Monthly Archives: October 2009

Tuesday Ramblings

NOTE: Originally, this was posted as Wednesday’s Ramblings. Welcome to my world, where it’s getting harder and harder to keep the days straight.

The Huskies have a bye, the Seahawks are in Dallas on Sunday. Looking for alternatives? Here’s some entertainment options this week:

Thursday: OK, it’s too late to get a ticket to the game at Qwest Field, but the Sounders and Houston Dynamo game will be on ESPN2 Thursday night at 6:30. Any soccer viewing parties planned for the West Sound area? Check out David Falk’s soccer blog at the Seattle Examiner for a little background on this match.

There’s a couple of decent high school football games on tap, too. Central Kitsap travels to Tacoma to play Wilson at Stadium Bowl, and South Kitsap will try to cap an unbeaten regular season with a win over Mount Tahoma at home. Both start at 7 p.m.

Friday: Wow, tough choice here. You can head to the Kitsap Sun Pavilion to watch the “Thriller on the Flat Track” – a roller derby spectable presented by the Slaughter County Vixens — or stop by the Olympic Soccer & Sports Center to watch the  “Monster Brawl” — an amateur mixed martial arts extravaganza. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the roller derby event starting at 7 p.m. The MMAs start grapping at 8 p.m. Look for a story on former world champion kick boxer Victor Solier of Silverdale, who’s training some of the fighters taking part in this event, in The Sun later this week. Both events have Halloween themes. The MMA promoters will award cash prizes to those judged wearing the best costumes. A local band, Tumbleweed, will play at the Pavilion following the roller derby match.

Saturday: Eastern Washington takes on Portland State in the Battle on the Sound at Qwest Field in Seattle. The Eagles of EWU received some good news today when its postseason ban was lifted by the NCAA. Central Kitsap product Ryan Forney is a starting senior lineman for the Eagles and South Kitsap grad Rinard Williams is a defensive lineman.

Sunday: It’s one of the biggest sports days of the year. Check out this column by Jim Litke of the Associated Press. He writes: Come Sunday, for only the second time ever, all four of North America’s major pro sports leagues – football, baseball, basketball and hockey – will be playing games that count on the same day, some two dozen in all.

QUICK HITS

* There’s a lot on the line in the annual Olympic College Red-Black World Series, which ends the fall season for the Rangers’ baseball team. The series is currently tied 2-2. Weather permitting, Game 5 will be Wednesday at Legion Field. The stakes? Losers have to eat last on all road trips, plus pack up and carry the gear all season.

* I like the Yankees to beat the Phillies in seven games. I just hope the World Series ends before Thanksgiving day.

* When the Seahawks signed veterans Edgerrin James and Lawyor Milloy, it raised some eyebrows. Now, those signings make no sense. It makes no sense to have those old, over-the-hill veterans on the roster. If the team was a lock to make the playoffs, maybe. But with this team going nowhere, they’re taking up space. It’s time to release them and sign younger backups.

* Former Bremerton star Miah Davis is playing pro basketball in Cyrpress this year. Former Central Kitsap star Neil Fryer, who graduated from Eastern Oregon in the spring, signed to play in Costa Rica, according to Eastern’s Web site. And Josh Monagle, the former South Kitsap standout who played two years at Bellevue and a year at Montana Tech, has supposedly taken his game overseas, too.

* Olympic College’s basketball teams started official workouts last week. Reggie Rogers, the former strong man from Chief Sealth in Seattle, was the only recruit who didn’t show up. The Rangers’ men are going to be small — tallest player right now is 6-foot-4 — and athletic. The women, under first-year coach Tammy Helwig, expect to have 10 fulltime players by the time the season starts. That, in itself, would be a major victory as the Rangers’ women haven’t even had enough players to scrimmage in recent years.

* Next Kitsap County Bremerton Athletic Roundtable meeting is set for Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Cloverleaf Sports Bar & Grill. Once again it’ll be a noon meeting. September’s noon meeting drew 64 people. The meeting’s are a little more informal, giving people an opportunity to chat in an open format about sports in the region. There’s no cost, and people order their own lunches off the menu and on their way back to work, or wherever, by 1 p.m.

