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Coupeville freshman Nezi Keiper anchored a strong defense Thursday, but the Wolf booters were nipped 1-0 by host Sultan. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The net showed no mercy.

Despite several strong scoring opportunities, including a handful in the game’s final moments, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team came up scoreless Thursday at Sultan.

Playing on their home turf, the Turks popped in an early goal, then senior goaltender Amanda McKay made it stand up in a narrow 1-0 league win.

The loss, coming in Coupeville’s third-straight road game, drops the Wolves to 0-2 in North Sound Conference play, 0-4 overall.

That puts them two games off league leaders King’s (2-0, 3-1) and South Whidbey (2-0, 4-0), and a game back of Granite Falls (1-1, 2-3) and Sultan (1-1, 1-3).

Coupeville is currently tied with Cedar Park Christian (0-2, 2-2), a team it hosts next week.

Having played 3.75 of its four games without its main offensive weapon, Genna Wright, who was injured early in the season opener, CHS has been held scoreless twice and has just three goals on the season.

The Wolves crashed the net hard, however, keeping the ball on Sultan’s side of the field for huge chunks of time.

Avalon Renninger had several nice runs up the left side of the field, and had one shot late in the second half which took off like a rocket, only to be speared by McKay, who read the incoming ball perfectly.

Coupeville’s defense, anchored by veterans Mallory Kortuem and Tia Wurzrainer and freshmen Nezi Keiper and Carolyn Lhamon, held up well, turning the Turks away consistently.

The few shots Sultan managed to get off after its goal were promptly snuffed out by rookie goaltender Katelin McCormick, who was playing in place of injured starter Mollie Bailey.

With the game in stoppage time, Coupeville launched several final strikes on the Turks, only to have the ball take a bad bounce here, a slight curve there, denying what could have been an overtime-forcing score.

As he reflected back on the game, CHS coach Kyle Nelson saw two evenly-matched teams, with one just getting a break the other didn’t.

“Last night’s game was just one of those games,” he said. “We were the better team on the field, but they scored on the first of two or three shots the whole night and we just could not get it to happen even though we probably had double-digit shots.

“We controlled the ball in their half for the majority of time,” Nelson added. “But give credit to Sultan for playing some good defense.”

The Wolves play at home Saturday, their first appearance at Mickey Clark Field in two weeks, when they host 2A Kingston (0-3) in a non-conference tilt.

Varsity kicks off at 1 PM, with JV scheduled to follow.

It’s the first of four straight home games for Coupeville, which plays seven of its final 11 on its own field.

 

JV benched:

What was supposed to be a two-game evening Thursday turned into a one-game affair, as Sultan didn’t have enough players to field a JV team.

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CMS track guru Elizabeth Bitting keeps it low key, even if inside she’s bursting with pride for her young athletes. (Morgan White photos)

The hurdles turns into a hair-raising experience.

“Fly, and punch a hole in the sky, my little shot put!”

“I’m coming for all your prize ribbons. All of them, I said!”

Rain, a long bus trip, an especially loud starter’s gun, and results which took longer than normal to be posted.

Wednesday’s middle school track meet in Sultan had a little something for everyone.

While the results didn’t show up on athletic.net until Friday, once they were there, they made for happy Coupeville athletes and coaches.

“While our CMS track athletes enjoyed their time in the Cascade foothills, some actually found a way to cut their time in various events,” said Wolf coach Jon Gabelein, who just now might be getting his hearing back to 100%. 

“Sultan’s starting gun was noticeably louder than anywhere our athletes had been,” he said. “As if it was ‘the shot heard round the world’.”

While facing off with Langley and the host Turks, Coupeville put together a string of top performances.

Trinity McGee (high jump), Cole White (1600), Desi Ramirez (long jump), and Allison Nastali (discus) drew praise from Gabelein for their PR-worthy performances.

Another standout was Joven Light, who debuted in the discus and immediately made an impact. 

“He made an amazing entry into the discus event, never having competed in it before when he launched it,” Gabelein said. “Joven calmly summed up his great first performance in saying ‘I know I have the strength for it and it’s actually pretty fun too’.”

