Category Archives: Aaron Cunningham

A few links: Hawks’ Sherman calls ESPN’s Bayless ‘pompous’ and ‘ignorant’

Surprise, surprise, Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is back in the news. The All-Pro corner went off on Skip Bayless, a co-host of ESPN’s First Take.

Sherman called Bayless “ignorant” and “egotistical.”

More Sherman: “In my 24 years of life, I’m better at life than you. I’m better than you.”

“Let’s not get personal,” said Bayless.

The ESPN show, featuring Bayless and Stephen A. Smith, is hardly must-see TV, but on Thursday morning, it was pretty entertaining.

More linkage …

Willie Bloomquist and Team USA opens the World Baseball Classic against Mexico on Friday ( 6 p.m., in Arizona. Bloomquist, a South Kitsap and member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, gives manager Joe Torre a lot of versatility. And he’s thrilled to be wearing the red, white and blue.

“It’s an honor, especially when you get a phone call asking if you’d represent your country,” he told “That’s about as good an honor as you can get. Obviously, I’m thrilled. Whatever role or capacity they want me to fill remains to be seen, but I’m excited to do whatever is asked of me.”

Former South Kitsap pitcher Jason Hammel struck out four in 2 1/3 innings on Thursday against Toronto as the right-hander appears to be right on schedule for the Orioles.

Dominic Boddie, a redshirt freshman walkon tailback from South Kitsap, is the only local player on the University of Washington’s spring football roster.

Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly fired a 3-under 69 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Open and is tied for 28th heading into Friday’s second round. It’s the best start of the season for Kelly, who survived the cut in just one of his first six PGA Tour starts. Most of the world’s best players are playing in the Cadillac Championship at Doral, Fla., but the Puerto Rico Open has a solid field. The winner gets $600,000 and a two-year exemption.

Outfielder Aaron Cunningham, a South Kitsap grad who played for Cleveland a year ago, is 6-for-16 (.375) with three doubles and a home run for the Texas Rangers this spring. His home run came against the Mariners. Cunningham’s a non-roster invitee.

Bremerton’s Jarell Flora made a couple of starts for Seattle University in February and scored a career-high 18 points against UT-Arlington, but he’s been coming off the bench in recent games for the Redhawks (8-20, 3-14 WAC). Flora had seven points in a loss to UC Bakersfield Wednesday, and the 6-5 guard is averaging 5.9 points and 16.8 minutes per game. The redshirt sophomore is fourth on the team in steals (28).

Landon Cray (fr., Chimacum) and Nate Roberts (sr., Central Kitsap) hit 1-2 in the batting order for Seattle U (3-10) in a 4-2 baseball loss to Washington (4-8) on Tuesday at Husky Ballpark. Cray was 2 for 5 with a double and is hitting .289. Roberts tripled in 5 at bats and is hitting .208.

Let’s end it with some links about the Mariners:

This CBS blogger predicts another fourth-place finish for the M’s, which means they won’t finish in the bottom of the AL West for the third straight season. That honor should go to the Houston Astros. Yeah, in case you missed it, the ‘Stros are in the AL West.

Mike Morse is bullish on his new/old team, writes Greg Johns of

Moving the fences in should help Seattle. That’s the gist of this Sporting News report.

Three springs ago, they were writing that the M’s were ready to challenge the Angels. No kidding. In case you forgot, here’s the proof.

Links & Quick Hits: Denny Strickland, Hope Solo, Knucklealls, Leach, M’s, Feuding Northenders, Turf Fields & More

I posted a blog earlier about Denny Strickland dying at age 73. Here’s my column on the 1956 West High grad.

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“We like our female athletes squeaky clean, like Mia Hamm, or crazy hot like Anna Kournikova. We have trouble with somebody like Solo, who has a little bit of crazy in her, a little bit of jerkhole and, yes, a little bit of hot mess. She does not fit the paradigm. She is not necessarily whom we want our little daughters emulating.”

That’s what Jen Floyd Engel of has to say about Hope Solo. Read her column here. If she was willing to marry Jerramy Stevens, you know she’s got more than a little bit of crazy in her.