* Andy Smith, freshman from North Kitsap, reportedly had a solid fall for the Washington Huskies and could challenge for playing time this spring. Among the players he’ll have to beat out is Central Kitsap grad Caleb Brown. And Tyler Sullivan, the hard-throwing right-hander from Kingston, is no longer on the UW roster.

Note: I had the wrong first names for Smith and Sullivan when I first posted this. My apologies.

Dawgs vs. Ducks: Thoughts From the Stadium

SECOND-HALF NOTES

OK, ONE MORE ITEM: Port Orchard native Benji Olson was just honored at the end of the third quarter. The former Husky All-American from South Kitsap was introduced as a Husky Legend. His wife, Tracy, and kids Wyatt and Olivia — both wearing No 10 Jake Locker jerseys — were with him.

ONE MORE THOUGHT: It’s been a tough day for Jake Locker. He’s 17 for 33 for 197 yards and two interceptions. That’s an average of six yards per completion. He’s been sacked four times and hurried a bunch.

NO MIRACLE AT MONTLAKE TODAY: I’m going to sign off. If something dramatic happens, I’ll fire this thing back up. But don’t count on it.

ROUT IS ON: Oregon 36, UW 6. It took the Ducks two plays to get in the end zone after recovering a Chris Polk fumble. Polk gained 15 yards before caughing it up.

PLAYING FASTER: Oregon’s no-huddle offense is giving UW trouble. They’re playing fast. Quick snaps etc. Huskies have been late gettng set a couple of times. Despite a holding call and block in the back that set them back, the Ducks keep motoring down the field. Touchdown: Masoli to D.J. Davis for a 16-yard TD. The drive: 13 plays, 96 yards, 4:08 time of possession. Score: Oregon 29, UW 6.

ROLLER COASTER: Just when you write the Huskies off, Locker hooks up with Kearse for a 45-yard pass. Then, two plays later, Locker’s intercepted at Oregon’s 4.

NOT A GOOD START: Locker sacked on third down and Huskies punt it away. Ducks’ D seems to have figured out Washington. Their linebackers are doing a nice job of dropping into coverage. Locker’s having trouble finding people to throw to. … A Masoli scramble for big yards, a long pass and a 3-yard TD run by Masoli gives Oregon a 22-6 lead. The scoring drive: 3 plays, 53 yards, in 50 seconds. I thought Oregon was going to be Washington’s toughest opponent to date, and as the game goes on, they’re certainly looking like it right now.

WASHINGTON BALL: Huskies will start the second half with the ball after winning the coin toss and deferring to Oregon.

FIRST-HALF NOTES

STYLE: Oregon’s wearing black pants and white jerseys with black helmets and green numbers. All in all, not a bad look by Oregon standards. Wait a minute, I just noticed some duck feathers on the shoulder pads. They just went from kinda cool to, ah, OK.

GOOD START FOR UW: With 3:27 left in the first quarter, Washington leads 3-0. UW defense stopped Oregon twice, forcing a punt that led to good field position for Huskies. Jake Locker marched the team inside Oregon’s nine, where the UW sputtered and settled for a field goal.

WOOF FACTOR: So far, there’s been no in-your-face stuff by either team. No quacking or woofing. At least, that’s the view from high in the sky. Which reminds me, Baird said the Ducks were a “Bobblehead,” kind of team. What he means, I think, is that they’re not afraid to strut their stuff after a big play and give you that “I’m bad,” kind of stuff.

A FIRST: Washington’s up 3-0 after one quarter and that’s the first time the Huskies have held an opponent scoreless in the first 15 minutes this season.

