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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for the ‘Jared Prince’ Category

Tuesday ramblings and notes: Heathcote, Hammel, TyBaum, Erynne/earthquake & more

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE champion Wichita State enters the NCAA Tournament unbeaten and seeded No. 1 in the Midwest region. The last time a Missouri Valley Conference team entered the tournament unbeaten was 1979, when Larry Bird and Indiana State was grabbing all of the headlines in March.  The No. 1-ranked Sycamores didn’t come away with the title, though.

“Somebody beat them in that championship game,” said Jud Heathcote during a conversation Monday. “It’s been so long, I can’t remember who is was.”

The 86-year-old Heathcote was joking. The South Kitsap grad who grew up in Manchester was the coach of the Michigan State Spartans that year. The Spartans, with a gangly point-guard named Magic Johnson, beat Bird and the Sycamores in the most-watched game in college basketball history.

Heathcote, who lives in Spokane and has season tickets to Gonzaga games, will be in the stands this week when Michigan State plays its first-r0und East regional game on Thursday. Sparty faces Delaware at Veteran Memorial Arena in Spokane. My weekly Thursday column will center on Heathcote, who is still funny as ever and still consumed by the college game.

JASON HAMMEL OF THE CHICAGO CUBS starts Tuesday night in Surprise, Ariz., against the Texas Rangers. It’ll be just his second Cactus League start, but the right-hander out of South Kitsap High hasn’t been inactive. He’s started a “B” game and went six innings last Thursday against Cubs minor leaguers.

“My first year with the (Orioles), because Florida Spring Training is all (American League) East, I didn’t pitch in a big league game until we’d been through two or three rounds of cuts,” Hammel told MLB.com.  “As long as I can get my work in and make sure I’m building the arm strength, I’m OK.”

WAS HOPING ONE-TIME Olympic College basketball coach Ken Bone would get over the hump at Washington State, but too many injuries and lack of depth were his undoing. Seattle U might be a good fit for Bone if Cameron Dollar gets the axe, and it’s been suggested that he might. A lot of people forget that Bone was 77-49 in four years at Portland State, taking the Vikings to the NCAA Tournament his last two years. Bone was 254-97 in 12 years at Seattle Pacific.

Also

Glad to see I didn’t jinx Tyler Baumgartner with this column. The Central Kitsap grad, a senior outfielder at Oregon, was 5-for-11 in a three-game series against USC. Baumgartner was 2-for-5 with a bases-clearing double in a 7-2 series-clinching win on Sunday. He’s now hitting .400 through 19 games. …. Former North Kitsap  and Washington State athlete and ex-professional baseball player Jared Prince is an assistant with the South Kitsap baseball team. Prince, who is living in Tacoma and working toward his masters in education at the University of Puget Sound, was also an assistant with SK’s football team. He’s doing his student teaching at South. … Bremerton’s Marvin Williams has missed 12 NBA games this season because of various injuries. The Utah Jazz are 0-12 in those games. His numbers (9.5 points, 5.1  rebounds) aren’t eye-popping, but the 27-year-old forward has become a solid all-around player and leader for the young Jazz.  … I was always impressed with Denise Baxter, who announced that she is retiring at Central Kitsap as the girls basketball coach. Her teams always played hard and she had a no-nonsense approach and she didn’t seem to let those bothersome parents (you know the ones) get in her head. Central Kitsap’s lucky to have had her around for 20 years.  … Bremerton High grad Jack Evans passed away recently in California. Evans was a member of the 1953 Bremerton High baseball team thet was inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame. … Former Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Liviu Bird is now writing about soccer for SI.com, among other outlets. Here’s  his story on the Toronto FC after the 2-1 win over the Sounders. … Central Kitsap grad Troy Kelly plays in the Web.com Tour’s Panama Claro Championship in Panama City this week. After a tie for 23rd in Chile, he missed the cut by two strokes in Brazil last week. He plays in the Louisiana Open in Broussard, La., next week, then returns to the PGA Tour, teeing it up in the Houston Open, April 3-6. … Central Kitsap alum Drew Vettleson got a couple more at bats in a Grapefruit League game for the Washington Nationals. He’s 0-for-3 in two appearances with the big club this spring. … UCLA junior golfer Erynne Lee, a Central Kitsap grad who was picked to play in the Curtis Cup, tweeted this from Los Angeles on Monday:  “Woke up from a nightmare by an earthquake just now. #frazzled #homesick” … Keep your eye on Ben Tamm, hard-throwing  freshman pitcher at Everet CC. The North Kitsap grad was named MVP of fall ball and has got off to a good start for the Trojans.


