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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 ‘Kitsap Pumas’ Category

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.”

 


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.


Monday morning links: Seattle Coyotes, M’s, Marvin, Pumas, Jackets & More

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Coyotes to Seattle?: By now, you’ve probably heard about the Phoenix Coyotes possible move to Seattle. If not, check out this report by the Seattle Times. Might be time to revitalize that NHL fantasy league. I once had a team named the Ice Tkachuks, after Keith Tkachuks, a former captain of the Coyotes.

Told you so: For all three of you who read this blog, I just want to remind you that I never liked the idea of turning Dustin Ackley into a second baseman. I thought Kyle Seager, a second baseman at North Carolina, was a better fit at second, and Ackley, an outfielder at North Carolina, should be the starting left-fielder. Ackley’s now playing outfield for Tacoma, where he’s also found his hitting stroke. Now that Nick Franklin is holding down second, I suppose it’s OK to keep Seager at third. But with Franklin, Brendan Ryan, and Carlos Triunfel all on the big club and Brad Miller waiting in the wings, the M’s are going to have to figure out what to do with all of those middle infielders. Miller’s hitting .341 with four HRs and 23 RBI since coming up to Tacoma 20 games ago. There’s probably no reason to rush him to the big leagues, but why not? When the July 31 trade deadline rolls around, look for Ryan to wind up back in the National League, and Triunfel, or even Franklin, could be pieces for a potential trade. If I’m the GM, I’d envision Miller at shortstop, Seager or Franklin at second, Ackley in left and a power hitter, someone acquired by trade or free agency, at third base, when Opening Day rolls around in 2014.

Interesting Finals: All but one game has turned into a blowout, but these NBA Finals have been pretty compelling. There’s been a different story every game. Manu Ginobili showed that he still has some game left in his tank on Sunday as he led the Spurs to a victory and 3-2 advantage over LeBron and the Miami Heat. Gonobili, 36, had 24 points and 10 assists. Last time the Heat was in this position, down 3-2 and going back to Miami, they watched the Dallas Mavericks celebrate on their homecourt. Lebron said he’s looking forward to the challenge.

Marvin returning to Jazz for another: Marvin Williams, who is recovering from heel surgery that will keep him out of the start of the next NBA season, has declined an option that would allow him to get out of his contract. So the Bremerton High grad is guaranteed $7.5 million next season. Here’s a blogger’s take on Marvin’s first year with the Jazz.

Hopson to T-Tech: Former Sequim fastpitch star Lea Hopson, a two-time Olympic League MVP, recently signed to play at Texas Tech. Hopson, who helped the Wolves to an unbeaten season and Class 2A state title, was a first-team junior college all-american at the College of Southern Idaho. Her offensive numbers were mighty impressive.

No. 2 and feeling blue: “I just keep feeling heartbreak,” said Phil Mickelson after his sixth second-place finish at the U.S. Open. Did he blow it or did Justin Rose win it?

Willie still hot: Willie Bloomquist is hitting .409 in 14 games for the Diamondbacks after going 2 for 4 on Sunday. The South Kitsap grad hit the ground running after being activated from the disabled list and continues to swing a hot bat for the Diamondbacks, who went 0-3 at San Diego but still cling to a first-place in the tight NL West. Only two games separate the four teams.

Unbeaten streak: The Kitsap Pumas can’t win, and they can’t lose. The Pumas are 0-0-5 in their last five games. The latest tie: 2-2 vs. the Portland Timbers U-23s on Saturday leaves the Pumas (1-2-5, 8 points)  in fifth-place in the Northwest Division, which is led by the Timbers (5-1-2, 17 points). The Pumas and Timbers tied 0-0 two weeks ago at Gordon Field, and they will play again in Portland on Friday, June. 21.

Jackets back home: The Kitsap BlueJackets (4-8) get a day off on Monday, but will be back in action on Tuesday for the first game of a three-game series against the Bend Elks. Kitsap beat the Elks 5-3 on Sunday in Bend, ending a four-game losing streak. Catcher Alex McKeon (.371) leads the offense, but Kitsap is hitting just .234 as a team. Pitching has been decent in the early going as the staff has a 3.72 ERA. Here’s the pitching stats. And hte hitting stats.