Aiden Anderson, a fellow 8th grader and a veteran of the event, was equally impressed.

“I was really surprised he could throw it that far, especially for his first throw. He should keep doing discus!”

 

Complete Wednesday results:

 

GIRLS:

100 (7th grade) — Erica McGrath (4th) 16.13 *PR*; Brielle Armstrong (6th) 17.00 *PR*; Alena Osborne (9th) 18.06 *PR*

100 (8th grade) — Taygin Jump (5th) 15.47 *PR*; Trinity McGee (7th) 15.52

200 (8th grade) — Ryanne Knoblich (5th) 31.25 *PR*

800 (8th grade) — Carolyn Lhamon (2nd) 2:58.83; Helen Strelow (4th) 3:04.12

100 Hurdles (8th grade) — Claire Mayne (3rd) 20.64 *PR*; Camryn Clark (11th) 24.09 *PR*

4 x 100 Relay (8th grade) — Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson, McGee, Jordyn Rogers, Jump (2nd) 1:02.07; Mayne, Abigail Ramirez, Cristina McGrath, Lhamon (3rd) 1:02.97

4 x 200 Relay (8th grade) — Mayne, Lhamon, A. Ramirez, Knoblich (2nd) 2:12.80

Shot Put (7th grade) — Brionna Blouin (1st) 24-03.50 *PR*; Allison Nastali (3rd) 23-11 *PR*; Desi Ramirez (4th) 22-06.50 *PR*; Isabella Schooley (5th) 19-11

Shot Put (8th grade) — Lhamon (2nd) 27-06 *PR*

Discus (7th grade) — Blouin (1st) 56-11.50 *PR*; Nastali (3rd) 45-05 *PR*; D. Ramirez (4th) 42-10.50; Schooley (5th) 40-06.50 *PR*; Armstrong (6th) 39-09.50

Discus (8th grade) — C. McGrath (2nd) 53-09.50; Strelow (6th) 45-08; Jump (7th) 41-09 *PR*; C. Clark (9th) 35-10

High Jump (8th grade) — Knoblich (2nd) 4-04; Kalwies-Anderson (3rd) 4-02; McGee (4th) 4-00 *PR*; Katie Buskala (6th) 3-10; C. McGrath (6th) 3-10 *PR*; Jump (6th) 3-10

Long Jump (7th grade) — Nastali (6th) 10-06; D. Ramirez (8th) 10-03 *PR*; E. McGrath (10th) 10-01; Blouin (12th) 9-09 *PR*; Osborne (14th) 8-08 *PR*; Schooley (15th) 7-03

Long Jump (8th grade) — Mayne (3rd) 12-06.50 *PR*; Knoblich (6th) 12-00; C. McGrath (7th) 11-07.50; Strelow (9th) 11-05.50

 

BOYS:

100 (7th grade) — Logan Downes (3rd) 14.65; Ryan Blouin (10th) 16.82; Alex Clark (12th) 16.88 *PR*

100 (8th grade) — Reiley Araceley (3rd) 13.11; Coen Killian (8th) 13.60 *PR*; Joven Light (10th) 13.91; Dominic Coffman (15th) 14.55; Jacob Mathusek (16th) 14.79 *PR*

200 (7th grade) — Nick Guay (7th) 29.46

200 (8th grade) — Alex Murdy (1st) 25.84 *PR*; Josh Guay (6th) 31.92 *PR*; Josh Upchurch (7th) 32.07 *PR*

400 (8th grade) — Light (2nd) 1:05.49; Upchurch (3rd) 1:12.06

800 (7th grade) — Hank Milnes (4th) 2:50.16 *PR*; Cole White (5th) 2:52.11 *PR*

800 (8th grade) — Anderson (1st) 2:41.01 *PR*

1600 (7th grade) — White (3rd) 5:49.97 *PR*; Milnes (4th) 5:55.67 *PR*

1600 (8th grade) — Tate Wyman (3rd) 6:52.95

110 Hurdles (7th grade) — Murdy (6th) 24.87 *PR*

110 Hurdles (8th grade) — Coffman (4th) 21.01 *PR*

4 x 100 Relay (7th grade) — White, Zane Oldenstadt, Blouin, A. Clark (2nd) 1:04.27

