The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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My Oh My: M’s starting pitching could be so good, but right now it’s not

April 18th, 2014 by cstark

It was April 2 and what was I thinking?

I predicted the Mariners were going to win the AL West.

I think I might have gone off my meds that day.

I said the M’s were pitching rich.

Well, 15 games into the season, we now know that’s not true. Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker have yet to throw a pitch, and James Paxton has joined those two on the disabled list.

If — and I hate to use that word because, well, you know why — those guys can get healthy, I still think the Mariners have a shot at winning the AL West. A rotation of Felix Hernandez, Iwakuma, Walker, Paxton and Roenis Elias, the Cuban left-hander who continues to show that belongs in the show, matches up with any in baseball.

When I made that April 2 prediction, I said we’d know a lot about this team after the first 16 games — all of them against AL West rivals. Well, one game was rained out, and the Mariners came out of gate 7-8. Seattle’s lost thee straight and is three games behind first-place Oakland, which won four of six against the M’s mostly because Seattle’s bats went quiet.

So what do we know?

Oakland’s clearly the team to beat. Texas and Anaheim don’t look like playoff teams to me. The A’s have the best pitching in the division … but I think Seattle’s starting rotation could be even better.

I’m not talking about Hernandez, Roenis, Erasmo Ramirez, Chris Young and whomever their fifth starter is at the moment. Ramirez should be erased from the rotation and sent to Tacoma, but I don’t know if the Mariners have anybody better right now.

Seattle’s gone from pitching rich to pitching poor in a hurry, but I’m sticking to my guns. If Iwakuma, Walker and Paxton ever get healthy — sooner, rather than later — I still believe the M’s have a chance to win the AL West.

UPDATE: The M’s announced Brandon Mauer would start on Sunday against Miami. Excited? Didn’t think so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Spieth Show: From Gold Mountain to the Masters

April 13th, 2014 by cstark

Jordan Spieth’ s tied for the lead going into the final round of the Masters, and nobody’s surprised.

You could see the talent when he won the Junior Amateur at Bremerton’s Gold Mountain in July of 2011. He’s my story after the final match on that day.

Did you know that Tacoma’s Mike Greller, who caddied for Spieth at Gold Mountain, is still looping for the young Texan.

Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune filed this story following the third round at the Masters.

Here’s a fun Masters story that’s pretty interesting. An amateur from the club was paired with Rory McIlroy and the club member won. Read it here.

Why not Ricky Fowler? He’s in position to make a run at a green jacket after a third-round 67. Fowler says it’s about time he stepped up in a major. Once again, why not Ricky Fowler?


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

April 10th, 2014 by cstark

Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.

But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts, I think, with playing catch.  No words are necessary. There’s just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping in the leather glove.

My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.

Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:

You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.

It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma — Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.

I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.

Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at $6 million plus incentives.

One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new closer Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?

More stuff

South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his second win and had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the game.

North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split with Western Oregon.

North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week. The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks (14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.

Drew Vettleson’s still looking for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star  was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays organization prior to the start of spring training.

Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the year he hangs tough?

Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be July 20 at Safeco Field. More information here.

Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome. Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…


KAR auctioning off signed Cano, Hernandez jerseys for Goodwin fundraiser on Thursday

April 9th, 2014 by cstark

UPDATE: There will also be signed Robinson Cano, Willie Bloomquist and Abraham Almonte bats to bid on. The signed Cano jersey and bat will be part of a package. We’ll also raffle off some items. Everyone gets tickets at the door.

Went to the Mariners’ opener on Tuesday and there sure were a lot of No. 22 jerseys in the crowd?

Want a chance to own your own signed Robinson Cano No. 22 jersey? How about a Felix Hernandez signed No. 34 jersey or signed Hernandez baseball? Want a chance to bid on Seahawks and Mariners tickets? How about Mariners tickets with field access prior to a game? Want to bid on a foursome of golf with carts at Gold Mountain, Kitsap Golf & Country Club and McCormick Woods? How about a $300 gift card to Clearwater Casino?

Want to hear Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist talk about his Major League Baseball career, or ask him some questions about the current Mariners?

Would you be interested in learning how Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf transitioned from Olympic bobsledder to Olympic broadcaster? Want to ask her some questions?

All of this is possible if you stop by Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods Golf Course for Thursday’s Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting. Things get going with a 6 p.m. social hour. The program starts at 7. There’s no dinner, but there will be a no-host bar.