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Chuck Armstrong confirms that the M’s are possibly interested in signing outfielder Josh Hamilton. “We do need offense,” said the team president. Duh!

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Anybody who has played baseball has attempted to throw a knuckleball while warming up on the sidelines. When you’ve got short, stubby fingers like mind, it’s not easy. You dig your fingernails into the seams of the baseball and you let it fly, wondering if you can make it dance. It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens. You wonder if you could throw it for strikes in a game. Nah, no way. That’s why my hat goes off to R.A. Dickey, the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young Award. And he did it when he was 38!!!

Quick hits

There’s been talk that the Bremerton School District is looking into turfing Memorial Stadium and Legion Field. The district has supposedly asked Olympic College if it would be willing to chip in any money toward the project.

Another rumor: A local soccer club has talked to the city about possibly turfing outdoor soccer fields at Pengergast Park. The kicker is the club would get preferential treatment when it comes to scheduling games. Good or bad idea?

Sources tell me some Kingston officials and parents aren’t crazy about playing all of its future home football games at North Kitsap Stadium in Poulsbo. The district had committed $30,000 to building a press box at Kingston’s field, but pulled it back.  Other districts seem OK with sharing a stadium, but there’s bad blood up north. People can deny it, but it’s true. Poulsbo and Kingston are only separated by eight miles, but they might as well be on opposite sides of the Puget Sound.

Huskies should be 8-4 going into the Kraft Hunger Bowl on Dec. 29 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Navy (currently 6-4) is already committed to the bowl and Washington’s the projected opponent based on being the Pac-12’s No. 6 team. If the Huskies are the Pac-12 No. 12, they could wind up in Las Vegas for a Dec. 22 game against the Mountain West Conference champs, which could be Boise State. Got a preference?

Mike Leach or Marquess Wilson? Who are you siding with? Wilson quit on his teammates, walking off the field during a conditioning drill. Leach has repeatedly hurled verbal insults at his players. Doesn’t mean you have to like it or even respect it, but the Pirate of the Palouse isn’t a bad guy. He’s not politically correct at times,  but you have to like his backbone:  “We’re not changing,” he said. “This isn’t a democracy. We don’t say, ‘You 125 guys, how do you want practice to be and what direction do you want this or that to go?’ We don’t do that. Our standards are what our standards are, and we’re going to hold them to that.”

Seahawks have a bye Sunday, so why not take in this doubleheaders at Olympic College’s Student Center Gym: Olympic plays Chemeketa at 3 p.m. in the men’s season basketball opener at 3 p.m. and the Kitsap Admirals plays the Salem Sabres in a red, white and blue American Basketball Association game at 6 p.m.

Dec. 5: Save the date. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s holding its version of a Hot Stove League at the Arena Sports Bar & Grille. The topic’s baseball and Ken Wilson, president of the West Coast League and former sidekick of Dave Niehaus who has broadcast Mariners’ game the past couple years, will be the featured speaker. Local minor leaguers Drew Vettleson (Rays) and Jared Pricne (Rangers) and others will be part of the program. Social hour at 6 p.m., program at 7. You don’t need to be a KAR member, although memberships are only $25 and the money goes to youth and amateur athletics in the region. Got questions. Email me:

In case you missed it, Central Kitsap grad Todd Linden’s playing in the Dominican Winter League and have five home runs in 22 games. South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham was invited to spring training by the Texas Rangers.


Linden re-writing record books at Triple-A Fresno and more links, updates on Kitsap athletes

Todd Linden said guys might “rag” on him for spending so much time in Triple-A baseball, but he’s OK with it after setting another franchise record with the Fresno Grizzlies of the Pacific Coast League.

The Central Kitsap grad broke the triples record on Wednesday and now holds nine club records — including home runs, most hits and most games played. He’s hitting .282 for Fresno.

“Everything I’ve got is from the game of baseball,” he told the Fresno Bee, “and a lot of my best memories have come from playing in this uniform.”

Here’s the complete story.

