Sports

Coupeville fastpitch returns solid core

A league powerhouse gone, several key returners and some upstart freshmen could open the door to success for the Coupeville fastpitch softball team in 2005 — at least that’s the hope.

“We have a pretty good core,” interim head coach Jim Wheat said. “We’re going to be a pretty good team.”

Wheat, an assistant at CHS for the last four years, will fill in for Toni Crebbin, who will miss this season due to maternity leave.

Asked if he was excited about the chance to be the head coach, Wheat doesn’t think it will feel any different.

“I’ve always enjoyed coaching,” he said. “I’m there whether they pay me or not.”

The Wolves are coming off a difficult season in 2004 that left them at 3-12 in the Northwest A and 4-13 overall.

Things should be different this year, however.

With powerhouse Archbishop Thomas Murphy bumped up to 2A, Wheat expects the league to be more even in terms of competitiveness.

“It kind of opens the playing field,” he said.

Coupeville returns four seniors from last year’s team and two juniors.

Senior Heather Davis brings back an abundance of experience as a pitcher where she’s started the last two seasons.

“She looks very strong,” Wheat said.

Senior shortstop Stacey Farmer will not only be key to solidifying the middle of the infield on defense, but picking up some big hits on offense.

“She’s always been ranked high in the league for her defense and hitting,” Wheat said.

Senior Laura Crandall brings strong defense to first base, while senior Annie Larson will shore up second base.

Other returners for the Wolves are juniors Allison Ceci and Jessica Graham, both outfielders.

Although he felt it’s to early to mention names, Wheat thinks there are some freshmen who could also step up big time this year.

“There are going to be a couple that you hear a lot about,” he said.

Strengths expected for this year are team speed and defense.

“The short game and our hit and run game is going to be key for us,” Wheat said.

Concerns lie at the catcher position and at third base, where the Wolves lost key players from last year.

“We’re working at it,” said Wheat of filling the holes.

Coupeville begins its season with a jamboree at La Conner Saturday, March 19 and has its first game on the road Monday, March 21 against non-league Lakewood.

A major hope from Wheat is for the Wolves to rebuild this season, but he thinks they have a good shot of returning to the playoffs — something they missed last season for the first time in two years.

“I think we’re going to be right there toward the end of the season,” he said.

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