4 x 100 Relay (8th grade) — Araceley, Coffman, Light, Murdy (1st) 52.51

4 x 200 Relay (7th grade) — Nitta, Robinett, N. Guay, Downes (1st) 2:03.82

4 x 200 Relay (8th grade) — J. Guay, Araceley, Mathusek, Wyman (2nd) 2:06.05

Shot Put (7th grade) — Oldenstadt (3rd) 24-09.75; William Davidson (7th) 22-11.25; Blouin (9th) 20-07 *PR*

Shot Put (8th grade) — Killian (3rd) 28-00.50 *PR*; Upchurch (5th) 26-00

Discus (7th grade) — Oldenstadt (1st) 70-07.50; Davidson (9th) 50-11 *PR*

Discus (8th grade) — Anderson (2nd) 69-00 *PR*; Light (3rd) 67-02 *PR*; Upchurch (7th) 60-04.50; Mathusek (8th) 55-09.50 *PR*; J. Guay (11th) 50-09.50

High Jump (8th grade) — Murdy (2nd) 5-03; Coffman (3rd) 4-10

Long Jump (7th grade) — Robinett (3rd) 13-08.25 *PR*; Downes (6th) 13-02.50 *PR*; White (8th) 12-03; N. Guay (9th) 11-11.75; A. Clark (12th) 10-05.75 *PR*; Blouin (14th) 10-04.25 *PR*

Long Jump (8th grade) — Murdy (1st) 16-07.25; Araceley (4th) 14-03; Wyman (6th) 13-04.25 *PR*; Mathusek (7th) 13-03.75 *PR*; Killian (9th) 13-01

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Chelsea Prescott had five RBI, three hits, and two slide-induced battle scars Friday as Coupeville softball swept a doubleheader. (Photo by Cory Prescott)

Seniors (l to r) Nicole Laxton, Veronica Crownover, and Sarah Wright celebrate their home finale with confetti cannons. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two for the price of one.

Rolling hot on Senior Night, the Coupeville High School softball squad swept a doubleheader from visiting Sultan, keeping alive its hopes of sharing a league title.

The Wolves had to scrape a bit in the opener, eventually pulling out a 7-4 win, then let the bats bark in the nightcap, cruising to a 15-2 victory in a game mercy-ruled after five innings.

The sweep gives Coupeville seven wins in its last nine games, lifting it to 8-3 in North Sound Conference action, 11-7 overall.

The Wolves sit a half-game back of Granite Falls (8-2, 11-6) as everyone waits for the result of that team’s Friday game against third-place Cedar Park Christian (6-3, 11-4).

Coupeville has one regular-season game left, next Tuesday at South Whidbey (2-8, 5-11), while Granite travels to Sultan (1-9, 1-12) two days later.

As we wait for the much-anticipated Granite/CPC score to surface, which it hadn’t done as of 11:21 PM Friday, here’s a look at how Coupeville’s twin-bill played out:

 

Game 1:

Coupeville’s varsity seniors — Veronica Crownover, Sarah Wright, and Nicole Laxton — have played all four years for CHS coach Kevin McGranahan, with the first two players beginning with him all the way back in little league.

While the trio didn’t seem to let emotion stumble them too badly, combining for four hits and two walks in the opening game, the Wolves, as a team, didn’t jump out quite as hot as might have been expected.

The first time these teams played Coupeville strolled to a 12-0 win, but this time they had to fight from behind.

At least for a nerve-wracking 90 seconds or so.

The Turks opened the game with three straight singles, pushing a run across and looking like they were in the mood to add more.

And then the Wolves slapped Sultan back into reality.

As the third base-knock bounced into right field, Coupeville fired up the ol’ double play machine, driving a stake through the Turks collective heart like a film critic trashing the mopey vampires of Twilight.

