Spring Sports Preview: Wolf pitching staff strong

Pitching is not a problem for coach Willie Smith at Coupeville, and that’s a situation many other coaches would envy.

In his 12th season as head coach, Smith said the Wolves are deep in the pitching department, which is a plus with the team playing games against the same league opponents on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the regular season.

The Wolves have four senior hurlers on the staff, Alex Evans, Kyle Wilcox, Jared Murdy and Zach Hauser. All four play other positions when not on the mound.

Evans plays third base, Murdy plays in the outfield, Wilcox is a second baseman and Hauser plays first base.

Last year, Evans was voted a second-team all-league player, as was senior shortstop James Smith.

Smith said senior Kramer O’Keefe will not be pitching this season, but will play one of the outfield positions.

Junior third baseman Jake Hill moves up to the varsity from the JV squad, and is joined by sophomores J.D Wilcox and Jason Bagby.

“Wilcox plays centerfield, pitches a little and also plays in the infield, and Bagby is a first baseman who also pitches,” Smith said. “We are pretty deep with pitchers.”

Expected to start at catcher is sophomore Chase Griffin, who has an exceptional arm.

“He is a tough kid, just the kind you like to have as a catcher,” Smith said.

Last season, the Wolves were 1-17 in league games and 3-18 overall, but lost seven games by two runs or less, including a 3-2 defeat by Lynden Christian in the opening round of the Class 1A playoffs.

Playing in the tough Class 1A/2A Cascade League, Coupeville is in for a test in every league game.

“I think Lakewood and Archbishop Murphy should be two of the top teams,” Smith said. “Lakewood finished third in the state in Class 2A last year and Archbishop Murphy has about 60 kids out for baseball.”

Despite stiff competition, Smith said the Wolves are excited about their prospects for a successful season.

“This is probably the best week-and-a-half of practice I’ve had since I’ve been coaching,” he said. “The kids are working hard, have great attitudes and are excited about what they can do.”

Coupeville plays in the South Whidbey Jamboree at 11 a.m. today, March 8, and plays its first home game at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, against Granite Falls.

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