Struggling: Todd Linden is in the midst of a 2-for-25 stretch with Fresno, the Giants’ Triple-A club, and is hitting .179 in 27 games. The Central Kitsap grad missed most of the early season with a foot injury after fouling a ball off it and suffering a deep bruise.

Good genes: Taryn Griffey, daughter of Ken Griffey Jr., recently committed to play basketball at Arizona. She’s just now coming back after missing her junior season with a knee injury. She gives her dad credit for helping her through the recovery process.


Pumas, BlueJackets worth the trip to the Fairgrounds

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

The Kitsap BlueJackets and Kitsap Pumas were both in action Saturday night at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds & Events Center.

The Jackets’ home opener at Gene Lobe Fields vs. the Medford Rogues drew 705 fans. The BlueJackets won 7-0 and play the Rogues again Sunday at 1:05 p.m. and Monday at 11 a.m. (yes, 11 a.m.,. not a misprint; it’s a one-time thing).

The Pumas tied the Vancouver U-23s 2-2 at Gordon Field. I couldn’t find the story online, and there was nothing on the Pumas or PDL website, so I have no details about attendance. The Pumas drew 633 for their home opener the previous Saturday against the Portland Timbers U-23s.

You want to see both local franchises do well. Scheduling games on the same night is probably not a good idea, and I’m not sure if it could be prevented, but I would think they would try to avoid that in the future, especially when one of the teams is playing its home opener. The Pumas, who won a national title in 2011 when playing at Bremerton Memorial Stadium, ran into a similar conflict the previous week when the Destruction Derby was playing to a full house at Thunderbird Stadium.

If you haven’t been to a BlueJackets or Pumas game, give ‘em a shot. It’s inexpensive and family-based entertainment, and it’s local. If you want to sip on a cold one, you can do that too as both teams feature beer gardens.

The Pumas are 1-2-4 and buried in fifth place in the Northwest Division with seven points. Victoria, Portland and Vancouver are tied for first with 13 points. Kitsap’s next two games are against Portland, Saturday, June 15, at home, and Friday, June 21, at Portland. It’s a quirky schedule. As I mentioned, the Pumas just tied the Timbers 0-0 at home on June 1. Here’s a link to the Pumas’ schedule.

The BlueJackets are off to a 2-2 start in the summer college baseball league. Kitsap’s in the Southern Division of the West Coast League, an 11-team circuit (not nine as I erroneously wrote in an earlier story). Bend, Medford, Klamath Falls, Corvallis, Kitsap and Cowlitz comprise the Southern Division. Bellingham, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, Victoria and Kelowna are in the Northern Division.

Here’s a link to the BlueJackets’ schedule.

You can catch both teams in action on the same day on Sunday, July 7. You can stop by and watch the BlueJackets and Wenatchee AppleSox at 1:05 p.m., then take a short walk to Gordon Field to catch a 4 p.m. soccer match between the Pumas and NorthSound SeaWolves. A double dip on a single trip.

 


Quick Hits: High school all-star games today; Husky kickoff set for Boise State game & more

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

PREPS: The Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s annual high school all-stars games for area baseball and softball players is today (Thursday, May 30) at Gene Lobe Fields at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds & Events Center.

The Senior Baseball Games, affiliated with the Washington State Baseball Coaches Association, start at 4 p.m. It consists of two 7-inning games.

The Softball Showcase is at 3:30 p.m. It’s one, 9-inning game featuring softball players of all classes.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors over 60. Kids 12 and under and active military are free.

FOOTBALL: The Washington Huskies will kick off their 2013 football season against Boise State on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.at Husky Stadium. It will be the first game at the new-look, modernized stadium and it will be televised by FOX Sports 1, the new network that debuts earlier that month. The Apple Cup will be on Nov. 29 at 12:30 p.m. And the Huskies also know their game times for two of their other games: The Sept. 14 game vs. Illinois at Soldiers Field in Chicago starts at 5 p.m  PST, and the Nov. 15 games at UCLA starts at 6 p.m. The Illinois and UCLA games are Friday night games.

