Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Softball’

The ever-irrepressible Ally Roberts is the seventh member of her extended family inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.com)

Also inducted today – older sister Madeline, a true one-of-a-kind star on the softball diamond.

At this rate, we might want to think about adding a Sandy Roberts wing to the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

The man himself is already well-established in our lil’ digital hall of wonders, inducted for his stellar work as both a Wolf athlete and coach.

Toss in two sons (Jon and Jay Roberts), a daughter-in-law (Sherry (Bonacci) Roberts) and, as of today, three grandchildren (Lindsey, Madeline, and Ally Roberts) also camping out there, and the family is well-represented.

While we wait for the construction of that wing, though, we have a bit of business to take care of, and that’s the induction of grandchildren #2 and #3, sisters Madeline and Ally.

They went their own ways when it came to choosing their athletic pursuits, but they were similar in always shining brightly in whatever arena they participated.

Madeline made her name on the softball field, a slap-hitting speedster who anchored the top of the lineup for the CHS softball squad.

A four-year letter winner, she was a First-Team All-League pick at shortstop during her senior season in 2014, a time when Coupeville faced off with big bads like Archbishop Thomas Murphy and Lakewood in the 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

That was the season the Wolves shocked folks by putting together a late-season run which carried them all the way to Eastern Washington for the state tournament, their first return trip to the big dance in a decade-plus.

In addition to All-League honors, Madeline ran away with the team award for Best Offense when Wolf coaches David and Amy King held their annual season-ending shindig.

Not content with merely being a high school standout, Mad Dog made the jump to college ball, as well, and with a twist.

She played two seasons on the diamond for Shoreline Community College, facing off a few times against former CHS teammate Hailey Hammer, who did her college time at Everett Community College.

But Madeline also surprised everyone when, after not playing basketball in high school, she opted to play a campaign with Shoreline’s hoops squad, acquitting herself quite nicely.

Her younger, but ultimately taller, sister was also a multi-sport athlete, juggling the equestrian world with volleyball.

On the court, Rally Ally was a ferocious hitter, ripping off knee-quaking spikes and flinging her body to the floor with wild abandon to save wayward shots.

Playing for the Wolves during a time of transition, when several coaches moved through the system, Ally saw her role change often, but she always adapted and never stopped fighting during every second she was given on the floor.

When she wasn’t in the gym, Lisa Edlin’s youngest daughter could usually be found astride a horse, winning medals and ribbons while tearing up the rodeo circuit.

It was a sport which carried Ally through both high school and college, where she was the captain of Western Washington University’s equestrian team.

She won a regional championship in Advanced Western Horsemanship in what turned out to be her final time in the saddle, before being denied a crack at nationals when COVID-19 shut down college sports.

That disappointment, while sad in the moment, will ultimately be just a small footnote for Ally, who like her big sis, has much more ahead of her left to accomplish.

As they move forward, they’ll also hang around, joining their family members under the Legends tab at the top of the blog.

They were stars during their school days — two bright, shining supernovas full of talent and skill who added bold new chapters to the tale of one of Coupeville’s most-successful athletic families.

Out in the real world, Madeline and Ally will be equally unstoppable. Of that, I have no doubt.

And when they do hit it big? We can say we knew them back when.

Read Full Post »

Whidbey Island Little League fields will remain quiet.

North Whidbey Little League announced Wednesday it was cancelling its fall ball season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

That follows on the heels of South Whidbey Little League cancelling its Summer Sandlot series.

Both moves come after Island County Commissioners voted to “restrict outdoor recreation events including sports in Island County to no more than 10 participants.”

That ruling went into effect July 28.

Read Full Post »

Jae LeVine, owner of the biggest heart of any athlete I have ever written about. (First three photos by JohnsPhotos.net, final one courtesy Sean LeVine)

Jae LeVine is my hero.

Athletes come, and athletes go, and they tell you not to play favorites, and yet, without a doubt, I do.

We can construct our Mount Rushmore for Wolf athletes, and argue endlessly about who will get the other three spots, but the first face we’re going to see is that of JaeLynn.

Miss LeVine is everything wonderful and amazing in this world, and when I get tired of people, I think of “Flash” and things seem a little better.

Joltin’ Jae has fought for her life since the day she was born, just a hair over 21 years ago, and has remained one of the happiest, kindest people I know, despite, or maybe because of, the challenges thrown at her by her own body.

“How you doin’?”

Born with a congenital heart defect, JaeBird has her second (and hopefully final) open-heart surgery today.

My hope for her is that she recovers quickly and with as little physical and emotional pain as possible.

That Jae can return to her family – parents Sean and Joline, sisters Micky and Izzy, and girlfriend Heidi – and be covered in love.

That everything she wants in life comes her way, and that she is rewarded every day.

As she went through middle school, then high school, here in Coupeville, doctors took sport after sport away from her.

Concerns over her heart removed Jae from the basketball hardwood and volleyball court, but she got to stay on the softball diamond and she sparkled until her final mic drop.

On the wall in front of my computer, the place where I write this blog, there are various letters, pictures, and memorabilia from eight years of Coupeville Sports.

Jae is represented by a softball team photo, by her graduation announcement, by her Senior Night writeup, and by her autograph on a box score from the first time CHS softball beat Klahowya.

“With this bat, I will rock you.”

That’s the game where The Mighty Mite opened a can of whup-ass, smashing a single, double, and triple off the best pitcher in the region, with the two-bagger providing the game-winning RBI in a 7-6 victory.

I will always remember Jae’s Senior Night speech, probably the most emotional moment for me personally while doing this job, but that Klahowya game also looms large.