Another Central Kitsap grad, Drew Vettleson, had a three-hit game, raising his average to .294 for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Class A team in the Midwest League. It’ll be interesting to see if the Rays promote him to the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the higher Class A Florida State League or Double-A Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League. Tampa Bay’s Triple-A team is the Durham (N.C.) Bulls.

Linden was the No. 41 overall pick in the 2002 MLB draft buy the San Francisco Giants, and was resigned by the Giants’ organization in the offseason. Vettleson was the No. 41 overall pick in 2010. The only local player drafted higher? Poulsbo’s Aaron Sele, who went to the Red Sox 23rd in the first round of the 1991 draft.

Aaron Cunningham, meanwhile, has designed for assignment by the Cleveland Indians and is waiting to see if anyone claims him. If the South Kitsap grad passes through waives he’ll be assigned to Triple-A Columbus.

Willie Bloomquist got his average up to .307 earlier this week, but the Diamondbacks infielder is at .299 going into the weekend. The South Kitsap grad is now back in more of utility role with the D’backs since shortstop Stephen Drew returned to the lineup and third baseman Ryan Roberts was traded. Willie’s seeing time at both spots, filling in for Drew and splitting time at third with Cody Ransom, who was just called up from Reno.

North Kitsap grad Jared Prince continues to struggle at Double-A Frisco of the Texas League. The right fielder is 4-for-36 in his last 10 games and is hitting .213 overall.

More Kitsapers

Chad Reed is making a run at signing Ryan Villopoto, the top supercoss rider in the world, to a new contract. Villopoto will be in the final year of his deal with Kawasaki and Reed wants the Poulsbo rider to be part of his Two Two Motorsports team. FYI: Villopoto recently threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Angels game.

Congrats to ex-Bainbridge/Chimacum star Steven Gray, who has been invited to the Washington Wizards training camp.

PGA golfer Troy Kelly has the week off, but will be teeing it up in next week’s Reno-Tahoe Open, which uses a Stableford format. Kelly is ranked 167th in the world.


Kitsapers in the Pros: Updates on Hammel, Bloomquist, Cunningham, Linden, Prince and Vettleson

Here’s another installment of how our local major leaguers and minor leaguers are doing:

Jason Hammel

Position: P

Team: Baltimore Orioles

High School: South Kitsap

College: Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College

Drafted: Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 10th round, 2002

Birth date: Sept. 2, 1982

Update: In the midst of his best big-league season, Hammel had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Monday, July 16, and is expected to be out at least a month. The knee has bothered him since May. Hammel was 8-2 at one point, and received All-Star consideration as he was one of five nominated to be voted on to the team by fans. Hammel’s currently 8-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 109.1 innings. He’s allowed 97 hits with 106 strikeouts and 39 walks. If he comes back and pitches well, the big right-hander should be rewarded with a handsome multi-year contract.


Willie Bloomquist

Position: OF/IF

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks

High School: South Kitsap

College: Arizona State

Drafted: Seattle Mariners, third round, 1999

Birth date: Nov. 27, 1977

Update: The return of Stephen Drew at shortstop has cut into Bloomquist’s playing time a bit, although the Diamondbacks are now using him at third base and also at shortstop. Drew’s struggled and there’s rumors that Arizona is trying to trade him. I also saw one report where Bloomquist could be traded. The 34-year-old’s stock has never been higher. After a solid 2011 in which he helped the D’backs win the  NL West, Bloomquist is having an even better year. He’s had four straight multiple-hit games, raising his average to .304. He was 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs in his last start on Saturday and is hitting .356 over his last 10 games. His on-base percentage is up to .330. He hasn’t hit any home runs this season after hitting four a year ago. He’s still aggressive on the bases, but he hasn’t been as effective as past years. He’s got seven steals, but has been caught stealing 10 times. He had 20 steals a year ago.

Aaron Cunningham

Position: OF

Team: Cleveland Indians

High School: South Kitsap

College: Everett Community College

Drafted: Chicago White Sox, sixth round, 2005

Birth date: April 24, 1986

Update: Used primarily as a defensive replacement in late innings, Cunningham’s played in 70 games and has just 96 at-bats. He’s finding out how difficult it is to hit when you’re at-bats are few and hard to get. He’s hitting .177 (1-for-12 in his last 10 appearances, which included two starts).


