Category Archives: U.S. Junior Amateur

Tuesday links: Bloomquist, Tebow, U.S. Open, Seahawks, Napiontek & more

A few stories to start your day:

Willie Bloomquist’s two-run single in the ninth inning gave the Arizona Diamondbacks the lead in a game the D’backs won 5-4 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday night. Bloomquist, a Port Orchard native, is hitting .467 since returning from the disabled list.

Do the Seahawks have a problem with Adderall? “It does seem that way,” says Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman in an interview with ESPN The Magazine.

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports writes that Tim Tebow landed in the perfect spot after signing with the New England Patriots. Tebow’s never sought the limelight and coach Bill Belichick is the right guy to keep the media hounds away from the oft-criticized quarterback. Belichick, during a press conference on Tuesday, reiterated over and over that the Pats “will do what’s best for the team,” when it comes to Tebow.

There’s a lot of golfers to root for this week at the U.S. Open. Mike Tanner from the relatively new Sports On Earth blog, which features some of the best writers on the planet, mentions a lot of them, including Jordan Spieth, who won the U.S. Junior Amateur at Gold Mountain a couple summers ago.

U.S. Soccer has come a long way since 1976. Joel Petterson of the Seattle Times chronicles just how far in this well-done piece, writing about the state of U.S. men’s soccer the last time the team played in Seattle. The year was 1976, the opponent was Canada and the U.S. coach was Walt Chyzowych. I remember covering the Sounders’ game vs. the New York Cosmos and Pele earlier that year. It was the first event played in the Kingdome.

Still can’t get LeBron James’ epic block of Tiago Splitter’s shot during Game 2 of the NBA Finals out of my head. Adrian Wojnarowski writes about it for Yahoo! Sports.

Another story from the Sports on Earth blog: Minor League baseball hasn’t been the same since “Bull Durham” — the movie classic that celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 15. Thom Loverro writes the story.

In case you missed it, here’s the complete list of the Mariners’ 40 picks in the recent amateur baseball draft. And here’s a list of the 34 players with Washington state ties selected in the draft. Lower Columbia’s Easton Napiontek, a freshman pitcher from Port Angeles, was selected in the 34th round by the Texas Rangers. The 6-foot-8 Napiontek played a lot of shortstop at PA, but was turned into a hard-throwing, full-time closer at LCC. He’s already signed with the Rangers.

 

 

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

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?

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.

U.S. Junior Am: Wrapping it up

We’re a couple hours (OK, maybe four hours) from filing the final stories from the week-long U.S. Junior Amateur. Championship.

Dallas’ Jordan Spieth just left the interview room, lugging his silver championship cup. His name was engraved in 2009 and now it’ll be on their again, joining Eldrick “Tiger” Woods as the only multiple winner in the 64-year history of the event. Impressive golfer, impressive young man. He said the Olympic Course was good enough to play a U.S. Open on — and he was serious. Said you’d have to add some length, but the rough and the way hit hardened up in the sun today was U.S Open-like.

Talked to Adam Hanson, senior-to-be at Central Kitsap, who was Chelso Barrett’s caddie all week. Hanson said the week’s inspired him to get a little more serious about his golf game. He was down to a 2 handicap at one time, but ended up playing hockey this winter and wasn’t quite as dedicated as before. Barrett’s invited him to come back to New Hampshire for next summer’s Junior Am.

Mike Greller, a 34-year-old school teacher and caddie from Chambers Bay in University Place, hauled Spieth’s bag all week. Spieth’s headed to the University of Texas in Austin, and Greller popped for a Texas hat and wore it througout the tournament. Later he said, “I hate Texas.” He’s a Michigan fan, having grown up in that state. There’s a chance Greller might caddie for Spieth at next month’s U.S. Amateur at Erin Hills, Wis.

Here’s the the blow-by-blow, hole-by-hole, courtesy the USGA.