Rangers release former NK/WSU star Jared Prince

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Got caught by surprise when I showed up in Surprise, Ariz., Tuesday morning. Was looking to get together with North Kitsap grad Jared Prince and South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, a couple of outfielders in camp with the Texas Rangers.

Talked to Prince Monday night and he sounded upbeat. Said he thought he’d be with the Rangers’ Double-A squad at Camelback Ranch for a game against the White Sox.

As I waited for players to file into the bus for the ride to the game, Cunningham strolled by. We exchanged greetings, and when I told him I hoped to get together with him and Prince in the next day or two, he told me Prince had been let go in the morning.

Tough deal for the 26-year-old. The former NK and Washington State star is one of the good guys you like to pull for and he’ll bounce back. As his former manager Steve Buechele told me, “Whatever he ends up doing, he’s going to be successful at.”

Prince hit .234 with 12 homers at Double-A Frisco a year ago. The former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and All-American from WSU was drafted in the 34th round by the Rangers in 2009 and had moved from rookie league to low high, high A and Double A. His numbers weren’t the greatest, but he impressed everybody with his demeanor and the way he played the game. If he’s a higher draft choice, the Rangers would have made room for him, but they didn’t have a lot of money invested in a guy who also had the talent, in my opinion, to be a starting quarterback in the Pac-12. Here’s his complete minor-league stats.

He got into three major league spring training games for Texas this year, going hitless in two at bats. He played against the Mariners in a game that was televised in the Northwest.

It was 73 degrees and overcast when we headed out of the place we’re renting down here around 8:45 a.m.. When we returned, after catching a few innings of the Rangers-White Sox Triple-A game, it was 87 and sweat was starting to trickle everywhere, if you know what I mean.

Cunningham, by the way, played left and batted No. 2 for the Rangers’ AAA club. He struck out and ground out in the two at-bats we saw.

It looks like Cunningham’s locked in to be a starter for Texas’ Triple-A club at Round Rock, Texas. But sometimes this game will throw some curve balls at you that you weren’t expecting. Like the one Prince got today.

I hope to talk to Prince before he gets out of town. He’ll likely be the subject of my regular Thursday column. I hope to write about Cunningham next week.

And if you missed the monthly Q&A I’m now doing (it runs the last Monday of each month), here’s the conversation I had with Mike Curto, broadcaster for the Tacoma Rainiers. He’s another one of the really nice guys in baseball.


A few NCAA thoughts from the road

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Left Bremerton on Sunday, and it already seems like we’ve been gone three weeks. From B-town to Reno to Las Vegas, the road trip has taken us to Flagstaff, Ariz. Next stop: The Grand Canyon. Then it’s off to Arizona for some  sun and baseball.

Followed the NCAA Tournament on the radio for most of the day, wondering if Gonzaga was going to hold off Southern. Southern? Can you imagine the heat the Zags would have taken if they’d lost to a No. 16?

When B.F. Goodrich invented rubber galoshes in 1923 in Akron, Ohio, they featured a new invention called the zipper. Hence, that’s how Akron came to be known as the Zips. And those are the things you google while on the road with a couple of buddies. Maybe the Zips were wearing galoshes on Thursday during an 88-42 loss to Virginia Commonwealth? Or maybe VCU is that good? If a No. 11 seed is ever going to win the tournament, this might be the one. “Organized chaos,” is how one of TV’s talking heads described VCU.

Cal, Oregon and Arizona all win on Thursday? Who saw that coming? The Pac-12 hasn’t gotten much respect in recent years, but maybe this is the year they will earn some R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

This just in: No. 14 Harvard KO’s No, 3 seed New Mexico in the West, 68-62. The Ivy Leaguers weren’t suppose to be here this year after losing two co-captains after a grade scandal.  Next up for the Crimson is Arizona. Upsets like this are what make this tournament so great. Look at your bracket. I bet it just got busted.