MOMENTUM CHANGER: Oregon’s Rory Cavaille just blocked a Husky punt that Oregon recovered in the end zone for a TD. He blocked it at the 33. A two-point conversion out of the PAT formation gives Oregon an 8-3 lead. with 12:45 left in the half. … Right before the blocked punt, Oregon sacked Locker for the second time on a third-down play. That’s two sacks and two tackles for losses for Oregon.

POLK GOES AND GOES: Chris Polk takes a pitch and runs 34 yards. He tacked on another 20, but stepped out of bounds. That was some Jim Brown kind of stuff. He wouldn’t go down. … Run sparked a drive that got the ball inside Oregon’s 10, but the Dawgs stalled. On fourth and goal form the 2, Locker’s pass was intercepted in the end zone. It wasn’t a bad throw. He rolled right, had nowhere to run and nobody was open so he tried to loft it up high to the back of the end zone, but Oregon had it covered all the way. Should they have kicked a field goal? Note: Polk wasn’t on the field for any of the final four plays. He was walking behind the bench without a helmet I think he dinged something.

DUCKS GET IT GOING: The blocked punt for a TD and pick in the end zone seems to hve fired up the Ducks, who drove to Washington’s 38. Just as I type that, UW’s Mason Foster sacks Oregon QB for a 16-yard loss. Faced with a 2nd and 36, the Ducks complete two passes, the last a beauty to tight end David Paulson, to get the ball down to Washington’s 20. Fans are getting their money’s worth. Can I say that again. Oregon just ran for 7 yards on a fake-field goal to get a first down at the eight. With 2:22 left, QB Masoli scores from a yard out to cap a 14-play, 80-yard drive that took 5:55. Oregon leads 15-3.

DIFFERENCE SO FAR: Special teams. Blocked punt. Fake field goal.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY: Locker’s pass intended for Middleton should have been picked off and returned for a TD by Oregon LB Casey Matthews. Ducks D starting to step it up, making things tough on Locker and Co.

END OF HALF: Oregon 15, UW 3. Maybe. They’re reviewing the last play to see if there’s 1 second left. There is. Huskies will get a shot at a Hail Mary. The ball’s at Oregon’s 45. Timeout Washington. Locker sacked. Wait. It’s not over yet. There’s a flag on the play. Personal foul on Ducks. Washington will snap it from Oregon’s 30 after 15-yard penalty. Huskies going to attempt a field goal. But, first, there’s time for another commercial because Oregon just used a timeout. This is the half that won’t end. Folk’s 48 yard FG is good.

END OF HALF II: Oregon 15, UW 6. It’s over. Really.

PRE-GAME

It’s less than 30 minutes to kickoff.

No signs of hostility so far. No obnoxious Duck fans. No obnoxious Husky fans. So far, it seems like it’s just another game.

But we know it’s not. It’s Oregon-Washington. Beyond the rivalry that it’s become, there’s a lot at stake today. An upset by Washington puts the Huskies back on track to earn a bowl bid, which is pretty remarkable considering where they were a year ago.

For Oregon, the Ducks are 3-0 in the Pac-10, and another road win (they won at UCLA last week) keeps them in control of their own destiny.

I’m not sure anybody saw this coming — for either team. Washington and coach Steve Sarkisian jump-started the expectations in Huskyville with the huge upset of USC. If the UW doesn’t give up a last-second touchdown at Arizona State last week, they would have been playing for the Pac-10 lead today.

After Oregon’s beat down at Boise State in its season opener, nobody would have predicted the Ducks would have rebounded with five straight wins.

Benji Olson was interviewed on the Husky Honks pre-game show. The former South Kitsap and UW star will be honored at the end of the third quarter today. I hope to bump into him. Last month he was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame and somehow I wound up acepting his award. So I’ve got the trophy on his desk. I was going to bring it today, but, yeah, I forgot it.

During the interview, former UW assistant Dick Baird (who writes a blog for us: Coach Baird on Husky Football) reminded Benji about the Toyota pickup truck he drove when he first game to Washington. (Baird thinks the homefield advantage will be the difference today. Read his blog here.)