Tickets are $30 ($25 for KAR members) and $10 for students 18 and under and they will be available at the door.

Proceeds will help build a scoreboard at the South Kitsap High School baseball field that will be named in honor of former coach Elton Goodwin and to the Elton Goodwin Foundation, which will provide scholarship money to South Kitsap students. Bloomquist’s among there the hundreds and hundreds of players Goodwin touched over the years.

A lot of people are donating items for the silent auction. The signed Cano and Hernandez jerseys and trip to a Mariners game with field access will be auctioned off live.

Hope to see you there.


We’re gonna miss ya, Westy

April 6th, 2014 by cstark

NOTE: I wrote this column for The Sun’s Monday, April 7 editions. Information for Pat Westhoff’s funeral and service will be announced later this week. Look for Pat’s obit in The Sun. Wanna know what others are saying on this sad day? Go to Facebook and search Patrick Westhoff. Here’s a story Eric D. Williams wrote when Westy retired from the city in 2002.

PAT WESTHOFF WAS ONE OF A KIND

I’ve been staring at the birthday card I bought for Pat Westhoff a few months ago.

I never got a chance to give it to him. Pat would have turned 68 on Friday, but he died early Sunday morning after a brave fight against cancer. He was surrounded by his family at the home he grew up in on the corner of Fifth and Veneta, across the street from Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Bremerton.

I’d share the words on the card, but the language is a bit too much, if you know what I mean. I’m pretty sure Westy would have gotten a kick out of it.

There was always laughter when you hung with Westy. This little guy might have been 5-foot-4 in his cowboy boots, but he was larger than life. He could make an ordinary day hilarious.

Nobody was safe from Pat’s biting one-liners. Nothing was off limits. He made us laugh at ourselves. Sometimes all it took was a look, a sideways glance or roll of his eyes followed by “jeeezzzz….”

I found myself listening to a lot of Roy Orbison on Sunday. Every time I hear an Orbison song I think of Pat. Along with family, friends and fishing, Pat was definitely into his music.

There was a time when softball, and golf consumed him. I met him through softball, as a fastpitch teammate — he was a shortstop and catcher and later my manager.  He was as competitive as they come on the field and later became the face of softball in our area.

He was a protégé of Andy Pendergast, the late Bremerton Parks and Rec superintendent. Westhoff was the recreation coordinator, the guy who operated all of the softball and basketball leagues in town. He was the district Amateur Softball Association commissioner for years, and represented the area and the state at national meetings.

When he was named rec coordinator in 1969, Bremerton had 20 men’s softball teams. By 1980, he’d turned the program into one of the state’s biggest with 400 registered teams, counting women and youth leagues. Westhoff ruled those leagues with an iron fist.

When the city got more heavily into the golf business, adding the championship Olympic Course to the existing Cascade Course at Gold Mountain, Westhoff was in the middle of it. He was park and rec’s liaison to the project manager and design team during the building of the Olympic Course that opened in 1996 as well as the $3.5 million clubhouse that opened six years later.

Westy had the ear and trust of his bosses — all the way to the mayor’s office. He was a voice of the people, a voice of reason that sometimes cut through the politics and red tape. He also had a golfer’s perspective on what made a golf course challenging and interesting, and his ideas always carried a lot of weight. They named a creek after him on the back nine of the Olympic Course.

Pat’s honesty was refreshing, and it earned him a lot of respect in the community. If he didn’t like something, he shared his opinions. Sugarcoating wasn’t part of his DNA, and he might drop an expletive or two to make his point.

Was Pat Westhoff feisty? Well, is the pope Catholic?

After arguing a call with an umpire, he sailed his bat from the softball diamond in the right-field corner of old Roosevelt Field (now an Olympic College parking lot) over the fence and against the toll-booth on the Warren Avenue Bridge. That’s not an urban tale.

And an angry Westhoff once flung his bat on top of the old wooden grandstands at Roosevelt after striking out. That’s an impressive physical feat for a guy that weighed maybe 130 pounds, but it doesn’t surprise me at all.

Westy never got cheated, whether he was swinging at a rise ball, coming out of his shoes on his tee shots or going chin-to-chest with an umpire.

He was the feistiest, funniest, ballsiest guy a lot of us ever knew, but he was more than a character. He was passionate about life, what he believed in and the people he loved.

