Lions sneak past Wolfpack

It appeared harmless at the time.

A bloop two-out single to left from Matt Ellington scored one unearned run for Concrete during the top of the first inning.

With seven innings, or 21 outs to go, a hot-hitting Coupeville baseball team had plenty of opportunity in front of itself to make noise at the plate.

Lion starter, Drew Wilson, and the rest of the Concrete squad had something else to say, however, as they silenced the Wolves’ bats for a crucial 1-0 Northwest A victory.

“One run shouldn’t beat us,” CHS head coach Willie Smith said. “He (Wilson) did a nice job, I suppose, of mixing it up, but we just didn’t swing the bats very well.”

Coupeville managed only two hits for the entire game, but had opportunities to tie.

The most significant of those chances came in the bottom of the sixth.

After sophomore Casey Larson and freshman James Smith drew two consecutive walks to start the inning, junior Mike Bagby followed with a ground-ball out to the right side of the infield that moved both players into scoring position.

With one out, runners at second and third and number-four hitter Kirby Mitchell at the plate, the Wolves were in business — or at least they thought.

On the first pitch, Mitchell laid down a squeeze bunt. The ball rolled only inches away from the plate. With Larson running on the play, he was immediately caught in a pickle between third and home. Cutting back and forth, the speedy sophomore managed to avoid the tag on several occasions. His hustle eventually earned him an open look at home plate when Concrete forgot to cover. Sprinting to home, Larson made a dive, but so did the Lions’ third baseman, who was ruled to have tagged the foot of Larson before he touched home.

“I thought he got there,” Smith said. “If the kid tags him on the foot like he said he did, then his hand’s obviously across the plate because he tagged him in the box, but you know, whatever.”

With two runners still on at second and third, Coupeville’s inning ended quietly with a ground-ball out from freshman Alex Evans.

The Wolves, who have had several late-inning comebacks this season, got one more chance in the bottom of the seventh.

Senior Trevor Mueller led off the inning with Coupeville’s second hit of the game, lining a single to right. A balk by Wilson moved Mueller to second with no outs.

Three ensuing batters were retired via a ground out, pop out and line out to end the game.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate all season long to be able to come back game, after game, after game in the seventh and win it,” Smith said. “Eventually one of those weren’t going to be in our favor and it just happened to be today.”

Bagby pitched a complete game for the Wolves, scattering nine hits with nine strikeouts and no earned runs.

The loss moved Coupeville to 6-4 in the Northwest A/B with two league games remaining. Concrete improved to 7-4 and La Conner sits at 5-5. The Lions and Braves played one another last night. A Concrete win would have assured them no worse than a tie for the second and final playoff spot in the Northwest A/B. Coupeville would then have to win its final two games against La Conner and first-place Friday Harbor to pull into a tie with Concrete. If La Conner beat Concrete, Coupeville could sew up second place to itself if it wins out, or the possibility of a three-way tie could exist if the Wolves split their final two.

Coupeville travels to La Conner at 4 p.m., Friday, May 13 and closes out the regular season at home Tuesday, May 17 against Friday Harbor.

CHS will be without the services of their starting catcher, Larson, for the La Conner game. He was ejected after arguing the close call at home, which automatically requires he sit out one complete game.

Concrete 100 000 0 - 1 9 2

Coupeville 000 000 0 - 0 2 2

Wilson and Eyler. Bagby and Larson, Wilcox (7). WP-Wilson. LP-Bagby.

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