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Registration for a new season of Central Whidbey Little League softball and baseball action kicks off December 1. (Jackie Saia photo)

Spring is right around the corner.

Must be, as the promise of a new season of baseball and softball action is upon us.

Registration for Central Whidbey Little League opens Sunday, December 1, and you can save $10 through an “Early Bird” special if you sign up before Jan. 15.

For more info and to get in ahead of the crowd, pop over to:

https://www.centralwhidbeylittleleague.com/Default.aspx?tabid=945573

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Veronica Crownover, sultan of swat, titan of terror on the diamond. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Playing softball in not-so-balmy November, Crownover is fond of muttering “Throw me the dang ball, woman, before I freeze in place!” (Kelly Crownover photos)

The union that was meant to be.

Hey, the weather was better. So, that’s a start.

Coupeville grad Veronica Crownover and the Washington State University club softball squad have endured freezing temps, rain, and plenty of doom ‘n gloom-lookin’ clouds during the opening of their season.

After winning four of six games while battling the weather, the Cougars found slightly more balmy temps awaiting them in Eugene this weekend, but the game scores took a turn slightly for the worse.

Wazzu pulled out a come-from-behind 9-7 win Saturday, then fell 13-5 and 7-1 Sunday to the University of Oregon, dropping its record to 5-4 headed into winter break.

With fall ball wrapping, Crownover and Co. put the mitts and bats away for a bit, with the spring portion of the season kicking off in February.

WSU, which opened by taking two of three from both Boise State and Gonzaga, played this weekend minus its starting pitcher (foot injury) and with its catcher hampered by a numb leg which limited her movement.

Crownover, who has swung a hot bat in her college debut, picked up a pair of singles and an RBI in the series.

The former Wolf was also a vacuum at first base, pulling in several short throws to nab the out.

A freshman at Wazzu, Crownover, when she’s not bashing softballs, is on track for a career in saving all the animals.

All of them, I said!

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Veronica Crownover, prairie legend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Some good hits, some bad hits.

Coupeville grad Veronica Crownover continues to tear up the diamond for the Washington State University club softball team, even if the weather in Pullman doesn’t exactly scream “let’s go outside.”

The former Wolf collected six base-knocks over the weekend, while also absorbing a fair amount of pain, as the Cougars won two of three games against visiting Gonzaga.

After splitting a doubleheader Saturday, winning 12-11 and falling 13-3, Crownover and Co. closed out the series with a 14-2 win Sunday.

WSU sits at 4-2 on the season, with a road trip to the University of Oregon coming up in two weeks.

Crownover’s bat was smokin’ in sub-40 degree weather (rain and wind drove temps a lot lower before the weekend was done), as the freshman first-baseman collected two singles in each of the three games.

She also picked up some black and blue marks, as she took a pitch to the shin, fouled a ball off her foot, then was later plunked in the elbow.

During her Coupeville days that was known as getting “Nicoled,” in honor of teammate and best bud Nicole Laxton, who had an uncanny ability to get drilled by opposing pitchers.

The worst of the three injuries was the shot to the elbow, which left a black circle on her now-swollen arm.

Wazzu’s coach took her out of the game, but then reinserted her as a courtesy runner for another player, a first for Crownover, who has been playing softball since she could walk.

Putting an exclamation point on her wild weekend, she promptly scored as a pinch runner, proving she can do it all.

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They teach, you learn. (Photo courtesy Gerry Oliver)

One of the most-successful college softball programs in the nation is coming to Whidbey Island.

The University of Washington will hold a skills clinic October 26 at Oak Harbor High School for local softball players ages 8-17.

Cost is $75 for a 90-minute all-skills portion, or $50 for a 60-minute pitching clinic.

For registration info, pop back up to the photo above.

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Veronica Crownover, home-run hitting prairie legend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Now a college player, Crownover (back, center) had four hits, including a long ball, as Wazzu won two of three on opening weekend. (Photo courtesy Kelly Crownover)

Different town, different uniform, same booming bat.

Coupeville High School grad Veronica Crownover made her college softball debut this weekend, and she filled the Pullman sky with the sight of a bashed ball flying far, far away.

Just the way she used to do it as a Wolf.

Crownover is now a freshman at Washington State University, and she and her teammates on the school’s club softball squad took two of three games from visiting Boise State.

The Cougars dropped the season opener Saturday, falling 11-3, then bounced back to sweep a doubleheader Sunday, winning 9-5 and 13-4.

Crownover’s bat was smokin’ in the 38-degree weather, as she peppered Bronco pitching.

After picking up her first two collegiate hits and coming around to score in Sunday’s opener, she smacked a third single to open the nightcap, then went deep.

Her two-run home run was still climbing as it cleared the center-field fence 310 feet away, while parents Darren and Kelly out-screamed the entire rest of the fan base of both teams.

Trotting home with her first college tater, Veronica Crownover, who has picked up the nickname “Bro” from her Wazzu teammates (since she uses the word as a noun, verb, and adjective in most conversations), was all smiles.

“Today was a really good day,” she said. “I can die happy.”

Along with her offensive explosion, Crownover was her usual slick-fielding presence at first base, pulling in throws no matter where they were headed.

The Cougars, who play year-round, return to action the last weekend of October, when they’ll put their 2-1 record on the line against Gonzaga.

During her time in Coupeville, Crownover earned a truck load of softball awards from her team and various leagues for her play.

Before graduating last spring, she and fellow Wolf seniors Sarah Wright and Nicole Laxton led CHS to the state tournament in Richland, where Coupeville won a game for the first time since 2002.

The Wolves held up well against eventual state champ Montesano, upset Deer Park, which had taken out the defending state champs, then came within a play of also knocking off Cle Elum.

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