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Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Smith’

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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College baseball players CJ (left) and Hunter Smith hang out with the true star of the family, lil’ sis Scout. (Charlotte Young photo)

The Smith boys are settling into the college baseball life.

After playing four games over the weekend, the Green River College baseball squad, and their Coupeville stars, are coming up fast on the quarter mark of the season.

The Gators have hit a bit of a downward spiral in recent days, dropping their last five to slide to 3-6 on the season, nine games into a 38-game schedule.

But two of the bright points for Green River have been CHS grads CJ and Hunter Smith.

The former is the team’s top relief ace, while the latter is spending his days starting at second base or shortstop.

CJ has appeared in four games, recording his team’s only save and posting a 1.93 ERA.

That’s the lowest number for any Gator pitcher with more than one appearance.

The older of the Smith brothers has thrown 4.2 innings, faced 22 batters, given up just one earned run, whiffed two and plunked another two.

Hunter has started in eight of nine games, racking up three hits, including a triple, while walking four times, scoring four times, and collecting three RBI.

In the field, he has 17 put-outs and a team-high 16 assists.

While the brothers are separated by two years, they are both in their freshmen season at Green River.

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Former Coupeville diamond stars CJ (left) and Hunter Smith show off their new college baseball uniforms Sunday in Kent. (Charlotte Young photo)

Different level, same results.

Former Coupeville High School standouts CJ and Hunter Smith made their college baseball debuts Sunday, and immediately helped their team sweep an Opening Day doubleheader.

The duo, who are freshmen at Green River College, played roles in a pair of wins over visiting Western Washington University.

In the opening game, Hunter started at second base and hit lead-off, drilling a single to keep a Gator rally alive during a 4-1 win.

He also recorded three putouts and two assists while roaming the infield.

In the nightcap, big bro CJ, who was a starting pitcher in high school, made his debut in his new role as Green River’s answer to Mariano Rivera.

Coming out of the bullpen to record the final four outs in a 4-2 victory, he struck out two batters while recording the first save of his new career.

The Smith brothers and their new teammates are right back at it next weekend, with a pair of road doubleheaders.

Green River swings by Pendleton, OR next Saturday, Mar. 9, to play a twin-bill against Blue Mountain, then loops back through Eastern Washington Sunday to play two against Walla Walla.

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Maggie Crimmins moves in for the kill. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Every year is made up of moments.

When we look back at 2018, there’s an endless flow of games – some memorable, some not so much – but, long after most of the scores have been forgotten, the moments remain.

Good, bad, heartbreaking or cheer-inducing, they are what we remember.

As we prepare to slide into 2019, here’s a somewhat haphazard look at what caught my eye over the last couple days as I waded through 818 articles I wrote this year.

 

WINTER:

**The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association denies Coupeville’s bid to move down from 1A to 2B. Despite losing 10% of its student body since the last classification count, when it was already in the 1A basement, CHS is told to stay the course.

**Coupeville boys basketball stuns first-place Klahowya 59-54 on Senior Night, providing a perfect cap to Brad Sherman’s first season as coach.

Hunter Smith goes off for a career-high 35, but it’s Kyle Rockwell who provides the night’s biggest bucket, yanking an offensive rebound free from a rival and immediately powering back up for the game-clinching layup.

**Smith closes his senior season with 382 points. He’s the first Wolf boy to put up back-to-back 300+ point seasons in more than a decade, and with 847 career points, finishes #12 in program history.

**The CMS 7th grade girls hoops squad almost throws a shutout. The Wolves hold Blue Heron scoreless for 30 minutes and 36 seconds in a 32-minute contest, winning 48-2.

**Coupeville loses a beloved coach, as soccer guru Gary Manker passes away at 49. Manker worked extensively with Wolf goaltenders, pulling duty with both girls and boys teams.

**Wolf sophomore Mason Grove scores 337 points in 19 basketball games, narrowly missing Allen Black’s unofficial JV record of 347, set in 2002-2003.

Grove, who tops 30 three times, loses out on the JV mark because his success prompts varsity coaches to call him up, where he tosses in another 51 points for the first unit.

**Down 12 in the fourth quarter, the CMS boys varsity basketball squad roars back to beat Forks on a last-second shot from Xavier Murdy.

With Ja’Kenya Hoskins wiping out the back row, Audrianna Shaw has room to rumble.

**The CMS 8th grade girls hoops team also beats Forks later in the winter, but on a stranger note, when the Spartans coach grabs the ball and goes home with 14 seconds to play, forfeiting the game while screaming every step of the way.

**Dominic Coffman, then a 7th grader, brings a smile to my face as he pulls off a one-man tribute to the Bad Boys era of basketball.

