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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for April, 2009

Ex-SK QB Fein Signs With Seahawks

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Tony Fein was among six undrafted free agents signed by the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Some of you might remember Fein, a 2000 South Kitsap graduate, as a strong-armed quarterback for the Wolves.
Fein just completed his senior season as a physical inside linebacker at the University of Mississippi, where he helped the Rebels, one of college football’s best stories last year, beat Texas Tech 47-34 in the Cotton Bowl.

Fein, who turns 27 in July, is an Iraq war veteran, serving 3 1/2 years in the Army after high school. Fein received the Pat Tillman Patriot Award by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, which honors honors athletes who have battled on the football field and on the military battle field.

After being discharged from the Army, Fein was a JC All-American linebacker at Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC before transferring to Ole Miss. Fein was third on the team in tackles as a junior. He got off to a slow start his senior season, adjusting to a new coaching regime headed by Houston Nutt, but he finished fourth on the team in tackles (52) with five for losses.  The 6-foot-2, 247-pound Fein was among some older college football players profiled in ESPN The Magazine earlier this season. Here’s what they had to say:

Ole Miss LB Tony Fein, 26, spent 31/2 years in the Army (one as a recon scout in Iraq) and two years at Scottsdale CC, where he had 26 stops in one game. He reminds his coaches of Patrick Willis—for good reason: Fein had 10 hits and the key stuff in a 31-30 upset at Florida.

LEADING THE WAY
Fein isn’t a vocal leader, just a cog in the machine. “That’s what the Army is,” he says, “a giant team working for the same goals.” Besides, Fein adds, with eight senior starters, the Rebs don’t need his advice. “This team’s pretty mature.”

“There aren’t that many cultural differences,” says Fein of his relationship with his teammates. “We mostly listen to the same things, think the same girls are cute.”

ALSO: Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly signed a free-agent deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers and CWU tight end Jared Bronson signed with the Miami Dolphins.


Pumas Funny Man Tony Kerr

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Thanks to David Falk of the Seattle Examiner, here’s some really funny stuff. Tony Kerr of the Pumas did a little play-by-play of last week’s exhibition game against the Tacoma Tide.
It really is worth listening to. Kerr’s impersonating English announcer John Motson. OK, I have no idea who John Motson is, but you need to check this video out. If the rest of the young Brits the Pumas have signed are like Kerr, it promises to be a fun season for local soccer fans.

The Pumas are back in action today (Saturday) at South Kitsap High, taking on Seattle Pacific at 4:30 p.m. SK plays Bellarmine Prep at 2 p.m., so there’s a chance to watch some pretty good soccer. If that doesn’t satisfy your appetite for “futball,” the Sounders and Earthquakes will be kicking it around Qwest Field later tonight in a game that will be televised by KING TV. No offense to Kevin Calabro, but too bad Kerr’s not calling the action.

And thanks to Ben Pecora of the Pumas for brining Falks’ post to our attention.


All You Wanted to Know About UW Spring Football

Friday, April 24th, 2009

If you’re heading over to Huskyville to check out the spring football game (it starts at 1 p.m.), you might want to visit this UW site. It’s got a lot of information. There will be a place to buy used Husky athletic gear, a kids’ zone and information on available seats for anyone interested in buying season tickets.

The spring football central page is  a good place to catchup on what’s been going on this spring.

Coach Sark’s twitter page, honchoed by Matt Peterson, is here.

Peterson, who’s married to Mike Holmgren’s daughter, is the program’s recruiting coordinator. Many of you probably remember Matt as one of the finest sports writers to pass through the Kitsap Sun.


UW Coaches Tour Coming to McCormick Woods June 8

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Here’s the lowdown on the UW Coaches Tour, which will make its annual stop at McCormick Woods Golf Course on June 8. It’s one of seven stops around the state and is sponsored by the UW Alumni Assocation. They haven’t announced the lineup, but UW head coaches Steve Sarkisian (football), Lorenzo Romar (men’s baskeball) and Tia Jackson (women’s baskeball) are expected to make the trip. We’ll update when we find out for sure.

