Category Archives: Willie Bloomquist

Kitsapers in the Pros & More

KITSAPERS IN THE PROS:

Jason Hammel, a 2000 South Kitsap grad, has struggle since being traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics. Hammel is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA with Oakland. He gave up three home runs in three-plus innings in a loss against Atlanta on Friday. He was 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA with the Cubs.

South Kitsap grad Willie Bloomquist is done for the year after undergoing micro fracture surgery on his right knee. The Mariners utility player hit .278 in 47 games, playing seven different positions.

Drew Vettleson is hitting .230 with seven HRs and 23 RBI for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, an affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Vettleson, 23, an outfielder from Central Kitsap, has hit two HRs in his last six games but is only hitting .204 in his last 10 games. The left-handed hitting Vettleson is hitting .280 vs. lefties and .198 vs. righties. All seven of his HRs have come against right-handers.

South Kitsap grad Aaron Cunningham, an outfielder, is hitting .255 with 0 HRs and 31 RBIs for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A club of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Cunningham, 28, has hit .323 (10-for-31) with 5 RBI in his last 10 games.

Brady Steiger, a first baseman/third baseman, is hitting .167 for the Staten Island Yankees, a short Class A club in the New York-Penn League. The former South Kitsap and Lewis-Clark State star just returned from injury and has played in just two games since July 21.

SAYING ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS:

Rhode Island Little League coach Dave Belisle, following an elimination loss at the World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, puts things in perspective for a bunch of kids. Great speech.

SPEAKING OF LITTLE LEAGUE:

How can you not pull for Mo’ne Davis? She’s the talk of the Little League World Series.

CONGRATULATIONS:

To the Bellingham Bells, who won the West Coast League championship on Monday night, winning the deciding game of the best-of-three series against the Corvallis Knights. Good buddy Jim Clem is the pitching coach of the Bells and we had the pleasure of hosting the team twice this summer on trips to Bremerton to play the Kitsap BlueJackets. Classy bunch.es

NOT SO CLASSY:

Johnny (Finger) Manziel threw as many obscene gestures as he did touchdown passes in Monday night’s exhibition game. Not a good sign for the Browns.

READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL:

Aug. 23: FCS No. 1 Eastern Washington vs. No. 17 Sam Houston State in college football’s season opener in Cheney. Kickoff 12:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Aug. 28: Washington State Cougars vs. Rutgers, in Seattle (CenturyLink), 7 p.m., FOX Sports. Thursday game is intriguing. Cougs looking to get off to a good start against Scarlet Knights, now a member of the Big Ten.

Aug. 30: Washington Huskies vs. Hawaii in Honolulu, 7:30 p.m., CBS. Chris Petersen era begins.

Sept. 4: Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers. Thursday night game on NBC (5:30 p.m.) kicks off NFL season. Doesn’t get much better, does it?

Sept. 5: Friday Night Lights has a delicious opener. South Kitsap vs. Central Kitsap at Silverdale Stadium, 7 p.m. Biggest game in the county.

Sept. 5: WSU at Nevada, 7:30 p.m., ESPN. Nevada not what it used to be.

Sept. 6: Washington’s first home game under Chris Petersen vs. Eastern Washington at Husky Stadium, 1 p.m. Washington barely pulled one out, 30-27 over EWU in 2011 at Husky Stadium.

 

GOLF JOKE:

Mike, an avid golfer, was teeing up for a very difficult shot.

At that moment a funeral procession went by.

Mike stopped, stood still with his hat over his heart, and bowed his head.

His golfing partner looked at him and said, “Mike, that was kind and decent of you to show such respect for the dead.”

Mike replied, “Yes, we would have been married twenty-six years come tomorrow.”

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

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.”

 

World Cup predictions & some linkage

What do I know about soccer?

Not a lot, but the World Cup might be the greatest show on earth. I first paid attention to the World Cup in 2002 when South Korea and Japan hosted the event. The games were televised live and many of them were on in the wee hours of the morning.

A few of us got our World Cup on after work, which meant that the fun didn’t start until after midnight. We usually warmed up with a couple of sake bombers after heading to a colleague’s home to watch the action unfold.

No sake bombers this time, but I’ll be watching as much of the tournament as possible. Over the years I’ve become a fan of Cameroon. The Les Lions Indomptables ((The Indomitable Lions) have only make it out of the group stage once (1990), and they’re underdogs once again. The Les Lions Indomptables are in Group A, along with favorite and tournament host Brazil, Croatia and Mexico.

Because of my Yugoslavian heritage, I’m also a big fan of Croatia. I’m also pulling for Mexico, also known as the El Tri. Mexico might have more fans in the U.S. than the U.S. I’ve seen the passion of the Mexican people for their soccer team while vacationing in Cabo, sitting side-by-side with them while watching the El Tri advance to the second round in 2010. They were eliminated by Argentina that year.