As I wrote then:

Near the end of the third quarter, Coffman stopped a Forks breakaway by delivering a well-timed karate chop to the head of the guy about to drop a layup. Instead, the ball went one way, the rival went the other, and Wolf fans erupted.

Going one better, Coffman stopped a second fast break by leveling a Spartan like a semi-truck hitting a grocery cart full of melons left in the middle of the interstate.

On that one, the ref shook his head, tried to hide his smile and softly intoned, “foul, #1, foot to … the mouth.”

**Jon Atkins steps down as CHS football coach after two seasons at the helm. He’s the first Wolf gridiron coach to beat South Whidbey in back-to-back seasons since the schools started playing for The Bucket.

Legends cram the stands as CHS celebrates 101 years of boys basketball.

**The biggest party of the year, as CHS throws a shindig to celebrate 101 years of boys basketball. The night reunites the 1969-1970 team, which still holds every scoring record in the book, while players from eight decades show up.

After showing great respect to their predecessors, going down a line of legends to shake hands, the modern-day Wolves throttle Chimacum.

The night’s biggest moment comes when Bob Barker, revered coach, teacher and administrator, steps through the gym door, clad in the jacket he wore while coaching that 69-70 team.

I never saw Elvis enter an arena, but Jan. 19, 2018, I came as close as I ever will.

 

SPRING:

**CHS debuts its new stadium, with a cake designed by Emily Stevens, and boys soccer blasting 2A Olympic 4-1 on Mickey Clark Field.

With a stellar senior year, followed by a state softball title with her travel ball squad, 2018 kept Katrina McGranahan smiling.

**Coupeville softball wins five games against pitchers with NCAA D-1 scholarships. Wolves throttle South Whidbey’s Mackenzee Collins twice, and beat Klahowya’s Amber Bumbalough three times.

**Wolf JV softball puts up a 17-batter, 13-run, eight-hit first inning against 2A Sequim, an assault in which the first 11 Wolves reach base safely.

**Mallory Kortuem shatters CHS girls pole vault record by six inches.

**Coupeville closes final season in the Olympic League by taking titles in softball, baseball, girls tennis, boys track and girls track. Boys soccer only crown to evade Wolves, but while booters can’t catch Klahowya, they do post best-ever finish.

**Girls tennis bounces Chimacum in a winner-take-all match on final day of season, becoming only Wolf program to win titles all four seasons Coupeville was in Olympic League.

Ryan Labrador is all about the nutrition.

**Boys track wins district title, first time Wolves have achieved feat since 2006.

**Party on the pitch, as boys soccer shocks five-time state champ Bellevue Christian 3-0, garnering program’s first playoff win in six seasons.

**Kyle Rockwell makes the play of the year, throwing out a runner at the plate to seal a 1-0 home baseball win over Chimacum.

Rockwell launches a missile from right field which drops flawlessly into Gavin Knoblich’s mitt for the final out.

The victory moves CHS into a first-place tie, and it wins the title later in the week with another shutout of the Cowboys.

**Sophomore Derek Leyva, in his first season at CHS, breaks cousin Abraham’s single-season boys soccer scoring record, finishing with 24 goals.

**Tennis aces Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger cap four-year run as Coupeville’s top doubles duo, claiming 4th at state after winning three of four matches.

**CHS baseball thumps Charles Wright Academy 10-0 in playoff opener, snapping a five-game losing streak in postseason games.

CHS track coach Randy King celebrates a season of triumph.

**Coupeville claims 14 medals at state track meet, spread among nine athletes, while Wolf boys finish 5th in team standings, best in a decade.

Lindsey Roberts (100 hurdles), Danny Conlisk (400) and Jacob Smith (100, 200) all claim 2nd place medals.

**Jacob Smith adds a 5th in the 4 x 400 and 7th in 4 x 100, joining Jon Chittim as the only Wolves to win four competitive medals at the same state track meet.

**After four years, Wolves leave Olympic League.

Despite being smallest of four schools in the conference, CHS snags more varsity wins (185) than Klahowya, Port Townsend or Chimacum.

Coupeville only school to post 40+ wins every year, and only one to twice claim 50+ wins.

**Payton Aparicio and Hunter Smith named CHS Athletes of the Year. It’s Smith’s second-straight win.

 

SUMMER:

**Dr. Jim Shank departs after five action-packed years as Coupeville Schools Superintendent. My pick as the best to ever hold the job, he and his family are now making Burley, Idaho a better place.

**Fresh off graduation, Katrina McGranahan wins a state title while playing select softball with the Seattle Spice.

**Marcus Carr is hired as Coupeville’s new head football coach, becoming the program’s fifth head coach in nine seasons.

Madison Ford, the future of Wolf sports.