The image of “Flash” bouncing on the bag at second after her big hit, using her fingers to fire imaginary lasers at her teammates going bonkers in the dugout, is nothing but pure joy.

Just like Jae herself.

So, as she goes into surgery today, I need everyone to do two things for her.

One, if you pray, please pray for Jae.

If you don’t pray, think good thoughts.

Whatever you’re comfortable with.

And two, when “Flash” gets out of surgery, she will be by herself in the hospital at first, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Her mom expects Jae will be in the hospital for a week, then home with the family for 2-3 weeks.

“I am asking for family, friends, friends of friends, neighbors, and acquaintances to cheer her on and give her encouragement and love through the mail,” Joline said. “Jae is a people person and I know that being alone during the recovery time while in the hospital is what scares her most.

“If we can reduce her anxiety by flooding her with love during this time, I know she will be forever grateful.

“I plan to make a care basket for her while in the hospital and I know she would love to have letters to read to pass the time. She also LOVES scratch tickets!”

 

Mail letters to Jae at 1555 SW Downfield Way, Oak Harbor, WA, 98277.

“Let’s get this party started!”

Read Full Post »

Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.

 

Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00

 

If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

Read Full Post »

Emma Mathusek, serene superstar. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Emma Mathusek was a quiet superstar.

I’m not talking about her personality — she has always been outgoing, full of rah-rah spirit, and an exuberant, entertaining presence  — but how she approached her sports.

Whether it was volleyball or softball, or basketball back in her younger days, Emma was the kind of athlete every coach wants and hopes will land on their team.

She had skills for days, but always seemed content to fit her strengths into whatever her teammates and coaches needed.

Others chafe if they’re not looked at as the star.

Emma, who is straight laid-back chill, bopped along to a different rhythm than most, always seeming far more interested in team success than piling up personal stats.

Already ready to rule the world. (Photo courtesy Erin Martin)

You saw it on the volleyball court, where she anchored the Wolves while playing libero, sacrificing her body to scrape balls off the floor, time and again, and then some more.

The big hitters up front get the gaudy stats, and a lot of the buzz, but they never get the chance to go airborne if Emma isn’t holding down the last line of defense.

I don’t know as much about volleyball as some, but I’ve watched enough matches to appreciate an unsung warrior when I see one.

And that’s what Emma has been for the past six years – a warrior.

She sold out every dang time, every play, every moment she was on the floor, and very few balls got past her during that time.

The harder other teams hit, the harder she played.

Her team might win — and she was part of a very-successful run by the Wolf spikers in recent years — or they might lose, but Emma played with the same conviction, the same intensity, regardless of whether her team was two sets up or two sets down.

I always thought it was too bad she gave up basketball midway through her prep career, but that could be because it’s my favorite sport, and she was my favorite kind of player – a fighter and a scrapper.

But, you have to do what makes you happy, and know the fans will survive either way. If she was happier not playing, so be it.

And anyway, we still had her for one more sport, and she sparkled on the softball field.

A dynamic softball player from the very beginning. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Put Emma on the diamond, and she gave you speed, a soft glove, a slammin’ bat, and, once again, the willingness to adapt to whatever role she was asked to play.

She patrolled centerfield in her prime, and frankly, at times, there was little need for Coupeville coaches to put players in right and left, as she sprinted from foul line to foul line to snag rapidly-falling balls.

At the plate, Emma was a contact hitter who sprayed the ball in all directions, while often showing a surprising amount of pop.

While it wasn’t unexpected that homer-happy teammates like Veronica Crownover and Sarah Wright terrorized opposing pitchers with frequent round-trippers, Emma rocked one of the most-impressive home runs I have seen a Wolf hit.

The tater was delivered May 1, 2019, and it will live in Wolf lore for a long time, for how far away it sailed, when it was hit, and what it meant.

Emma’s shot, which cleared the fence like a 747 taking off, was a game-tying two-run blast which fueled what would turn into a wild, come-from-behind, 20-18 win over visiting Granite Falls.

The Tigers had come to Cow Town struttin’ and full of swagger, seemingly on the brink of clinching the North Sound Conference title.

Then Emma, with some help from her teammates, knocked Granite Falls to the canvas – she also had a long two-run single to go with her home run – and dared the Tigers to get back up.

They did not. Ever.

Jacked up after delivering a KO, one in which freshman hurler Izzy Wells whiffed the most-dangerous hitter in the league to slam the door shut, Coupeville stormed all the way back to win the league title.

After that came a great postseason run in which the Wolves finished 2nd at districts, advanced to state for the third time in program history, then drilled big baddie Deer Park while there.

Granite? They never made it out of districts, the back half of their tail-spinning season including a second loss to Coupeville, this one a killer in the playoffs.

The Wolves, however, made it to the premier event for Washington state high school softball sluggers, and it was Emma – the unsung star – who ruled the big stage.

Playing three games in one day in Richland, she ripped off six hits, including three doubles, putting a remarkable cap on her junior season.

While the COVID-19 pandemic stole her senior softball campaign, the legend Emma quietly built can’t be diminished.

You can talk about stats. You can talk about big hits and big catches on the diamond, or big dives and big hustle plays on the court.

Or you can just stand back and appreciate a young woman who every single moment she was in a Wolf uniform looked like she was having the time of her life.

She played her heart out, and her joy, the way she embraced her teammates and sacrificed for them, won’t be forgotten.

Today we induct Emma Mathusek into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, and, after this, she’ll live up at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab.

Want to find her? She’ll be the one high-fiving all the other inductees, a perfect teammate to the end.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »