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Whidbey Island baseball stars (l to r) Hunter Smith, James Besaw, and Joey Lippo will all be on the same college team next spring. (Teresa Besaw photo)

They’re getting the band back together.

Green River College is adding a fourth Whidbey Island grad to its baseball roster, with Oak Harbor’s James Besaw joining Coupeville alumni Hunter Smith, Joey Lippo, and CJ Smith.

The Smith brothers started the pipeline flowing, playing for the Gators this spring, while Lippo and Besaw, who grew up playing baseball together, will be newcomers to the Green River roster.

Besaw played this spring for the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, where he appeared in six games during his freshman season.

While he enjoyed his time on the East Coast, the first-baseman decided he wanted to play, and attend school, closer to home.

Back in town for the summer, he linked up with Lippo, who had decided to follow the Smith brothers to Green River, and the decision became an easy one.

“We checked out the campus last week and he liked it, so now we’re looking forward to these boys playing ball together again,” said very-happy mom Teresa Besaw.

Lippo and Besaw join a Green River team which went through a rebuilding season, while showing much promise for the future.

Hunter Smith started at second and short for the Gators, before a broken hand late in the year brought a premature end to his season.

Older brother CJ, who was also a college freshman, was Green River’s top relief pitcher.

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From little league through high school ball, Aaron Trumbull was a class act. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Aaron Trumbull was a rock.

When you look back on his athletic career, the word which pops up most often is “consistent.”

He crossed paths with big-time stars like Ben Etzell, Josh Bayne, Aaron Curtin, and Nick Streubel, to name a few, but he not only held his own, his stats can stand with anyone from his time period.

And he did it all in a quiet, classy manner that can’t, and shouldn’t, be overlooked.

Trumbull delivered big hits, threw big pitches, and sank big buckets, but he approached every game in the same manner – as a solid pro.

He was a key player on a little league team which won a state title, finished higher on the CHS boys basketball career scoring chart than you probably think, but also shone brightly in small moments.

That he’s not already in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame is a surprise and a shame.

I whiffed on this one somehow, but better late than never.

Today we throw open the doors to our lil’ digital wonderland, and welcome Mr. Trumbull to a club which couldn’t be complete without him.

After this, every time you look at the top of the blog, then peek under the Legends tab, you’ll find him strolling by, confident in his own abilities, but never one to scream and holler about how great he was.

Like older sister Alexis, who is also in the Hall o’ Fame, Aaron just went about his day, and let his actions speak for themselves.

He was a star as a young player, part of the 2010 Central Whidbey Little League Juniors baseball team which, under the guidance of coach Chris Tumblin, rumbled to an unexpected state title.

In the championship game, Trumbull came through twice with the pressure on, helping Coupeville upend West Valley 10-9 in 10 innings.

Down three runs entering the seventh, and final, regular inning, Trumbull, Wade Schaef, and Morgan Payne all delivered base-knocks as Central Whidbey rallied to force extra innings.

Then, in the 10th, it was Trumbull who rapped a single to plate Jake Tumblin with the game, and title-winning, run.

Once he hit high school, Trumbull continued to soar, both as a baseball player and basketball star.

His time on the hardwood came at a time when Coupeville’s fortunes were at an all-time low, as losses piled up and the team adapted to a new system after Randy King’s retirement.

Through it all, Trumbull was, as I said before, a rock.

He fought like a devil on the boards, crashed for loose balls, and did what he could to put points in the book for a Wolf team which struggled to generate much offense.

In fact, Trumbull finished with 330 career points, which leaves him sitting as the #77 scorer across 102 years of CHS boys basketball.

On the baseball diamond, whether he was flinging heat from the mound, or holding down first base, he was as steady as they come.

The hardball team had more success during his years at CHS than the basketball team did, and Trumbull was always a big part of that.

But, his impact went beyond wins and losses, or stats.

One of the defining moments of Coupeville athletics is one 99% of people never saw happen, or never heard about.

Late in his career, the Wolves had a number of JV players, but not enough to field a full nine-man lineup.

That meant a different varsity player or two had to fill in each game, to give their teammates a chance to see the field.

It went pretty well, until one Wolf decided they were above it all, and threw a hissy fit at the suggestion they could, for one day, “play down.”

As the JV players milled around, and the other team tried to avoid eye contact with CHS coach Willie Smith as he edged towards going into full-on stroke mode, Trumbull stood up and left the bench.

He had already pulled JV duty in a previous game, and was a much-bigger varsity star than the player throwing the hissy fit, and yet it mattered not to him.

Instead, Trumbull strode over, snatched the ball from his red-faced teammate, turned to the JV players, said “let’s do this,” and led them on the field.

That moment, above all others, above his state title-winning base-knock, or the buckets he hit while being double and triple-teamed, goes to the very core of who Aaron was, is, and will always be.

He didn’t leave teammates behind, didn’t leave them hanging, didn’t embarrass them.

Aaron Trumbull is among the classiest players to ever pull on a Wolf uniform, and he earned his spot in our Hall of Fame every single day he played.