Snagging the bouncing ball, Wolf right-fielder Coral Caveness snapped the ball to second-baseman Scout Smith, who whirled and fired a laser right onto Wright’s glove at home.

The CHS catcher smacked the tag on the incoming Turk for one out, before promptly flicking the ball across the field to shortstop Chelsea Prescott to nail the batter straggling into second.

Wham, bam, game over.

OK, maybe not quite yet according to the scoreboard, but emotionally a lot of the life oozed out of the Turks at that moment.

Taking advantage, the Wolves pushed two runners across in the bottom of the inning to take a lead they would never relinquish.

It started with Smith wearing a pitch, the splat of ball against backside echoing across the prairie.

Two outs later, just at the moment the Turks thought they might escape unscathed, the hits started poppin’ off of bats.

Wright mashed an RBI single to center, Mollie Bailey crunched a wicked liner off of a fielder’s glove, and then Crownover tagged a single to left.

Coupeville looked ready to light off an offensive firework show, only to see its momentum suddenly, freakishly, come to a halt.

While Wolf pitcher Izzy Wells was gunning down batter after batter, the Wolves loaded the bases in both the second and third frame, only to end their rallies prematurely with inning-ending infield pop-ups.

As he scratched his head in wonderment and frustration, McGranahan was a man looking for a spark.

“We came out a little flat,” he said. “Probably due to the anticipation and jitters of Senior Night to come between games.”

Coupeville’s defense, like a pretty play on which Wright and Prescott teamed up to wreck a would-be double-steal, kept the one-run lead intact, and, eventually, the Wolves got more.

CHS added two runs in the fourth, on a passed ball and a Crownover RBI ground-out, and one more in the fifth thanks to a Emma Mathusek sac fly.

Sultan doesn’t have a great record, but they have a scrappy, senior-heavy roster, and the Turks don’t go down easily.

They showed that by rallying for three runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of a brief bit of sloppy play by Coupeville, and cutting the margin back to 5-4.

Wells, the freshman hurler who injects ice water into her veins before striding into the pitcher’s circle, never blinked, though, notching her eighth strikeout of the day to end the surge.

Her seniors stepped up immediately to give her a final bit of cushion.

Wright led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, Crownover whaled on a ball, leaving it two inches shy of the fence for a very long sac fly, then Laxton slapped the punctuation mark on the whole affair.

After appearing to ground-out, the irrepressible left-fielder got a second opportunity when the field ump ruled the ball had hit her foot and changed the call to a foul ball.

Given new life, Laxton gave a little smile, strolled back to the plate, and mashed the next pitch past the third-baseman for what would be a game-clinching RBI single.

Sultan had a flicker of a hope in the seventh, getting two aboard, but Wells ended the game by inducing a slow grounder right back to her own glove.

“We battled and eventually came out on top,” said a relieved McGranahan. “Not pretty, but it is a win.”

 

Game 2:

Sultan once again struck first, plating two in the first, and held the lead all the way until the bottom of the second inning.

Then the Wolves brought out their beat-down bats.

Raining down six runs in the second, another six in the third, and three more in the fourth, all while Smith was dazzling the Turks from the pitcher’s circle, Coupeville ended the night on a dramatic note.

“We came out hitting on all cylinders in the second game and quickly took control and never looked back,” McGranahan said. “Our bats finally woke up and the Senior Night jitters were gone.”

Prescott, the slick-fielding, ball-thumping shortstop, was a one-woman wrecking crew, driving in five runs with a wicked two-run single to right and a three-run double.

Staying alert after smashing the stuffing out of the ball, Prescott didn’t stop at second on the last blast, instead coming around to score after Sultan made a bad throw-in, then muffed the catch.

The ball was jumping off everyone’s bats in the nightcap, but two other plays particularly stood out.

On one, Mackenzie Davis smoked a shot just past the outstretched fingers of the Sultan second-baseman, sending Bailey chugging for home.

The player who steadfastly refused to slide during her otherwise legendary little league career is now a high school sophomore, and apparently has changed some things, as she astonished the crowd by executing a note-perfect dive under the tag at the plate.