Todd Linden

Organization: San Francisco

Position: OF/IB/DH

Team: Fresno Giants, Class AAA Pacific Coast League

High School: Central Kitsap

Colleges: Washington, Louisiana State

Drafted: San Francisco Giants, first round (supplemental), 2001

Birth date: June 30, 1980

Update: It’s been a record-breaking year for the former major leaguer in Fresno. He broke the franchise record of most games played earlier this season. Linden set the franchise’s career home run record Thursday when he hit a second-inning homer in the Grizzlies’ 10-9 loss to Las Vegas. Linden’s eighth home run of the season was No. 80 for his career, passing Damon Minor’s 79. Linden tied Tony Torcato’s career hits record (530) on Saturday. After playing Independent League baseball in Canada a year ago, Linden’s return to Triple-A has been productive. He’s hitting .282 with 8 homers, 19 doubles, 4 triples and 47 RBI. He’s 11-36 (.306) over his last 10 games. He’s got a .370 on-base percentage and .449 slugging average. Linden’s been used at DH, first base and in the outfield.

Jared Prince

Organization: Texas Rangers

Position: OF

Team: Frisco RoughRiders, Class AA Texas League

High School: North Kitsap

College: Washington State

Drafted: Rangers, 34th round, 2009

Birth date: May 26, 1986

Update: It’s been a rough year at the plate of the Roughrider. Prince is 4-for-37 (.108) over his last 10 games, dropping his average to .219. He has shown more pop than in past seasons, hitting 9 home runs in 77 games.

Drew Vettleson

Organization: Tampa Bay Rays

Position: OF

Team: Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods, Class A Midwest League

High School: Central Kitsap

College: None

Drafted: Tampa Bay Rays, first round (supplemental), 2010

Birth date: July 19, 1991

Update: Vettleson, who just turned 21, is looking more and more like the real deal. Check out his report.  The former switch-pitcher — he pitched with both arms through high school —  was 3-for-5 with a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 10-9 loss to Clinton on Sunday. He had four RBIs in the game. He’s batting .310 (13-for-42) in his last 10 games and is at .290 for year with 9 HRs, 49 RBI and 16 steals. He leads the Hot Rods in hits (103) and runs (59) and is second in all of professional baseball in outfield assists with 16 (he had 10 in April, and Midwest League runners probably aren’t testing his arm much anymore).


Read more:

Villopoto and ESPYs, Willie B., Marvin & More

Quick hits on a Thursday night while chasing deadline with the daily miracle:

Villopoto up for an ESPY Award
I’ve been out of action for a week, and I just noticed that Poulsbo motocross champion Ryan Villopoto has been nominated for an ESPY in the Best Male Action Sports Athlete category.
The 2012 ESPY’s will be televised live Wednesday at 6 p.m. on ESPN From the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Villopoto’s got some stiff competition. Snowboarder adn X Games superstar Shaun White is a six-time winner of the fan-voted awarded. The world’s best surfer Kelly Slater, and best all-around snowboarder Travis Rice, are the others.
Villopoto won the AMA World Supercross and AMA Motocross titles in 2011, in addition to the $1 million Monster Energy Cup, and led Team USA to victory at the Motocross of Nations. He defended his Supercross title in 2012 but a knee injury prevented him from defending his outdoor AMA title.
Click here to vote for Ryan. Voting ends Monday, July 9 at 11:59 p.m.

Good times for SK big leaguers

Orioles pitcher Jason Hammel was nominated for the MLB All-Star game. A tough-luck loser to the Mariners on Monday, Hammel didn’t win the fans’ vote, but being nominated for the honor had to be satisfying. The 29-year-old’s got a chance for a big contract if he can keep it up through the second half of the season. He finished third in the fan balloting. We sent Jeff Graham over to talk to Hammel on Monday. In case you missed it, here’s his story.