Here’s Washington’s 2013 schedule.

And here’s the school’s press release about the Boise State starting time.

GOLF: The Washington Huskies are not playing their best golf at the NCAA men’s tournament, but they are only four strokes out of eighth-place heading into Thursday’s third and final round of stroke play. The top eight move on to the match-play portion of the championships. Hogan Award winner Chris Williams is tied for 58th (72-70—142). … UNLV’s Carl Jonson, sophomore from Bainbridge, is tied for 128th (73-74—147) and the Rebels are tied for 21st as a team.

BASEBALL: WILLIE BLOOMQUIST is hitting .467 (7-for-15) with eight RBI in four games with the Triple-A Reno Aces. The Port Orchard native played two games, rested, played two more, and then sat out as he tests himself after starting the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Expect him to be recalled by the Diamondbacks pretty soon. … The Tacoma Rainiers being an eight-game homestand on Saturday against Sacramento. The Tuesday game starts at 11:30 a.m. and the forecast is for sunshine. It’s a good chance to get a good look at Dustin Ackley, Jesus Montero, Franklin Gutierrez, Brandon Maurer and Lucas Luetge, who all started the season with the Mariners. Ackley was 5-for-6 with a home run, two walks and 3 RBI at Colorado Springs on Thursday. Montero’s hitting .250, Gutierrez .208.

MOTORSPORTS: MY WEEKLY Thursday column for The Sun was about Bremerton native and open-wheel racer Randy DuBois, who had quite a day as a spectator at the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

RETIREMENT?: I THOUGHT I RETIRED in January, but the assignments keep coming. But that’s OK. It’s good to be busy. Looking forward to seeing the Kitsap Pumas, who take on the Portland Timbers 23 s in their  home opener at Gordon Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Timbers Army travels pretty good, so there should be a good crowd. Hey, and there’s supposed to be a beer garden for those of you who might like to sip on a cool one. … Sunday, I’ll be at Gold Mountain Golf Club for the final round of the City Amateur golf tournament, and between now and then I’ll find some time to talk to manager Ryan Parker and some of his BlueJackets for a preview on the West Coast League baseball club, which opens its season on Wednesday at Cowlitz in Longview. That story is scheduled to run Tuesday, June 4.  The BlueJackets home opener is Saturday, June 8, vs. Medford.


Villopoto and ESPYs, Willie B., Marvin & More

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

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.

 

 

 


Happy holidays, happy New Year, see you in a couple weeks

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Gonna head south — way south — for some sunny weather and relaxation.

I don’t think I’ll find a sports bar in Adelaide, Australia, where I can watch the Alamo Bowl, but you never know.

My gut says the Huskies and Baylor Bears will lock up in a pinball war: points and yards will be coming that fast in what could be the most entertaining shootout in recent memory: The final: Baylor 56, Washington 43.

My gut also says that Prince Fielder won’t be holding any press conferences soon in Seattle. If the price and number of years comes down, maybe the M’s have a shot. If the Seattle can get him for $100 over five or six years, then maybe it’ll happen. But with agent Scott Boras calling the shots, it’s hard to imagine that will happen.

My gut says I should have lost some weight before heading Down Under. But the Aussies on the west coast are experiencing one of the hottest summers on record, so maybe I’ll melt some pounds off in Perth.

Before I head home to put some cookies out for St. Nick, here’s some dates to remember:

Tuesday, Dec. 27: the East-West Alumni basketball games, 6 p.m., Bremerton HS. Great event if you’re a Bremerton alum.

Jan. 14: The Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame banquet, sponsored by the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable, will be held at the Baymont Inn and Suites. Tickets ($30) are available at Team Sports (at its new location in Riddell Square, east Bremerton; Hi-Joy Bowl in Port Orchard and the Baymont).