“Yeah, my knees were up around the steering wheel,” he said. “Felt like I was in a go-kart.”

Olson, after a 10-year NFL career with the Tennessee Titans, now drives an H2Hummer.

Baird joked that after Olson and Olin Kruetz left for the NFL after their junior seasons, that he was fired along with the rest of Jim Lambright’s staff.

Odds of UW-Gonzaga Renewing Series? Slim and ‘Few’

Did you hear what Gonzaga coach Mark Few had to say when asked if the Zags might be willing to play a three-game series against Washington at KeyArena?

This is what he told Seth Davis of SI.com.:

“The chances of that happening are about the same as Big Foot having my baby,” Few said. “That’s like me saying, Gonzaga proposes a five-year deal at Spokane Arena. There, I just made a proposal. That’s as logical as this deal [would be].”

You can read Davis’ entire post here.

It’s not really surprising that Few feels that way. That said, at least the two sides are talking about playing again. And that’s a good thing. Why not a home-and-home series, the way it used to be. If the Huskies want to play their home game against Gonzaga at KeyArena, let ‘em. But Washington should also be willing to travel to Spokane to play Gonzaga in its own gym.

Linden, Johjima, Japanese Baseball

Central Kitsap grad Todd Linden and Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles are about six hours away from playing Game 3 of the Pacific League Climax Series against the Nippon Ham Fighters. (The game starts 2:15 a.m. PST, Thursday). The Ham Fighters lead the best-of-seven series 2-0. Because of its first-place finish in the regular season, the Ham Fighters — great name, eh — started the series with a 1-0 advantage.

The switch-hitting Linden, who started the season with the Yankees Triple-A team, hit .292 for the Golden Eagles, but evidently a sarcastic comment to his 74-year-old manager, a Japanese legend named Namura, in the final game of the regular season got him in hot water. Linden was deactivated for the first round of the playoffs, but he’s apologized and he’s back in the lineup.

Stage 2 of the Pacific League Climax Series gets underway this Wednesday at the Sapporo Dome, home of the Nippon Ham Fighters.  Just like the crazy CFL compared to the NFL, the playoff format is slightly different in Japan.  Since the Fighters are the higher seed, they will not only get home field advantage for all games, but will even begin the series with a 1 win advantage.  This means that the Fighters will only have to win three games to advance to the Nippon Series, while the Eagles will have to win four.  It won’t be easy for either team though.  There are a couple of interesting subplots that have been brewing since the end of the regular season for both teams, let’s take a look at those first before diving into the head-to-head numbers.

Thanks to Linden’s dad, Dave, here’s the best site to follow Linden and the Eagles. It’s a fan blog, titled Where Eagles Dare.

There’s some interesting insights to Japanese baseball. Consider this paragraph by the blogger:

I had planned on circulating around the stadium this afternoon to conduct a small poll, the question being, “Do you want Todd Linden to return to the Eagles next season?” My better half contacted the Rakuten Eagles to see if I would be allowed to do this, and the answer was no. Apparently I need to get permission from the Miyagi Prefectural government to conduct a public opinion poll. To better put it into perspective, if I wanted to conduct a poll in, say, Palm Springs, California, about whether or not water is wet, I would have to contact the California State government in Sacramento to get permission. Living in Japan continues to amaze me.

You’ll find some Kenji Johjima news and notes at this site. This is what Sadaharu Oh had to say about the catcher who just told Seattle he was leaving two years of guaranteed money to go back home to Japan:

On Johjima leaving the Mariners…

He must have had a really good reason to return to the Japan in the middle of a 3-year deal, but regardless, his return is good for baseball in Japan.  He’s a player with character and poise.

He’s a student of yours…

I know his story from his start with the team.  I even visited his school for his team entrance application.  So in that sense, I do have some memories of him.

The club still hasn’t said anything about what they might do…

The whole club needs to think about what to do.  The COO Takeuchi and the manager Akiyama have had conversations on it, but we’re not in a place where we can make a decision right away.

