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Coupeville grads CJ Smith (left) and Zane Bundy are both pursuing careers in law enforcement. (Photo courtesy Charlotte Young)

Captain Cool is switching up uniforms.

Coupeville baseball legend CJ Smith, who pitched CHS to its first league title in 25 seasons during his senior campaign in 2016, is the latest former Wolf to become a first responder.

Smith has been hired by the Mercer Island Police Department.

He joins Aaron Trumbull (Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue) and Zane Bundy (Kittitas County Sheriff’s Department) as CHS grads who have made the jump to the front lines in recent months.

Smith began his new job a day after serving as the best man at Bundy’s wedding to fellow Coupeville alum Rebecca Robinson.

Captain Cool arrived on Whidbey with his family midway through his sophomore year of high school, and immediately became one of the best athletes in a Wolf uniform.

Along with younger siblings Hunter and Scout, he approached every sport the way you would expect from the offspring of two coaches.

Dad Chris Smith and mom Charlotte Young raised children who mixed natural talent with a cerebral nature.

The trio never panicked in tense situations on the field or court, had a far greater understanding of rules and strategy than most rivals, and could drop the hammer of the gods when it mattered most.

CJ was a strong football and basketball player for the Wolves, but had his best moments on the baseball diamond.

A pitcher who never betrayed a flicker of doubt on his face when on the mound, he always seemed to pitch the same with a one-run lead as with a 10-run advantage.

That serene calm helped center his teammates, and, sometimes, his coaches, with Smith reaching the mountain top April 29, 2016, when he shut down Port Townsend to clinch the Olympic League crown.

It was the first baseball title for the Wolves since 1991.

After high school graduation, Smith studied Criminal Justice and played baseball for Green River College alongside his younger brother.

Making the jump from being a starting pitcher to a relief ace, CJ stormed out of the bullpen to become Auburn’s answer to Mariano Rivera, earning accolades as a shut-down closer.

While the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled this spring’s baseball season, both Smith brothers were awarded Green River’s Campus Life Leadership Award for “outstanding leadership and achievement.”

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Coupeville grad Aaron Trumbull is now a fully-pinned member of Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. (Shelli Trumbull photos)

Trumbull and fiancée Hannah Gluth.

Different uniform, same strong commitment to those around him.

Coupeville grad Aaron Trumbull, who was one of the best to ever pull on a Wolf uniform, never left his teammates high and dry in the many years I watched him play baseball and basketball.

He had talent and drive, but it was the way he always backed up those around him, which impressed me most as he put together a prep career which eventually landed him in the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

A key member of the 2010 Central Whidbey Little League Juniors baseball squad which shocked the hardball world by beating the big city boys to win a state title, Trumbull showed grace and maturity beyond his years.

That came to the forefront one afternoon years later, when he was an established star for Willie Smith’s CHS baseball squad.

That season, the Wolf JV didn’t have enough players to fill out a full nine-man roster, so every game a varsity guy would swing down to fill out the lineup.

Trumbull, a top pitcher and first-baseman, had already done his duty a few days before, and this game, there was a different varsity player scheduled to make the trip to the diamond.

Except, said player threw a public hissy fit about the “demotion.”

There was a brief pause, as Smith’s ears began to turn bright red. A righteous explosion was a’comin’, and I was riveted.

But then, without a word, Trumbull jumped off the bench, snatched the ball away from the whiner, motioned to the JV players to follow him, and headed out to make sure his younger teammates would play.

Even if he never hit a jump shot (and he hit a lot of them), even if he never knocked in the state title winning run (which he did), that day Aaron, with no fanfare, showed why he will always be remembered fondly by teammates, coaches, and fans.

He’s just a stand-up guy.

And now Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue gets to have Trumbull on its team, after the former Wolf made the jump Friday from probationary to being a fully-pinned firefighter.

Central Kitsap just hit a homerun.

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Coupeville High School will honor spring athletes such as Raven Vick (left) and Megan Behan next week. (Brian Vick photo)

Coupeville High School will award letters to many of its spring athletes, even though the COVID-19 pandemic erased the season.