Willie Bloomquist, now seeing action at third base and shortstop for the Diamondbacks, raised his average to .301 after another multi-hit game on Wednesday (3-for-5 with a stolen base). This guy makes an argument that Willie is more deserving of a spot in the All Star game than Atlanta’s Rafael Furcal.

And Aaron Cunningham hit his first home run and collected a couple of pinch-hit singles in recent games for the Indians. Little-used until now, maybe it’ll translate into some more playing time. Cunningham, by the way, got the silent treatment from his teammates after hitting his home run.

Marvin heads to Utah

The deal won’t be official until July 11, but it looks like Marvin Gaye Williams will be playing for the Utah Jazz next season. It’s the best thing that could happen to the 6-foot-9 Bremertonian. Seven years in Atlanta was enough. It wasn’t Marvin’s fault that the Hawks passed on Deron Williams and Chris Paul, to take him with the No. 2 pick. That was always going to be over his head. Plus, he was never an option on a team that seemed to have too many Marvin-like players. Now Williams gets a second chance to prove that he can be a 15-point, 8-rebound kind of guy. He’s already proven to be unselfish and willing to do the dirty work on defense.

On tap

The Babe Ruth World Series for 13-year-olds is coming Aug. 15-22 — and the host team is the Kitsap County All Stars, not North Kitsap All Stars as somebody wrote last week.

Next week’s West Sound Senior Games. The event for the over-50somethings runs July 11-14.

And Little League’s Western Regional Big League tournament returns to Gene Lobe Fields at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, July 15-20.

The Kitsap Pavilion will be the site of a Reign Forrest Championship MMA card on July 21. Bristol Marunde  is promoting the card.

Random thoughts

Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s not much of a buzz about the coming football season for the Washington Huskies? Seems like the Dawgs are now playing second fiddle to the Seahawks in the region.

Congrats to Bremerton’s Nathan Adrian on winning the 100 free at the U.S. Olympic trials. I’m sure he’s disappointed about not qualifying in the 50, but counting the relays, he’s still got a chance to win three medals in London. That, I think, would ease any pain he might be feeling about being KO’d in the 50.

Nobody ever asked my opinion about Seattle’s offensive woes, but after being laid up for a week or so and able to watch more Mariners’ baseball than I’ve watched in a long time, I’ve got a theory on the M’s hitting woes: Maybe it’s because of their youth, but as a group, Seattle’s hitters are not very selective when it comes to the pitches they flail at. Good hitters swing at strikes. I’ve never seen so many guys swing at bad pitches at the Major League level.

And while we’re on the subject of Mariners’ hitters, who’s tired of watching Ichiro bail out of the box and hit those weak pop flies to the opposite field?

I really like the blue-collar approach of Kyle Johnson, Matt Friesen and most of the Kitsap Pumas. They’re not afraid to stick their nose in their and makes things happen.

That’s all I got. Deadline’s looming.




All things baseball: Nicknames, Kitsap updates, draft

Diving right in:

The unbeaten Kitsap BlueJackets, rained out Monday at Walla Walla, play a West Coast League baseball doubleheader today. First game starts at 5 p.m. Walla Walla Sweets. Ya gotta like that nickname. Can’t be many teams named after an onion.

Speaking of nicknames, what do you think of the Joliet Slammers? The mascot of the Frontier League club in Illinois? J.L. Bird. Joliet, of course, is a prison town. One of the suggested names for the team was the Joliet Jakes, in honor of the John Belushi character in the “Blues Brothers” movie. Couldn’t do it because the name is copyrighted.

Another of my favorite nicknames also has a prison theme. The Deer Lodge Wardens. I lived in that Montana city for a spell, and there was a time when I wanted to grow up to be a Warden.

Fueled by Vitamin R and maybe some other stuff, I remember sitting in the garage with a buddy, knocking around possible names for the baseball team in Seattle that would eventually be called the Mariners. We came up with, we thought, the perfect name. The year was 1976 and everybody was going to be celebrating the Bi-Centennial of our country. And what could be more American than having the Red, White and Blue Sox in the American League? Yep, the Seattle Blue Sox. I still can’t figure out why I didn’t win the name-the-team contest.

