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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Archive for the ‘Drew Vettleson’ Category

Covering all bases: Katie Lee, Bill Carter, M’s attendance & more

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Congrats to Katie Lee for her strong showing at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships at The Home Course in Dupont. Lee knocked off Annie Park, the 2013 NCAA champ from USC, 1 up in the round of 64 but lost the next day.

Park and Erynne Lee, Katie’s older sister, are good friends and were teammates on the U.S. Curtis Cup team. Erynne Lee’s taking summer classes prior to her senior year at UCLA. Katie Lee’s also going to UCLA, but will reportedly concentrate on her studies. She will also be the team manager of the women’s golf team. After this week, you wonder if she’ll have second thoughts about putting her clubs away. UCLA coaches are probably thinking the same thing.

… Bill Carter and the Blame are playing at Brother Don’s in Bremerton on July 31. Carter’s a Central Kitsap grad who once played in the Chymes of Freedom. He’s been based in Austin for years and will do a lecture at the Port Townsend Blues Festival and Workshop the day before. His song  “Anything Made of Paper,” was named one of the top 50 Songs of 2013 by American Songwriter Magazine.

… The crowds were pretty good for the Mariners’ three-game series against Oakland before the All-Star break: 32,971 on Friday, 39,204 on Saturday and 25,944 for Sunday’s finale. Almost 100,000 (98,119) for three games. But it’s nothing to get excited about. Despite putting a pretty good product on the field, the fans aren’t exactly flocking to the friendly confines of Safeco Field. Seattle ranks No. 24 in MLB, averaging 23,858 per game. Oakland, always trashed for its low attendance, is No. 23, pulling in 24,137 a game.

… I like the Oakland A’s. There, I said it (or at least wrote it). Maybe the A’s should be our hated rival, kind of like the 49ers are enemy No. 1 when it comes to the Seahawks. But I can’t dig up any hatred for Oakland. It’s a fun team to watch, and the A’s are not coached by Jim Harbaugh.

… Not very kind, but my buddy tells me the Mariners have their own Group of Death. It’s called Ackley, Smoak and  Miller. Ouch!

… Speaking of attendance, the Sounders pulled 64,207 for its game against rival Portland on July 13 and are averaging 42,771 fans a game at The Clink.

… Hard not to like Bjorn Bjorke, the Olympic College golf coach who works for the Ryan Moore Golf Club. Good golfer, good coach, good guy. Here’s a story I wrote about the 34-year-old South Kitsap grad.

… Didn’t watch it, but they tell me the Seattle Seahawks stole the show at the ESPYs.

… If you were the Mariners’ GM, would you pull the trigger on a trade with the Rays for lefty David Price and utility man Ben Zobrist? Who would you give up?

… The Cave Singers are putting in another appearance at the Hi-Fidelity Lounge in Bremerton on Friday, August July 18. Good band. Check ‘em out.

… While researching this story about Bremerton’s Marvin Williams, I was shocked to find out that Kevin Durant led the NBA in technical fouls with 20. Yeah, really. Look it up.

… An 0-for-19 slump has dropped Drew Vettleson’s batting average at Double-A Harrisburg to .200. The Central Kitsap grad had hit three home runs and driven in 11 runs for the Washington Nationals farm team.

… South Kitsap grad Brady Steiger, the former Lewis-Clark State star, is having trouble getting untracked at Class A Staten Island, a Yankees’ farm club. He’s hitting .168 overall and is just 4 for his last 32.

… Aaron Cunningham, another SK product, is hitting .253 at Triple-A Reno. He’s still looking for his first home run for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ affiliate.

… Ripken Reyes, the son of former standout Olympic High athlete Paul Reyes and Central Kitsap grad Heidi (Westhoff) Reyes, is playing in a baseball tournament in Seattle this weekend. Reyes, a middle infielder from Stockton, Calif., has already verbally committed to the University of California. He’ll be a senior next year. Ripken was one of 40 players invited to the Team USA U-17 national development camp, which takes place Aug. 4-8 in Cary, North Carolina.

… Young softball players, ages 8 to 18, are invited to an Olympic College softball skills clinic on Saturday (July 19), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Pendergast Park in West Hills. Cost is $60. OC head coach Dan Haas, assistants Dick Thompson and yours truly, plus OC players will be hand on to provide instruction. Hope to see you there.