**The ancient scrolls read: “A child, born from two Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Famers, will rise to become the greatest Wolf athlete of all time.” You heard it here first – Madison Ford, daughter of Jordan Ford and Mikayla Elfrank, is the Chosen One.

 

FALL:

**Cross country returns to CHS and CMS for first time in two decades.

While individual runners trained and traveled with other schools in recent years, Wolves hire Natasha Bamberger and Elizabeth Bitting to restart programs inside Coupeville schools, and both teams have strong turnout.

**The North Sound Conference, which reunites Coupeville with former rivals from the Cascade Conference, including neighbor South Whidbey, begins play.

**CHS boys tennis beats South Whidbey for first time in 14 years, and do it twice. Sparked by the sweep, Wolves claim 4th in their debut in the eight-team, private school-dominated Emerald City League, toughest tennis conference in the state.

**JV volleyball player Izzy Wells rips off 16 consecutive points on serve against Port Townsend.

Emma Smith (left) and Ashley Menges closed stellar volleyball careers.

**Emma Smith, on the day she turns 18, writes a fairy tale, playing out of her mind all match, before delivering the night’s final point as Coupeville volleyball wins an epic five-setter on South Whidbey’s court.

As I wrote at the time:

In the stands, Konni Smith, her voice strained by a night of screaming for her daughter, suddenly found one final holler.

Because, out there on the court, Emma Smith, twirling into the air, arms above her, fingertips quivering with anticipation, found the ball in mid-flight, stopped time, and flicked the biggest shot she’s nailed in a career full of nailing big shots.

The ball hit the ground, the Falcons whiffed, Konni and associates lost their minds and Emma’s cool as a cucumber younger sister, Savannah, almost looked up from her phone.

Almost.

**CHS football, which had lost five-straight games to Port Townsend, being outscored 270-32, travels across the water and drills the RedHawks 28-18.

Sean Toomey-Stout (6) and Ben Smith wrap up a rival runner.

**Wolf football, with a new coaching staff and a new spirit rippling through the program, get off to a 3-1 start and make me write stuff like this:

It begins with a rumble, rapidly spreading from the bottom of his shoes to the top of his electric-shocked hair.

The rumble becomes a guttural howl, and then his body begins to shimmy and shake, his head flies backwards, his arms pumping, his fists shaking as they slam into his chest.

Emerging from the haze of a rain storm, Alex Turner is dancing and behind him, sprawled on the sodden turf, another vanquished foe lies in a heap.

Often the Coupeville High School senior is celebrating one of his own back-breaking tackles, but Friday night in La Conner, he also did the full-on freak-out when teammates like Andrew Martin and Matt Hilborn were dropping hay-makers.

Every time Turner’s hips went in over-drive, the mass of Wolf fans who traveled down the highway to watch Coupeville administer a 33-12 whuppin’ on their old-school rivals, went bonkers.

Ignoring the frequent bursts of rain, the gusts of wind, and the fragrant aroma of manure wafting in off of nearby fields, Turner’s classmates, his fellow Wolf athletes, parents, alumni and random passerby grooved along with him.

“Dude’s crazy … craaaaaaaazzzzzyyyy … and I like it man,” said one former CHS coach.

**Denny Zylstra, a legend as both a Coupeville athlete and coach, passes away at 78.

**New concession stand and permanent bathrooms open at Mickey Clark Field.

**Coupeville goes viral, as a video of Sean Toomey-Stout taking a kickoff to the house against King’s, covering 95 yards while a wayward deer operates as his lead blocker, goes all the way to ESPN and beyond.

Peytin Vondrak (left) and Ema Smith, reppin’ Coupeville all the way, every day.

**CHS volleyball pulls off one of the most stunning wins in school history during the district playoffs. Down two sets to one, two points from losing the fourth set and being eliminated, Wolves go on an incredible tear.

Winning in five sets, they KO Cedar Park Christian, avenging an earlier-season loss, while keeping their own postseason run alive.

 

and back to WINTER:

**CHS cheer returns to being a competition squad for first time since 2011. Wolves, led by new coach BreAnna Boon, claim two 2nd’s and a 3rd in first meets, while improving score each time out.

**Longtime Wolf tennis coach Ken Stange takes a nasty fall off a ladder, fractures vertebrae, undergoes surgery and emerges wearing a protective shell which makes him look like a bearded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. Good news is, doctors expect a full recovery.

**Basketball fever rages across the land, with senior Lindsey Roberts and freshman Hawthorne Wolfe the leading scorers at the winter break.

Roberts has passed 12 players in the first nine games, and sits at #24 on the girls career scoring chart, while Wolfe is on target to become only fifth CHS boy in 102 seasons to score 100+ points in his freshman season

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