Cost for golf and dinner is $125 for UWAA members and $156 for non-members. Cost for dinner only is $32 members and $40 non-members. Golf starts with an 11:30 a.m. shotgun start. Social hour is at 4:30 p.m. with the dinner program starting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s best to register early. Call 1-206-543-0540 or 1-800-AUW-ALUM.


Still Waiting on Apple Cup Decision

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

It appears to be a done deal, but there’s been no official announcement on whether the Huskies and Cougars will be playing the Apple Cup at Qwest Field from 2010 to 2015.
Officials at both universities and at First & Goal, Inc., the company founded by Paul Allen to operate Qwest Field, have been mum. That means it’s probably going to happen.
Still, it’s a bit strange. The news created so much controversy last week. Here’s some of the things people were writing:
Here’s what WSU athletic director Jim Sterk had to say.

John Blanchette of The Spokesman-Review weighed in with his opinion.

Husky players don’t mind playing the rivalary game at Qwest.

Pullman’s chamber of commerce is not in favor of the move.

Steve Kelly of the Seattle Times says it’s time to embrace the idea of playing the game at Qwest.

This piece by freelancer Howie Stalwick appeared in The Sun last week.


Three Things: Villopoto Wins; Kelly Returns to PGA Tour; Who Should Seahawks Pick?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

1. Congrats to Ryan Villopoto, who wins his first Supercross race in front of his hometown fans. The Kawasaki rider from Poulsbo led 16 of the 20 laps in the main event at Qwest Field on Saturday night.

It makes you wonder what his season would have been like had he been healthy. After visiting with him, and talking to Jon Mitcheff, his trusted mechanic, it was obvious that Ryan wasn’t himself for much of the season. He missed three races prior to Seattle to get healthy from an intestinal virus, but it sounds like his health was an issue early in the season.

The 20-year-old was feeling good after winning on Saturday.

“This is definitely awesome,” he said. “It really is a double whammy with the win coming in front of the home crowd. This is something that is special. I’m going to remember this for a long time.”

Here’s a story on Ryan that appeared before the Seattle race. His father, Dan Villopoto, is quoted throughout. And here’s the story I wrote last week.

 

2. PGA Tour rookie Troy Kelly is in the field at the Zurich Open in New Orleans this weekend. It’s his first PGA tournament since shooting an opening-round 82 in the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico. The Central Kitsap grad tweaked his back that day during a round that included four double bogeys and a quadruple bogey.

Kelly has missed the cut in four straight PGA events (Bob Hope, Buick Invitational, AT&T Pebble Beach and the Mayakoba Classic) and two Nationwide events since tying for 65th and winning $11,178 in the season-opening Sony Open in Hawaii. His status isn’t what it was after tying for 11th in the final stage of Q-School, which is why he hasn’t been able to get in some of the recent PGA Tournaments.

Kelly’s PGA scoring average is 74.07. The average score on tour is 71.17. You can read his tour stats here. He could use a low round, or at least a couple of back-to-back solid rounds, to regain some of the confidence he must have lost along the way. Kelly’s too talented to be shooting the high numbers he’d been shooting. Maybe this is the week he turns it around.

 

3. Who do the Seahawks take with the fourth pick on Saturday? The sexy pick is USC quarterback Mark Sanchez. Let him learn under Matt Hasselbeck for a couple years. It makes sense to me.

So does drafting Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree. The signing of T.J. Houshmandzadeh would seem to make nix that idea, but the Hawks could be kicking themselves if Crabtree, who looks like the real deal to me, turns out to be the next Larry Fitzgerald.

Of course, the Hawks will probably end up grabbing an offensive tackle. Everybody seems to like Virginia’s Eugene Moore. Seattle does need a replacement for Walter Jones, who is 35 and coming off microfracture knee surgery.

It appears the Seahawks can’t go wrong. That said, Rick Mirer looked like a pretty good pick 16 years ago and we all know how that turned out.

Here’s NFL.com’s draft page.  

 


Weekly Planner: Here’s Some Options for Local Sports Fans

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Looking for something to do this week? Here’s a few options:

 

Monday

* Klahowya visits North Kitsap for a baseball game featuring two of the best in the Olympic League.

