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Coupeville senior Bryce Payne reached base twice Friday, accounting for 50% of his team’s offense in a 12-0 loss. (Karen Carlson photo)

And we’re done with that.

The schedule gets easier from here, as the Coupeville High School baseball squad wrapped a three-game series with Cedar Park Christian, easily the most dominant team in the new North Sound Conference.

The Eagles have advanced to the 1A state semifinals two years running, finishing second in 2017, and they seem primed for another run.

CPC put the finishing touches on a sweep of a young, rebuilding Wolf squad Friday night, rolling to a 12-0 win in five innings.

Outscored 34-3 by the Eagles across three games this week, Coupeville heads to the weekend sitting 0-3 in league play, 0-5 overall.

The Wolves will get a break from conference action, with their next three games coming against non-league foes Chimacum, University Prep, and Friday Harbor.

The first game in that stretch, a match-up with a former Olympic League rival, goes down Monday in Coupeville. First pitch is 4 PM.

After that three-game set, the Wolves play 12 straight league games in April, with series against King’s, South Whidbey, Sultan, and Granite Falls.

None of them should present as big a challenge as Cedar Park, a deep, talented, state tourney-tested team.

Friday night, starting pitchers Daniel Olson and Ben Hann dueled through a scoreless game for an inning and a half, and then the Eagles bats started poppin’ big time.

CPC scored five in the bottom of the second, with the big blow a three-run tater off the bat of Jensen Lavering.

After that the Eagles tacked on one more run in the third, before closing with six in the fourth, spraying the ball in all directions.

Coupeville’s offense was largely curtailed by Hann, who limited the Wolves to singles by Gavin Knoblich and Bryce Payne and walks from Payne and Matt Hilborn.

The Wolves best shot came in the top of the third, when they had runners at second and third with two outs. It wasn’t to be, though, as Hann whiffed Jake Pease to end the uprising.

The Eagles finished with 11 base-knocks, getting three from Michael Doyle and two each from Brandon McClean and Lavering, who also collected four RBI.

One bright point for Coupeville was an error-free day in the field.

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Playing in front of aunt Joli, a first-ballot Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famer, Emma Smith helped lead Coupeville to a huge win in Bothell Tuesday night. (Konni Smith photo)

The louder you get, the better we play.

When the Coupeville High School volleyball squad strode onto the court in Bothell for its North Sound Conference opener Tuesday night, it faced numerous challenges.

The dangerous team across the net, Cedar Park Christian, was a solid 4-1 in non-conference play.

Toss in a rabid student section, and things might have seemed daunting for the Wolves.

If, and only if, you didn’t know the young women wearing the black uniforms don’t bend. They don’t break. And they will snap you in half.

Their mothers saw it coming. From now on, so might their private school rivals.

“The crowd of (CPC) boys were animals,” said one Coupeville mom. “And they fueled our girls fire as they heckled the crap out of us.

“I wanted to warn them that our kids live for the screams.”

By the time they were done, the Wolves had turned any razzing into screams of pure anguish, thrashing the host Eagles 25-20, 25-18, 25-23.

The win propels Coupeville to a pristine 3-0 on the season.

At 1-0 in league play, they sit in a tie atop the new conference, and have a full week before they travel to Langley for an epic clash with arch-rival South Whidbey.

While he’ll start planning for that rumble when his team returns to practice Wednesday, the bus ride home Tuesday was all about enjoying that first conference win for CHS coach Cory Whitmore.

“We’re very excited, of course,” he said. “Any time you can go on the road in this league and come back with the win is an accomplishment.

“We played with a lot of focus and very clean from the service line and then gradually put the pressure on, taking them out of rhythm.”

Not every facet of their play was flawless, but the Wolves made up for any small weaknesses by excelling in other areas.

“Our hitting was shaky at times, but the passing was pretty consistent, so our hitters could then settle in themselves,” Whitmore said. “Chelsea (Prescott) and Ashley (Menges) had great all-around games passing, serving and digging.

Emma Mathusek did a great job passing and digging as well and Emma Smith had a powerful six kills with no errors,” he added. “A skill that we’ve been pushing has been smart and strong blocking, and we showcased that well tonight.”

Coupeville picked up 10 blocks, with Emma Smith soaring above the net to collect six stuffs to match her six kills.

