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Spring sports preview: Coupeville baseball
There is young, and then there is extremely young.
The latter is how coach Willie Smith described this year’s Coupeville High School baseball team.
The Wolves return just two starters from last year’s 12-12 team which finished fourth in the Cascade Conference, placed third in the 1A district playoffs and missed advancing to the state tournament by one game.
Most of the spots vacated by graduated players will be filled by youngsters with no varsity experience, and a handful will be freshmen.
Fortunately for Coupeville, the freshmen are a “talented group,” Smith said. Some helped the Central Whidbey Junior Baseball team capture the 13/14-year-old state title last summer.
Smith said, “Our strength is that these kids are working extremely hard and are used to winning, so they know that it will take a lot of work for them to be successful. They have a good baseball IQ, and our two seniors have a great deal of leadership which we are going to rely on heavily throughout this season.”
Those two seniors are Ian Smith and Alex McClain. Both are pitchers, and Smith was a second-team all-conference and all-state selection in 2010. He also played shortstop for the Wolves last spring, and McClain doubled as the center fielder.
Some of the key newcomers, according to coach Smith, are junior Brandt Bodamer (P) and a trio of freshmen: Jake Tumblin (C), Morgan Payne (IF) and Wade Schaef (OF).
Coach Smith added, “This is a talented group of freshmen coming in and my two seniors, Ian and Alex, are two of my hardest working seniors I’ve ever had. So, if the freshmen can step in and stay composed and Ian and Alex step up and lead like I know they are capable of doing, we will be fine. We will have to do all of the little things in order to be competitive...This league is a very difficult league to play in.
“Our goal, as is every season, is to not just be in the playoffs, but to make some noise once we get there. That is what we are working towards this year.”
Coupeville heads to Concrete today, March 12, for a game at noon, then hosts Lynden Christian Thursday, March 17, at 4 p.m.