Jan. 25: The 77th annual Seattle Sports Star of the year awards banquet at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. Bremerton swimmer Nathan Adrian and hydoplane driver Dave Villwock, a Port Orchard native, are nominated in their categories. You can vote online. Go here to vote, buy tickets etc.

I’ll leave you with a list of some of the year’s top local stories. If I missed something, please email sunsports@kitsapsun.com. Look for our year-end story next weekend.

Happy holidays and best wishes to everyone.

TOP STORIES

Ryan Villopoto: RV had one greatest seasons ever for a motocross/supercross rider. After badly breaking his leg in 2010, Villopoto won 6 of 17 in the AMA Supercross season to nail down that championship then rode off with 10 more victories in 24 starts to claim the outdoor Motocross trophy. He helped USA win motocross of champions., You know he’s big stuff when he gets a shoe (Vans) named after him.

Kitsap Pumas: The Pumas won a national championship in third year of operation, and pushed the Sounders to the brink in a U.S. Open Cup playoff game at Starfire. It didn’t come without some turmoil. Executive director Ben Pecora resigns at the end of the season and owner Robin Waite doesn’t bring back coach Peter Fewing. Pumas assistant and OC head coach James Ritchie is named head coach for the coming year. Rumor has it the Pumas are already guaranteed a spot in the U.S. Open Cup because of a change in format, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.

Nathan Adrian: The Bremerton swimmer —  America’s best hope for a gold medal in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics — continued to collect NCAA, national and international titles. The academic All-American from Cal has established himself as one of the elite swimmers in the world. I’ve got a hunch he’s going to be at the top of the list a year from now.

Willie Blooomquist: The Port Orchard native had his best MLB season, starting for Diamondbacks at the game’s most important defensive position — shortstop — in the heat of a pennant race. He batted leadoff, played well in postseason and was rewarded with a 2-year, $3.6 million deal (turned down $4.6M from Giants). A nice feel-good story for a nice, hard-nosed guy who finally proved that he’s a lot more valuable than a lot of people have given him credit for over the years.

Troy Kelly: A year after hip replacement surgery, he nailed down a PGA Tour card after finishing 11th on the Nationwide Tour. He won over $200,000 and now has a second chance to make a name for himself on golf’s biggest stage. He’s hired a personal trainer, dropped 15 pounds and those who know him say he’s mentally and physically in the best spot he’s ever been.

Erynne Lee: PNGA and Washington State Female Golfer of the Year played in the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time, got back to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, won a state high school title, a state women’s amateur title and is now a freshman at No. 1-ranked UCLA. Year ended on a sad note as her mom, Debbie Lee, died in mid-November after suffering a heart attack and stroke while in South Korea.

The U.S. Junior Amateur:  The folks at Gold Mountain did another masterful job of putting on a national golf tournament on the Olympic Course. From the opening dinner on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, which featured Johnny Miller, to the championship match, won by Dallas’ Jordan Spieth,  it was a magnificent week. It’s possible an NCAA Championship could be in Gold Mountain’s future plans.

The Year of the Wrestler: The top high school story was about Kitsap wrestlers, who won 8 titles and had 13 wrestlers in the finals at Mat Classic. Pretty remarkable stuff for a bunch of the hardest working and toughest athletes around.

Kingston: The next-best high school story revolved around the Kingston Bucs, who went from doormat to a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament under the direction of first-year coach Blake Conley.

Kitsap Bears: The Bears, a collection of guys who are passionate about football, rolled out for weekly practices and dominated the local northwest semi-pro scene.  The Bears reached the North American Football League title game. Three months later, owner Don Purser announced that the team will take the 2012 season off.

OC soccer: Men’s team comes out of nowhere and makes a spirited run to the NWAACC finals before coming up short in the title game. You had to be there to really appreciate what this team accomplished.