Roy Orbison’s still playing, and I’m sneaking peaks at the birthday card I was going to give Pat. Man, he’d have loved that card.

I’m tempted to drink a Coke, his favorite beverage, and light up a cigar in his memory.

Taco Tuesdays, among other days, will never be the same.

We’re going to miss his spirit, his stories, his sense of humor.

Lord, you don’t make ‘em like Pat Westhoff anymore.

 

 


Seahawks and DeSean Jackson? Read the latest buzz

March 28th, 2014 by cstark

The Jared Allen watch has ended for Seahawks’ fans, but it’s time to start a DeSean Jackson watch.

The Eagles released the star wide receiver on Friday, and it didn’t take long for everybody to start speculating on Seattle’s chances of signing him.

Here’s some of the buzz:

Here’s what Doug Farrar of SI.com wrote about the Seahawks’ possible interest in Jackson:

There are two things we know about Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll — they’ll turn every stone to improve their team, and they will take risks on players with “interesting” pasts. They took a shot on Marshawn Lynch in 2010, and Lynch rewarded the team by becoming the heart of the franchise. Lynch played with Jackson at Cal, and defensive tackle Brandon Mebane has Cal ties as well. The Seahawks need a speed receiver with Golden Tate moving on to the Lions and Percy Harvin’s injury status as a constant variable. This is a team with a fairly strong locker room, which could help. And if Jackson is looking to sign with a winner and will take a “prove-it” deal to do so, there are few better options.”

Farrar also lists some other possible landing spots for Jackson.

Here’s what USA Today had to say why Seattle might be interested in Jackson:

They have to replace Golden Tate. The combination of DeSean Jackson and Percy Harvin would be both scary for opponents and scary for the Seahawks. It would be must see TV.”

Thirty minutes after the Eagles released him, Jackson’ spokesperson told USA Today that six teams had called inquiring about his services. Jackson also released a statement denying any involvement with gangs.

From RantSports.com:

“If signed with the Seahawks, Jackson would immediately take over as Seattle’s top receiver. While they have Percey Harvin, he’s an injury waiting to happen and can’t be relied upon. Doug Baldwin showed some promise during their run to the Super Bowl, but is best suited as a No. 3 receiver. After that, the amount of talent is questionable at best. Jackson would bring legitimate No. 1 receiver ability to the Seahawks.

“The only issue standing in the way of a dealis Jackson’s alleged ties to a Los Angeles area gang, which are believed to have played a role in the Eagles’ decision to release him. The Cal product has vehemently denied such ties, but concerns will obviously linger. Before they get seriously involved in talks, expect the Seahawks to do their due diligence.

“Having Jackson in their offense would certainly make things easier for Russell Wilson moving forward, but off-field concerns must be alleviated first. Assuming there’s little to the gang ties story, expect the Seahawks to be big players in signing Jackson.”

More links:

Danny Kelly of fieldgulls.com wraps it up pretty good in this piece. It even includes a photo of Carroll and Jackson in Jackson’s living room when he was a high school all-american. Jackson originally posted the photo on Instagram.

Brady Henderson of 710 ESPN Seattle writes, among other things, about Jackson’s connection to Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll — he recruited Jackson when he was at USC — and to former Cal teammates Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Mebane.

Five days ago, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.nbc.com reported that the Seahawks had no interest in Jackson. Friday, after Jackson was released, Florio had changed his tune, writing that the Seahawks were one of the teams previously interested.


Jared Allen takes the money, and who can blame him?

March 26th, 2014 by cstark

Let’s see, Super Bowl or a four-year, $32 million deal with $15.5 million of it guaranteed?

You can’t blame defensive end Jared Allen for taking the money the Chicago Bears threw at him. That’s a lot of dough.

Besides — and you might not want to hear this — there’s no guarantee the Seattle Seahawks are going to win the Super Bowl next year? The New England Patriots (2004 and 2005) are the last team to repeat. The Hawks might be the favorite going in, and deservedly so, but repeating will not be easy.

If you believe what you read, Seattle offered Allen a two-year, $12 million contract — and about $8 million of it was guaranteed. Not chump change, but it’s not $32 million and the guaranteed money is the big thing. He’s getting nearly twice as much guaranteed money in Chicago.

