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Posts Tagged ‘CJ Smith’

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 Danny Conlisk lets it rip in a college track meet. (Photo courtesy Dawnelle Conlisk)

Sarah Wright cracked her first college home run Saturday in Georgia. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Four Whidbey alumni are playing baseball for Green River College this season. Left to right, James Besaw, Joey Lippo, CJ Smith, and Hunter Smith. (Charlotte Young photo)

One day, three sports, three states, a whole ton of former Wolves on the prowl.

Saturday was a busy day for Coupeville grads competing in the world of college sports, with events going down in South Dakota, Georgia, and Washington state.

How the day played out:

 

Sarah goes yard:

Just like the old days.

Playing in her eighth college softball game, Coupeville grad Sarah Wright belted a three-run home run to left field, the highlight on a day when the former Wolf catcher’s new team was swept in a doubleheader.

Sewanee: The University of the South fell 9-1 and 10-6 to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, dropping the Tigers record to 2-6.

Wright and associates get a chance for a quick reversal of fortunes, as they play another doubleheader Sunday, this one against Wesleyan College in Macon.

The former Coupeville standout crushed her round tripper in her first at-bat in Saturday’s second game.

Through the first eight games of her freshman season, Wright is hitting .261 with six hits and a team-high six RBI.

She’s also doing it on the defensive side as well, where she tops Sewanee with 25 putouts and absolutely, positively no errors whatsoever.

 

Danny hits the jets:

A two-time state champ for CHS, Danny Conlisk continues to tear up the track as a freshman at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

Bouncing back from an illness which kept him out of action last week, the Hardrocker freshman finished 2nd in the 400 at the Stinger Open at Black Hills State University.

Conlisk won his heat and smashed his collegiate PR in the event, hitting the tape in an adjusted time of 51.58 seconds.

That shaved .80 off of his previous best.

The former Wolf is one meet away from reaching the mid point of his season(s), with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Indoor Championships set for February 28-29 in Colorado Springs.

After that, Conlisk and his teammates take a month off from competition (but not training), returning March 27 for the start of the outdoor season.

 

Strong start for diamond dandies:

It’s a reunion on the next level.

CHS grads, and brothers, CJ and Hunter Smith are back for their sophomore year at Green River College in Auburn.

Joining them on the Gators baseball squad this time around are former Coupeville star Joey Lippo and former Oak Harbor standout James Besaw.

All four Whidbey alumni saw action Saturday, as Green River opened a new season by sweeping a doubleheader from Western Washington University.

The Gators took the opener 11-4, with CJ Smith coming on in relief to earn the win.

Mr. Cool jumped in to the game in the second inning, with his team trailing, and promptly threw 4.1 innings of shutout ball, whiffing three.

His younger brother was a big supporter, as Hunter rapped a single, walked three times, stole a base, and scored twice as the Gators stormed from behind to nail down the victory.

Besaw played a key role, as well, walking and ripping an RBI single.

In the second game of the day, Green River once again rallied, plating two runners in the fourth to tie the game, then sending two more home in the sixth to eke out a 4-3 victory.

Hunter Smith collected another single in the nightcap, and he teamed up with Lippo for the defensive play of the game.

Recreating their high school magic, Lippo fielded a dangerous ball in the outfield which had extra-base hit written all over it, then came up gunning.

Airmailing a wicked throw to his former Wolf teammate, he started a bang-bang play, which nailed the WWU runner when Smith zipped the relay on a bead to Green River’s third-baseman.

“The play between Joey and Hunter was awesome,” said proud papa Joe Lippo. “Had the Green River fans yelling the loudest all day!”

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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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CJ Smith tossed 4+ innings of shutout ball Saturday as he and the Green River College baseball team ended their season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He closed with a vengeance.

Coupeville High School grad CJ Smith pitched strongly on the final day of his freshman college baseball season, offering a glimmer of hope to a Green River team ending a tough trek.

While the Gators were swept in a doubleheader Saturday by Lower Columbia College, bringing their final mark to 4-32, CJ and younger brother Hunter Smith offer hope for the future.

Hunter was the team’s lead-off hitter until he suffered a broken hand after being plunked by a wayward pitch with eight games left on the schedule.

CJ became Green River’s #1 relief pitcher, and ended up tying for the team lead in appearances and saves.

His final game was essentially over when he entered, as Lower Columbia had shelled two Gator hurlers for 12 runs in 4.1 innings.

But, after CJ took the ball, things righted themselves.

He ripped off the final 4.2 innings, holding Lower Columbia scoreless while whiffing two and scattering three hits.

While his offense couldn’t get all the way back, Green River did scratch out three runs during CJ’s time in the game, making for a 3-0 “mini-win” and a 12-3 loss.

On the season, CJ made 13 appearances, including one start, striking out 11 over 30 innings of work.

He finished 0-1 with a save, one of two earned by Gator relievers, and was third-best in ERA among Green River hurlers who made three or more appearances.

The Green River diamond squad was one in transition this spring, with a roster full of fresh faces, and, while the record might not reflect it, it was a team which showed great promise.

Both Smith brothers are expected to return for their sophomore seasons.

Gossip bubbling around Coupeville indicates at least one, and maybe more, former Wolf teammates may seek to join them as Gators next spring.

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Hunter Smith, seen here last season, broke his hand Sunday, ending his freshman college baseball season early. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

He’s out of the lineup, eight games too soon.

Coupeville High School grad Hunter Smith had his freshman college baseball season end prematurely Sunday when he suffered a broken hand thanks to a wayward pitch.

Smith, who is playing with older brother CJ for the Green River College squad, had started 25 of his team’s 28 games this season and was among the team stat leaders in several categories.

Hunter topped the team in walks with 14 (he was also plunked three times, counting his final, unfortunate brush with the ball) and was third in runs (11) and fifth in hits (14).

He had a double and triple and four RBI, while also picking up 45 putouts and 52 assists while playing middle of the infield defense for the Gators.

CJ has spent his first season of college ball as Green River’s primary relief pitcher, going 0-1 with a save across 10 appearances.

The elder Smith is second among the team’s pitchers in appearances, just trailing by one game, and has recorded nine strikeouts in 22.1 innings of work.

Green River, which sits at 4-24 during a major rebuilding season, has four-game stands left against Centralia and Lower Columbia.

While in high school, the Smith brothers led Coupeville baseball back to the promised land.

CJ was the senior pitching ace, and Hunter a slugging sophomore shortstop, in 2016 when the Wolves won their first hardball league crown in 25 years.

Two years later, Hunter, a two-time CHS Male Athlete of the Year, led Coupeville to another Olympic League title, this time in the role CJ played the first time around.

The two brothers reunited this spring as Green River freshmen, winning spots on the baseball team after tryouts.

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