Your personal opinion…

I think we need his presence.  He has baseball skills and has the ability to pull a team together.  There’s something special about him.  He was popular here.  I think it would be great if he can return to Fukuoka wearing a Hawks’ uniform.

Wednesday Links: Dawgs, Hawks, Marvin, Kelly

Atlanta’s Marvin Williams is ready to raise his game. That’s the focus of this story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about the fifth-year pro out of Bremerton.

It reads, in part:

Williams has shown flashes of his scoring potential when the Hawks needed it most. Last season, with captain and All-Star Joe Johnson out sick for a two-game stretch in early February, Williams chimed in with two outstanding efforts in back-to-back road wins. He pounded Minnesota for 23 points and 10 rebounds in 94-86 win Feb. 4 and hammered Charlotte with a game-high 29 points and seven rebounds in a 102-97 win two nights later.

“That was one of the turning points of our season,” Johnson said. “I was back here [in Atlanta] and I remember watching those games and thinking to myself, ‘We’ve got to get Marvin playing like this all the time.’ If we do, we’re even tougher to deal with.”


* Here’s an interesting look at Troy Kelly’s golf season and how he rediscovered his game on the Nationwide Tour. It’s a column by Larry Bohannan of the Desert Sun. Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad, now makes his home in LaQuinta, Calif.

Kelly didn’t make it into the Frys.com Open. Too bad, because Kelly’s had some success at the Grayhawk Golf Course in Scottsdale, Ariz., which is hosting the tournament. Kelly told me he expects to get in next week’s PGA Tour event in Viking Open in Mississippi. Then he’ll be off until he plays in the second stage of Q-School, Nov. 18-21. If he makes it out of the second stage, it’s on to Bear Lake CC at West Palm Beach, Fla, for the final stage of Q-School. The final stage was at PGA West in LaQuinta in 2008.

* Washington coach Steve Sarkisian could get consideration for national coach of the year if his Huskies can upset Oregon on Saturday and finish the year with a win over Washington State and go to a bowl game. That’s the word from Ted Miller at ESPN.com.

* Is the Seahawks season over? That’s ridiculous says QB Matt Hasselbeck. Here’s Eric Williams’ story from the News Tribune in Tacoma.

Friday Night Videos

Grab a bag of popcorn and snuggle up by your computer. Here’s some video’s to keep you entertained after you’re done watching our Friday night live streaming video high school football game:

* It’s been a while since we’ve heard from John Riggins, the former Redskins’ fullback. Last time I saw him in person he was jogging back to the team bus outside the Kingdome with a bottle of whiskey in his back pocket.

Well, Riggo’s still a pretty colorful tell-it-like-is kind of guy. Check out this video where he calls Jim Zorn out. He says Zorn’s not an NFL coach. “You can coach my son in high school anytime … nail biters for sure.”

Anyway, check out the video here:

* Bremerton’s Olympic hopeful Bree Schaaf talks about the difference between bobsled and skeleton and other things in this interview with Comcast. Bree won a U.S. team selection race on Thursday and seems to be in pretty good shape to secure a berth on the World Cup team. If she’s one of the American’s top two drivers after the World Cup, she’ll be competing in the Olympics at Whistler, B.C., in February.

* Port Orchard’s Jon Hohol was in Portland last week competing in the world handball championships. He got some video of the championship match between Ireland’s Paul Brady (red shirt) and Texas’ Alan Garner. Brady won the match. If you haven’t seen handball played at a top level, this will give you an idea why I think it’s one of the best sports around.

‘For All You Fans Who Left Early …’

“For all of you fans who left early …”

Those words are haunting me .

As I write this, it’s been almost 24 hours since the Miracle on Montlake, and I can still hear the voice of Husky broadcaster Bob Rondeau. I was in my truck with my buddy. We scadaddled from Husky Stadium with about four minutes left in Saturday’s game. Arizona had just kicked another field goal, putting the Wildcats up 33-21.

Hey, it’ s a long drive back to B-town. Beating the traffic seemed like the smart thing to do.