 

 


The Jet, Willie, Seahawks, Hammel, World Cup & more

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Here we go, in no particular order:

Dude can fly: James (The Jet) Jones is up to 14 steals (he’s been caught once) through Tuesday and considering he didn’t get his first one until May 1, that’s pretty impressive. Michael Saunders led the Seattle Mariners with 13 steals a year ago. Ichiro (438 steals during his time in Seattle), Jose Cruz (290) and Harold Reynolds (228) are Seattle’s all-time leaders in steals, but the M’s have never had a lot of speed guys. Willie Bloomquist (71) ranks No. 11 in steals in franchise history. Jones, if he’s as good as I think he might be, could pass Willie in the summer of 2015.

Speaking of Willie: The South Kitsap grad is hitting .278, and get this — the M’s are 18-7 when he starts (through Tuesday). That’s the stat that matters, right?

Sherm shuts up: Richard Sherman’s never been at a loss for worlds, but he reportedly isn’t speaking to the media, upset with the Seattle Times because the newspaper published the address of his new home. Got to side with Sherm on that one. Some things don’t need to be printed, and that’s one of ‘em.

Speaking of Seahawks: Sherman, Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson have all been nominated for ESPYs. 

World Cup fever: Portugal’s late goal in extra time against the U.S. in the World Cup was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t take long for me to get over the 2-2 tie. I’m really looking forward to see how Jurgen Klinsmann’s boys do against Germany on Thursday (9 a.m. ESPN). Klinsmann is a former German star, a legend in his country. He played on West Germany’s 1990 World Cup championship team and coached the 2006 German World Cup team. Germany is now coached by Joachim Lowe, a protege of Klinsmann. The U.S., which needs a tie to move on to the round of 16, has five players who grew up in Germany. This one promises to be emotional. I can’t wait.

Speaking of soccer: How ’bout those Pumas? Kitsap’s soccer club is 6-0-4 and has opened a seven-point lead in the Northwest Division of the PDL. Coach Andrew Chapman, the Olympic High grad who has turned Peninsula CC into an NWAACC power, seems to be making all of the right decisions. The Pumas are one of six unbeatens in the 64-team league. Kitsap won a national title in 2011, and it looks like the Pumas are going to make another serious run this summer.

BlueJackets bashing: Kitsap’s summer college baseball team, the BlueJackets, are off to a good start. Kitsap’s 8-5 and just a half-game back of Bellingham in the Western Division of the West Coast League (through Tuesday). They boast the No. 1 (Danny Woodruff, .453) and No. 3 (Alex Bush, .395, 2 HRs, 15 RBI) hitters. Woodruff’s an outfielder from Creighton who played in just seven games as a freshman. Bush is a 6-foot-6, 255-pound first baseman/DH who just graduated from high school in Turlock, California. He’s going to be a freshman at UC Santa Barbara. Kitsap’s second in hitting (.296 average) and eighth in pitching (5.46 ERA) in the 12-team wood-bat league.

Hammel report: Jason Hammel, the 2000 South Kitsap grad who is having a fine season (6-5, 2.99 ERA, 91 Ks, 20 BBs, 96.1 IP, 1.017 WHIP) for the Chicago Cubs, continues to be linked to the Mariners. This report says the Cubs and M’s have had serious talks, and that Chicago wants RHP Edwin Diaz, Seattle’s third-round pick in the 2012 draft, to be part of the package.

Minor league report: Brady Steiger (South Kitsap/WSU/Lewis-Clark St.) hit his first home run as a pro over the weekend. He plays for the Class A Staten Island Yankees. … Drew Vettlesen (Central Kitsap) wrapped up an eight-game rehab stint with the Auburn Doubledays. He was 4-for-4 on Friday and hit .318. The outfielder, who broke a bone in his hand when hit by a ball in April, is back with the Double-A Harrisburg (Pa.) Senators (Nationals) of the Eastern League. He was 2-for-3 with a stolen base on Tuesday. … Aaron Cunningham (South Kitsap/Everett CC) hitting .258 with no homers and 20 RBI for the Reno Aces (Diamondbacks) of the Pacific Coast League.

Back on the tee: Troy Kelly, the Central Kitsap grad whose 2013 golf season was derailed by a knee surgery after playing in just 10 PGA Tour events, is resuming his comeback. He played in four Web.com events earlier, but made just one cut and wasn’t satisfied with his game, so he returned to Tacoma to work on it. There might be some rust when he plays in this week’s Web.com tournament in Newburgh, Indiana. He’s using it as a tuneup for the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic the following week in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Kelly’s got fond memories of Greenbrier, where he shot 6-under 63 in the third round in 2012 to get into contention. He closed with a 66 and wound up losing a playoff on the third hole to Ted Potter. Kelly plans to play four straight weeks. He’ll head to Illinois for the John Deere Classic in Illinois after the Greenbrier Classic before returning to Boise, Idaho, for another Web.com stop. … Kelly’s brother Ryan, his caddie, finished second in the Tacoma City Amateur over the weekend.

