Sluggers split series, snatch sweet success

The scorebook will say Coupeville and Onalaska split their varsity softball doubleheader Saturday.


Special to the News-Times

The scorebook will say Coupeville and Onalaska split their varsity softball doubleheader Saturday afternoon on the prairie.

But for the Wolves, it was really a total win.

CHS got the W in the opener, running the Loggers off the field 13-3 in a game mercy-ruled after five innings, before coming back around to almost pull off a stunning last inning rally in an 11-10 loss.

The non-conference split leaves the Wolves, who start three 8th graders and two freshmen, at a still impressive 5-1.

Better yet, having the chance to face a really solid foe, and a top-notch pitcher in the second game, is invaluable for Coupeville’s growth as a team.

And, in a side note, the Wolves raised more than $1,200 for an important cause with their annual “Strike Out Cancer” gift basket fundraiser.

The money, which will be donated to WhidbeyHealth, will increase once online donations are added.

Along with the financial windfall, Wolf sluggers Danica Strong and Madison McMillan delivered eloquent tributes to close family members who have fought cancer.

On the field, the young Wolves got to square off with an Onalaska squad which was making a 300+ mile round trip.

The Loggers are led by diamond dandy Lisa Liddell, who pitched the second game and thumped two fences-clearing homeruns.

Coupeville coach Kevin McGranahan was suitably impressed.

Both by the visiting star, and by how his own team upped their game while facing her.

“The best pitcher by far we have seen this year,” McGranahan said.

“Our girls were not intimidated at all and welcomed the challenge and put 10 runs on the board against her. We learned a lot about our team today.”

While he wanted the sweep, and the Wolves had the tying run at third when they recorded their final out, the softball sage loves the growth and grit he witnessed on a slightly sunny Saturday on the prairie.

“We have a bunch of tough young ladies that never say quit and are never out of a game,” McGranahan said. “I couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them.”

How the day played out:

Game 1:

The Wolves heard the chatter about how the second inning was their weak spot, and they took it personally.

Jumping on Onalaska for eight runs in the frame, after a superb double play thwarted a first running rally, Coupeville led from start to finish, before ending the game early thanks to the mercy rule.

That second inning surge began with a bang, as Madison McMillan thumped a leadoff triple to right field, beating the throw by several steps.

She then scampered home on a passed ball to put the afternoon’s first run on the board, before walks to Teagan Calkins, Jada Heaton, and Ava Lucero filled the bags.

An RBI groundout from Capri Anter and a bases-loaded walk to Mia Farris made it 3-0, then Taylor Brotemarkle got electric.

Coupeville’s most rambunctious hitter, Brotemarkle loves to talk to everyone — coaches, fellow players, umpires, fans, maybe even a passing bird or two — while doing her work.

And her job?

Mashing balls which rival defenders can’t hold on to, such as the laser Brotemarkle lofted to left, which hit leather, skidded merrily away, and plated two more runs.

A couple of Onalaska errors and some more walks pushed the lead out to 8-0, and Wolf starting pitcher Adeline Maynes was crushing it on the other side of the ball.

The 8th grade fireballer had some help, however, as the Wolves pulled off three consecutive dynamite defensive plays in the top of the third.

Heaton, zipping lightly atop the blades of grass in the outfield, hauled in a blast for out #1.

Then Haylee Armstrong elevated to snag a liner down the first base line and McMillan tracked down a towering popup at third.

A sac fly from Farris in the third and an RBI groundout from Heaton in the fourth stretched things to 10-0, and while Onalaska finally broke through for three runs in the fifth, the Wolves immediately matched them to end things.

The finale was pure fire, as Anter and Armstrong rapped back-to-back triples, Farris spanked a single, and Brotemarkle bashed a double to straight-away center to nail down the win.

Maynes, a middle schooler who lives to mow down high school rivals, finished with five strikeouts across her five innings of work.

Game 2:

Liddell, who played at first base in the opener and is just now returning from a layoff, stepped into the pitcher’s circle as Onalaska vied for the split.

With the Loggers playing as the home team, they chipped, chipped, chipped away, scoring in every inning while never really busting loose.

Coupeville put runners aboard in both of the first two frames, but came up empty, not scoring until it busted out for four runs in the third to take the lead at 4-3.

Armstrong smoked a double to left center, followed by singles from Brotemarkle and McMillan, before Calkins, the sensational sophomore slugger, crushed the life out of the softball for a three-run home run to right.

Onalaska was resilient, however, knotting things back up on a tater by Liddell, before pushing ahead.

The Wolves kept things close thanks to an eye-popping defensive play from Farris in the deepest, darkest part of centerfield.

“Mia the Magnificent” hauled in an epic blast over her shoulder while on the run, took two steps, then, as the crowd erupted, flipped up and over the outfield wall.

While never dropping the ball.

Back in game one, Farris bowed down to best bud Jada Heaton after her sensational snag in left, and now the former returned the favor to her running mate.

Onalaska was in a groove on offense, however, and reclaimed the lead, eventually sending it to 11-5 with back-to-back longballs in the bottom of the sixth.

Oh, and just to prove her nimble moves weren’t a fluke, Farris, who briefly left the game after trying to break herself in half on a slide at home, went up and over the outfield fence a second time.

Then got back up, and three batters later, sprinted on a dead run towards the infield, went airborne, and yanked a rapidly falling ball off the daisies to deny a Logger slugger an extra base hit.

Down to their final at-bats and inspired by Farris writing her novel “Fantastic Plays and Where to Find Them,” the Wolves got dramatic in the top of the seventh.

An error, a single, and a walk set the table, and 8th grade RBI machine Sydney Van Dyke cooked the meal, swatting a two-run single to right.

A run off of a passed ball cut the deficit to 11-8, with Armstrong, who sprays line drives to all fields like a young Chelsea Prescott, thunking a two-run single to make it 11-10.

Onalaska had one last gasp, however, going to the bullpen and getting the final out courtesy their version of Mariano Rivera, while the tying run lurked 60 feet from paydirt.