And, just in case you didn’t know, the BlueJackets aren’t named after some native bird. BlueJacket is a tern for an enlisted sailor in the Navy. The Bluejackets’ Manual is the also the basic handbook for U.S. Navy personnel. And the Bremerton BlueJackets were a minor league baseball team that played in the Class B Western International League from 1947-49. Home field? Roosevelt Field. Every time I drive by that concrete parking lot next to the Warren Avenue Bridge I think of Roosevelt Field.

You gotta favorite team  nickname? C’mon, let’s hear it.

Kitsap updates:

Baltimore’s Jason Hammel (6-2, 3.,06 ERA) will seek his seventh win Tuesday when the South Kitsap grad pitches against Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Hammel suggested that Toronto was stealing signs in his last outing, a 4-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Hammel, 29, beat the Red Sox earlier in the season.

Willie Bloomquist is hitting .349 (15-for-43) over his last 10 games, raising his average to .283. The Diamondbacks shortstop has been caught stealing seven times in 11 attempts, but that won’t stop the Port Orchard native from being aggressive on the base paths.

Cleveland outfielder Aaron Cunningham, the third SK grad currently in the major leagues, has appeared in 42 games, but is hitting .200 in just 60 at bats for the Indians. He’s 2-for-13 in his last 10 games, three of them starts. The Johnny Damon experiment’s not working out for the Indians, so maybe there’s a chance Cunningham will get more regular at-bats during the second half of the season.

In the minors:

Todd Linden got a day off after a 1-for-19 stretch and responded with a 2-for-3 night on Monday for Triple-A Fresno, a San Francisco farm club.  The veteran from Central Kitsap is hitting .267 and leads the Grizzlies with 37 RBIs. … Outfielder Drew Vettleson from Silverdale is hitting .271 with 4 home runs and 22 RBIs in 55 games for the Bowling Green Hot Rods of the Class A Midwest League. The Hot Rods are a Tampa Bay affiliate. Seattle teammates Joshua Sale, an outfielder hitting  .368 in 20 games, and shortstop Ryan Brett (.322, 5 HRs) will play in the Midwest League All-Star team … Poulsbo’s Jared Prince  is hitting .214, but has five home runs for the Double-A Frisco Roughriders of the Texas League. The Rangers’ farmhand has played in 44 games.

The draft:

Catcher Clint Coulter from Union High in Camas was the state’s highest pick, going 27th overall to the Milwaukee Brewers. He was considered the Pacific NW’s top player.

Other state picks so far: RHP Mitch Gueller, W.F. West (Chehalis), 55th overall (1st Rd, compensation round), Philadelphia; RHP Adrian Sampson, Bellevue College (formerly Bellevue CC), 166th overall (5th round), Pittsburgh; OF Andrew Pullin, Centralia HS, 188th overall (5th round), Philadelphia.


Another surprise for Cunningham at Safeco Field

When Aaron Cunningham emerged from the Cleveland Indians clubhouse prior to Tuesday’s game against the Mariners at Safeco Field, he was surprised to see his dad and sister leaning on the rail next to the Tribe’s dugout.

Chuck and Emily Cunningham — a softball at Bellevue CC — arranged to be part of the Mariners’ grounds crew for Tuesday’s game. Aaron didn’t know anything about it.

It was the second surprise in two days for the South Kitsap grad. Since Monday was an off day, Cunningham headed to  his parents’ home in Port Orchard. When he got there, there was a surprise birthday party waiting for him. He turns 26 on April 24.

Cunningham’s the fourth outfielder for the Indians. He’s not getting a lot of time in the early season, and the Indians just signed 38-year-old Johnny Damon. There’s been speculation that Cunningham or former Mariner Jose Lopez, a backup infielder, could be let go when Damon joins the Indians. Cunningham’s take on all of this is pretty interesting. The former Everett CC star, a sixth-round draft pick by the Chicago White Sox, is thankful for being in the big leagues. He’s started one game and has just 9 at bats, but he is not making any excuses.

Look for my story later tonight or read it in the print edition on Wednesday.