Drew Vettleson: Central Kitsap star, the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 baseball draft, got his professional career off to a solid start, earning MVP honors for his rookie-league team at Princeton (W.Va). You get the feeling it was just the start of big things for the likeable right-fielder who gained famed at a young age for his ability to pitch with either arm. The Tampa Rays player was rated the sixth-best major league prospect in the Appalachian League. Vettleson hit .282 for the  Rays with seven  home runs, 13 doubles, four triples and 20 stolen bases in 61 games.

Steven Gray: One of West Sound’s all-time best players capped a great four-year basketball career at Gonzaga, enjoying some of his best games against big-time NCAA competition. The All-West Coast Conference guard, a free spirit who grew up in Chimacum and Bainbridge, is playing professionally with a first division club in Latvia.

BlueJackets: Matt Acker, the only coach in BlueJackets’ history and a really good guy and good coach, resigns to spend more time with his family. The college summer team struggles to put fans in the seats, but you’ve got to give the local ownership group props for hanging tough. They said they’re in it for the long haul, and they haven’t waivered, even when it meant digging into their own pockets for more money. Olympic College head coach Ryan Parker, a three-year assistant to Acker, is the new coach and he immediately goes out and signs local products Andy Smith (North Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Liberty University, Va.), Tyler Baumgartner (Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC and he’s signed with Oregon for next year), and Daniel Jewitt (North Kitsap/Truman State, Mo.) to play for the Jackets. That’s a good start toward putting butts in the seats.

BMX King: Port Orchard’s Josh Klatman, a 19-year-old student at Olympic College, ends the year as the No. 1-ranked amateur rider in his age group for the second straight year. BMX is an Olympic sport and if Klatman wanted to pursue a berth, he’d have a chance to make the team. He’s that good.

Dave Villwock: How could I forget the Port Orchard unlimited hydroplane driver, the all-time winningest in the sport’s history? Super Dave, one of the most intelligent athletes I’ve come to know, keeps motoring along, breaking records and proving that he just might be the best to ever pilot one of those flying machines.

 


What’s your top local sports story of the year?

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

It’s that time of year to come up with a list of the top local stories of the year.

What’s your top story of the year?

Off the top of my head, I’ve put together a list. It’s in no particular order and I’m probably overlooking something.

Add to it if you’d like. I’ want to know what you think. Help me out. Give me your top five, or even top 10.

 

TOP STORIES

Ryan Villopoto: RV had one greatest seasons ever for a motocross/supercross rider. After badly breaking his leg in 2010, Villopoto won 6 of 17 in the AMA Supercross season to nail down that championship then rode off with 10 more victories in 24 starts to claim the outdoor Motocross trophy. He helped USA win motocross of champions., You know he’s big stuff when he gets a shoe (Vans) named after him.

Kitsap Pumas: The Pumas won a national championship in third year of operation, and pushed the Sounders to the brink in a U.S. Open Cup playoff game at Starfire. It didn’t come without some turmoil. Executive director Ben Pecora resigns at the end of the season and owner Robin Waite doesn’t bring back coach Peter Fewing. Pumas assistant and OC head coach James Ritchie is named head coach for the coming year. Rumor has it the Pumas are already guaranteed a spot in the U.S. Open Cup because of a change in format, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.

Nathan Adrian: The Bremerton swimmer —  America’s best hope for a gold medal in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2012 London Olympics — continued to collect NCAA, national and international titles. The academic All-American from Cal has established himself as one of the elite swimmers in the world. I’ve got a hunch he’s going to be at the top of the list a year from now.

Willie Blooomquist: The Port Orchard native had his best MLB season, starting for Diamondbacks at the game’s most important defensive position — shortstop — in the heat of a pennant race. He batted leadoff, played well in postseason and was rewarded with a 2-year, $3.6 million deal (turned down $4.6M from Giants). A nice feel-good story for a nice, hard-nosed guy who finally proved that he’s a lot more valuable than a lot of people have given him credit for over the years.

Troy Kelly: A year after hip replacement surgery, he nailed down a PGA Tour card after finishing 11th on the Nationwide Tour. He won over $200,000 and now has a second chance to make a name for himself on golf’s biggest stage. He’s hired a personal trainer, dropped 15 pounds and those who know him say he’s mentally and physically in the best spot he’s ever been.

