Posts Tagged ‘Wazzu’

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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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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After four seasons of blasting dingers for Coupeville, Veronica Crownover (and her boomin’ bat) will play for the Washington State University softball team. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Good-bye, softball.

Veronica Crownover isn’t ready to retire just yet.

The 2019 Coupeville High School grad, who launched towering home-runs to all fields and made opposing pitchers cry sweet, sweet tears during her time as a prep softball slugger, has officially made the team at Washington State University.

Tryouts were this week, and the former Wolf first-baseman impressed with both her glove and bat. The Wazzu freshman is in the mix for a starting position, as well.

Washington State competes as an NCAA D-I school in 11 sports, and supplements those varsity programs with 27 club sports teams.

Softball, which has been active at WSU since 1996, is part of the club system, along with sports such as wrestling, ice hockey, bowling, cricket, rugby, and lacrosse.

The Cougar softball team is a member of the National Club Softball Association, which boasts 143 colleges.

Wazzu plays out of the Pacific – North division, which also includes club teams from the University of Oregon, Eastern Washington University, Boise State University, and Gonzaga University.

Games begin in October, and Crownover and her new teammates play in both the fall and spring.

The former Wolf will have a busy schedule, as she’s also pulling a double major, studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Sciences along with Zoology, while being on a pre-vet track.

While that makes for a lot of class time, mixed with life on the diamond, it’s something Crownover has handled before.

She graduated twice this spring, earning degrees from both CHS and Skagit Valley College.

Her softball roots go back to little league, when she and future high school teammates like Sarah Wright, who will play for Sewanee: The University of the South this year, tore up the diamond.

Once she hit high school, Crownover made an immediate impact, earning All-League honors as a freshman, then adding enough awards over the next three years to build her own shrine.

She was a nimble defensive player at first base, providing a soft mitt for her fellow infielders to aim for, while pulling in just about any throw which came within 10 feet of her.

But it was Crownover’s bat, “Thunder,” which made her reputation.

The sultan of swat carved up pitcher after pitcher, from future D1 hurlers like Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough and South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins, to the best playoff rivals could throw her way.

She crashed a home run deep over a very tall left-field fence at Oak Harbor to stun Coupeville’s big-city rivals, hurt South Whidbey so badly, so often that the Falcons intentionally walked her multiple times in one game, and played her best in the spotlight.

Crownover and Wright, along with fellow senior Nicole Laxton, led the Wolves to the state tourney this spring, where they won for the first time since 2002.

That victory came against Deer Park, a juggernaut which had upended the defending state champs, and CHS also came within a play of knocking off Cle Elum at the big dance.

Playing three games in one day at the state tourney in Richland (the Wolves also tangled with eventual state champ Montesano), Crownover went out in style, swinging for the fences and freakin’ out rival pitchers.

Now, she gets to go out and do it all again, just in a different uniform.

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In her final home game, four-year varsity vet Lindsey Roberts torched Sultan for 16 points in a Coupeville playoff win. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The end of the road is always there, and no one can avoid it forever.

When the Coupeville High School girls basketball squad was eliminated from the playoffs Thursday, it capped the prep hoops career for three Wolf seniors.

And while Ema Smith and Nicole Laxton played with pride, hustle, and grit, always, honoring themselves and their program, it’s hard to argue the third departing player won’t leave the biggest hole.

Lindsey Roberts was that rare player who played varsity basketball, and never as a bench-warmer, from day one to her finale.

She was a key contributor as a freshman on a team which went to state, led Coupeville in scoring as both a junior and senior, and helped the Wolves win two league titles and narrowly miss out on a third.

It’s easy to spotlight points, since that’s the most concrete stat we have, and, hey, the team who scores most wins the game.

In that respect, Roberts goes down as one of the greats, finishing with 448 points, tied with Vanessa Davis for #18 on the CHS girls career scoring chart.

One less injury here, a few more playoff games there, and she might have been the 14th Wolf girl to crack 500 points.

But I think the fact she didn’t reach 500 almost marks Roberts as a better player.

She was always willing to do whatever was necessary for team success, and fit her game to mesh with those around her.

Need her to rebound? To defend?

To sprint the floor and haul in full-court baseball passes from Sarah Wright?

To look for her teammates with crisp, effective feeds?

She was your go-to girl.

Lou played a complete game, always, and her points were a bonus.

While she could be your give-me-the-ball Michael Jordan, which she showed in several big-time performances including this year’s home playoff game against Sultan, she was also willing to be Scottie Pippen.

That is a rare quality, and one which truly marks Roberts as one of the best Wolves hoops fans have witnessed.

A young Roberts welcomes teammate Lauren Grove to the floor for a game in which a win sent the Wolves to state.

Her freshman year, she ran the floor with senior Makana Stone, who was wrapping up a career in which she scored 1,158 points, third-most in school history.

After that, Roberts shared the ball with gunners like Kailey Kellner (#30 all-time on the girls scoring chart), Mia Littlejohn (#35), Ema Smith (#48), and Mikayla Elfrank (#49).

A lot of their buckets? Set up by Roberts crashing the boards, hustling down floor to create mismatches for the defense, and looking for an open teammate to feed when her own shot wasn’t there.

The Wolf teams Roberts played for achieved success in great part because she was a rock.

She didn’t scream or holler, at least that I could ever see from my perch in the stands, but she had an air about her which made other players gravitate to her side.

Perhaps it’s because she learned while shadowing Stone, the most serene superstar I have ever written about.

Roberts was remarkably similar to her close friend, leading by example, NEVER showing up her teammates, always embracing them.

Lou being Lou.

I’ve known Lindsey’s extended family for a very long time, even working with her aunt, Stephanie, for many years at Videoville, and have seen Lou grow from a precocious young child into a confident young woman, on and off the court.

That being said, I probably have exchanged a mere handful of words with her over the years.

I already feel like I’m invading the lives of the teenage athletes I cover just by writing about them all the time, and hesitate to infringe more than that.

But there are times when you want to say something a little more, and, since I struggle with social interaction, using writing is much easier.

There’s still much more ahead for Roberts.

Track season, should better weather ever arrive, is where Lindsey truly dominates.

After that comes college (she’s Wazzu-bound, cause she’s too smart to waste time at U-Dub) and what will likely be many, many years of success in the real world.

High school sports, while they have been important to her, are just a small stepping stone as Roberts conquers the world.

But, as she moves forward from one well-earned highlight to another, I just want to say thanks.

Basketball is my favorite sport, so while Roberts has also stood tall in soccer and wowed the crowds in track, her hoops exploits have always been the first to catch my attention.

From a chipper freshman to a seasoned senior, she wore her uniform with pride, honoring her family, her school, her town, and most of all, herself.

Others with deeper knowledge of the intricacies of the sport can break down for you how Roberts, and her game, truly compares to other Wolf greats.

But, while many writers settle for facts, I have based my entire scribbling career more on emotion.

Write the legend, build the myth, celebrate the extraordinary.

Even as I am almost completely sure she would roll her eyes at being told in person she was extraordinary, that’s what Roberts has been every step of the way during her hoops career.

I hope she enjoyed her four years on the floor as much as those of us who watched her play did.

Players come and go, and a few, a very few, burn brightly enough where we can honestly say they won’t be forgotten.

Lou is forever.

Off to state! Roberts was the last active player from this 2016 photo.

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