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Wolves to return to Woolley for tri-district | Softball
It's not often people spend Friday and Saturday in Sedro-Woolley trying to ensure they return the next weekend.
That's exactly what the Coupeville High School softball team did, placing fourth in the district 1A playoffs, thus earning a berth in the tri-district tournament which will also be played at Sedro-Woolley's Janiki Playfields.
Coupeville qualified for tri-district by defeating Meridian 6-2 Friday, May 16, and Nooksack Valley 3-2 Saturday. With a tri-district slot all sewn up and short on pitching, the Wolves dropped the game for third and fourth place 20-4 to Blaine Saturday.
At tri-district, Coupeville will play the No. 3 seed out of District 3 at noon Saturday, May 24, in a loser-out game. If the Wolves win, they will need to win one of the next two games (2 and 4 p.m.) to advance to the state tournament.
In the win over Merdian, Coupeville slugged 12 hits, including four doubles.
Singles by Madi Roberts and Hailey Hammer and a double by Maddi Strasburg scored two runs in the first inning.
After Meridian made it 2-1 in the top of the third, the Wolves responded with three runs with the help of a double by McKayla Bailey and singles by Haley Sherman and Emily Coulter.
Doubles by Strasburg and Coulter plated the final run in the fifth.
Coulter finished 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI; Strasburg was 2-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run; Hammer went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run; and Roberts was 2-for-4 with a run.
The Wolves other hits were Bailey's double and singles by Sherman and Bree Messner.
Pitcher Bailey threw a complete game seven-hitter, striking out four and walking none. She retired the final 11 Trojan batters.
The win over Nooksack Valley guaranteed Coupeville a tri-district berth.
The Wolves' defense was the hero. Bailey battled through a sore, weary arm to strand 10 Pioneer base runners and her mates helped by turning three double plays.
The game fittingly ended on a twin killing. Nooksack, down 3-1, started the seventh with back-to-back singles. A sacrifice fly scored one run and advanced the tying run to second.
The plate umpire originally called an out for obstruction on the play, but after a conference with the other umpire and tournament officials, he reversed the call.
Coupeville, upset with the ruling, was all smiles moments later. On the next pitch, the Pioneer hitter lofted a fly ball to right fielder Monica Vidoni. After the catch, Vidoni fired a perfect one-hope strike to third baseman Emily Licence to gun down the runner trying to advance. Game over.
Coupeville escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second on a 1-2-3 double play.
In the fourth, Nooksack loaded the bases again. This time first baseman Hammer snared a line drive and doubled the runner off first.
Coupeville scored in the first inning when Hammer doubled and scored on Bailey's single.
The Pioneers tied it with a run in third, then Coupeville regained the lead in its half of the inning. Roberts walked and scored after consecutive singles by Messner and Hammer.
Bailey walked to start the sixth, was bunted to second by Strasburg and scored on Coulter's double.
After emotionally draining wins over Meridian and Nooksack Valley, the Wolves ran out of gas against Blaine.
Twice in the loss, Coupeville coaches David and Amy King tried to give Bailey a break from the circle, but both times the relief pitchers could not find the strike zone and Bailey was forced to return.
To compound matters, Bailey took a line drive off the thigh and another off her left wrist in the middle innings, according to David King.
“She was a warrior all weekend,” he said.
In all, the Wolves gave up 10 walks. Five came consecutively in the second inning when the Borderittes struck for eight runs. Three walks started Blaine's six-run fifth inning.
Coupeville collected only three hits: a double by Bailey and singles by Hammer and Messner.
“The team played some of our best ball this weekend,” David King said. “We stumbled a little in game one on Friday, but we put that behind us and took care of business to get into tri-district.”
And to get back to Sedro-Woolley.