Hey, it would have been nice to throw Allen in the mix with Michael Bennett, Brandon Mebane and the rest of Seattle’s defensive linemen, but you can’t blame the former Vikings’ star for saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

It’ll be interesting to hear what Allen has to say during his press conference with the Bears’ on Monday.

And it’ll be interesting to see what the Seahawks do in the draft. If they were willing to pay Allen that much, it tells me they must feel there have a need for another top defensive end. There’s also a need for another offensive lineman, and the Seahawks could use another wide receiver, too. They are reportedly still in the mix to bring back Sidney Rice, whom they released.

Here’s a look at the Seahawks free agency scorecard:

Free agents lost: Wide receiver Golden Tate (Detroit), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (Tampa Bay), cornerbacks Brandon Browner  (New England) and Walter Thurmond (NY Giants), offensive linemen Breno Giacomino (NY Jets) and Paul McQuistan (Cleveland) and safety Chris Maragos (Philadelphia).

Players released: Defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant, wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Free agents re-signed: Defensive end Michael Bennett, quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, kicker Steven Hauschka,  defensive tackle Tony McDaniel and tight end Anthony McCoy.

Free agents signed from other teams: Former Jacksonville WR Taylor Price, CFL wide receiver Chris Matthews.

 

 


Kitsapers in college

March 26th, 2014 by cstark

GOLF

UNLV’s Carl Jonson (jr., Bainbridge) earned the first Mountain West Golfer of the Week award of his career. Jonson recorded two top-six finishes last week, tying for sixth at the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, and he finished a career-best fourth at the Jackrabbit Invitational in Primm, Nev. He was five shots off the lead in Tucson, and three back in Primm. Jonson shot 71-69-70—210 on the par-72 Omni Tucson National Course. He carded rounds of 71-67-75 on the Desert Course in Primm. UNLV was fourth at the NIT, and won the Jackrabbit Invitational.

UCLA’s Erynne Lee (jr., Central Kitsap), recently named to the U.S. Curtis Cup team, is tied for 17th after two rounds (69-77—146, +2) at the San Diego State University Farms Invitational. No. 2 UCLA led the tournament. UPDATE: Lee shot -1 71 on Wednesday and wound up tied for fifth. UCLA tied for second.

TRACK AND FIELD

Shane Moskowitz (jr., Central Kitsap) placed second in the mile (4:16.51) at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships earlier this month in Ames, Iowa.

Ruby Roberts (sr., Kingston) was fourth in the Dempsey Indoor at Seattle in the 3,000 meters (9:16.30), and she won the 1,500 (4:26.25) and was second in the 800 (2:09.88) against UCLA in a Pac-12 outdoor meet in Los Angeles last week. … WSU’s CJ Allen (fr., North Mason) won the 400 hurdles (52.20) and ran a leg on the 4×400 relay that placed second to UCLA. … John Fullington (sr., North Mason), a starting offensive lineman on the football team, was fourth in the shot put (52-2) for the Cougars.

Reagan Colyer (fr., North Kitsap) won the 800-meter title (2:11.18) at the Big Sky Indoor Championships earlier this month for Montana. She was third in the 1,600 (4:57.94).

SOFTBALL

Haylee Baker (Sr., Bainbridge/Bellevue CC) is hitting .373 with 5 HRs and 6 doubles for Western Washington (13-8, 5-5 GNAC). The shortstop has 24 RBI, a .712 slugging percentage and .435 on-base percentage. She was recently named GNAC Player of the Week after homering in four straight games against Billings Montana.

BASKETBALL

Former all-state guard Jarell Flora (jr., Bremerton) wound up Seattle University’s third-leading scorer (9.5 points). He’s started 25 of 30 games for the Redhawks (13-17). He averaged 28.4 minutes per game, second-high on the team, and shot .387 from the field (99-256), .367 from 3-point range (55-150) and .705 from the foul line (31-44). Flora averaged 3.2 rebounds and figures to be a key player as a senior.

Forward Jalen Carpenter (so., Bremerton) averaged 8.7points and 5.7 rebounds for Weber State (7-22).  Carpenter started 17 games, averaging 22.2 minutes per game She led the Big Sky club in offensive rebounds (87) and shot .427 from the field (97-227) and .648 from the foul line (59-91).