* If fastpitch softball is your pleasure, unbeaten North Mason will try to stay that way when it hosts Port Angeles. Both games start at 4 p.m.

* Callaway Golf, in the conjunction with the Callaway Invitational,  is hosting a tent show and demo day that’s open to the public at Gold Mountain from 9 a.m top 1 p.m. The two-day golf tournament, featuring some of the top pros in the northwest, begins with a shotgun start at 1 p.m.

 

Tuesday

* Olympic College’s improved baseball team plays the Douglas Royals from British Columbia in a makeup doubleheader, 1 p.m. at Legion Field. OC, 14-17 overall, lost a pair of one-run games to the Royals last week, but bounced back to earn a split in its four-game series against Everett, one of the NWAACC’s toughest teams.

* The Mariners open a three-game series against Tampa at Safeco Field at 7 p.m. Active military get discounts on Tuesdays. The M’s have lost three of four, but still lead the AL West.

 

Wednesday

* Might be a good night check out Marvin Williams and the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of their NBA playoff series against Dwyane Wade and Miami. The Hawks leads the series 1-0. Game 2 tips off at 5 p.m. and it will be televised by TNT.

* If Mother Nature cooperates, head to Tacoma to watch the Rainiers and Salt Lake Bees. The second game of the four-game series at Cheney Stadium begins at 7 p.m.

 

Thursday

* The annual Tim Higgins Memorial Golf Tournament will be played at Kitsap Golf & Country Club. The best high school golfers in the area will be on display. Tee time is noon.

* Bainbridge takes on Holy Names in a Metro League softball showdown at Husky Stadium on the University of Washington campus. It’s a pretty cool setting for softball if you haven’t seen a game at that facility. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

* The Mariners close out their first homestand with a 3:40 p.m. game. Felix Hernandez is scheduled to pitch for Seattle.

 

Friday

* Central Kitsap and South Kitsap play baseball in Silverdale and fastpitch at South Kitsap’s home field in Port Orchard. It’s the only time the Narrows League rivals, who are in different divisions, will play during the regular season. Both games start at 4 p.m.

 

Saturday

* If you’re a soccer fan, head to Port Orchard for an appealing doubleheader. South Kitsap takes on powerhouse Bellarmine, the state’s top-ranked team, in a battle of Narrows League unbeatens at 2 p.m., and the Kitsap Pumas, a professional USL Premier Developmental League club, takes on Seattle Pacific University in a 4:30 p.m. exhibition. It’s the Pumas final tuneup before opening PDL league play.

* Washington wraps up its spring football drills with a 1 p.m, scrimmage at Husky Stadium.

* Closer to home, da Kitsap Bears open Cascade Football League play against the Peninsula Pirates at 7 p.m. at Silverdale Stadium. Former Klahowya and University of Puget Sound star running back Rory Lee is playing for the semi-pro Bears this year.

* And there’s always the NFL Draft for the die-hard football addict. Who are the Seahawks going to select with the fourth pick? Will the Detroit Lions draft QB Matt Stafford? Tune in to ESPN at 1 p.m. and find out.

* It’s also the traditional opening day for the lake fishing season. There’s free fishing for kids up to 13 at Jarstad Park in Gorst and the Bainbridge Island Sportsmen’s Club will host their annual Huck Finn/Becky Thatcher Fishing Derby at the Irving S. Miller Memorial Pond off Sportsmen’s Club Road. Both events are free. See Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun for information.


Apple Cup to Qwest? No Way; UW Games to Qwest? You Bet

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

The Tacoma News Tribune is reporting that Washington and Washington State have reached an agreement on playing the Apple Cup at Qwest Field from 2010 to 2015.

That, for the lack of  better word, sucks. I understand the reasoning. It’s about money and, well, it’s about money. Both schools would benefit in that regard, but in the big picture, the Cougars would be big losers. That game should be played in Pullman every other year. If the Huskies want to move their home Apple Cup game to Qwest,  a mere six miles from campus, that’s cool.