Coming Friday: I’ll be writing about “The Legend” later this week. That would be 83-year-old Buzz Edmonds, a three-time winner of the Kitsap Amateur, nine-time club champ at Kitsap Golf & Country Club and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. I chatted with Buzz and some of his golfing buddies earlier this week. The story will publish Friday.

Nice sendoff: South Kitsap’s three-sport star Logan Knowles, who is headed to the Naval Academy to play baseball, wrapped up his high school career by going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and 4 RBI in the consolation game of the Washington State All-State Baseball Series in Yakima. His home run was the only one hit during the weekend.

Recommended reading: Charlie Pierce, who writes for Grantland,com, among other outlets, weighed in on the O’Bannon vs. NCAA trial that is going on. He writes:

” … If you are a college athlete, you must — willingly or unwillingly — help the NCAA and its member institutions keep faith with Coca-Cola. One of the ugly moral truths about all our sports is that athletes represent one of the categories of Americans who can be legally and publicly treated as commodities, and nowhere is that truth more obvious, and more ugly, than in college athletics, where the athletes are not only forbidden from profiting from their own commodification, but also required to help the institutions they represent to profit from it. Then they have to hear the people who profit most from the commodities who play ball for them tell a judge that they’re doing it only for the athlete’s own good. This trial is about the NCAA’s desire to maintain that arrangement forever. Unless you’re afflicted with a kind of moral myopia, this is no less than grotesque.”

 


Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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…


Monday musings and notes …

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Let’s get to it …

Good news for the Seahawks and their fans: Defensive lineman Michael Bennett reportedly turned down more money to  sign a four-year deal with the Seahawks. That’s a big signing as the versatile Bennett was a big part of the NFL’s best defense. He was Seattle’s best pass rusher. What’s the next priority, wide receiver Golden Tate or defensive linemen Clinton McDaniel or Tony McDonald? Tate’s such a good fit, at receiver and as a punter returner, and I still don’t think we’ve seen the best out of him. If he’s willing to take a lesser deal to stay, why not?

34-0: Haven’t paid much attention to NCAA hoops this season, but it’s hard not to pull for unbeaten Wichita State.  They got to the Final Four as a No. 9 seed a year ago. They should be a No. 1 seed this year. If the Shockers run the table, they would be 40-0.  Talk about March Madness.

Willie Bloomquist update: Willie was 3-for-3 on Sunday and seemingly fitting in with the Mariners like a glove. The veteran utility player from South Kitsap is going to be a McCormick Woods Golf Course on April 10 to help raise money for a new scoreboard at the South Kitsap baseball field, which will be re-named for the late, great coach Elton Goodwin. The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable is hosting the event. More details — time, cost, etc. — later this week. Meanwhile, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer wrote about Bloomquist on Sunday.

More Mariners: I know it’s only spring training, but lots of young Mariners are having solid camps in Peoria. Cole Gillespie has caught my eye. Former Oregon State outfielder is hitting .533 (7-for-15) with a double, triple and 7 RBI. He can play left or right. Hit .300 and .308 at Triple-A Reno in 2011 and 2012 with brief MLB duty with Arizona. He spent parts of 2013 with Giants and Cubs. If Corey Hart isn’t ready to go full-time at the start of the season, or if Michael Saunders doesn’t produce, could there be room for a solid, all-around guy like Gillespie? He’s 29. Maybe it’s his time?

Hot, hot hot: Olympic College’s Greta Coleman, sophomore from Kingston, is 9-for-13 in her last three games, all OC victories. She has had four doubles and seven RBI in that stretch, including a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh against Southwest Oregon on Sunday when she ripped a line shot to RCF on an 0-2 count. Coleman and Alexa Eckonomakis are transfers from Shoreline, which dropped its program for a year after going through coaching changes.

Nice RAC: Olympic College’s softball had an opportunity to play at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey on Sunday. Four fields with turf infields and grass outfields. (There’s also six regulation soccer/football/rugby fields). Best complex around. Wonder if the Kitsap rec departments or school districts will ever get one  turfed field for baseball or softball. We’re so far behind you wonder if we can ever catch up.