Guard Krista Stabler (so., Central Kitsap) averaged 7.4 points for St. Martin’s (18-11, 11-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference). She started five games and averaged 20.9 minutes per game. Stabler shot .335 from the field (60-179), .129 from 3-point range (4-31) and .798 from the foul line (91-114).

Kelsey Callaghan (jr., South Kitsap) averaged 2.6 points and 2.2 assists for Western Montana (10-24). She started eight games and averaged 20.2 minutes per game. … Breyenne Mosey (jr., Crosspoint Academey) averaged 4.6 minutes and 1.4 rebounds.

BASEBALL

Tyler Baumgartner (sr., Central Kitsap/Bellevue) continues to swing a hot bat for Oregon (17-6, 5-1 Pac-12). The right-fielder leads the Ducks with a .378 average. He has 10 doubles, 2 triples, 18 RBI and 5 stolen bases.

Two former Olympic College players — pitcher Devin Smith (jr., West Seattle) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (jr., Blaine) — are playing at NCAA Division I Alabama A&M (10-17, 4-5). Smith is 2-3 with a 4.36 ERA after seven appearances, six starts. He has pitched 43.1 innings and has 27 strikeouts, 9 walks. Dhanani has started 17 games and is hitting .203.

Daniel Orr (jr., Kingston, Everett CC) is hitting a team-high .405 for Corban University (16-13, 7-5 NAIA West). The IB/OF has 15 doubles, four triples, one homer and 34 RBI.

Catcher Curtis Wildung (jr., North Kitsap) is hitting .210 for Pacific Lutheran (13-7, 8-3 NWC). Wildung has two HRs, six RBI and has started 17 games.

Pitcher Joe Stevick (jr., Olympic) is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in seven relief appearances for Linfield (18-3, 11-1 Northwest Conference). Stevick has pitched 14.1 innings and has allowed 11 hits with seven strikeouts with just one walk.

Infielder Kasey Bielec (jr., North Mason) is hitting a team-high .391 Central Washington (12-11, 5-7 GNAC). He has four HRs, 19 RBI, 12 walks, a .638 slugging percentage and a .455 on-base percentage. … CWU lefty pitcher Kurtis Pitcher (sr., Klahowya, Western Oregon, Olympic College) is 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA in five starts. He’s allowed 22 hits in 21.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and 12 walks.

Josh Sontag (so., Central Kitsap) is a pitcher/infielder for St. Martin’s (7-17, 2-11 GNAC). Sontag has started four games and relieved in two others. He’s 1-3 with a 7.09 ERA in 26.2 innings. He’s hitting .143.

Pitcher Eli Fultz (fr., Bremerton) is red-shirting at Lewis-Clark State.

If you’re aware of other local athletes competing at four-year schools this spring, please email chuckstark00@gmail.com.


Tuesday ramblings and notes: Heathcote, Hammel, TyBaum, Erynne/earthquake & more

March 18th, 2014 by cstark

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE champion Wichita State enters the NCAA Tournament unbeaten and seeded No. 1 in the Midwest region. The last time a Missouri Valley Conference team entered the tournament unbeaten was 1979, when Larry Bird and Indiana State was grabbing all of the headlines in March.  The No. 1-ranked Sycamores didn’t come away with the title, though.

“Somebody beat them in that championship game,” said Jud Heathcote during a conversation Monday. “It’s been so long, I can’t remember who is was.”

The 86-year-old Heathcote was joking. The South Kitsap grad who grew up in Manchester was the coach of the Michigan State Spartans that year. The Spartans, with a gangly point-guard named Magic Johnson, beat Bird and the Sycamores in the most-watched game in college basketball history.

Heathcote, who lives in Spokane and has season tickets to Gonzaga games, will be in the stands this week when Michigan State plays its first-r0und East regional game on Thursday. Sparty faces Delaware at Veteran Memorial Arena in Spokane. My weekly Thursday column will center on Heathcote, who is still funny as ever and still consumed by the college game.

JASON HAMMEL OF THE CHICAGO CUBS starts Tuesday night in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers. It’ll be just his second Cactus League start, but the right-hander out of South Kitsap High hasn’t been inactive. He’s started a “B” game and went six innings last Thursday against Cubs minor leaguers.

