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Welcome to districts, the final step on the way to the state tourney. (Kelly Crownover photos)

Coupeville packed lightly.

Wolf players wait to take the field.

Payback is sweet.

Avenging an early-season loss on the road, the Coupeville High School softball squad opened the West Central District 3 playoffs Friday afternoon with a bang, knocking off Vashon Island 5-3.

The win lifts the Wolves to 12-7 and propels them into the district title game at 6 PM Friday against Bellevue Christian, which shredded Klahowya 11-2.

Coupeville now has two shots to advance to state for the first time since 2014.

Beat BC, which knocked them out of districts last season, and CHS claims its first-ever district title in softball and are Eastern Washington-bound.

If they fall to the Vikings, the Wolves return to action Saturday in Lacey, playing the survivor of Klahowya vs. Vashon for 2nd place and the district’s other berth to state.

Friday’s opener was a reversal of fortune for Coupeville, which dropped its final three regular-season games, all to 2A schools.

After giving up two runs in the top of the first, the Wolves played lights-out from there, controlling every facet of the game.

Coupeville got a run back in the bottom of the first, with Lauren Rose whacking a lead-off single, before coming round to score when Vashon had trouble on a hard chopper by Katrina McGranahan.

By contrast, the Wolves defense was on fire, with junior catcher Sarah Wright having an especially strong game.

She gunned down a pair of Pirate runners on the move, with the first coming to close out the top of the second.

A two-out double gave Vashon a glimmer of hope, but Wright came up throwing heat after pretending she had committed a passed ball.

The throw landed in Chelsea Prescott’s glove, the tag came slapping down and rally squelched before it could really begin.

While the Wolves stranded a runner of their own in the second, squandering a double from Hope Lodell, they broke through in the third.

Rose got things started with a lead-off single, skipped to second, then third, on back-to-back passed balls, and scooted home on an RBI ground-out from Scout Smith.

That knotted the game at 2-2, and then the big bats went to work.

McGranahan lashed a single, Wright launched an RBI double, the first of her twin two-baggers, and Prescott crushed a long sac fly.

Vashon managed to escape, stranding a pair of Wolf runners, but the damage was done at 4-2.

McGranahan was throwing pure smoke from the pitcher’s circle, whiffing eight on the day, and her defense was spot-on.

Rose gobbled up everything that came her way at short, Veronica Crownover was a rock at first and outfielders Emma Mathusek and Lodell chased down anything in the air.

The teams exchanged runs in the fifth, with Prescott delivering her second RBI of her playoff debut after Wright narrowly missed a home run, settling for a double.

Then the Wolf catcher put a final stamp on the game.

Following a questionable lead-off walk in the top of the seventh, Wright came up firing and pegged a laser strike to Crownover to catch the straying Pirate.

The field ump originally called her safe, but after a protest from Coupeville’s bench, the plate ump corrected the call and took the last bit of air out of Vashon’s sails.

Coupeville finished with 10 hits, led by Lodell, who collected a double and a pair of singles.

Wright added two doubles, Rose two singles, and Scout Smith, Mathusek and Katrina McGranahan rounded out the attack with a base-knock apiece.

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Senior hurler Katrina McGranahan will carry the softball into the pitcher’s circle for Coupeville at districts this weekend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two wins from Richland.

That’s where the Coupeville High School softball team finds itself, as it preps for this weekend’s four-team, double-elimination district tourney.

Capture two victories without taking two losses, and the Wolves punch their ticket to the state tourney, earning a trip back to Eastern Washington.

The last time CHS softball went to the big dance was 2014, in David King’s final season as coach.

Now, after coming within a single strike of getting there last season, the Wolves are back to make another run under Kevin McGranahan, and with a little better set-up than a year ago.

Then, they faced a loser-out game in the first round, had to play game two mere seconds after game one finished and were on the diamond for four games in less than 24 hours.

This time around, Coupeville is guaranteed two games (and a decent break in the middle) Friday, and will only play one game, if any, Saturday.