Erynne Lee: PNGA and Washington State Female Golfer of the Year played in the U.S. Women’s Open for a second time, got back to the quarterfinals in the U.S. Women’s Amateur, won a state high school title, a state women’s amateur title and is now a freshman at No. 1-ranked UCLA. Year ended on a sad note as her mom, Debbie Lee, died in mid-November after suffering a heart attack and stroke while in South Korea.

The U.S. Junior Amateur:  The folks at Gold Mountain did another masterful job of putting on a national golf tournament on the Olympic Course. From the opening dinner on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis, which featured Johnny Miller, to the championship match, won by Dallas’ Jordan Spieth,  it was a magnificent week. It’s possible an NCAA Championship could be in Gold Mountain’s future plans.

The Year of the Wrestler: The top high school story was about Kitsap wrestlers, who won 8 titles and had 13 wrestlers in the finals at Mat Classic. Pretty remarkable stuff for a bunch of the hardest working and toughest athletes around.

Kingston: The next-best high school story revolved around the Kingston Bucs, who went from doormat to a third-place finish in the Class 2A state tournament under the direction of first-year coach Blake Conley.

Kitsap Bears: The Bears, a collection of guys who are passionate about football, rolled out for weekly practices and dominated the local northwest semi-pro scene.  The Bears reached the North American Football League title game. Three months later, owner Don Purser announced that the team will take the 2012 season off.

OC soccer: Men’s team comes out of nowhere and makes a spirited run to the NWAACC finals before coming up short in the title game. You had to be there to really appreciate what this team accomplished.

Drew Vettleson: Central Kitsap star, the 42nd overall pick in the 2010 baseball draft, got his professional career off to a solid start, earning MVP honors for his rookie-league team at Princeton (W.Va). You get the feeling it was just the start of big things for the likeable right-fielder who gained famed at a young age for his ability to pitch with either arm. The Tampa Rays player was rated the sixth-best major league prospect in the Appalachian League. Vettleson hit .282 for the  Rays with seven  home runs, 13 doubles, four triples and 20 stolen bases in 61 games.

Steven Gray: One of West Sound’s all-time best players capped a great four-year basketball career at Gonzaga, enjoying some of his best games against big-time NCAA competition. The All-West Coast Conference guard, a free spirit who grew up in Chimacum and Bainbridge, is playing professionally with a first division club in Latvia.

BlueJackets: Matt Acker, the only coach in BlueJackets’ history and a really good guy and good coach, resigns to spend more time with his family. The college summer team struggles to put fans in the seats, but you’ve got to give the local ownership group props for hanging tough. They said they’re in it for the long haul, and they haven’t waivered, even when it meant digging into their own pockets for more money. Olympic College head coach Ryan Parker, a three-year assistant to Acker, is the new coach and he immediately goes out and signs local products Andy Smith (North Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Liberty University, Va.), Tyler Baumgartner (Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC and he’s signed with Oregon for next year), and Daniel Jewitt (North Kitsap/Truman State, Mo.) to play for the Jackets. That’s a good start toward putting butts in the seats.

BMX King: Port Orchard’s Josh Klatman, a 19-year-old student at Olympic College, ends the year as the No. 1-ranked amateur rider in his age group for the second straight year. BMX is an Olympic sport and if Klatman wanted to pursue a berth, he’d have a chance to make the team. He’s that good.

Dave Villwock: How could I forget the Port Orchard unlimited hydroplane driver, the all-time winningest in the sport’s history? Super Dave, one of the most intelligent athletes I’ve come to know, keeps motoring along, breaking records and proving that he just might be the best to ever pilot one of those flying machines.


Good time to catch a Pumas game and more: Ackley, Charlie, Jackets etc.

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

* Pumas need you: I know there are a lot of folks out there who have had the itch, but for whatever reason haven’t been to a Pumas’ game yet. Now’s the time to go. It’s a great intimate setting at Memorial Stadium, the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and the hometown guys would really appreciate your support as they try to win a national PDL championship. Yeah, a national championship.

