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Get into the swing of things. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

We’ll do it live!

Central Whidbey Little League will offer three chances for parents and guardians to register their children in person for the upcoming spring season.

The events will hit on consecutive Saturdays (Jan. 15, 22, and 29) and run from 10 AM until noon at the Coupeville High School gym.

Birth certificates for players are not mandatory until All-Star competitions at the end of the season.

If an adult wishes to volunteer with CWLL, they’ll need to provide their driver’s license, and fill out a background check.

Teams will be offered in T-ball, baseball, and fastpitch softball, with action open to players ages 4-14.

 

For more info, pop over to:

https://www.centralwhidbeylittleleague.com/Default.aspx?tabid=945573

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Spring, and little league action, are on their way. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

There’s still a bit of time before games begin, but prospective diamond dandies can get a jump on things.

Registration for Central Whidbey Little League went live when the calendar clicked over to 2022.

Teams will be offered in T-ball, baseball, and fastpitch softball, with action open to players ages 4-14.

For more info, or to register today, pop over to:

https://www.centralwhidbeylittleleague.com/Default.aspx?tabid=945573

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Four years after this pic was snapped, Joey Lippo (far right) is a college golfer. (Photo courtesy Mitch Aparicio)

Joey Lippo is the master of more than one kind of stick.

Fresh off a summer baseball season in a wood bat league, the Coupeville High School grad has returned to the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Only this time he’s hitting campus as a two-sport athlete, and not just a diamond dandy.

Lippo, who will be a sophomore on the Owl baseball squad next spring, will also rep UMPI, an NCAA D-III school, in golf.

He can play both since the links season runs in the fall.

“I decided to add golf to my resume in college because I’ve always loved playing golf with my dad and grandpa,” Lippo said. “And I thought it would be fun to play with my friends this fall.”

UMPI kicks off a seven-match regular season Saturday, Sept. 11, and things wrap up with the league championships in early Oct.

During his freshman baseball season at UMPI, Lippo led the Owls in at-bats (57), while tying for second in hits (15), RBI (7), and stolen bases (2).

He was third in total bases (17), runs (8), and batting average (.263) among regulars.

Lippo played baseball for the Lynnwood Llamas this summer in the Cascade Collegiate League, helping them finish 16-6 and win the league’s postseason title.

Back in his Coupeville High School days, Skyy’s twin brother played tennis, basketball, and baseball.

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Matt Hilborn pulls off a web gem. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Matt Hilborn often reminded me of Wiley Hesselgrave.

The pair crossed paths at Coupeville High School very briefly, with the former playing his freshman season of football as the latter wrapped up his senior campaign.

Other than that they weren’t on the same teams, as Hesselgrave played basketball, while Hilborn opted for baseball.

But both guys, the CHS Class of 2016 one — among the most highly-respected Wolf athletes of the modern era — and the Class of 2019 one, always struck me as being very similar in how they approached their time repping Cow Town.

They were old-school players putting in work during a new-school time frame, dudes who showed up to practice and games with lunchbox seemingly in hand, ready to work.

Neither wasted much time on social media, and neither wasted much time flexing between plays.

Hilborn, like Hesselgrave, let his actions speak louder than words, and will be fondly remembered by coaches, teammates, and fans long after moving on to post-high school pursuits.

The oldest of Scott and Wendi’s two sons, Matt was a true four-year star, making an impact on both the Wolf football and baseball programs from his debut to his Senior Night farewells.

A two-way warrior on the gridiron. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On the gridiron, he had skills and pop.

Matt could lay a hurtin’ on rivals, flying into the scrum ready to break fools in half, and pop the football free for his squad to recover.

But he was also a huge asset on the offensive side of the ball, as a runner and receiver, or returning kicks.

Having sent an electric jolt through the assembled Wolf faithful, Matt, like Wiley before him, would pop back up, nod (ever so slightly), then move on to the next play.

He didn’t prance around and celebrate tackling a third-string runner late in a game where his team trailed by three touchdowns, like some.

Matt wasn’t big on theatrics, but he was huge on results.

