Nasty day, splendid victory

Hit and run like the wind, through the wind.


Special to the News-Times

Hit and run like the wind, through the wind.

Overcoming another brutal bout of prairie weather Thursday, the Coupeville High School varsity baseball squad used booming bats, fleet feet, and nimble work on defense to stagger the top team in the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Riding inside-the-park home runs from seniors Jonathan Valenzuela and Scott Hilborn, and a dandy pitching performance from fab frosh Chase Anderson, the Wolves bounced visiting Mount Vernon Christian 5-1.

The victory, Coupeville’s sixth in its last seven games, nets Steve Hilborn’s team a season split with the Hurricanes and pulls the defending NWL champs a half-game back of MVC.

The Wolves, who have already clinched the #1 playoff seed among the league’s 2B teams, are 8-1 in conference action, 10-4 overall heading into a road trip Saturday to Orcas Island.

Mount Vernon Christian falls to 9-1 in league, 9-3 overall.

The first time the Hurricanes and Wolves clashed, back on March 30, MVC made off with a 12-7 win.

This time around, with a bone-chilling prairie wind swirling, howling, and slapping splatters of rain into the faces of fans, it was a different tale.

Coupeville grabbed the lead early, led from start to finish, and got big contributions from nearly everyone in uniform.

Anderson went the distance on the bump, scattering three hits while whiffing seven Hurricanes.

The young hurler, already in his second season as a varsity regular after debuting last season as an 8th grader, is made for the spotlight, even on a cloudy day.

Twice he faced bases loaded jams, and both times he calmly backhanded the Hurricanes and strolled back to the dugout, a smile on his face.

The first dance with the devil came in the top of the first inning, with Anderson jamming the hitter and forcing a weak grounder to shortstop Cole White, who flipped the ball to Valenzuela at second for out #3.

After buzzing through the Hurricanes 1-2-3 in three of the next four innings, and giving up a single, solitary run in the fourth, “The Magic Man” found himself briefly in danger in the top of the sixth.

A couple of walks and an error loaded the bags, but Anderson wasn’t having it.

The bags were juiced, the count was full, and the MVC batter was looking to carve away at Coupeville’s 4-1 lead.

Instead, all the Hurricane saw was a blur, as he swung from the heels and connected with nothing but the prairie breeze, Anderson’s pitch smacking into Scott Hilborn’s glove as the umpire punched him out.

After that, the seventh inning was sweet and short, with MVC hitting three consecutive groundouts to end the game.

One was a comebacker to Anderson, another a short chopper which freshman third-baseman Camden Glover plucked off the grass, firing a BB to Peyton Caveness, stretching out at first.

The final bouncer went to Caveness, who waved off two of his teammates as he easily beat the incoming Hurricane to the bag to seal the deal.

Coupeville got on the board quickly, sending two runners across the plate in the bottom of the first.

Scott Hilborn led off with a single, one of three hits he had on the day, Anderson dropped a beautiful sacrifice bunt, and then Valenzuela and Glover whacked back-to-back RBI base hits.

Valenzuela, never breaking stride, motored into third with the first of his three extra-base hits, while Glover scorched a run-scoring single to left to make it 2-0.

The Wolves had a chance to add more, loading the bases after Caveness was plunked with a wayward pitch and Coop Cooper swatted a single to left.

But it wasn’t to be, as a wild pitch came off the backstop faster than the Wolves expected, allowing the MVC catcher to snag the ball and sprint to tag Glover as he rumbled home.

Coupeville stretched the lead to 3-0 in the third, with Valenzuela, still swattin’ lasers and running wild, cracking a leadoff inside-the-park home run.

The ball splashed down to Earth in the farthest corner of right field, and the throw back in arrived long after the Wolf senior was already getting high-fives from his bench.

Not content to do it just once, CHS got another longball in the fifth inning, with Hilborn cranking a shot to center field and motoring around the bags while all the MVC coach could do was scream in despair, his words swept away by the never-ending breeze.

With Anderson in control, and his defense playing inspired ball — Valenzuela had a gold glove day at second — the Wolves didn’t need any more runs, but they got one anyway.

Caveness reached on an error to lead off the sixth, before Johnny Porter smoked a pinch-hit RBI single to right field to cap the 5-1 win.

David Svien writes a well-known blog, Coupeville Sports, at

Camden Glover, a freshman, fields a ball during Coupeville’s win over Friday Harbor Tuesday, which clinched the #1 seed. Glover made a key defensive play at third base in Thursday’s win over Mount Vernon Christians. (Photo by John Fisken)

Camden Glover, a freshman, fields a ball during Coupeville’s win over Friday Harbor Tuesday, which clinched the #1 seed. Glover made a key defensive play at third base in Thursday’s win over Mount Vernon Christians. (Photo by John Fisken)