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Coupeville twins Skyy and Joey Lippo are off to new adventures. She’s got a dance scholarship, he’s rejoining high school teammates on the college baseball diamond. (Teresa Besaw photo)

They’ve spent much of their life together, but now the diamond and the stage will separate them for a bit.

Twins Skyy and Joey Lippo, who graduated from Coupeville High School in 2018, have recently pledged themselves to different colleges.

Skyy is headed off to the Midwest, where she will attend The University of Missouri-Kansas City on a dance scholarship, while her brother has signed to play baseball at Green River College in Auburn.

That move reunites Joey with former CHS teammates CJ and Hunter Smith, who will be sophomores on next year’s Gator diamond squad.

Lippo, who bounced between the infield and outfield in his Coupeville days (with some stints at catcher and pitcher as well) figures to be a full-time outfielder at Green River.

He’s studying criminal justice.

“I hope to play center field, but anywhere in the outfield would be great,” Joey Lippo said. “I plan to transfer to UMKC after two years to join Skyy and finish my degree and maybe play tennis there, since they don’t have a baseball team.”

During his time at CHS, Joey was an All-League baseball player and teamed up with William Nelson to form the #1 doubles duo for the Wolf netters.

His sister, who performed with the Whidbey Island Dance Theatre, will study modern dance and ballet at UMKC, with a minor in business.

Skyy, who was a regular in productions of The Nutcracker, will also perform outside the school as she pursues her dance dream.

“If I get the opportunity to dance professional, I will,” she said. “If not, I will teach at a dance studio and hope to manage a studio of my own.”

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CHS baseball coach Chris Smith poses with some of the Wolf seniors who played Thursday at the All-State feeder games in Bellingham. L to r are Matt Hilborn, Shane Losey, and Dane Lucero, while Jake Pease was AWOL at the moment. (Wendi Hilborn photo)

Coupeville’s diamond men got one more night under the lights.

Four Wolf seniors — Dane Lucero, Shane Losey, Jake Pease, and Matt Hilborn — traveled to Bellingham Thursday to participate in the A/B All-State Baseball Feeder games.

While none of the pack made the cut for the big games, held June 8-9 in Yakima, Coupeville made a positive impression.

“They all played really well,” said CHS head baseball coach Chris Smith, who was in the stands at Joe Martin Stadium for the games. “Coupeville was well represented.”

After playing their entire prep careers as teammates, the four Wolves found themselves split up at times Thursday night.

In the opening game, the Nationals, which featured Lucero, Losey, and Hilborn topped Pease’s Americans squad 14-13 in a slug-fest.

Pease anchored third base for the entire game.

“He didn’t have a ton of opportunities, but did make some diving attempts at a couple smoked grounders,” said CHS assistant coach Aaron Lucero.

Hilborn got some work on the mound in the first game, tossing two innings, then moved to shortstop in the nightcap, where the Americans won 7-1 in a game called after six innings due to pitch counts.

“He was lights out at shortstop and had several outs to Dane at first,” Aaron Lucero said. “Lot of tough balls and threw lasers.”

Dane Lucero, who made a sensational full-body extension grab on a hard liner just inside the line at first, also pulled double duty.

After getting loosened up with his work on the bag, where he put in eight innings across the two games, the younger Lucero strolled over to pitch the fifth inning in game two.

Making sure every Wolf had some highlights, Losey was a beast in the outfield.

Shane almost had a ridiculous awesome diving play in right that just missed by an inch or two,” Aaron Lucero said. “Was ecstatic he got to the ball, not to mention the dive.

“Next hitter hit another shot to right that Shane sprinted to, twisted, hit the ball with his glove, ball popped, and he caught the pop one-handed,” he added.

“The best part was his back was turned to the line ump, ump indicating fair and safe until Shane shows the ball with his back turned for the ump to reverse to an out.”

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Matt Hilborn was named team MVP for his senior season on the baseball diamond. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Jake Pease won the team’s “Dirt Bag Award” for plays like this.

A late-season run carried the Coupeville High School baseball squad to the playoffs, and won the Wolves some fans among league coaches.

When All-Conference balloting was finished, four CHS diamond men landed North Sound Conference Second-Team honors.

Seniors Matt Hilborn, Jake Pease, and Dane Lucero were tabbed, while junior catcher Gavin Knoblich also got the call.

Those awards were just the start of what Coupeville coach Chris Smith doled out Tuesday, as he and his staff held a season-ending awards banquet.

Hilborn, who led the team on the mound and at the plate, was named the MVP, while Lucero was tabbed as Offensive Player of the Year and Knoblich as Defensive Player of the Year.

Pease claimed the “Dirt Bag Award,” Gavin Straub was handed the “Aiden Award,” named after former CHS player Aiden Crimmins, and Lucero and Pease were honored as captains.

Seniors Lucero, Pease, Hilborn, and Shane Losey notched Four-Year awards for playing their entire high school career.

 

Varsity letter winners:

Mason Grove
Matt Hilborn
Gavin Knoblich
Shane Losey
Dane Lucero
Daniel Olson
Bryce Payne
Jake Pease
Cody Roberts
Ulrik Wells
Hawthorne Wolfe

 

Participation Awards:

Jonny Carlson
Sage Sharp
Gavin Straub
Seth Weatherford

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