Kitasp plays the Thunder Bay Chill at 7:30 p.m on Friday. The Laredo Heat and Long Island Rough Riders play the 4:30 p.m. semifinals. The championship game is Saturday at 4:30 p.m. These are the best four teams in the 64-team league. Tickets are reasonable: $10 for adults, $5 for youth 4-15.  And you can get a weekend pass for $15 (adults) and $10 (youth) for all three games by going online at kitsapsoccerclub.com.

* Happy birthday Troy: Troy Kelly turned 33 on Tuesday. Born in Tacoma, but raised in Kitsap County, Kelly is playing in the Nationwide Tour’s Cox Classic in Omaha this week. He’s still seeking his first win on that tour, but is No. 4 in earnings with $208,559. He’s had two seconds and a third and two other top 25 finishes in 10 events.
* Sorry Charlie: I’m been a supporter of Charlie Whitehurst, but if there’s a knock against Whitehurst it’s his ability to be a leader. He doesn’t come across as a charasmatic player, someone that can rally the troops. I like his arm, and his coolness and all of that, but, as a source close to the team told me, Whitehurst could be released. Paying $4 million for a backup might be a little steep and the Hawks seem committed to Tarvaris Jackson. So don’t be surprised if they bring in a J.P. Losman or another veteran to serve as the backup.

* Ackley looking good: Terry Benish, a contributing blogger (Peabody) about all things baseball, especially the Mariners, had an interesting post about Dustin Ackley. His OPS (on-base plus slugging)  percentage is .942. How’s it compare to the other top second baseman in the AL?

 1. Ackley .942
2. Pedroia .893
3. Zobrist .873
4. Cano .844
5. Kendrick .807
6. Kinsler .780

I’m not a big numbers guy, but Ackley’s numbers don’t lie. The kid can play. Like I said the other day, as bad as the M’s have been, you gotta like what they’ve got going up the middle with Ackley at second and Dustin Ryan at shortstop. What Ryan did the other day, going to third on an infield single, doesn’t show up in the stat sheets, but heads-up plays like that win games.

* New course: Salish Cliffs Golf Club at Little Creek Casino in Shelton is scheduled to open next month. The exact date hasn’t been announced. The par-72 layout will play at 7,264 yards, longer than the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain.

* Tripleheader Friday: Did you see where the Central Kitsap School District has scheduled a tripleheader for football’s opening day on Sept. 2? Olympic plays Fife at 1 p.m., Klahowya takes on Steilacoom at 4 p.m. and Central Kitsap and Eastlake play at 7 p.m. Good move. Spokane used to do it all of the time at Joe Albi Stadium.

* BlueJackets winding down: Only three more chances to watch the Kitsap BlueJackets at home this summer. They play Klamath Falls Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There’s gonna be a surprise at Monday night’s game. If you’ve been a fan of BlueJackets’ baseball the last seven years, you might want to show up. Sorry, I can’t elaborate.

 


PDL Playoffs: Pumas-Fusion III

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

The Kitsap Pumas, champs of the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division, face the Ventura County Fusion in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday in Fresno. The host Fresno Fuego take on the Victoria Highlanders in the other match. Winners play Sunday. Victoria handed Kitsap its first league loss, 1-0, in the regular-season finale.

The Pumas and Fusion have met twice before in the playoffs. Ventura won in 2009 in Texas; Kitsap won in 2010 in Bremerton. Here’s a story from our sister Scripps Howard newspaper, the Ventura Star, on the matchup.

And here’s another story from the Ventura Star on the game.

The United Soccer Leagues has started handing out postseason honors.

Here’s a story about the PDL playoffs, which started on Tuesday.  Here’s the results of Tuesday’s games:

Chicago Fire 3, Forest City London 0

Carolina Dynamo 1, Northern Virginia Royals 0

Jersey Express 1, Reading United AC 0

New Hampshire Phantoms 1, MPS Portland Phoenix 0

Scroll to the bottom of this page to find the matchups. There are more games coming up on Friday.


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