 

 

Junior Am: Final Day

It’s absolutely gorgeous out here today. Favored Jordan Spieth and Chelso Barrett are just finishing the first nine holes. Spieth, who lost the first two holes, got back to even on six and took the lead on eight. He’s 1 up after nine.

The USGA is blogging hole-by-hole. If you’re not coming out, that’s probably the best way to follow the match. I’ll be heading out to the course shortly.

I’ll also be tweeting some updates and thoughts from the course.

It’s been an amazing week of golf thus far. About the only thing that could top what’s preceeded it is for this match to be decided on the 36th hole. No. 18, once again, would come into play. Do you drive it or hit an iron?

I know what I’d do. Of course, anybody who’s ever golfed with me knows how much I like my 3 iron.

Here’s links to stories you’ll find in our paper and online today:

Jordan Spieth and Chelso Barrett win in the semifinals.

My column talks about the dramatic finish to the Barrett/Echavarria match. I called it the best single moment in Gold Mountain golf history.

The Junior Am from the eyes of USGA and Gold Mountain officials.

Spieth put on quite a show in the semifinals, writes Ryan Lavner of Golfweek.

 

Junior Am semifinals: And they’re off …

The Jordan Spieth-Adam Ball match is clearly the main event of the US Junor Amateur Championships this afternoon at Gold Mountain.

Dallas’ Spieth has been the big gun everyone’s talking about all week. You probably know his resume by now: 2009 US Junior Am champ; four-time participant in this tournament; played in the US Am last year at Chambers Bay; Polo All-American, made the cut twice and contended in PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Classic, tying for 16th in 2010 and 32nd this year.

Ball of Richmond, Va., is playing in his third Junior Am. Also played at Chambers Bay last year in Amateur. Dad is coach at Virginia Commonwealth, where his older brother also plays. Ball’s currently the hottest player in the field. He came from 3 down at 12 to win his quarterfinal match with a par, eagle, birdie, birdie, birdie, birdie finish. Ball was really good this morning in taking out medalist Beau Hossler 2 and 1. Spieth turns 18 on July 27. Ball is 17.

The other semi is today’s undercard: Colombia’s Nicolas Echavarria vs. Chelso Barrett of Keene, N.H. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen very little of both this week, but will be getting out of the clubhouse in a second to follow the afternoon matches. Echavarria’s coming off a third-place finish in the Junior World tourney in San Diego and is in his first USGA championship. Barrett won the 2010 New Hampshire and New England Junior Championships. Barrett lost ot Spieth in first round of 2010 Jr. Am. Barrett and Echavarria are both 16.

We’ll check back when they make the turn. Look for my tweets @cstarkkitsapsun.

Gold Mountain trivia

Visitors (or even locals) might be interested to know that the course got its name after one of the two mountains that sits northwest of the course. Green Mountain sits the closest to the golf course. Gold Mountain is the highest point in Kitsap County at 1,767 feet, and when visible, you can see the radio towers on it.
The Bremerton water shed is located at Gold Mountain, which was named after gold mining that occurred at the mountain in the late 1800s. A gold mine operated on the mountain slopes in the 1890s, but was abandoned when everybody headed north for the Alaska Gold Rush.
Gold Mountain’s Olympic Course, designed by John Harbottle III,  opened in 1996. The original Cascade Course was designed by Jack Reimer and opened in 1971.

Hole-in-One that became a birdie goes viral

The when is a hole-in-one a hole-in-one story was getting a lot of mileage on online. It was one of the top trending news stories on Yahoo.com for a while and several media outlets have picked up on it since we reported it following Monday’s first round.

Connor Klein from Lone Tree, Colo., was penalized a stroke for slow play and it penalty just happened to come after he got the hole-in-one on the par-3, 5th hole at the Olympic Course.

The other two players in his group were not penalized. Asked about it the next day, Klein said he was the one responsible for slow play.

Ryan Lavner of golfweek.com does a nice of job of follow-up reporting on the story, talking to USGA officials and to Klein’s caddy.

