Wolves start 1-0 in league

So far the Coupeville baseball team has won the games that count the most.

During a busy week of baseball action, the Wolves gathered their first victory of the season Tuesday, 8-3 over Northwest 1A opponent Orcas Island, before losing a close 6-5 contest to non-league opponent Darrington Wednesday afternoon.

“We haven’t been 1-0 in league in probably three or four years,” head coach Willie Smith said. “It’s good for the kids’ confidence to start out with a league win.”

It didn’t take long for Coupeville to pounce on Orcas Tuesday afternoon. After giving up one unearned run in the top of the first inning, the Wolves responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the first and second innings.

“They get the one unearned run in the beginning and then we came right back and jumped on them,” Smith said.

Senior pitcher Dale Horton started the early scoring barrage, drilling a one-run double deep into left-center field, which scored senior Brad Sherman from second base. The Wolves tacked on their final two runs of the first after freshman J.J. Marti was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and freshman Michael Bagby received a sacrifice fly.

“The kids had a lot of confidence hitting today,” Smith said. “It’s starting to spread out a little bit. It’s not just two or three guys, we’re starting to get some guys to hit throughout the lineup.”

A 6-1 lead after two innings was all Horton needed, after going the complete seven innings, giving up only two earned runs.

“Dale just did a phenomenal job pitching,” Smith said. “He kept them off balance, he was in total control of the game.”

Horton also fanned seven Vikings and gave up only one walk.

“He was locked in today,” Smith said. “That’s what you want from a senior pitcher, to help the younger guys and show them what they’re supposed to do out there.”

Coupeville built an early 3-0 lead over Darrington Wednesday afternoon, helped by two double-steals of home in the first inning. They held their shutout of the Loggers over four innings, but a lapse in the fifth and sixth allowed their opponents to score six runs and pull ahead for good.

Marti made his varsity pitching debut for the Wolves and looked solid over four innings.

“Overall, I was extremely pleased with the way J.J. handled himself on the mound and the pitches he made throughout the game,” Smith said.

Even after allowing the six runs late in the game, the Wolves didn’t give in. They managed two runs in the bottom of the seventh, coming up just shy of pushing the game into extra innings.

The Wolves capped off their busy week by playing their third overall and second league game against Friday Harbor yesterday. Results from that game will be in the Wednesday edition of the News-Times.

Up next for Coupeville is a road contest at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 1 against Northwest 1A strength LaConner. Smith expects Concrete and LaConner to provide the biggest challenge for the Wolves this season, but believes strongly Coupeville can make some noise.

“I think if we get a couple of league wins and get rolling a little bit, I think the kids are going to feel good about playing those guys,” he said.

Orcas Island 1 0 1 0 0 0 1— 3 5 2

Coupeville 3 3 1 0 0 1 x—8 7 1

Harvey, Rorabaugh (4) and Stevens. Horton and Whitaker. WP-Horton (1-1) LP-Harvey.

Darrington 0 0 0 0 2 4 0—6 8 2

Coupeville 3 0 0 0 0 0 2—5 4 2

Boyd, Reece (4) and Dolph, Marti, Bagby (6) and Whittaker. WP-Reece; LP-Marti (0-1).

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