The stat sheet was nicely balanced, with Scout Smith doling out 23 assists and Mathusek going low to scrape 11 digs off the floor.

Ashley Menges (five kills, four aces), Hannah Davidson (four kills), Chelsea Prescott (three kills, four aces), Maya Toomey-Stout (seven kills, three digs, two aces) and Zoe Trujillo (one kill) all chipped in as well.

“Plenty to work on in practice,” Whitmore said. “But we’re of course excited about a big win.”

 

JV strolls to win:

Coupeville’s young guns crushed the Eagles 25-12, 25-8 in their league opener.

The win lifts the JV to 2-1 overall, 1-0 in conference action.

“Good team effort across the board,” said CHS coach Chris Smith.

The Wolves got big play from a number of players, something their leader always likes to see.

Lucy (Sandahl) flew all over the floor setting and feeding her hitters,” Smith said. “The Vick sisters (Willow and Raven) were very composed at the service line and swinging well in the front row.

Maddie (Vondrak) is playing all six rotations and has made significant improvements in serving and passing,” he added. “Zoe (Trujillo), as usual, gave us a lot of power swinging from the outside.”

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   Veronica Crownover blasted four hits Monday, including doubles to left, right and center, as Coupeville softball rallied to crunch Klahowya. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Cupcakes are for closers.

So it’s appropriate that while the Coupeville High School softball squad offered sugary goodies to their foes in Klahowya Monday, the only team who chose to chow down post-game was the Wolves.

When you hold fast, shrug off nerves, dodge the other team’s best shot and emerge to win, not with a whimper, but an emphatic bang, you earn your sweet, sweet dessert.

Raise your cupcakes, Wolf Nation, and hail a 12-7 win in extra innings on Coupeville’s final trip to Silverdale.

A tasty victory that came with two pressure-packed seventh-inning strikeouts from Katrina McGranahan and a hail of extra-base hits off the smokin’ bats of the CHS hurler and her teammates.

With the win, the Wolves tick multiple boxes on their checklist.

Coupeville completes a three-game season sweep of Klahowya, runs its win streak against the Eagles to six, improves to 5-0 this year against pitchers with D1 college scholarships and moves to 11-4 on the season.

Though, admittedly, getting there may have given CHS coach Kevin McGranahan a few gray hairs.

“We played a sloppy, but good, game,” he said. “We could have folded up our tents and went home with a 2-1 split with them, but instead our girls buckled down and sealed the deal.”

Halfway through the game, if you had raised the possibility of extra innings, you likely would have gotten a blank stare from most people.

Coupeville came out aggressively, sprayed hits around and built a 6-1 lead headed to the bottom of the fourth, controlling the game in almost every aspect.

That mirrored the first two times the teams tangled this season, both of which ended in lopsided Wolf wins.

CHS set Klahowya back on its heels from the first hitter, as Lauren Rose dropped a bunt that chewed through the crust of the Earth seeking a new route to China while the speed-demon Wolf zoomed to first without drawing a throw.

From there the Wolves peppered Klahowya, with Katrina McGranahan whacking a single into the hole between short and third, followed by three straight swings which produced runs.

Sarah Wright delivered the game’s first RBI on a ground-out, Chelsea Prescott plated another when an Eagle bobbled her hard chopper, and then Veronica Crownover began her all-day assault on KSS pitcher Amber Bumbalough.

Crownover, who was the driving force behind the cupcakes and offering them to Klahowya, beat the ever-lovin’ tar out of the ball, finishing with four of Coupeville’s 12 hits.

The first of her three fence-shaking doubles, in which she went to left, then right, then straightaway center in a dazzling display of pool hustler-like artistry, was a rocket that bounced off the scoreboard.

KSS managed to get out of the inning trailing just 3-0, then sliced a run off the lead when Bumbalough launched a two-out solo homer in the bottom half of the inning.

Coupeville didn’t blink, however, with ferocious frosh Prescott going yard in the third, the ball cresting the fence at its deepest point in center.

Tack on two more runs in the fourth, with Mollie Bailey and Rose tapping home thanks to a failed pick-off throw that skipped into left and a wild pitch, respectively, and the Wolves were cruising.

Until they hit a small bump in the road, than a slightly larger one, than one that threatened to knock the car completely off its wheels and throw Coupeville into a ditch.