A look at all the pertinent details:

 

The bracket:

http://www.olympicleague.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2610&sport=15

 

The location:

Lacey-Thurston County Regional Athletic Complex
8345 Steilacoom Road SE
Lacey, WA

http://www.ci.lacey.wa.us/city-government/city-departments/parks-and-recreation/regional-athletic-complex

 

Admission prices:

Adults and students w/o ASB — $8
Students (with ASB) — $5
Elementary (under 12) — $4
Senior citizens (62+) — $5
Preschool (with parent) — free

 

Team capsules:

 

COUPEVILLE

Season record: 11-7

League finish: #1 in Olympic League

Run differential: 169-108

Record vs. district tourney foes: 3-1 (3-0 vs Klahowya, 0-1 vs Vashon)

Coach: Kevin McGranahan

Mascot: Wolves

Last trip to state: 2014

Best finish at state: 3rd in 2002

 

BELLEVUE CHRISTIAN

Season record: 15-5

League finish: #1 in Nisqually League

Run differential: 189-95

Record vs. district tourney foes: 3-1 (all vs Vashon)

Coach: Ryan Kelly

Mascot: Vikings

Last trip to state: 2017

Best finish at state: 3rd in 2016

 

KLAHOWYA

Season record: 10-6

League finish: #2 in Olympic League

Run differential: 111-73

Record vs. district tourney foes: 1-3 (0-3 vs Coupeville, 1-0 vs Vashon)

Coach: Jodie Gagnon

Mascot: Eagles

Last trip to state: 2004

Best finish at state: Never placed; won one game in 2003 tourney

 

VASHON ISLAND

Season record: 8-10

League finish: #2 in Nisqually League

Run differential: 131-145

Record vs. district tourney foes: 2-4 (1-3 vs BC, 1-0 vs Coupeville, 0-1 vs Klahowya)

Coach: Heather Jurs

Mascot: Pirates

Last trip to state: 1991 (slow-pitch)

Best finish at state: Lost both games they played in ’91

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   After a loss to Vashon Tuesday, Coupeville High School soccer coach Kyle Nelson and his players have their backs to the wall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Time to dig deep and find a miracle.

After absorbing an 8-4 loss to Vashon Island Tuesday, the Coupeville High School boys soccer squad finds itself in a tough spot.

The district playoff loss, which came on a neutral field at Mt. Tahoma High School, drops the Wolves to 7-8-2.

It also drops them into a loser-out game Thursday, one which presents a daunting task.

CHS has to travel 96 miles (one-way) to Orting High School, doesn’t play until 8 PM and faces Klahowya, a team the Wolf booters have never beaten in 10 previous games.

The Eagles are in the loser-out game because they were nipped Tuesday in a penalty kick shootout after ending regulation and overtime tied 3-3 with Charles Wright Academy.

Vashon and CWA play in the front-end of a doubleheader at Orting Thursday, with the winner advancing to state.

The loser of that game returns to Orting Saturday to face the survivor of the Thursday late game in a battle for District 3’s second slot to state.

For it to be Coupeville, the Wolves will have to do something no 1A Olympic League team has done in four years, upend Klahowya, which is 13-4-1 this year.

KSS has outscored CHS 47-5 over their 10 meetings, though the Wolves played the Eagles almost to a standstill in a 3-2 loss this season.

The Wolves fell behind early against Vashon, surrendering a pair of goals in the early moments of the game and trailing 6-1 at the half.

Sophomore Aram Leyva got Coupeville on the board with his 13th goal of the season, off an assist from William Nelson, and the Wolves were much sharper offensively after the break.

“We had a good halftime talk and came to life in the second half,” said CHS coach Kyle Nelson.

CHS “won” that 40-minute span 3-2, with Derek Leyva adding to his Wolf boys single-season scoring record.

He punched in a hat trick in one half, with his three goals lifting him to 24 on the year. That leaves him just shy of the school record of 27, set by Mia Littlejohn.

 

UPDATE: Game moved from 8 PM at Orting High School to 5 PM at Silverdale Stadium. Moves saves Coupeville 86 miles of round-trip bus travel.

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   After beating Bellevue Christian, Uriah Kastner and Coupeville soccer are two wins from advancing to state. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s been awhile.