“My first year with the (Orioles), because Florida Spring Training is all (American League) East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel told MLB.com.  ”As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

WAS HOPING ONE-TIME Olympic College basketball coach Ken Bone would get over the hump at Washington State, but too many injuries and lack of depth were his undoing. Seattle U might be a good fit for Bone if Cameron Dollar gets the axe, and it’s been suggested that he might. A lot of people forget that Bone was 77-49 in four years at Portland State, taking the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament his last two years. Bone was 254-97 in 12 years at Seattle Pacific.

Also

Glad to see I didn’t jinx Tyler Baumgartner with this column. The Central Kitsap grad, a senior outfielder at Oregon, was 5-for-11 in a three-game series against USC. Baumgartner was 2-for-5 with a bases-clearing double in a 7-2 series-clinching win on Sunday. He’s now hitting .400 through 19 games. …. Former North Kitsap  and Washington State athlete and ex-professional baseball player Jared Prince is an assistant with the South Kitsap baseball team. Prince, who is living in Tacoma and working toward his masters in education at the University of Puget Sound, was also an assistant with SK’s football team. He’s doing his student teaching at South. … Bremerton’s Marvin Williams has missed 12 NBA games this season because of various injuries. The Utah Jazz are 0-12 in those games. His numbers (9.5 points, 5.1  rebounds) aren’t eye-popping, but the 27-year-old forward has become a solid all-around player and leader for the young Jazz.  … I was always impressed with Denise Baxter, who announced that she is retiring at Central Kitsap as the girls basketball coach. Her teams always played hard and she had a no-nonsense approach and she didn’t seem to let those bothersome parents (you know the ones) get in her head. Central Kitsap’s lucky to have had her around for 20 years.  … Bremerton High grad Jack Evans passed away recently in California. Evans was a member of the 1953 Bremerton High baseball team thet was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. … Former Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Liviu Bird is now writing about soccer for SI.com, among other outlets. Here’s  his story on the Toronto FC after the 2-1 win over the Sounders. … Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly plays in the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship in Panama City this week. After a tie for 23rd in Chile, he missed the cut by two strokes in Brazil last week. He plays in the Louisiana Open in Broussard, La., next week, then returns to the PGA Tour, teeing it up in the Houston Open, April 3-6. … Central Kitsap alum Drew Vettleson got a couple more at bats in a Grapefruit League game for the Washington Nationals. He’s 0-for-3 in two appearances with the big club this spring. … UCLA junior golfer Erynne Lee, a Central Kitsap grad who was picked to play in the Curtis Cup, tweeted this from Los Angeles on Monday:  ”Woke up from a nightmare by an earthquake just now. #frazzled #homesick” … Keep your eye on Ben Tamm, hard-throwing  freshman pitcher at Everet CC. The North Kitsap grad was named MVP of fall ball and has got off to a good start for the Trojans.


Bloomquist, Schaaf headline KAR’s Goodwin fund-raiser

March 13th, 2014 by cstark

If Willie Bloomquist was a Winter Olympic athlete, he said he’d try to be a bobsledder. The event fascinates the South Kitsap grad.

Bree Schaaf, an Olympic High grad,  is a former Olympic bobsled who worked as a broadcaster for NBC at the Sochi Olympics.

Willie, a utility player for the Seattle Marners, will be able to pick Schaaf’s brain about the sport during an April 10 Kitsap Athletic Roundtable event at McCormick Woods Golf Course. The two are going to be the headline speakers.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the purchase of a new scoreboard for the baseball field at South Kitsap High. That field will be named after Elton Goodwin, the Hall of Fame coach who died of a heart attack at 63 after having hip replacement surgery. Man, that’s tough to type. My eyes still get all watery every time I think that Elton’s not around anymore.

Bloomquist played for Goodwin and is one of five of his former players to reach the majors. Jason Ellison, Jason Hammel, Sean Spencer and Aaron Cunningham are the others. Hundreds of others went on to play college baseball.

So here’s the details of the event.

Date: April 10, a Thursday.

When: social hour 6-7 p.m. with the program to follow.

Where: McCormick Woods Golf Course.

Cost: $30 ($25 for KAR members).

There will be several auction items, so bring your wallet.

It should be a fun night, and a chance to listen to two of the most driven and successful athletes to come out of the area.

Tickets are being printed and will be available in advance. We’ll let you know where you can get them as soon as they are distributed.

If you can’t make it and and want to make a donation, you can contact me at chuckstark00@gmail.com, or call Cully Ecklund at 360-470-0747. C’mon, let’s raise some money in Elton’s honor.

 


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