Taking advantage of a rare rash of Wolf miscues on defense, Klahowya netted three runs in the fourth, then two more in the fifth, and suddenly, horrifyingly, a five-run lead had turned into a tie ball game.

After giving up the first three-spot, CHS had a chance to answer right back in the top of the fifth, when Hope Lodell sliced a gorgeous double that curled down the left-field line.

Having taken third on a passed ball, Lodell was primed to trot home, but Bumbalough bore down and escaped thanks to back-to-back strikeouts and a ground ball.

Facing the first of several moments in which they could have broken, but didn’t, Coupeville responded to the sudden tie by dropping an atom bomb.

It came off of the bat of Katrina McGranahan, a high, arcing shot to right-center that cleared the fence by several feet and skipped away, putting the Wolves back up 7-6.

And then things got tense. Really tense.

Klahowya put two runners aboard in the sixth, only to have Wolf catcher Sarah Wright pull off her best “gun slinger poppin’ people at high noon” act.

First the junior backstop nailed a runner trying to steal second, her throw arriving to Scout Smith’s glove two steps ahead of the incoming Eagle.

Then Wright topped that by snaring a ball that slipped out of her glove for a second, pivoting and launching a frozen rope to Prescott at third to erase another way-too-slow Eagle.

Coupeville had a chance to pad its lead in the seventh, but watched another lead-off double (this one from Crownover) wither on the vine and die before reaching home.

At the moment, it seemed like a missed opportunity, but not a fatal one.

Five minutes later the Wolves were on life support and wishing they had a time machine to go back and get a second crack at adding that insurance run.

A lead-off single, an intentional walk to the ultra-dangerous Bumbalough and a passed ball gave KSS runners at second and third with no outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Cue a tremendous defensive play, and then a gut-shot.

On a come-backer to the mound, McGranahan speared the ball, stared the runner at third down, then fired to Crownover at first.

As the ball flew across the diamond, the Eagle at third took off, Crownover stamped first, spun and fired a dart to Wright, who slapped the tag for the double play, punching the air out of Klahowya.

Or, it would have, if the second umpire hadn’t overruled the home plate guy, waving off the second out and awarding the Eagles the tying run on a (extremely) questionable interference call.

With Bumbalough, Klahowya’s fastest, smartest, most deadly, scariest runner (am I missing any superlatives here?) perched on third, and just one out, the odds of a KSS win were sitting at 97.4%.

Virtually anything hit on the ground, anything hit in the air, and she was coming home in a few strides, bringing with her a comeback win that would have sent an electric shock through Klahowya’s fan base.

Except she never got to move.

Reaching down deep into her soul and finding the killer lurking inside, McGranahan went right at the Eagles.

Strikeouts #7 and #8 on the afternoon were all the sweeter for being the one, and only thing, that could prevent Bumbalough from dancing away with the win.

As the final pitch from McGranahan to Wright hit mitt and earned a thunderous “strike three” from the ump, a cloud lifted from over the Wolves.

What could have been an extremely dispiriting loss, the kind that nags at you and eats away at your confidence, had been dodged.

And while some would say just for the moment, when the Wolves stepped to the plate to kick off extra innings in the top of the eighth, they strode to the plate with confidence fully restored.

Klahowya’s lineup was comprised of nine dead women walking from that moment.

Rose eked out a free pass, Smith reached on an error and then the middle of the order launched an RBI parade.

McGranahan and Wright brought runners around with wicked liners, a third run came flying in courtesy a passed ball and Crownover put the frosting on her cupcake-worthy performance.

She didn’t double this time, just whacked a two-run single up the middle to cap a five-run explosion, more than enough to make mom Kelly lose the last of her voice screaming like a wild woman in support of her “baby.”

As Coupeville’s baseball squad drifted over after clinching a league title, McGranahan drove the final stake through the heart of Silverdale’s finest, retiring the Eagles in order without allowing the ball out of the infield.

It was a fitting end to a rivalry which started one-sided and ended one-sided, just with the teams flipped.

After Klahowya won all six games between the teams during the first two years of the Olympic League, Coupeville flipped a switch starting in 2017.

Six wins, and one enormous gut-check later, the Wolf sluggers have earned their cupcakes. All of them.

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   Scout Smith sizzled at the plate, on defense and in the pitcher’s circle Monday as CHS softball swept a doubleheader from Blaine. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

This wasn’t one player having a good day. Or two, or even three.