Troy Kelly birdied three of his final four holes on Sunday to tied for 23rd in the PGA Tour’s Chile Classic in Santiago, Chile. Nice effort after being out of competition for a year. Kelly plays three more Web.com Tour events — in Brazil, Panama and Louisiana — before returning to the PGA Tour at the Houston Open.

Black and red and winning: Did you see who broke out his red shirt and black pants on Sunday while winning a PGA Tour event? Yeah, Patrick Reed, the latest young gun. This Reed guy might be the real thing. He’s 23 and he’s already won three tour events. And he’s pretty confident, too. Pretty confident? Hell, he’s Larry Bird/Muhammad Ali/Richard Sherman on grass. Read this New York Daily News story to get a flavor.

More golf news: UNLV’s Carl Jonson, a junior from Bainbridge, tied for eighth and helped the Rebels win the Collegiate Masters at South Highland Golf Course in Las Vegas.  Jonson shot 4-over 70-78-72—220 and tied for eighth individually in a tournament that featured the toughest field of the season.

The Fat Drug: Nothing to do with sports, but this New York Times story is pretty enlightening.

MLB at-bat: Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson got into a spring training game with the Washington Nationals on Saturday. He was 0-for-1 at the plate.

Interview on deck: Scheduled to talk to Central Kitsap grad and Oregon Duck outfielder Tyler Baumgartner on Tuesday. Baumgartner’s off to a great start. Hope we don’t jinx him.

 


Monday links: Cunningham, Hammel, Vettleson, Bloomquist

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Catching up with some of Kitsap’s baseball pros:

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, a non-roster invitee with the Chicago Cubs, is selling socks in his spare time. Yes, S-O-C-K-S. Read all about it right here. 

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson is liking the advanced camp he’s participating in with the Washington Nationals. Freelancer David Driver writes about Vettleson for the Kitsap Sun.

Hammel, another South Kitsap grad, is in camp with the Chicago Cubs. He and Cunningham could be teammates, although Cunningham will need a big spring. Hammel pitched two innings in a spring training ‘B’ game on Monday and told reporters, “I like to prove people wrong.”

South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist flashed some leather at third base on Friday, making a couple of fine defensive plays and GM Jack Zduriencik said Bloomquist will be the Seattle Mariners’ utility guy. Brad Miller or Nick Franklin will win the starting shortstop position and the other, barring a trade, will wind up at Triple-A Tacoma. And in case you missed it, Bloomquist collected on a  Super Bowl bet with Cleveland’s David Aardsma.

Bloomquist will also be the headliner at an April 10 Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting at McCormick Woods Golf Course in Port Orchard. The event will raise money for a scoreboard that will be placed at Elton Goodwin Field at South Kitsap High School. The SK school board has agreed to name the field after the late, great high school coach. More info on the KAR meeting will be released later this month.

 


Vettleson traded to Nationals

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Central Kitsap grad Drew Vettleson has been traded to the Washington Nationals.

Keith Law of ESPN had rated Vettleson as the Tampa Rays top outfield prospect. Vettleson was the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 MLB draft. It was part of a four-play deal. the Rays gave up Vettleson, catcher Jose Lobaton and Felipe Rivero, a minor-league pitcher, for Nationals RHP Nathan Karns.

Here’s a look at the Nationals 40-man roster, which includes protected starting outfielders Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Denard Span.

Vettleson will likely start the season at Class AA Harrisburg (W.Va.) of the Eastern League. Washington’s Triple-A affiliate is Syracuse, which plays in the International League. He played at high-A Charlotte a year ago when he was in the Rays’ organization.


Quick hits: OC volleyball advances to semis, Kitsap pros, Bree, Kellys, UW, Hawks & more

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Some links and Friday thoughts:

Moving on: Olympic College’s historic volleyball season continues. The Rangers (43-4) beat Tacoma 3-1 at the NWAACC Championships earlier Friday and takes on host Mount Hood Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The match will be streamed live here. Blue Mountain and Highline are in the other semifinal in the double-elimination tournament. OC lost its first set, but roared back to win the next three against Tacoma, a team it beat six straight times during the regular season. Winner’s bracket finals are Saturday at 1:30 p.m. with the championship match Sunday at 3 p.m. All tournament games are being live streamed.