That carried over to the diamond, where he landed on multiple all-league teams while putting in work on the pitching mound and patrolling the infield.

His bat had pop, his legs could generate some speed, and, above all, he was a smart, seemingly self-contained player.

Add in an arm which could rip off some nasty pitches, and the Wolves were blessed during his four-year run.

Hilborn and Mason Grove pose after the duo collided during a mad pursuit for a ball. (Chris Smith photo)

Matt stayed on an even keel, and his team benefited.

It’s possible his insides were churning the whole time, but, from the perspective of those in the stands, he always seemed composed and in control.

Make a huge pitch, deliver a crucial hit, or commit the rare error, and Matt remained in control, exactly what you want from a team leader.

During his time in a Wolf uniform, we exchanged a mere handful of words, most of them when he stopped by my duplex once to deliver food from his mom.

Which is good, since, like Wiley before him, that taciturn personality just added to his old-school legend.

Matt showed up, busted his tail, then tipped his hat and moved on with his life.

Much respect from the stands for that.

And, officially, as of today, Matt gets his rightful induction into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame.

Which should have come earlier, but I am apparently forgetful.

Recently, as I scanned the list of names nestled under the Legends tab at the top of the blog, I was surprised not to see his name.

Could I have forgotten to give Matt his just due?

Or did I write a story and merely forget to add Matt’s name on the official list between … Wiley Hesselgrave … and Dawson Houston?

Oh, anything is possible, as anyone who has seen my brain misfire over the years can attest.

Today, that changes however.

A Hall o’ Fame story, either the first or the second, and this time, I absolutely, positively have added Hilborn to the roll call.

Putting Matt right where he has always belonged.

Senior Night with the parental units. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

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Aaron Curtin brings the heat. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

This blog turns nine years old August 15, and to mark the occasion, I’m picking what I view as the best nine Wolf athletes from each active CHS sport.

To be eligible, you had to play for the Wolves between Aug. 2012-Aug. 2021, AKA the “Coupeville Sports” years.

So here we go. Each day between Aug. 2-15, a different sport and (probably) a different argument.

 

The little league champs still rule.

Central Whidbey’s juniors hardball team won a state title in 2010, when I was still writing for the Coupeville Examiner.

Jump forward into the blog years, and the guys from that title team stayed in the news, with many of them playing a full four years of high school ball.

Five of my nine picks from the diamond were part of that group, and they headline a mythical nine which includes two sets of brothers.

Hunter Smith is just here for the strikeouts.

Josh Bayne — A beast. The only Wolf player I’ve seen jack an out-of-the-park home run on Coupeville’s field, and that ball is still going up and far, far away, years later.

Aaron Curtin — He had a wicked touch as a hurler, a lively bat, and could stare down anyone.

Ben Etzell — Coupeville’s only league MVP, in any sport, during the 1A/2A Cascade Conference years, when ATM was the big baddie. Big bat, bigger arm, a strikeout machine who went on to a strong four-year college career as a pitching ace.

Cole Payne — From younger brother to team leader, he rose through the ranks to leave a large impact on the program, then tipped his hat and walked away, a winner to the end.

Morgan Payne — Big bro patrolled short and provided a dangerous bat; a quiet, very-effective player from little league through Senior Night.

CJ Smith — Captain Cool, he pitched Coupeville to its first baseball league title in 25 years, while seemingly never breaking a sweat.

Hunter Smith — Maybe the most-talented player to ever take the CHS diamond — a force on the mound, at short, and at the plate, where he had pop, speed, and an uncanny knack for big-game heroics.

Aaron Trumbull — Severely underrated, he was a steadying force for the Wolves wherever he played, whether taking the mound or hovering at first base. Also a class act who always put team first, a stand-up guy who never left a teammate hanging.

Jake Tumblin — Rock-solid behind the plate, he was the rare catcher who was also the quickest player on the team, hurtling around the base-paths to create perfectly-orchestrated havoc.

Aaron Trumbull, firing BB’s.

 

Next up: We head to the cross country trail.

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