This was a team, from top to bottom, firing on all cylinders and beating the living snot out of their foes in one fiery, day-long assault on the scoreboard.

By the time the red-hot Coupeville High School softball sluggers were done Monday, they had rocked Blaine pitching for 29 hits, including four doubles, two triples and a home run to straight-away center field.

So it should come as little surprise that the Wolves returned from the Canadian border bearing not one, but two wins, having swept the Borderites 12-1 and 20-6.

The non-conference victories, coming against a large 2A school, stretches Coupeville’s win streak to three games and lifts its record to 5-1.

After a couple of days to enjoy spring break, the Wolves play three home games in two days, hosting Meridian Friday and Forks Saturday. The second of those match-ups will be another doubleheader.

If CHS comes out swinging like it did against Blaine, the games will be over quickly, though it may not be painless for their opponents.

Coupeville scored in 12 of 13 innings at Blaine, failing to notch at least one run in just the top of the third in game #2.

Even then, they came within an inch of doing so, their run-scoring dream only denied when Blaine’s pitcher made a fairly spectacular snag on a scorching liner off the bat of Sarah Wright.

Mostly a wild defensive move, a bid to save her rib cage from being tattooed by the incoming laser, it earned well-deserved cheers from both teams.

Pretty much every other applause-worthy moment on the afternoon came courtesy of a Coupeville player, as the Wolves mashed from the top of the lineup to the bottom.

Toss in a nearly error-free defense, including a couple of great throws on the move from freshman third-baseman Chelsea Prescott and a “I said, sit down!” throw from Wright to nail a would-be base stealer, and CHS hurlers Katrina McGranahan and Scout Smith just had to be consistent, not inspired.

Not that the duo listened, as they took turns keeping the Blaine hitters off balance and both had stretches where they retired Borderites at a steady clip.

So, a very satisfying, if long, day for CHS coach Kevin McGranahan.

“We came off the bus ready to go; the whole offense just chipped away and kept fighting,” he said. “Everybody got a lot of solid playing time and we gained a lot of experience for our younger players against a big 2A school.

“This is how we build our program and these girls are all buying into the program and giving everything they have every game,” McGranahan added. “Game to game there are stars of the game, but really, this is a TEAM, and they all play for each other. Outstanding day for the Wolves!!”

Game #1:

Using speed and base-running guile to their advantage, the Wolves steadily built a lead, scoring in every inning and pushing the game into 10-run rule territory after the sixth inning.

Early RBI’s from Katrina McGranahan and Nicole Laxton staked CHS to a 2-0 lead, then Wright and Veronica Crownover bashed back-to-back run-producing base-knocks in the third to help their team begin to pull away.

Coupeville really surged in the fourth, when Laxton and Mackenzie Davis came around to score on a two-run single by Lauren Rose.

Davis beat the throw to home by a millisecond, dipping to get below the tag at just the right moment.

Hope Lodell cranked a wicked liner to center field to spur a rally in the fifth, and the Wolves came within an out of pulling off the shutout before Blaine scored its solitary run.

The bottom of the sixth also included some major Katrina McGranahan mojo, as she recorded her seventh and eighth strikeouts, then accidentally exploded an inside pitch off a Borderite batter’s hip.

Ball hit bone with the kind of sound normally reserved for runaway semi trucks hitting grocery carts full of glass bottles, causing even the toughest softball lifers to flinch and mutter under their breath, “Dang! She’s probably dead!!”

She wasn’t, thankfully, and even stayed in the game, after much hobbling around while wailing “Take me now, sweet Jesus!”

Katrina McGranahan, among the classiest of all classy athletes, profusely apologized to her inadvertent bulls-eye, even while knowing, deep in the back of her brain, that not a single Blaine hitter would even remotely crowd the plate the rest of the season.

Game #2:

Showing some chippiness, the Borderites returned from the between-games snack break ready to do some damage, and actually carried a 5-3 lead into the fifth inning.

Coupeville mixed up its lineup a bit, with freshmen Coral Caveness and Mollie Bailey getting major playing time and Smith coming on to replace McGranahan in the pitcher’s circle in the third.

After scraping out a run in both the first and second, thanks largely to hits from Smith and Prescott, CHS briefly stalled out.