Washington’s currently trying to get the state to chip in $150 milllion toward a rennovation of Husky Stadium. The stadium needs rennovating, but the university needs to figure out a way to fund it without asking the state for help.

In the meantime, move all of Washington’s home games to Qwest. Can you imagine the noise if the Huskies ever got things turned around? It could be a bigger homefield advantage than Husky Stadium?


Welcome to Safeco: M’s Home Opener

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

I can’t imagine what it must be like to be Ken Griffey Jr. The cheers, the adulation. Griffey just laced a single to right field. The fans rose in unison as he walked to the plate and Junior took his batting helmet off and acknowledged everybody before stepping back into the box.

On a 3-1 count, he ripped a line shot, moving Ronny Cedeno to the third.

Nice moment.

Adrian Beltre’s chopper back to the mound gets Cedeno home. Griffey’s out at second on a force out and veteran Mike Sweeney’s the first guy to greet him at the dugout.

Beltre steals second and is left there as Russell Branyan’s called out on strikes.

It’s 1-0 M’s after the first inning.

I’m not going to provide a lot of play-by-play, but I’ll be checking in with some thoughts and observations as the game goes on.

It might look sunny and warm on TV, but it’s chilly in the shade. It was 48 degrees when the first pitch was tossed at 3:42.

4:09: Silva six up six down. Maybe he is worth $12.5 million.

4:15: OK, Bobblheads. The Griffey bobblehead giveaway’s scheduled for Aug. 7.

4:18: Silva’s still perfect through three innings.

4:20: The M’s three AL West championships banners are hanging above the third-deck seats in right field: 1995, 1997 and 2001. Considering the M’s play in a four-team division, the odds are in their favor to hang another one soon. Is this the season? Are we looking at the Miracle M’s — from 101 losses to a division title?

4:23: E-Me. Yuni Betancourt just hit a foul ball that was coming right at me. I shouda ducked, but I stuck my hand out and deflected it. I think I broke my hand. Nah, just kidding. It would have been my third press box catch, but I muffed it. I’ve lost a step.

4:33: Silva loses perfect game, then no-hitter, then shutout. Hit batter, double by Abreu and a fielder’s choice and it’s 1-1.

4:34: Griffey up again. Another standing O. A ground out to second base.

4:50: Silva gets out of bases loaded jam by striking out Howie Kendrick.

4:55: Kinda different without No. 22 (Willie Bloomquist) on the M’s bench. Oh, wait. There is a No. 22. Don Wakamatsu, the new manager, has Willie’s old number. Bloomquist, by the way, is 1-for-10 for the Royals this season, but produced a web gem the other day, making a diving catch in right field.

Willie would fit in with the style of this Seattle team, but don’t think the M’s would have ever paid him $3.1 million for two years. Ronny Cedeno, the M’s new utility guy, makes $822,500.

5:03: M’s lead 2-1 after Endy Chavez’s RBI single in fifth. Silva’s only thrown 71 pitches through five, so he should be in good shape. Did I just type Silva should be in good shape?

5:13: Torii Hunter’s long homer to left — it hit off the stairway behind the Angels’ bullpen — ties it at 2-2 Griffey leads off the bottom of the sixth with a walk and the fans boo. They want Junior to hit.

5:15: Besides Griffey, who are you other all-time favorite Mariners? What’s your all-time Seattle lineup? Off the top of my head, mine would be something like this:

Ichiro Suzuki OF

Edgar Martinez  DH

John Olerud 1B

Ken Griffey OF

A-Rod 3B

Jay Buhner OF

Brett Boone 2b

Dan Wilson C

Omar Vizquel SS

Randy Johnson P

5:27: Folks, it’s 2-2 with one out in the  top of the seventh, and the Big Buffalo (Carlos Silva) is still pitching. He just threw his 100th pitch. Make that 101 and he’s out of the inning. That, baseball fans, is a quality start.

5:31: If you buy a Mariners’ media guide — they cost $10 — you’ll notice there’s no page for Ken Griffey Jr. You sign after the deadline and that’s what happens. The M’s have inserts, and, no, they won’t be going back to the press to print undated editions. That’s the word from the M’s media relations director Tim Hevly.