In an email to Golfweek, Klein wrote: “I’d like to reserve any comments about my hole-in-one until the tournament is completed on Saturday. The focus should be placed on the players who are still competing and their accomplishments. I’m in communication with the tournament director now to get clarity around receiving credit for the hole-in-one, becoming only the 12th player in history with an ace.”

Here’s a report from nbc.sports on the ace that became a birdie.

Here’s another reaction to the story.

Hossler talks about first-round win

Medalist Beau Hossler lost his first four holes against Miller Capps of Denver, N.C., but recovered and eventually won 3 and 2 during his first-round U.S. Amateur championship match on the Olympic Course at Gold Mountain Golf Club.

Here’s some of what Hossler, a 16 year-old from Mission Viejo, Calif., had to say after the match:

“Hit a good shot on 1, he (Capps) made a 20 footer for birdie.
“No. 2, I hit it 20 yards out of play left, which takes talent. My provisional went another 15 yards left, hit the cart path and stayed in bounds.
“Three, left side of fairway; 220 coming in; hit it about 40 yards left of the green coming in. made double.
“Four, I hit into fairway but my ball was in a divot; hit a good shot in there and I flubbed my chip and made bogey.”
“I was actually swinging the club well but my shots were atrocious,” he said.

Q: How scary was it after hitting it well on the range?
A: Very. When that ball went left on three I was not in a good mental state. I was angry. When you hit one that feels good and it goes 50 yards left, what are you supposed to do about it? I figured it out a little bit. I started hitting it really well on five. (he said he hit a 3-wood from 270 yards on to the green on No. 6).

His thoughts after going down four holes:

“Once I was 4 down I wasn’t afraid of like losing more  holes. I knew I was going to make birdies because I’ve been making  birdies all week. I was just waiting for it. I felt it kind of click a little bit on that par 3 tee shot on 5. Just kind of a little swing thought. I always have a little bit of a swing thought when I’m out there. It helped out. Didn’t have any more of those left shots the rest of the round. Just keeping the ball in the fairway and hit a lot of greens so that’s always good out here. Most importantly you’ve got to keep the ball below the hole. It kind of wears your opponent out when you’re hitting fairways and greens. You’re not going to make a lot of bogeys. I think I probably made five birdies from there on in after hole four. It was a solid round, just s a really, really bad start. It happens. I feel like my game’s in a really solid position and I feel like I’m hitting a lot better now than yesterday. My score probably doesn’t show it, but I feel like I can go out there and compete with anybody out there as long as I’m making putts which I’ve been doing this whole week.”

Q: What swing thought did you have?

A: Just letting the club fall a little bit underneath. I was a little late off of the top. tried to keep the club more outside on the downswing.

Q: What were you thinking after four holes?

A: I was like are you kidding me? This is a joke. It’s be something if he birdied every hole but I was just handing him holes by hitting it out of play on a wide open golf course. You can’t do that.”

Q: What about the wedge shot from the sidehill rough from below the hole on No. 14 (he was 1 up at the time and seemed in danger of losing the hole after his second shot drifted right)?

A: I thought I made that. That would have been crazy. I drew a pretty good (lie). It was sitting up in the middle of it. I could have fluffed under it. I overed under it, hit a good shot and ended it perfectly. It rolled down within a couple feet (and he made birdie).”

Q: How about the birdie putt on No. 15 (Hossler actually brought it up; nobody asked him about it)?

A: I ade like a 25-footer and that was big. When you’re 2 up and there’s 3 to play the odds are you’re not going to lose the match. You might go to extra holes if you struggle coming in. I knew if I could go out there and hit the green (on 16), which is a very difficult hole, I’d be OK.”

Q: Do you like being the guy everyone’s going after?
A: It doesn’t matter; I’m just playing golf. It doesn’t matter who I’m playing against. Obviously I’d rather play some guys than others guy.I’m just going out to make birdies, especially in match play you’ve got to make as many birdies as you can or you’re not going to win holes.