Say hey, Willie B. goes deep one more time with young fan watching

Willie Bloomquist, leading off and playing shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks, got his regular season off to a good start on Friday night, leading off the first inning with a single off San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum and scoring on a Chris Young home run. Bloomquist added another hit in Arizona’s 5-4 win over the Giants.

But it was Wednesday’s final spring training game that made the hair stand up on Willie’s arms. Abe Chase, the 12-year-old fan who called a home run by Bloomquist in a game against the Giants last June, was in the stands at Chase Field and the South Kitsap grad and Port Orchard native responded with another homer — his first of the spring. “I might have to buy you season tickets if this continues,” Bloomquist texted Chase.Read the story here.

In case you missed the original story, here it is.

Other updates on Kitsap’s baseball pros:

Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap) entered the game as a pinch-runner and was 0 for 2 for the Indians in a 7-4, 16-inning loss to Toronto.

Jason Hammel (South Kitsap) opens the year as the No. 3 starter in Baltimore’s rotation. He’ll make  his first start on Sunday. Look for a story on Monday as The Sun  has contracted with a freelance writer to cover Hammel’s debut.

Drew Vettleson (Central Kitsap) is 3 for 7 with two walks and an RBI in his first two games with the Bowling Green (Ky.) Hot Rods, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Class A team in the Midwest League. The outfielder is hitting No. 2 in the order.

Jared Prince (North Kitsap) of the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders was 1 for 3 with a double against the parent Texas Rangers in an exhibition on Wednesday. He faced Yu Darvish in his first at bat, popping up to second. Prince, playing right field and batting  No. 5 in the order is 0 for 8 after two regular-season games.

Todd Linden (Central Kitsap) started at first base and was at No. 4 in the batting order in the first two games for the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies, a San Francisco affiliate. Linden, a former first-round pick by the Giants, is trying to resurrect his career. He’s 1 for 9 after two games. Linden and Grizzlies come to Tacoma for a four-game series, April 21-22-23-24.

Monday morning links and notes: Cunningham, Villopoto, Hammel, rodeo & more

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham will start the season as the fourth outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, who finalized their 25-man roster on Sunday.

Congratulations to Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto, who took all of the drama out of the AMA Supercross season when he wrapped up his second straight title with a win at Houston on Saturday. Here’s a post-race interview. He’s won eighth of 13 races and has not finished lower than fifth this year. He still has four races left, including an April 21 stop at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Jason Hammel’s latest spring outing was a strong one as the Baltimore Orioles starter limited the Yankees to one run over 5.1 innings. Hammel has all but locked up a spot in Baltimore’s rotation.

Former Mariner Jamie Moyer, the ageless one, will begin the season as the Colorado Rockies’ No. 2 starter. Jack Quinn was 49 years, 74 days in 1932 when he won a game for Brooklyn; on opening day, Moyer will be 49 years, 139 days. Colorado will start Moyer against the Mariners, who will start Felix Hernandez, in a spring training game on Monday (ROOT, 1 p.m.)

Heard it through the grapevine:

Jason Ellison, the former South Kitsap star who played in the majors with the Giants, Mariners, Reds and Rangers, is the northwest scout for the Los Angeles Angels.

The Kitsap Stampede is considering moving the Xtreme Bulls event from Sunday to Wednesday night with the Sunday date at Thunderbird Stadium going back to the Demolition Derby. The rodeo performances would be Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Makes sense to me. The Xtreme Bulls would be a good kickoff to the week and put a lot of fannies in the stands on a night that traditionally doesn’t pack ’em in.

Prediction: Kentucky 81, Kansas 70. Kentucky will be one of the few teams that really lives up to the hype. They’ve been tagged as the team to beat from the get-go and they won’t disappoint.

A real solid week for Troy Kelly at the Houston Open: 71-71-72-71—285 and a tie for 47th. Next for the CK grad: RBC Heritage starting April 12 at Harbor Town Golf Links in Hilton Head, S.C.

How do you spell F-O-C-U-S?  I.K. Kim missed a 1-footer —yes, 1-footer — to win the LPGA’s first major of the season — the Kraft Nabisco Championship.




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.