and all it will take is to beat a familiar foe.

Olympic League rival Klahowya, which Coupeville has beaten six straight times over the past two years, survived a loser’s out brawl with Vashon.

After winning 12-1, the Eagles will clash with the Wolves 1 PM Saturday and the stakes are simple.

Win, and you go to state (Coupeville’s last visit was in 2014, Klahowya’s in 2004).

Lose, and you hang up your uniform and prepare for your team banquet.

The two teams have similar records, with the Wolves sitting at 12-8 and the Eagles at 11-7, but their rivalry has been largely one-sided this season.

Coupeville swept to a league title by beating KSS 15-1, 9-4 and 12-7.

The Wolves have outscored the Eagles 60-22 over the past two seasons, winning all six of their clashes.

To keep that streak alive, and punch a ticket to Richland, CHS needs to hit more like it did in game one Friday, and less like it did on a wet, slick turf field in game two.

Coupeville’s only base-knock against BC came in the bottom of the second, when freshman third-baseman Chelsea Prescott launched a lead-off triple down the right-field line.

The ball curved over first base, hung in the air for a second, then bit ground just inside the chalk and skipped to the fence while Prescott sailed into third standing up.

She promptly came home on the next pitch, when the ball got away from the Bellevue catcher, but, as quickly as the Wolves launched their mini-rally, it was over.

BC scored in four of five innings, chipping away for two in the first, one in the second and another two in the third.

Coupeville’s best defensive stand came in the fourth, when Katrina McGranahan cut down the lead-off hitter on a come-backer, then ended the inning with back-to-back K’s.

The fifth inning, by contrast, was a killer, as the Vikings exploded for nine runs to turn a fairly close 5-1 game into a blow-out.

Other than Prescott’s hit, CHS only got three runners (McGranahan, Hope Lodell and Lauren Rose) aboard, all thanks to walks.

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