5:36: David Aardsma now pitching. He’ll face Chone Figgins to open the eighth inning. This game’s moving right along. Aardsman’s got two saves and hasn’t allowed a run in 3 2/3 innings. You’ve got to tip your hat to Silva. He allowed four hits and walked just one in seven innings. They’ve amended his pitch count to 99. “That’s like a perfect game for Silva,” said the guy next to me.

5:55: Aardsma gets out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth. Griffey, with everyone on their feet, goes down swinging for the second out in the bottom of the eighth. The stage was set for something Griffey magic, but mighty Ken was fooled badly on a changeup from Darren Oliver.

6:02: Oliver fanned Beltre to strike out the side and now it’s on the ninth. Brandon Morrow’s on in relief for Seattle.

6:07: Morrow blows  away Mike Napoli with a 99 mph heater and gets Gary Matthews Jr. to fly out to center on a well-hit ball before Erick Aybar singles to right. Figgins walks on four straight pitches, then gets Kendrick out on a groundball.

Morrow has a way of keeping things interesting thus far this season.

6:11: Bottom of the ninth: Time for somebody to get a hero. Branyan, Lopez and Johjima due up.

6:17: Extra innings.

6:30: Roy Corcoran holds the Angels in check in the 11th. He allowed a hit and a walk, but got out of it. Corcoran’s an unsung player. In 2008, he was the Mariners Unsung Hero, according to the Seattle Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was 6-2 with three saves and a team-low 3.22 ERA in 72 23 innings.

6:33: Gutierrez doubles to lead off the bottom of the 11th. Betancourt, Chavez and Cedeno coming up. Yuni lays down a beaut sacrifice bunt and pitcher Scott Shields throws it into the outfield.

Seattle wins 3-2. Miracle Mariners?


Add Emerald Downs Opener to Weekly Planner

Monday, April 13th, 2009

In a weekend post, I overlooked Emerald Down’s season opener on Friday. So here’s an updated weekly planner for a sports fan looking for something to do this week:

 

Tuesday: The Mariners home opener vs. the ALWest favored Los Angeles Angels , 3:40 p.m. Ichiro won’t play, but he should be available for the rest of the nine-game homestand, which includes games Wednesday and Thursday against the Angels and three-game series against Detroit (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) and Tampa Bay (April 21-23). Are the M’s, off to a 5-2 start, for real?

 

Wednesday: Olympia at Central Kitsap baseball, 4 p.m., in a battle of Narrows League powers. If you want to watch some quality high school baseball, it’s not going to get much better than this. CK, deep at every position, visits Olympia, a perennial powerhouse, on Monday.

 

Friday: South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham and the Sacramento River Cats will be in Tacoma for the Rainiers’ 7:05 p.m. home opener. Sacramento’s the Oakland A’s affiliate and the the Rainiers are the Mariners’ Triple A farm club. This marks Tacoma’s 50th season in the PCL. For a look at their roster, check out this Tacoma News Tribune report, which points out that the Rainiers are over-stocked with first basemen on their roster. Here’s the Rainiers’ season schedule.

And don’t forget Emerald Downs, which is set for its 14th season fo racing. The ponies will be off and running on Friday at the Auburn track. Wasserman, the 2008 Longacres Mile winner, and 2007 Mile winner The Great Face, are tentatively set to run in Friday’s featured $20,000 allowance race. Post time for the first race is at 6 p.m. Forty new LCD TVs — five after every race — will be given away. You can find the season schedule here.
 

Saturday: Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto returns to Qwest Field with the AMA Supercross series, this time riding a 450cc. Villopoto’s missed the past four races with a virus, but was cleared to start riding again and should be ready to go in Seattle. The two-time Supercross lites champion was up to fourth in the points race before the illness and is now ninth. Here’s the points leaders coming into Seattle.

And if you want to stay closer to home, check out the South Kitsap Invitational, a track and field meet where many of our local athletes will be competing. The all-day affair gets started at 10 a.m.


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