That was the word Wednesday from Wolf Athletic Director Willie Smith, as he laid out a plan to honor those who would have been playing.

All seniors, and all returning underclassmen letter winners will letter, while all other CHS athletes will receive certificates of participation.

“Our coaches, whom I believe have huge hearts for kids, had a very good discussion about how we can honor our spring athletes as well as honor our goals of making lettering mean something,” Smith said.

The decision was made after reviewing what other schools and districts were doing to address the situation.

“Our logic behind this decision was to honor our seniors because they, of all the athletes participating, lost the most with the cancellation of the spring season,” Smith said.

“We didn’t feel it minimized the lettering process but did reward our seniors for something that was out of all our control and was the least we could do to help alleviate at least a small part of the disappointment.

“Secondly, rather than have our coaches try to determine who would or wouldn’t letter this year, we felt using last year as a barometer for lettering our underclassman was the most fair way to do this.

“We understand there is no perfect way to do this but we felt that we could honor our athletes this way, give our seniors a little positive out of all of this, and also allow those that lettered last year to be able to do it this year.

“Again, not perfect, not ideal, but we felt it was right for our kids and programs.”

Smith has set up a schedule for May 26-29 for athletes to come to the CHS gym lobby to return uniforms, pick up team pictures, and receive their letters or certificates.

 

Girls Tennis — Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00
Boys Soccer — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Track and Field — Wednesday, May 27 @ 3:00
Softball — Thursday, May 28 @ 3:00
Baseball — Friday, May 29 @ 1:00

 

If athletes or parents have questions, they’re asked to contact their head coaches:

Baseball — Chris Smith — csmith@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Boys Soccer — Kyle Nelson — knelson@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Girls Tennis — Ken Stange — kstange@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Softball — Kevin McGranahan — kmcgranahan@coupeville.k12.wa.us
Track and Field — Randy King — rking@coupeville.k12.wa.us

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Julian Welling, ready to open up a can of whup ass during the 2018 baseball season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Joey Lippo gets a bunt down.

CHS coach Chris Smith (in red) calls a conference.

With the COVID-19 pandemic having shut down spring sports, we’ve opened these pages up to athletes, coaches, and fans who want to reflect.

Today’s write-up comes to us from Kristi Etzell, whose husband Mike and sons Ben and Nick have all been vital parts of the Coupeville High School hardball program over the years.

 

2020 … best spring baseball season weather ever in the PNW!

2020 … unexpected, unprecedented cancellation of spring baseball season!

2020 vision means looking back in order to inform the future…

Today, I want to look back and highlight the 2018 Coupeville HS Wolves’ baseball team, families, and coaching staff.

Senior leaders — all of whom are continuing to be leaders in their young adult lives.

Juniors, who carried the torch in the 2019 baseball season.

Sophomores who, this year as seniors, along with their families, are experiencing more losses than any other season.

They are grieving not only a cancelled baseball season, but so many other activities, connections, “endings,” school related events, and spring rituals.

Our baseball caps are tipped to you today, 2020 senior baseball players, and all 2020 high school seniors across the globe!

We feel you!! ❤️❤️❤️

#CHSBaseball

#2020Seniors

#bettertogether

And a final nod to the freshmen of the 2018 CHS baseball season. You are impacted by these losses as well.

YOU will be the senior class of leaders as this (unusual) school year comes to an end.

Our Central Whidbey community is your village; we will stand for you and with you in your 2020-2021 school year.

And, you can bet that I, for one, will be in the stands for the first CHS Wolves’ baseball game in spring 2021 when they shout, “Play Ball!!”

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Erin Locke and other Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff have put together a video for their students.

Staying connected, even while apart.

That’s a big part of the plan for Coupeville Middle School teachers and staff, who crafted this video for their students.

They may be away from each other, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, but, in the words of Geoff Kappes, “We love you, we miss you, and we can’t wait to see you again at CMS as soon as it’s safe to be there.”

 

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