It was the first time I’d been to a Husky football game as a fan in a long time. I ended up with two tickets to the Arizona game months ago, out-bidding some folks at a silent auction. So when the kickoff was switched to a 7:15 p.m.start, I figured this would be a good one to take in without my computer. Besides, those late starts make for lousy columns, or in my case, lousier columns than usual. Sometimes, if the game’s decided early, you can find an angle and pull it off. Sometimes you even have time to grab a quick quote. But on nights like Saturday, when the Huskies turn defeat into victory with a deadline staring you in the face … well, let me just say that I was glad I wasn’t facing that stress.

I spent the night munching on popcorn and peanuts, critiquing the game with my friend, marveling at the spectacle of college football. Before the game we toured the Fan Zone, wondered why they couldn’t put a sander to the old wooden seats, and admired Husky Softball Stadium. What a cool facility. He hadn’t been to a game in several years, and like I said, I’m usually in a working mode when I head across the Sound to take in a game in Seattle. So I was thoroughly enjoying the clear, crisp October night, but feeling for my peers who were going to be dealing with the dreaded Mr. Deadline. The only thing I had to face was the bumper-to-bumper traffic getting out of the University District and a long drive home.

So with the clocking ticking down, and Arizona dissecting the Huskies defense with bubble screen passes — they scored on five straight second-half possessions at one point — and Washington’s offense going nowhere, I posed the obvious question to my buddy: “Whaddya think, wanna beat the traffic?”

And we were gone, faster than the Huskies could score two touchdowns in 62 seconds.

The truck wasn’t far away, and as we rolled out of the parking garage, Jake Locker hooked up with tight end Kavario Middleton for a 25-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it 33-28.

I turned the radio up louder. We wondered, like everyone else, if the Huskies should try an onside kick. Why not? At the time, it seemed like Washington didn’t have the answers when it came to stopping Arizona’s offense. An onside kick seemed like the only option.

UW coach Steve Sarkisian, as we later learned while listening to the postgame show (we were whizzing by Port Orchard on Hwy 16 by then), knew his team had timeouts left. I don’t know how, but he figured his defense could get the ball back. So he opted to kick it deep, and that turned out to be a helluva decision.

“We just wanted ‘em to run the bubble screen one more time,” UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt joked while talking to the Husky Honks afterward. “We were baiting them.”

By now, everybody knows what happened next. Washington burst Arizona’s bubble. You’d almost have to see it to believe it. And, since I wasn’t there, choosing to leave early, I had a hard time believing what Bob Rondeau and his sidekick, Chuck Nelson, were telling us as we crawled from 45th Street towards the I-5 ramp.

A pass intended for Arizona’s Delashaun Dean bounced off Dean’s foot. Linebacker Mason Foster swooped in to not only catch it, but hauled it in and ran 37 yards for a game-winning touchdown. I remember Rondeau saying, “Are you kidding me?” I think I might have said the same to my buddy, who was looking at me in disbelief. We couldn’t believe what we’d just heard. Since I didn’t see it, here’s how the play was reported: by The Sporting News, the Seattle Times, and if you want to see it for yourself, like I did, here’s a YouTube video of the Huskies’ version of the Immaculate Interception.

It was surreal, sitting in my truck, fully aware of what we’d just missed. Ten minutes ago, we’d been sitting in the stands, wondering if people were still going to be drinking the Sark Kool-Aide on Sunday. This would have been Washington’s third straight loss since that win over USC, and frankly, their third-quarter performance against Arizona didn’t give you a lot of confidence about the direction of the program. Perhaps that’s too cynical, but that was the feeling at the time. Reflecting upon it later, you realize that Washington’s defense wasn’t all that pretty, but it was pretty when Arizona got inside the Dawgs’ 20. The Huskies gave up field goals, not TDs, and a goal-line stop on a fourth-and-inches play in the first half was huge.

