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Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Da champs. Top to bottom, starting on left, are Brendan Coleman, Aaron Curtin, Aaron Trumbull, Carson Risner, Kurtis Smith, Ben Etzell, Korbin Korzan, Brian Norris, Morgan Payne, Jake and Chris Tumblin, Wade Schaef, Paul Schmakeit, Kyle Bodamer.

July 24, 2010 – the day Coupeville shocked the baseball world. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

It remains one of the enduring moments in prairie sports history.

Thirteen Coupeville boys and four coaches shocked the baseball world in 2010, knocking off all-star teams from bigger towns, rallying for win after win to claim a state title.

In the finale, on Saturday, July 24, the Central Whidbey Little League Juniors (13-14) squad scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, then one more in the tenth to beat West Valley 10-9.

The winning run came when Aaron Trumbull lashed an infield single, plating Jake Tumblin.

It was the first-ever state title for a team coming out of District 11 (Skagit and Island counties), and the team largely stayed together afterwards.

Eight of the 13 players would go on to play four years of baseball at Coupeville High School, and every one of the players owns a diploma from the school.

As the 10-year anniversary approaches, head coach Chris Tumblin looks back fondly on one of his favorite summers:

The 2010 season was such a fun time as a coach and I have so many fond memories.

My wife Shannon had one word for that team – “family”.

The players were like a team of brothers but the parents were as much a part of the family as they were.

They never complained when I asked them to make sure the kids were there at least two hours before the game started to make sure we were able to get them ready to play.

The marathon practices that were officially over but continued because the players still wanted to have more batting practice.

The unwavering support they gave to the coaches and the players during home, away, and playoff games was second to none.

As you know the league president was Bob Martin. That guy went above and beyond my expectations, especially when we went to state.

I remember sitting with the umpires and league officials before the games started, going over each kids eligibility paperwork and finding a problem.

Sitting in Spokane I thought we were not going to have all our players eligible, but Bob went to work and got the needed paperwork by fax or email or carrier pigeon; I’m still not sure how, but we played with all players.

I always felt more at ease when he was there and he was always there.

One of the things that was always mentioned by the other coaches, umpires and parents of the other teams was how respectful our players were.

We had a team of confident players and they never talked trash or were arrogant; they played a sport they loved and they always played till the last out.

They never got behind and lost the will to win, never dwelled on a bad at-bat, never stopped believing that this was their season.

Having coaches that were having as much fun as the kids was also a plus.

Ramon (Villaflor), Brad (Trumbull), and Mike (Etzell) were fun to work with.

Taking time to coach takes a lot of time out of our schedules, missing work, first to get to the field and last to leave and all the meetings in between.

I can’t thank them enough for their commitment.

We played a lot of great games, and I was pleasantly surprised when we ran the winners bracket to the championship game.

That last day was very hot and we played a doubleheader but we lost the first game.

During intermission they were giving free chili dogs to the players and I wouldn’t let our players have any because you are what you eat and I didn’t want them to play like a team of chili dogs.

We went back to the hotel; I asked for a conference room and sat them down at a table and told them to figure out what happened.

To talk it over as a team and figure what they need to do to turn it around and then all the coaches left for the next 30 minutes.

When time was up we gathered the kids and went back to the field; they obviously had a plan.

We know what happened during the final game — several lead changes, extra innings, the other team coach and parents complaining about how hard our parents were rooting with every pitch.

The last two plays stick out in my head more than anything else.

Jake got in a pickle between second and third base with two outs in the bottom of the 10th; I thought the inning was over, but he ran it out and made it to third.

Aaron Trumbull at the plate hit a high bouncer between the third-baseman and short; there wasn’t even an attempt to throw Aaron out at first and Jake easily scored.

Let the celebration begin.

I can’t begin to express how lucky I was to be able to be a part of that season; we were the underdogs from the beginning.

People asked us how many teams we were pulling from to make the all-star team; they never believed me when I said we only have one and that we only had one stop light in the entire town.

We won that season not only because of the players on the field, it was also due to the support of a community!

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Ian Smith (right) imparts wisdom to one of his succesors, Aaron Trumbull, in 2012. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

   Ian Smith (right) imparts wisdom to one of his successors, Aaron Trumbull, while coaching American Legion ball in 2012. (Shelli Trumbull photo)

Erik King

Homer-happy Erik King takes the field in 2010. (Amy King photo)

The base-knocks never stopped landing.