Fantasy time: It’s that time of year when baseball fans can starting dreaming about signing free agents and making trades to help their teams. If you’re a Seattle Mariners fan, wouldn’t it be cool if they could figure out a way to start the 2014 season with Jacob Ellsbury in center field and Sin-Shoo Choo in left and have them hit 1-2 in the order.

Ah, the Huskies: Washington’s 6-4 and the thought of a another 7-6 season has Husky fans howling to the moon. There’s even an @fireSark twitter account out there. That’s a little harsh. Washington’s continuing road struggles and and inability to beat good teams is frustrating. The move to the hurry-up spread offense seemed like a good move at the time, and it still does, but maybe we should have realized that it wasn’t going to be an overnight success. Sark and his staff had been recruiting linemen to play power football for four years, and now they need quick, athletic guys up front to make it work.

And Washington’s lack of depth on the defensive side of the ball has been glaring. When you’re running the quick-strike offense, your defense is going to be on the field a lot, and this Husky defense, as promising as it looked early on, has been very average of late. They’ve not been able to recruit a true pass rusher, an NFL-type defensive end and that has been a problem.

That said, the biggest reason for Washington’s mediocrity is their lack of discipline. The Huskies are the most penalized team in the country and Sarkisian’s teams are among the most penalized in Husky history. Take a look at this report by Steve Rudman of sportspressnw.com. The numbers don’t lie.

As disappointing as this season has been to date, Washington could still finish 9-4 by winning out and 9-4 is pretty good. If that’s how it plays out — Washington beats Oregon State (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN2) on the road, beats Washington State at home (Friday, Nov. 27, 12:30 p.m., FOX) and wins  a bowl game — everybody should be happy.

Seahawks-Saints: Everybody is looking forward to the Nov. 30 MNF showdown at the Clink. The Seahawks (9-1) have a bye this week and the Saints (8-2) are coming off of a rather ho-hum 17-13 win at Atlanta. Seattle won at Atlanta, 33-10, dominating the Falcons in every part of the game. Drew Brees will be a challenge, and the Saints defense is one of the league’s best, but Seattle has been playing at another level the past two weeks. I don’t see any kind of a letdown coming for this, not on a Monday night with the nation watching. I’m looking forward to the matchup between New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham and Seahawks’ safety Cam Chancellor.

Still sliding: Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf won a bronze medal at the North American Cup races in Calgary last weekend, and is competing at Park City, Utah, this weekend. Schaaf finished fifth at the 2010 Winter Olympics and after a year of rehabilitation following hip surgery, she   was fourth at the national selection races last month. Only the top three were picked to compete int he World Cup. The 2014 Olympic team will be announced on Jan. 19 and points collected in international competitions will play a role when the team is named.

“I of course planned on making the national team so it was a bit of a shock and a scramble to make self-funded North American Cup happen,” Schaaf said. “Despite the Games being a long shot now, I found support in a wonderful company out of Denver called Crescent Point. It was truly heartwarming that despite my candor regarding Olympic qualification chances that a company would still have faith and support me like this.”

Schaaf teamed with Tracey Stewart last week.

“This has been a North American Cup like no other,” Schaaf said. “We were fully staffed and felt fortunate to have such incredible coaches along with a team manager and sled tech. Special thanks to Tracey for pushing me and keeping the dream alive.”

Update: Schaaf finished fourth in today’s first race, behind two Americans (No. 1 Elana Meyers and No. 2 Jamie Gruebel but ahead of USA No. 3 driver Jazmine Fenalator, who was eighth). The second race is coming up and will be live streamed.

Kelly green scene: Congratulations are in order for Bob Kelly, father of pro golfer Troy Kelly. Bob recently beat his age, shooting a 66  at Meadowpark Golf Course in Tacoma. One of his other sons, Ryan, also had a hole-in-one at the West Richland Golf Course while winning his amateur division of the Tri-City Budweiser Open in Richland. As for Troy, he plans to play in five Web.com tournaments next year and he’s also exempt for 14 PGA Tour events. Kelly’s 2013 season was cut short because of knee surgery.