And somehow the Huskies managed to score 36 points despite a time of possession of just 20:41. Jake Locker had a magical 56-yard TD run, and tossed two touchdowns. Receivers dropped at least three of his passes, including one that ended up being intercepted and another that would have gone for a touchdown.

Just three Saturdays ago, I’d been on the field, watching the final minutes of Washington’s upset of the mighty Trojans. Considering Washington was 0-12 the year before, that Miracle on Montlake was described by some as the greatest victory in Husky history.

You really had to have been there to feel the energy and pure joy in the stadium that day.

For the Miracle on Montlake II, I could only feel numbness … as I listened to the radio.

Sure, I wish I would have hung in there for those final four minutes.  But, you know what, if I was there, I still would have had a hard time believing it.

Now, I can only wonder: Do these Dawgs have a Miracle on Montlake III in ‘em? Oregon visits in two weeks (and it’s a day game, 12:30 p.m. kickoff). A last-second comeback win on a crazy play to beat the dreaded Ducks would be nice. Like the guy in the row behind me said, “I’d rather beat Oregon than Bin Laden.”

And that guy, I’m sure, didn’t miss Saturday’s ending like somebody I know.

Kelly 2nd in Chattanooga

UPDATE:

Troy Kelly finished second at the Chattanooga Classic. He won $54,000, going from 115th on the Nationwide Tour money list somewhere between No. 61 and No. 65 (the official standings haven’t been updated just yet). The top 60 get into the Nationwide Championship event and the top 25 following that tournament earn PGA Tour cards. The top 40 earn don’t have to go through the first- or second-round stages of PGA Q-School. So there’s a lot on the line for Kelly as he heads to Miami for this week’s Nationwide event — the Miccosukee Open.

I just talked to Troy. He said a lesson in Milwaukee with Manuel de la Torre, one of golf’s top instructors, helped turn his game around a couple months ago. Tacoma’s Ken Kubitz, who teaches out of Gold Mountain and has worked with Kelly for years, turned the Central Kitsap grad on to de la Torre. That’s who Kubitz learned from. Look for the story in Monday’s print and online editions.

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Troy Kelly just birdied No. 18 to fnish the final round of the Chattanooga Classic with a 7-under par 65 that makes him the leader in the clubhouse.

Chris Baryla is a stroke back with five  holes to play and a couple others on the course are still within striking distance.

If Kelly holds on, he wins $90,000 and will be within range of crawling into the Top 25 on the Nationwide Tour. That’s huge because the Top 25 earn PGA Tour cards for next year. Kelly’s currently 240th on the PGA Tour and would have to go through PGA Tour Qualifying School again if he doesn’t crack the Nationwide’s Top 25.

I’ll post an update later, but I’ve got a few things to do and won’t be around a computer for a while. Here’s the link to the Chattanooga leaderboard.

Sunday Morning Update: Leaving Husky Stadium Early, Kelly in Contention, Hammel Ready to Go, Hus

* OK, count me among the fans who hoofed it out of Husky Stadium Saturday night with about four minutes left. My buddy and I walked out the gates just as Arizona was kicking its final field goal to put the Wildcats up 33-21. The game was over, at least it seemed that way. You can imagine our surprise when we turned the car radio on a few minutes later. Stuck in traffic in the U district, we shook our heads as the Dawgs pulled it out. I plan to write more about this later.

* Four early birdies lifted CK grad Troy Kelly into a share of the lead at the Nationwide Tour’s Chattanooga Classic. I just checked and  he’s still 4 under par, but he’s 2 strokes back and he’s got seven holes left. Follow him here. KELLY UPDATE: After a bogey on No. 13, Kelly birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to move back into sole possession of second. He’s two strokes back of leader Chris Byrla of Canada, who has seven holes left.

* The Rockies and Phillies were snowed out Saturday night, but they’ll try again tonight (TBS, 7 p.m.). Jason Hammel’s still scheduled to pitch for Colorado. Here’s a couple stories about South Kitsap grad. The first one from the Philadelphia Inquirer. And here’s a report from the Denver Post.