A four-run sixth inning rally wasn't enough to carry the Coupeville baseball team to a three-game sweep of South Whidbey as the visiting Falcons stopped the Wolves 8-5 Friday, March 29.
Coupeville defeated South Whidbey twice earlier in the week, but the Falcons pounded out 13 hits and hung on for the win Friday.
With the score tied at 1 in the third inning, a misread fly ball by the Wolves opened the door for three Falcon runs. Then in the fifth, South Whidbey (3-4, 3-4) tacked on four more, three coming from a three-run home run by Ricky Muzzy.
The Coupeville offense was "pretty much non-existent through three inning," according to coach Willie Smith. The lone bright spot was one run in the second on an Aaron Trumbull RBI.
Things looked up in the fourth when Morgan Payne led with a double and Aaron Curtin walked. The would-be rally died when the next three batters struck out.
The Wolves, however, did rally in the sixth down 8-1. Ben Etzell doubled, Morgan Payne ripped an RBI single, Cole Payne provided a pinch double and Wade Schaef hit a monster home run to left.
Freshman Cole Payne's clutch hit came in his varsity debut. He told Smith, "I'm not going to lie, I was nervous. On a scale of 1-10 I was definitely a 12."
His magic didn't carry over into the seventh.
The Wolves quickly returned to offense after a 1-2-3 Falcon seventh. With one out Drew Chan was hit by a pitch, Etzell lined to third, then Morgan Payne hit a shot to left that was caught just shy of the fence.
Smith said, "The story was we didn't come out as focused or with the energy that we had in our previous two games."
Starter Josh Bayne threw well enough to keep Coupeville in the game, Smith said, but the three-run misplay in the outfield hurt.
Schaef, in addition to his home run, threw three shutout innings in relief.
The Wolves (3-3, 4-3) now face the top two teams in the Cascade Conference standings, starting with a double header at Cedarcrest (6-0, 6-1) at 1 p.m. Monday, April 1. The two teams meet in Coupeville at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Next week Coupeville tangles with Archbishop Murphy (6-0, 7-1).