“Where’d that come from?!?!?!?” screamed one Wolf fan … and I’m pretty sure it was Mollie’s mom, Donna.

The other highlight reel play came on the game’s final runs, with Wright cranking a bases-clearing double, before being thrown out by an inch when she tried to stretch it into a triple.

The three RBI stretched the lead to 15-2, and as she lay in the dirt, letting the prairie soil soak into her pores one last time during a live game against an opposing school, Wright beamed brighter than the sun.

“Hey, I almost made it … and I got dirty! I like that!!”

Coupeville lashed 18 hits and drew 21 walks across the two games, with Wright collecting four singles and a double to lead the way.

Prescott (1B, 1B, 2B), Smith (1B, 1B, 2B), and Caveness (1B, 1B) were hot on her heels, while Bailey (2B), Crownover (1B), Laxton (1B), Davis (1B), and Mathusek (1B) all connected on base-knocks, as well.

Smith and Bailey each walked four times, with Crownover and Caveness earning three free passes.

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The rain fell mainly in Sultan, at least Monday afternoon. (Photo by David Svien)

Some infields are built to withstand the ravages of the rain.

The one at Sultan High School, not so much.

Even as a baseball game went on right next door Monday, the Coupeville High School softball team was denied a chance to get a league win through no fault of its own.

The Wolves got out of school early, hopped the Clinton ferry, traveled down a rainy, car-packed freeway, charged off the bus, bats at the ready, and almost immediately had their hopes dashed.

While the actual amount of liquid sunshine coming out of the sky wasn’t Earth-shattering, the condition of Sultan’s field was less than stellar.

Three nicely-sized divots, one between first and second base, the other two between second and third, were full of water, and the rest of the infield was a squishy mess.

As he wandered by, CHS coach Kevin McGranahan arched an eyebrow ever so slightly.

“This ain’t happening…”

Give the man a prize, cause he nailed it.

After a brief bit of discussion between the coaches and umpires, the game was tabled, and the two teams split up and put in brief practice sessions on the non-dirt part of the field.

For Coupeville’s players, it gave them a chance to stretch out their arms and legs before clambering back on the bus for the drive home.

And, with McGranahan agreeing to let them hit Panda Express on the way back, the Wolves were off to scamper through the rain drops, hauling in fly balls and holding group sing-a-longs.

In another small “win,” the game will also be transformed from a road affair to a home game, giving Coupeville fans that much more softball to watch live in person.

Before the bus rumbled out of the parking lot, the two school’s Athletic Directors had conferred and rescheduled Monday’s game, moving it to May 3.

It will now be part of a doubleheader on Coupeville’s Senior Night.

Game one (the one postponed Monday) kicks off at 3 PM that day, then farewell festivities for the 14 seniors involved (four from CHS, 10 from SHS) will be held, before the regularly-scheduled game caps things.

And what about me, you ask?

I got a nice dinner at Claim Jumper’s out of the trip, courtesy Coupeville parents, so I’m fine. Thanks for asking.

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Ulrik Wells crashes hard to score the second of his team’s 14 runs Friday afternoon. (Karen Carlson photo)

The team that couldn’t score, now can’t stop.

Throwing double digits up on the scoreboard for the third straight game Friday, the Coupeville High School baseball squad crushed visiting Sultan 14-4, completing a season sweep of the Turks and running its winning streak to four games.

With the win, the Wolves rise to 4-8 in North Sound Conference play, 4-12 overall, and need just one victory in three games against Granite Falls next week to clinch a playoff spot.

Coupeville sits two games up on the Tigers (2-10, 4-13) heading into the final regular-season series.

The teams play Monday and Friday in Coupeville, with a Wednesday clash at Granite.

The top four teams from the six-team NSC advance to the postseason, and Cedar Park Christian (12-0, 16-1), South Whidbey (10-2, 15-2), and King’s (7-5, 8-9) are the top three seeds.