Baseball musings: Kansas City’s signing of Jason Vargas (4 years, $32 million) could be a good thing for free agent pitcher Jason Hammel. The Giants reportedly have interest in signing the 6-foot-6 right-hander, a South Kitsap grad. … Willie Bloomquist’s name has been thrown around as a possible utility infielder for the Reds, Red Sox and Dodgers. The free agent from Port Orchard would prefer to re-sign with Arizona, but sounds like that might he a long shot. Last time around the free agency trail, Bloomquist turned down more money from the Giants to sign with the Diamondbacks. … Bloomquist and Jason Ellison were among those attending the memorial service for their ex-high school coach, Elton Goodwin, last weekend. … In case you missed it, another former South Kitsap star, Aaron Cunningham, signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs. Did you know that Cunningham once sold his car to rapper Ice T? Yeah, for real. … Drew Vettleson, the former Central Kitsap star, is a No. 5 pick in this faketeams.com. fantasy draft. Check it out for their opinion about Vettleson’s upside. They project the left-handed hitting outfielder to be an above average player at the MLB level, hitting .280 with 20 home-run power during his peak years. Vettleson will likely start the 2014 season at Double-A. ... Brady Steiger, a South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star who signed with the New York Yankees last summer, is available for private hitting lessons at the West Hills Vipers facility.

 

 

 


High school athletics need a little promotion, too

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Friday Night Lights

Even though I’m retired, they’re keeping me around for the high school football picks. I think the staff wants somebody they can beat up on, but I’m gonna do my homework. Check out my picks here. Better yet, check out a local game. Week 1 of the high school season is upon us.

Attendance at high school sporting events has dwindled over the years, and that’s too bad. The days are gone when the majority of students put on their letter jackets (do they still have letter jackets?) and abused their vocal cords in the name of the home team. You’d go to a game and both sides of the stands were full and people lined up around the track. A full house during the regular-season is now a rarity.

We’re now in the era of club sports, but football is the one high school sport that hasn’t changed much over the years in that regard. It’s the start of a new school year, and a successful football season can go a long ways toward having a successful school year. A football team, more than anything, can pull a school and a community together. It can be a really cool experience for everyone. There are people who support high school athletics. They go to games long after their own kids have graduated, but the majority of parents don’t do that. Schools and coaches need to promote it. Get the word out. Form a booster club. Talk to pee wee coaches and athletes. Hold a pep assembly and encourage students to show up. Blast out emails to parents and service clubs. We’re way past the era where you just turned on the lights, and people showed up to watch the game. If the schools don’t think it’s important, then why should the fans?

Olympic League and Narrows League tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors (over 65) and elementary students. Students with ASB cards get free admission to home games; it’s $4 on the road with ASB card.

Baseball Numbers

.347: That’s what Willie Bloomquist was hitting going into Thursday’s  Wednesday’s game. Granted, it’s a small sample, just 30 games, because of two long stints on the disabled list. The Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop is 9-for-16 since being activated on Aug. 30. It’s the final year of Bloomquist’s contract, and manager Kirk Gibson’s a big Bloomquist fan, but the Diamondbacks are loaded at the position. Cliff Pennington’s under contract for another year, rookie Didi Gregorius has had a good year, and  Chris Owing, the 2013 PCL MVP, is waiting in the wings. Bloomquist, 35, has said he wants to play until he’s 40. UPDATE: Bloomquist was 3-for-5 with an RBI on Wednesday, pushing his average to .355.

.274: That’s what Drew Vettleson wound up hitting in the regular season for the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs of the High-A Florida State League. The Central Kitsap grad, the 42nd overall pick by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, was up to .284, but had 1-for-19 funk over his final five games. The Stone Crabs are currently in the postseason. The Florida State League was a pitcher’s league as only two players hit .300 or better. Vettleson, the Ray’s 10th-best prospect according to MLB.com, was 17th in the league in hitting, so his numbers weren’t bad. The right-fielder hit .228 against lefties and .295 against right-handers.

Seahawks Numbers

For my weekly Thursday column, I took a look at some Seahawks numbers. 

Drug Testing

The always-entertaining Bremerton bobsledder Bree Schaaf wrote about drug testing on her Team USA Blog and it’s an interesting look through the eyes of an Olympic athlete.

 

 


Links and thoughts on Ryan Kelly, Dawgs, Hawks, preps & updates on Kitsap baseball players

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Bremerton’s Ryan Kelly found himself without a job when his brother — PGA Tour player Troy Kelly — had season-ending knee surgery earlier in the season.

Ryan, who caddied for his younger brother, returned to the Bremerton/Tacoma area and wound up playing in a lot of  the region’s top amateur tournaments. He’s won the Fircrest Amateur in Tacoma the weekend before last.

Here’s the story by Todd Milles of the Tacoma News Tribune.

Ryan played golf at Oregon State and played professionally for a while, but his career was stymied by a back injury. He regained his amateur status a few years ago.

