Posts Tagged ‘CJ Smith’

   It’s Opening Day, but James Vidoni already has the beard in mid-season form. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Wolf catcher Gavin Knoblich swaps baseballs (and small talk) with the ump.

Coupeville players hang out in the (surprising) sunshine.

Julian Welling awaits the throw at first.

CJ Smith, a roiling cauldron of emotion.

Shane Losey eyes his next victim.

Nick Etzell goes low to snag a hot grounder.

Opening Day went off without a hitch.

Astonishingly nice weather on the prairie, a big win for Coupeville High School baseball over highly-regarded Lynden Christian, and plenty of glossy pics.

To see everything John Fisken snapped (varsity and JV), pop over to:


When you land there, remember, any purchases help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

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   CJ Smith, who pitched Coupeville to a baseball league title in 2016, is returning as a coach. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two years after he pitched the Coupeville High School baseball team to an Olympic League title, CJ Smith is returning to the Wolf dugout, but this time as a coach.

He joins a staff headed up by his dad, CHS head baseball coach Chris Smith.

Completing the trio, CJ’s younger brother, Hunter, is a senior and the staff ace.

The hire of the younger Smith is not official until the school board approves it at its next meeting.

After his family moved to Coupeville midway through his sophomore year, CJ Smith became an immediate three-sport star for the Wolves, playing football, basketball and baseball.

Providing a template for Hunter and lil’ sis Scout, the oldest child of Chris and Charlotte combined talent with a laser focus.

While his skills were impeccable, it was his serene nature which always caught people’s eye first.

The rare pitcher who projected utter calm every time he took the mound, it was virtually impossible to tell if CJ had a 10-run lead or was trailing by 10.

Well, check that, cause he never trailed by 10…

But you get the point.

CJ’s biggest moment in a Wolf uniform came April 29, 2016, when Smith, a senior at the time, took the ball and whiffed 10 Port Townsend hitters in five innings in a 10-0 home win.

The victory clinched Coupeville’s first league title in baseball since 1991.

As CJ pulls the uniform back on, a flashback to prairie history:


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CJ Smith, a man for all seasons. (John Fisken, Shelli Trumbull and Sylvia Hurlburt photos)

   CJ Smith, a man for all seasons. (John Fisken, Shelli Trumbull, Charlotte Young and Sylvia Hurlburt photos)

Big things sometimes start quietly.

The first time I saw CJ Smith, he suddenly appeared, perched at the end of the Coupeville High School boys’ basketball bench one night, a couple of games into the 2013-2014 season.

Someone in the stands, a fellow player’s dad, said he had just transferred into the school, but no one knew much about him.

As the game went on, CJ (we didn’t even know his name that night) watched the court like a hawk, once in awhile murmuring a question or two to the guy next to him, then nodding, face impassive.

Little did we know at that moment, cloaked in stoic quietness, that we were seeing the birth of one of the best athletes to ever wear the red and black.

Later, we discovered he was a sophomore, and we wouldn’t see him in a game for close to two weeks, as he got up to speed on practices.

When he finally touched the court, wearing a Coupeville uniform for the first time, he didn’t come out screaming, or wildly waving.

He played calmly, coolly, under control, making sharp passes and even sharper cuts.

Captain Cool had arrived, and, for the next two-and-a-half years we got to witness a young man who handles his business as strongly as any Wolf I have witnessed.

CJ, who celebrates a birthday today and graduated from CHS last month, gave us two strong basketball seasons (he sat out his senior season to focus on schoolwork), two superb football campaigns and three dazzling baseball years.

Through it all, he was the picture of composure, a guy who didn’t seem to ever have a butterfly and never, ever flinched away from the big moment.

If he was nervous, if he had self-doubt, CJ hid it well from the fans.

When he was on the mound, whiffing hitters in great gobs, it was nearly impossible to tell if he was up 20-0 or trailing 1-0.

And that calmness, his sense of purpose, always seemed to settle his teammates down around him.

Which was especially helpful during his senior season, when most of his teammates were freshmen and sophomores.

Teaming with senior catcher Cole Payne and his brother, sophomore Hunter Smith, CJ led Coupeville to its first baseball league title in 25 years.

During that run there were many moments when the team could have fallen apart, but it didn’t, thanks in large part to its easygoing mound ace.

That serene spirit flows through CJ’s entire family.

Turns out we got a 5-for-1 deal, with CJ, Hunter and lil’ sis Scout all three-sport stars, while mom Charlotte and dad Chris are superb coaches.

As his prep career played out, Captain Cool was a rock for the Wolves, a talented athlete, but, more importantly, a quality dude through and through.

So happy birthday CJ, and thanks for letting us all be part of the ride for the last three years.

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Julian Welling delivers the high, hard cheese. (John Fisken photos)

Julian Welling delivers the high, hard cheese. (John Fisken photos)


   Wolf JV coach/master motivator Chris Smith (red top) tells his team, “No McDonald’s unless you win.”

The school year is over, but the slide shows continue to pop up.

Following on the footsteps of the very popular track season spectacular, CHS baseball moms have put together their own clip show to honor the 2016 Wolf diamond squad.

Set to the music of John Fogerty and Trace Adkins, it documents Coupeville’s rise to the top of the 1A Olympic League, in a concise five-minute burst of images.

Check it out:

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Joey Lippo (John Fisken photo)

   Sophomore Joey Lippo was tabbed as Coupeville’s best utility player. (John Fisken photo)

Gabe Wynn (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

   Gabe Wynn had the team’s highest OBP, helped along by his knack for being plunked by opposing pitchers. (Sylvia Hurlburt photo)

Nick Etzell (Fisken photo)

Nick Etzell, providing some of his “best off the bench support.” (Fisken photo)

One last chance to shine.

Stepping into the spotlight for the final time as high school baseball players Monday, Cole Payne and CJ Smith carried away their fair share of awards.

With CHS coach Marc Aparicio bringing his first season at the helm of the Wolves to a close, he tabbed Payne as the team MVP, while Smith walked away with Most Valuable Pitcher and team captain.

The senior duo were joined by sophomore Hunter Smith and freshman Matt Hilborn in receiving official notice of their status as First-Team All-League picks, as well.

Junior first-baseman Kory Score was a runner-up for All-League.

The group, who led the Wolf baseball program to its first league title since 1991, were chosen by a vote of 1A Olympic League coaches.

Payne was the league MVP, while CHS coaches (Aparicio, Mike Etzell, Chris Smith and Josh Welshans) were honored as the league’s best coaching staff.

In other team awards, Payne took home Highest Batting Average and a 4-Year Award, while junior Gabe Wynn won Highest OBP and the Wear It Award for being the Wolf who was hit the most by opposing pitchers.

Other winners included Aiden Crimmins (best overall team support), Nick Etzell (best off the bench support), Joey Lippo (best utility batter/player), Jake Pease (Wolf Pride), Jacob Zettle (Most Improved), Cameron “Rodeo” Dahl (Best Nickname) and Scott Losey (best support parent).

Varsity letter winners:

Ty Eck
Nick Etzell
Brenden Gilbert
Matt Hilborn
Jake Hoagland
Joey Lippo
Dane Lucero
Ethan Marx
Cole Payne
Clay Reilly
Kory Score
CJ Smith
Hunter Smith
Cameron Toomey-Stout
Julian Welling
Gabe Wynn

Certificate of Participation:

Aiden Crimmins
Cameron Dahl
Shane Losey
Jake Pease
Kyle Rockwell
Jonathan Thurston
James Vidoni
Jacob Zettle

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