Quick hits and a prediction

While you’re here, I’ve got 10 things and a prediction for ya:

1) Silverdale’s Erynne Lee, a freshman at UCLA, is ranked No. 3 in Golf Week’s collegiate rankings after six tournaments. Duke’s Lindy Duncan and Sophia Popov of USC are 1-2 in the latest rankings. UCLA is the No. 1 team. Won’t be long before Lee’s cashing checks on the LPGA Tour.

2) Stephen Drew hasn’t  recovered from a nasty broken ankle suffered last July, and that means the Diamondbacks will run Willie Bloomquist out at shortstop when the defending NL West champions open the season at home against the Giants on Friday, April 6. For Bloomquist, the Port Orchard native who took over for Drew last season, it will be his first Opening Day start. Willie hit .266 a year ago, right near his career average.

3) College basketball’s madness returned to normal this year. No Butler. No George Mason. This year’s Final Four is all royalty: Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas, Louisville. Kentucky’s the obvious favorite. If the Wildcats win the championship game by three points or 11, I’ll hoist one to Mike Gaffke, who is probably running a March Madness pool somewhere. Hell, even if they don’t win by that margin, I’ll hoist one to Mike Gaffke. I’ll forever think of Mike Gaffke this time of year.

4) Bremerton’s Marvin Williams earned his dough on Sunday, playing 44 minutes in Atlanta’s 139-133 four-overtime win against Utah. I thought it might be a career high for the 6-foot-9 forward. I was wrong. He played 51 minutes in an April 8, 2007 game against Philadelphia. Marvin scored 16 points and had nine rebounds last night. His career highs for points? 33 vs. the Sonics in Seattle on Jan. 25, 2008.

5) Olympic College basketball coach Barry Janusch tells me he’s got a line on a 6-foot-11 center from Arizona by way of Philadelphia, and a guard from Tennessee who tried out at UT-Chattanooga might be on his way to Bremerton.  Janusch, who doubles as the athletic director at the junior college, says he’s got some experienced candidates to sort through for the women’s basketball job that is open. He also told me that Seattle Community College is dropping its men’s and women’s basketball programs.

6) Aaron Cunningham’s still in contention to be Cleveland’s starting left fielder or the Indians fourth outfielder, but the South Kitsap grad hasn’t had the best of springs.  Manager Manny Acta has said the job will go to the player who hits and none of the candidates, including Cunningham, have stepped up at the plate. Cunningham, traded to Cleveland by San Diego, was at .210 with one RBI in 10 spring games at last check.

Another SK grad, Jason Hammel, seems to have cemented a spot in Baltimore’s starting rotation. He could wind up as the No. 3 starter for the Orioles. He’s pitched 11.2 innings and has a 3.09 ERA with 12 strikeouts, five walks and 10 hits allowed in four spring starts.

7) Olympic College’s Colin Yoshinaga, the Japanese player whose style of play reminds you a little of Ichiro, can make all of the plays in left field, has a strong arm and a knack for bunting his way on base. The lefty singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in an 8-7 victory over Wenatchee Valley on Sunday.

8) It’s a wonder some big school hasn’t hired Virginia Commonwealth basketball coach Shaka Smart. I’d hire him in an instant.

9) Warren Hood and the Goods. A really good band from Austin with a pretty good name. Marshall Hood and the Bads. His brother’s old band. Never saw ’em, but great name.

10) The Seattle Seahawks’ new battle cry: “Flynn Forever.” We’ll see. QB Matt Flynn still has a lot to prove, but signing him for three years with $10 million guaranteed is a relatively low risk deal with potential for some big-time rewards. At the very least, they’ve upgraded the position. If Flynn wins the starting job, and he should, then Tavaris Jackson gives you some pretty good depth at the most vital position on the team.

Prediction: Next Kitsap-area baseball player to get a chance to play professional baseball? Tyler Baumgartner, former Central Kitsap standout and cousin of Drew Vettleson, the switch-pitching star now playing outfield in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. Baumgartner had a monster year as a freshman outfielder at Bellevue CC, and is drawing a lot of interest from a lot of big-league teams. Tyler’s already signed with Oregon. If you want to see a sweet swing, you can watch him next Saturday when Bellevue takes on Olympic College at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds & Events Center. Doubleheader starts at 1 p.m.

 

 

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