The Huskies

Here’s some best-case, worst-case scenarios for the Huskies from Pac-12 football blogger Ted Miller at ESPN.com. Pretty funny stuff.

If his broken finger is OK, will Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins play against Boise State on Saturday? He ASJ was arrested (DUI) during the offseason, and coach Steve Sarkisian suspended him for spring football, but let him back for fall ball. Should Sark suspend him for the Boise State game? I think that’s the right thing to do, but I don’t think he will. A one-game suspension sends the right message and is more important than getting a win, not that the Huskies can’t win without ASJ. Michael Hartvigson is a quality backup.

Unranked Washington is a 3.5-point favorite to beat No. 19 Boise State, mostly because they’ll be playing at home in front of a fired-up crowd at remodeled Husky Stadium. The game should go down to the wire, just as it did during the Las Vegas Bowl when the Broncos held on for a 28-26 win. Boise State was a 4.5-point underdog in that game. I think this is truly a tossup game. If Washington wins, it’ll be a great start to their season. If the Huskies lose, die-hard fans shouldn’t lose a lot of sleep over it because Boise will likely be as good as anybody Washington plays outside of Oregon and Stanford.

The Seahawks

Richard Sherman’s been pretty quiet of late. By design perhaps? Still waiting for his second column for SI.com’s MMQB. If you missed his first one, here it is.

Sherman and the Seahawks’ defense are getting their due, however. This story in SI.com rates Seattle’s ‘D’ as the best in the NFL.

Don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL with a better situation at running back than the Seahawks. All-Pro Marshawn Lynch, second-year backup Robert Turbin, and rookie Christine Michael, first-team All-Preseason, give the Hawks some serious giddy-up in the backfield. Lynch has run for 2,794 yards and 23 touchdowns his last two seasons with the Seahawks. He’s also caught 53 passes in that time. Lynch is 27 and pretty durable. Does he have three more All-Pro quality seasons left? If he does, and the Seahawks can win a Super Bowl or at least get to one, will Lynch have done enough to warrant Hall of Fame consideration? He’d be around 10,000 yards with 75-80 touchdowns. Here’s a look at the career NFL rushing leaders (Hall of Fames are noted).

The NFL

It’s Tuel Time in Buffalo. Yep, Jeff Tuel, free-agent quarterback from Washington State, is going to start Week 1 for the Bills against the New England Patriots. Can you name the other WSU quarterback who made it to the NFL? Give up? In alphabetical order: Drew Bledsoe, Alex Brink, Ryan Leaf, Timm Rosenbach and Mark Rypien.

Preps

According to the Spokesman Review, Boise State and Mississippi State are among the colleges that have already offered scholarships to quarterback Brett Rypien of Shadle Park High School in Spokane. Rypien’s coming off a record-breaking sophomore year in which he threw for  3,179 yards in nine games, completing 62.5 percent of his passes. He’s also had offers from Washington State, Idaho and Colorado State. His uncle is Mark Rypien, also a Shadle Park grad and a former WSU star who was a Super Bowl MVP during his career with the Washington Redskins.

Here’s a list of offers and commits from football players in the state of Washington who are in the class of 2014.

Baseball

Oregon senior-to-be Tyler Baumgartner, the former Central Kitsap star, hit .402 in eight games for NWAACC USA at the World Baseball Challenge at Prince George, British Columbia. Baumgartner, an outfielder, had two hits in the bronze medal game, won 9-7 by NWAACC USA over Chinese Taipei. The team was comprised of current and former NWAACC players.

Baumgartner’s cousin, Drew Vettleson, a third-year pro with the Charlotte Stone Crabs (Rays), had a four-hit game (4-for-6 with a double, RBI and two runs scored) on Aug. 25 against Jupiter, Fla., in the Advanced Class A Florida State League. Vettleson’s had some clutch hits lately, including a game-winning RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a game last week. He’s hitting .283 (.340 on-base, .397 slugging percentage) with five triples, four home runs and 61 RBI.

Aaron Cunningham of the Triple-A Round Rock Express (Rangers) was 3-for-5 with two homers, five RBI and four runs scored on Aug. 21 at Nashville. Cunningham, an SK grad who was drafted following his freshman year at Everett CC, has hit .389 with three homers over his last 10 games. The outfielder has had five multi-hit games in that stretch. He’s hitting .255 with 10 homers and 48 RBI. He’s got a .338 on-base percentage, .415 slugging percentage.