This just in: Syracuse leads Montana 72-28. Do you think the Grizzlies are happy they made the tournament?

My column this week was about the Odds of March. The next one will be about spring training.

Quick hits

Former Central Kitsap football coach Paul Stoffel, who was an assistant at West High when I played, is living in Prescott, Ariz., and we will get together on Saturday. Stoffel’s granddaughter, Kristin Stoffel, is a freshman basketball player at Seattle University.

Miami comes from 27-points back in the third quarter to beat Cleveland and extend its NBA winning streak to 24 games. This, two days after overcoming a 17-point deficit in a victory over Boston. Oh, yeah, both games were on the road. The Heat won three straight in four days to cap a 5-0 road trip. Enough about this nonsense about LeBron James not being in Michael Jordan’s league. When Jordan left the Bulls to play pro baseball, Chicago still managed to get back to the NBA Finals the next year. When James left Cleveland, which had become one of the league’s elite teams, the Cavs suddenly became the worst team in basketball.

Nate Roberts, a senior from Central Kitsap, is finishing up his four-year baseball career at Seattle University and coach Donny Herrel calls the middle infielder the “perfect program guy.”

Nice to see Olympic College’s baseball team is off to a good start. The Rangers are 9-4. It’s still a shame that Kitsap County officials won’t let the Rangers volunteer their time to work on the field at the fairgrounds. OC’s willing to work on the field before and after practices. Unless something’s changed in the last week, the county is only allowing the college to practice 10 times on the field. OC’s played several of its home games at the Regional Athletic Complex in Lacey.

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham is hitting .276 for the Texas Rangers this spring and is still in the running for a backup outfield position. North Kitsap grad Jared Prince has appeared in three spring games for the Rangers and is hitless in two at bats. It’s possible both Kitsap products could start the season at Triple-A Round Rock, which plays in the Pacific Coast League.

 

 


Poulsbo’s Prince into music, too

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Talked to Jared Prince last week, and the plan is to write the story for Thursday’s paper. Prince just finished his fourth season in pro baseball, playing for Frisco (Texas) Roughriders, the Double A team for the Rangers.

Here’s a video of Prince playing the guitar and making music with a couple of his buddies in June.

Prince, 26, is one of my favorite athletes to come out of the area. The former all-state quarterback doesn’t take a back seat to anybody when it comes to hard work. Reminds me a lot of Willie Bloomquist in that regard.

 


Vettleson, Prince, Wilson headline KAR meeting Wednesday night

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

It’s Hot Stove League, Kitsap style.

We’re be talking baseball Wednesday (Dec. 5) at The Arena Sports Bar and Grille in east Bremerton (41111 Wheaton Way).

The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting will feature M’s announcer and West Coast League president Ken Wilson, Kitsap minor leaguers Drew Vettleson and Jared Prince and BlueJackets/Olympic College coach Ryan Parker. Others have also been invited.

KAR members get in for $5; non-members $10. Order off the menu.

Social hour at 6 p.m., program around 7.

Here’s my story on Vettleson that appeared in today’s paper. The Central Kitsap grad just finished his second season in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Look for something on Prince later this week. I had a nice chat with the former North Kitsap star, who played at Double A Frisco, Texas in 2012.

Vettleson and Prince were both Kitsap Sun Male Athletes of the Year their senior years in high school.

Hope to see you at he meeting.

KAR memberships are just $25. All money goes to youth and amateur athletics in the region.

The KAR’s annual Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet is coming up — Jan. 12 at Kiana Lodge in Poulsbo. The inductees were announced on Sunday. Here’s the lowdown on who’s going to be honored. And Sam Fitz is the recipient of the Rex Brown Award, not Red Brown Award, as I wrote in the paper. Sorry about that.


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

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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 Foxsports.com 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: cstark@kitsapsun.com.

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

Friday, July 27th, 2012

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

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

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).

MINOR LEAGUERS

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: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2012/jun/20/kitsapers-in-the-pros-hammel-having-career-year/?partner=RSS#ixzz21TlRY4bl


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