The Coupeville High School boys soccer squad had some playoff success in the past, including a couple of trips to the state tourney.

But most of the current Wolves were still in elementary school the last time CHS won a playoff game on the pitch.

So, having knocked off five-time state champ Bellevue Christian 3-0 Saturday, notching their first postseason win since 2012, this group of players is entering uncharted waters.

The double-elimination portion of districts kicks off Tuesday, with Coupeville traveling to Mt. Tahoma High School to face Vashon Island.

Win or lose, they’ll play again Thursday, against either Klahowya or Charles Wright Academy.

As you count down the hours, here’s a look at what you need to know.

 

The bracket:

http://www.olympicleague.com/tournament.php?tournament_id=2658&sport=9

 

Admission prices:

Adults and students w/o ASB — $8
Students (with ASB) — $5
Elementary (under 12) — $4
Senior citizens (62+) — $5
Preschool (with parent) — free

 

Team capsules:

 

COUPEVILLE

Season record: 7-7-2

League finish: #2 in Olympic League

Goal differential: 62-43

Record against district foes: 0-4 (lost to Vashon, 0-3 vs Klahowya)

Coach: Kyle Nelson

Mascot: Wolves

Last trip to state tourney: 2010

Best finish at state tourney: Eliminated in first round (2009, 2010)

 

CHARLES WRIGHT ACADEMY

Season record: 8-1-1

League finish: #2 in Nisqually League

Goal differential: 57-7

Record against district foes: 0-1-1 (all vs Vashon)

Coach: Bill Chissoe

Mascot: Tarriers

Last trip to state tourney: 2017

Best finish at state tourney: State champs (1988, 2002)

 

KLAHOWYA

Season record: 13-2-1

League finish: #1 in Olympic League

Goal differential: 59-12

Record against district foes: 3-0-1 (tied Vashon, 3-0 vs Coupeville)

Coach: Jeff Quinn

Mascot: Eagles

Last trip to state tourney: 2016

Best finish at state tourney: 4th place (2015)

 

VASHON ISLAND

Season record: 12-1-3

League finish: #1 in Nisqually League

Goal differential: 85-13

Record against district foes: 2-0-2 (beat Coupeville, tied Klahowya, beat and tied CWA)

Coach: Ben Bork

Mascot: Pirates

Last trip to state tourney: 2012

Best finish at state tourney: 3rd place (1988)

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   Coupeville booters Hunter Downes (3) and William Nelson celebrate a goal Monday afternoon. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Forget black and white stripes, these refs are fashion forward in their thinking.

   But are they as ready to hit the runway as CHS assistant coach Luke Pelant? I think not.

   CHS football star Cameron Toomey-Stout, with hand raised, challenges Pelant to a Zoolander-style runway walk-off. Yes, I’m sure that’s what’s happening. Well, pretty sure. OK, maybe .05% sure… 

Back on the pitch, Sage Downes is busy sacrificing his noggin for his team.

It’s not going to get any easier.

The Coupeville High School boys soccer squad is off to a crisp start this year, but Monday marked the start of a four-game swing through the toughest part of the regular-season schedule.

And while the Wolves battled, they began their brush with their own murderer’s row by falling 3-1 to visiting Vashon Island.

The loss drops CHS to 4-3-1 on the season, while the Pirates climb to 6-1-2.

Next up for the Wolves is a home game Saturday against Forks, which is 6-0 and has outscored foes 32-1 this season.

Spartans goalie Gabriel Terrones opened the year with five straight shutout wins before surrendering a single, solitary score to Elma.

After that, Coupeville faces road rumbles with Port Angeles (6-2) and Klahowya (5-2-1).

Monday the Wolves got their lone goal from senior captain William Nelson.

It was his third tally of the season and the 34th goal Coupeville has notched.

With the game played under sunny skies, wanderin’ camera clicker John Fisken swung by Mickey Clark Field and spent some quality time plying his trade.

The pics seen above are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot (purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes), pop over to:

http://www.johnsphotos.net/Sports/2017-2018-Coupeville-Soccer/2018-04-02-Boys-vs-Vashon/

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