South Kitsap grad and former Lewis-Clark State star Brady Steiger is hitting .245 for the Gulf Coast Yankees, a rookie-league team, but he has an impressive .420 on-base percentage after 16 games and 53 at bats. He’s walked 12 times.

South Kitsap grads Willie Bloomquist (Diamondbacks) and Jason Hammel (Orioles) remain on the DL, but are close to returning. Hammel’s scheduled to pitch in a Double-A game on Thursday. He went on the DL with tightness in his forearm. Bloomquist, an infielder who’s been out with a hand injury, could be back on the big-league roster this week. He’s been playing rehab games with Arizona’s team in the Arizona rookie league.


Kitsapers in the pros: DL comes calling; Vettleson’s average on the rise

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

July wasn’t a good month for three of Kitsap’s professional baseball players.

Willie Bloomquist (Diamondbacks), Jason Hammel (Orioles) and Todd Linden (Triple-A Fresno/Giants) all found their way to the disabled list.

Bloomquist was hit by pitch in late June, and after X-rays were initially negative, a CT scan revealed that he broke two bones in his hand. He was put on the DL, retroactive to June 28, in early July and was expected to miss anywhere from 6-8 weeks. He missed the first two months of the season with an oblique strain. The infielder has a .292/.342/.347 slash line in 22 games this season. The Port Orchard native, 35, will be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season.

Hammel, a right-hand pitcher and, like Bloomquist, is a South Kitsap grad. He was put on the 15-day DL earlier this week with a right flexor mass strain, and was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Friday. Hammel said he was experiencing tightness and soreness in his right arm, particularly when he throws a slider. The injury has likely effected him as he hasn’t pitched well lately allowing 12 runs and 26 hits over his last 17 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked 11 in that stretch. Hammel (7-8, 5.20 ERA, 21 starts, 123 innings) has lost six straight decisions. Hammel, 30, will be a free agent at the end of the season.

“He’s been managing it pretty well, but just want to see if we can get it resolved in the DL period,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. “To be on the safe side, I think they’re trying to set up an MRI to see if we’re dealing with something that we don’t think we’re dealing with.”

Linden, who turned 33 in June 30, was put on the disabled list by the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies on July 24. The Central Kitsap grad, who started his college career at Washington and ended it at LSU, started the season on the DL and never got untracked this season, hitting .204. He has 48 strikeouts in 134 at bats.This could be the end of the dream for Linden, the 41st overall pick in the 2001 draft by the San Francisco Giants. Linden spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Giants, last in 2007. He also played 85 games with Miami in ’07. His major league numbers: .234 average, 8 homers, 36 RBIs, 502 at bats. He appeared in 270 games.

A look at Kitsap’s other pros: Drew Vettleson (Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs/Tampa Rays); Aaron Cunningham (Triple-A Round Rock Express/Rangers) and Brady Steiger (Rookie League Gulf Coast Yankees):

It’s taken a while, but Vettleson has his average up to .281 after a third straight 2-for-5 game on Thursday. The former first-round pick (42nd overall) from Central Kitsap grad struggled in the Advanced Class A Florida State League out of the gate. He hit .191 in April for the Charlotte Stone Crabs, but he found his stroke. Vettleson hit .326 in April, .296 in June and .308 in July. He’s had two hits in seven of his last 10 games (he’s 15-for-44, .341 over that stretch). The right-fielder leads the team in his (105), is second in RBIs (48) and has a .331 on-base percentage and .401 slugging percentage. He hits .304 vs. right-handers, .225 vs. lefties. He’s rated the Rays’ No. 10 overall prospect and top outfield prospect, according to MLB.com. Follow his progress here.

Cunningham, another SK grad, is hitting .244 for Round Rock after hitting just .173 in 21 July games. Some of his at-bats were given to Manny Ramirez, who is hitting .266 over 21 games since he signed with the Rangers. Cunningham is 8-for-35 (.229) over his last 10 games and has 6 home runs and 33 RBIs on the season. The right-fielder has 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts and a .335 on-base/.382 slugging percentage. Follow his progress here.

Steiger just started his pro career, signing a free-agent deal with the Yankees this summer. He was playing for the Seattle Studs at the time, but decided to skip his senior season at Lewis-Clark State to play professionally. The third baseman/first baseman/DH, a South Kitsap grad, was 1-for-5 with a single in his July 3 debut, and he is playing as I type this right now. He struck out in his first at bat Friday against the Pirates. Follow his progress here. 


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