Look back at the last three decades of Coupeville High School baseball and no team has put together an offensive run to equal what the 2010 squad accomplished.

They weren’t the most successful Wolf team in terms of record or postseason accomplishments.

Didn’t make it to state. Didn’t win a league title. Finished at dead .500 with a 12-12 mark.

And yet that last sentence is deceiving.

The reality is Willie Smith’s squad played superb ball at times, but faced a truly brutal year as the smallest school in a tough 1A/2A Cascade Conference.

The Wolves finished fourth in the league standings at 8-9, a full four games ahead of South Whidbey, the only other 1A league school playing baseball at the time.

King’s used to sit the hardball season out back in the day, leaving the Wolves and Falcons to tangle with the five 2A schools.

Archbishop Thomas Murphy and its rotating band of future college players and MLB draftees went 22-4 and finished 3rd at state in the 2A tourney, while Cedarcrest finished 15-5.

While the 2016 Wolves snapped a 25-year dry spell and won the 1A Olympic League title, it’s hard to really compare their three foes (Klahowya, Port Townsend, Chimacum) to the razor-tipped romp through a no-man’s land Coupeville “enjoyed” in its old league.

Having survived the trek, CHS split four postseason games, beating Lynden Christian 6-4 and Nooksack Valley 10-9, while falling to Meridian 7-1 and (in what became the season finale) Seattle Christian 8-7.

Meridian went on to claim 3rd at the 1A state tourney.

But while their record, as hard-earned as it was, may not be an all-time best, the Wolves were a force to be reckoned with at the plate.

Coupeville had five All-Conference players in ’10, with infielder JD Wilcox landing on the First Team and Ian Smith (P), Chase Griffin (C), Chad Brookhouse (INF) and Erik King (OF) Second-Teamers.

The Wolves were a veteran group that year, with seven seniors in their lineup (though Jason Bagby missed a huge chunk of time) as one era closed out.

That summer a group of Central Whidbey Little League players like Ben Etzell and Morgan Payne won a state title and they joined the high school program almost en masse the next year.

And promptly got beat on for awhile by the 2A powers and their junior and senior-heavy rosters.

But in 2010, Coupeville claimed as many grizzled vets as any team, and they swung the bat like no Wolf team in memory.

The stats are uncanny, frankly.

The top four single-season highs for hits by an individual CHS player in the last 30 years all came that season, and the Wolves hit for average and power.

Wilcox, a certified star, was exactly that, but Coupeville also got career-best work from Brookhouse, a tough-nosed journeyman, and a surprising power show from a slightly unexpected source.

King is not a big, burly dude, but he had exceptional bat quickness and a well-honed eye and used both to pace the team in home runs and slugging percentage.

League titles are not to be sneezed at, and state trophies (like the 3rd place one nabbed by the ’87 CHS squad) live forever, but don’t sleep on the 2010 Wolves.

They blew up the scoreboard and should be remembered for all they accomplished.

Take a look at their plate stats, then tip your hat to the greatest offensive show the prairie may have ever seen.

The stats:

Player AB Runs Hits 1B 2B 3B HR SB BB RBI Avg. Slug.
Griffin 68 28 22 19 2 1 9 20 10 .324 .397
Smith 78 23 30 19 8 2 1 7 8 22 .385 .577
Wilcox 78 31 31 22 6 2 1 12 12 18 .397 .564
King 66 19 27 20 4 3 3 15 20 .409 .606
B-house 70 20 32 26 4 2 2 10 32 .457 .600
Bagby 15 5 6 4 2 3 3 7 .400 .533
Eaton 68 12 22 17 5 1 9 16 .324 .397
McClain 67 8 17 17 2 10 10 .254 .254
Wheat 59 7 12 10 2 6 5 .203 .237
Thurman 50 6 12 10 2 3 4 8 .241 .281
Bodamer 5 1 1
Sele 3
Chan 9 1 1 1 2 .111 .111
Carlson 1
McCormick 1
Gooch 1
TOTALS 639 159 212 165 35 4 8 42 99 151 .332 .437

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