Although the Coupeville High School baseball team lost 3-1 to visiting Cedarcrest Wednesday, April 3, it is letting the rest of the Cascade Conference know it is no longer an easy mark.
Coach Willie Smith fielded very young teams the past two years, and the wins were few and the growing pains plentiful.
Now experienced, though still young with one senior, the Wolves are fighting toe-to-toe with the league powers.
Coupeville took one (the Red Wolves' only league loss) in the three games series with Cedarcrest (9-1, 9-2) and pushed the Red Wolves to the limit in another.
That push came Wednesday when Coupeville's Aaron Curtin hooked up with Cedarcrest ace Colton Sandhofer in an "old fashioned pitchers duel," according to Smith.
Curtin struck out six, walked two and gave up seven hits and only two earned runs.
The sophomore right-hander blanked the powerful Red Wolves until the fifth. His teammates countered with their first run in the bottom half. Korbin Korzan led with a single, stole second, moved to third on Jake Tumblin's sacrifice and scored on Drew Chan's suicide bunt.
The Red Wolves put up the final two runs in the sixth when Coupeville committed its only mistakes. After a single by Adam Davenport, back-to-back errors on pickoff attempts pushed him to third where he scored on a base hit by Max Thomas. On the hit, the ball was misplayed in the outfield and Thomas scooted into third. He scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Nick Bowersock, beating a strong throw home by Korzan.
Smith said, "In spite of that inning, I really felt it was a well-played game and our hitters made some good adjustments after the first inning. After three first-inning strike outs, we only struck out twice more and hit some balls hard that went for outs.
"Overall, I was very pleased with the series and especially our pitching and defense in games one and three."
Now that Coupeville (4-5, 5-5) knocked Cedarcrest out of first, it will face the new top team, Archbishop Murphy (8-0, 9-1) next week. The teams meet at 4 p.m. in Coupeville Monday and Friday, and in Everett Wednesday.