With the loss Friday, Sultan (1-11, 1-16) was eliminated from contention for the #4 seed, leaving Coupeville and Granite Falls to fight amongst themselves.

If the Wolves nail down a playoff berth, they open the double-elimination district tourney Saturday, May 4 at Sehome High School.

They would play the #1 seed from the Northwest Conference (currently Mount Baker), and win or lose, would play a second playoff game later that same day.

But that’s still in a possible future, and Coupeville head coach Chris Smith believes in the oldest of baseball proverbs — take them one game at a time.

Friday he saw his team play very patient ball, racking up seven hits and 14 walks in a game which seemed to drift through every season.

Pushing two-and-a-half hours, even with the mercy rule bringing the game to a close after six innings, the contest opened with the pitter-patter of rain, moved through the rustle of wind, then closed with a rare burst or two of sunshine.

Along the way, the Wolves got a solid pitching performance from Matt Hilborn, who whiffed 11 before pitch count limits removed him from the mound an out short of putting in six innings of work.

Matt came out and gave it his all,” Smith said. “He got some good work in, and we needed that for him heading in to next week.”

Mason Grove made a rare appearance on the mound in relief of Hilborn, and, on mom Mindy’s birthday, slammed the door shut quickly, ending Sultan’s final hopes on a fly-out.

Offensively, Coupeville accepted what it was given, then made the Turks pay, over and over again, scoring in five of six innings.

In the beginning, the Wolves were content to scratch out a run here, a run there, plating a single hitter in the first and second innings.

The first time around it was Hilborn, who walked, stole second, went to third on a passed ball, then shot home to score on a Hawthorne Wolfe grounder.

Looking for a bit more excitement in the second frame, the Wolves got a one-out single to left-center off the bat of first-baseman Ulrik Wells.

After a balk bumped him ahead an extra base, Coupeville’s tallest player defied the odds, scoring on a passed ball and doing it with a spectacular face-first dive under the Sultan catcher.

The Wolves busted the game open with an 11-batter, seven-run third inning which went on and on and on some more, as a Sultan reliever played a game called “999 pitches and no strikes.”

Picking up six walks, including three with the bases jammed full of runners, CHS also took advantage of two Turk errors — a bad throw and a brain freeze — and a couple of passed balls/wild pitches, before capping things with one resounding hit.

That came from Hilborn, making his second trip to the plate in the inning, after being plunked in the thigh by a wayward pitch the first time around.

Getting some sweet revenge, he smashed a two-run single right back up the middle, the ball almost taking the pitcher’s leg off as it ricocheted by and shot into open space.

Sultan, playing with the minimum nine players, did its best to hang tough, though, and rallied to pull within 9-4.

But Hilborn was ultimately too much for the Turks, and he got some help on defense.

Gavin Straub made a great running catch in right field and shortstop Jake Pease went over his shoulder to snag a high lob while on the move.

Coupeville added two more runs in the fifth inning, on RBI singles from Wolfe and Dane Lucero, before putting Sultan out of its misery in the sixth.

Walks to Daniel Olson, Seth Weatherford, and Hilborn, plus two more Sultan errors, let a pair of Wolves scamper home, but the 14th, and final run, came on a truly solid base-knock.

It came from Pease, who slapped the exclamation point on things with a rocket of a single to deep center-field.

Any other time, the laser would have brought two, and possibly all three runners aboard around to score, but Coupeville only needed one to stretch the lead to 10, so Pease was denied extra RBI’s.

Not that it seemed to bother him, as the senior helped lead a raucous post-game celebration.

Lucero paced the offense with a pair of singles, while Hilborn, Wolfe, Pease, Gavin Knoblich, and Wells all chipped in with a base-knock of their own.

Hilborn (4), Olson (3), and Lucero (2) drew multiple base on balls, with the one-walk club offering membership to Bryce Payne, Weatherford, Straub, Wells, and Pease.

With the game mostly in hand all the way, Smith mixed and matched his lineup, getting 13 players on the field.

Sage Sharp started in right field and Jonny Carlson pulled back-up duty at first to round out the Wolves who played.

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