Falling behind 5-2, the Wolves chipped back with a run in the fourth, courtesy an RBI single into the gap from Smith, then turned the volume to 11 in the fifth.

Seven of the first eight CHS hitters reached base in the inning, with Prescott lashing a two-run triple to tie the game, before Crownover poked an RBI single over the bag at first to put the Wolves back ahead for good.

RBI’s from Laxton and Smith, packaged around Emma Mathusek being drilled (in the toe, not the hip, and she appreciates it) stretched the lead to 9-5, and then it was time to get medieval.

With two on and two away, Wright hefted her bat like Thor wielding his hammer and sauntered to the plate.

At that exact moment, a particularly cold gust of wind surprise-attacked from behind the bleachers, ripping through the souls (and across the exposed legs) of any fans dumb enough to be wearing shorts.

The goosebumps hadn’t even settled, though, when Coupeville’s catcher turned on a pitch and tore the stitching off the ball.

By the time the hapless orb dropped out of sight, landing on the other side of the center field fence, Wright was halfway to second, and she only slowed down when her teammates charged out of the dugout, ready to gang-tackle her as the ump twirled his hand to signal a three-run dagger of a long-ball.

Her home run marked the end of Wright’s day, as Bailey, who had already taken over her catching duties several innings earlier, also took her spot in the hitting order after that.

Bailey walked during a seven-run seventh, a final Wolf explosion which included RBI singles from Mathusek and Crownover and a gut-check slide into home from Laxton.

Arriving at the same moment as an incoming ball, the Wolf junior collided with the Blaine catcher and took the brunt of the blow.

While it obviously hurt, she was safe, however, and limped back to the bench to be healed by her teammate’s extended cheers.

By the time the stats were totaled up, Crownover came out as the Hit Queen, rattling off five base-knocks on the day, including a double.

Smith and Prescott had four hits apiece, with Lodell, Wright and Caveness each collecting three.

Mathusek (2), Laxton (2), Rose (1), Davis (1) and Katrina McGranahan (1) rounded out the attack.

Seven of those 29 hits were of the extra-base variety, with Wright (2B, HR), Lodell (2B, 3B), Prescott (3B), Crownover (2B) and Katrina McGranahan (2B) all making the big turn at first and heading off to extended glory.

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Ty Hamilton wheels and deals in a recent game. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   CMS coach Bob Martin gives Isaiah Bittner his marching orders. “Go destroy some fools, son!!”

They came, they saw, they conquered.

Delivering their best performance of the season right as they head into winter break, the Coupeville Middle School boys basketball squads rolled to big wins Thursday at Chimacum.

The Wolf JV ran past the Cowboys 36-26 to claim its first victory of the season, while the CMS varsity left the court carrying a 55-42 triumph.

The wins lift the varsity to 3-2 and the JV to 1-4, and those records will stay in place for a bit.

Coupeville has a three-week gap on its schedule, not returning to action until Jan. 4, when Forks makes the long trek to Whidbey to kick off the second half of the 10-game schedule.

Until then, the young Wolves can bask in the glow of victory, thanks to strong defensive efforts in both Chimacum games.

Varsity:

The Wolves put the hammer down early, with Caleb Meyer and Hawthorne Wolfe both tossing in six points apiece in the first period, part of a 17-point CMS explosion.

Other than a brief dip in the third quarter, Coupeville continued to pour in the buckets all afternoon.

Wolfe finished with a game-high 21, netting seven of his points via the free-throw line.

CMS hit 15 shots from the charity stripe as a team, one of its best performances this season.

Meyer knocked down 11 points to back Wolfe, while Grady Rickner popped for 10 and Xavier Murdy banked in six.

Logan Martin (5) and Cody Roberts (2) rounded out the scorers.

JV:

Coupeville put this game away with a 14-point run in the second quarter, keyed by six from the fingertips of point guard Aiden Burdge and a pair of buckets from enforcer Isaiah Bittner.

A three-ball from Tony Garcia in the fourth quarter put a cap on the win for the Wolves.

CMS spread its scoring around, with Bittner leading the way with 10.

He was followed by Burdge (8), Damon Stadler (8), Garcia (5) and Gabe Shaw (5).

Alex Murdy, Dominic Coffman, Levi Pulliam, Kevin Partida and Ty Hamilton rounded out the Wolf roster.

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