So Group A is where my heart is, but Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico all can’t advance.  Who will join Brazil in the round of 16?   I think Mexico, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Croatia grabs the second spot. I’d prefer Cameroon, and it would be an improbable story if the Les Lions Indomptables survive.

The U.S.? I think the Americans will defy the odds. They will not only get out of a tough group (Germany, Portugal and Ghana are the opponents), but I’ve got the U.S. winning a Round of 16 match against Belgium before losing to Argentina in the quarterfinals.

My quarterfinal predictions: Brazil def. Colombia, Germany def. Bosni and Herzegovina,  Spain def. Italy and Argentina def. U.S.

Semis: Brazil def. Germany; Argentina def. Spain

Finals: Brazil def. Argentina

In the spirit of Lionel Messi and World Cup, I suggest you read this story and have some Dramamine available just in case.

Some links

Marshawn Lynch to skip Seahawks’ mini-camp because he wants a contract extension? That’s the word.

My weekly Thursday column was about Willie Bloomquist, the South Kitsap grad who played in his 1,000th career MLB game on Tuesday. Of those 1,000 games, he’s started 684 of them. The breakdown by position: 244 at shortstop, 224 in the outfield (94 in center, 67 in left, 63 in right), 100 at third base, 100 at second base and 16 at first base, including five this season.

Rick Reilly’s last column. If you’re going to read anything today, read this.

Larry Stone of the Seattle TImes wrote this tribute about Derek Jeter, whose farewell tour passed through Seattle this week.

Silverdale’s Katie Lee has qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links tournament, a championship that will be conducted at The Home Course in Dupont, Washington, in July. It’s the second straight year that Lee, the younger sister of UCLA and Curtis Cup golfer Erynne Lee, has qualified for the APL.

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day & other stuff I was thinking about

Shooting from the hip as the sun sets on Memorial Day and I’m thinking about my dad sitting in the back of a plane, landing and taking off escort carriers — known as “baby flat tops” or “jeep carriers” — in the Pacific and Atlantic during World War II. He was a radarman/gunner on torpedo bombers. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like. He tells the story of looking out the small window where he sat in the plane and he could see what looked like the entire Pacific fleet — big carriers, cruisers, destroyers — chugging towards the Philippines and Okinawa. Everywhere he looked, he said, he could see U.S. ships.

“I was never so proud to be an American,” he said.

Here’s some other things I was thinking about while driving home from Longview, where I watched the final day of the NWAACC baseball championships on Monday:

* NWAACC baseball, at the championship level, is about as good as it gets. I’d rather watch good college baseball than the pros. The emotion and energy is unreal. And when you get two rivals like Edmonds and Bellevue going head-to-head, you never know what’s going to happen. They met for the eighth time this season and Edmonds prevailed 7-6 in a  back-and-forth, momentum-changing game. It was the sixth NWAACC title in eight years for the powerful North region. Everett won it all in 2013. My son’s an assistant athletic director at Edmonds and Paul Gehring, the former Bremerton High/Centralia CC/York College catcher who assisted at Olympic College before taking an assistants job at Edmonds, is the strength and conditioning and catcher’s coach at Edmonds. Casey Bohlmann, a Central Kitsap/Bellevue CC/Hawaii-Hilo pitcher, is a first-year assistant at Bellevue, where his responsibilities include recruiting and helping coach pitchers.

* I admit it. I never appreciated Ray Allen as much as I should have when he was with the Sonics. Best clutch shooter of all time.

* Marshawn Lynch was a no-show when the Seahawks visited the White House last week. His mom told the Seattle Times the Seahawks’ running back “just didn’t want to go.” A lack of respect for President Obama? Not at all. It was consistent with how he handles off-the-field things. He doesn’t give many interviews and makes few public appearances. He had no obligation to show up in D.C.

* U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t coming clean with his reasoning for leaving Landon Donovan off the World Cup team. Klinsmann said: ‘The ones we chose are just that inch ahead of ones we didn’t choose in performance terms.” An inch? Donovan came up an inch short. I’m not buying it. If there are 23 U.S. players better than the 32-year-old Donovan, then the U.S. should not be an underdog at all; they should contend for the title.

* Some former NFL players are suing the league, alleging that professional football knowingly supplied them with illegal narcotics and addictive painkillers. Even if the NFL encouraged it, nobody held a gun to the players heads and forced them to take pills or have someone poke needles in their bodies.

* Willie Bloomquist is the Mariners’ best option at shortstop right now, especially against left-handed pitching. Everybody forgets that he was a regular most of 2011 (hit .266 in 381 at bats with 20 stolen bases) when he helped the Diamondbacks win the NL West. Bloomquist proved that he could play shortstop on an everyday basis and hit leadoff for Arizona. He hit .302 the following season (318 at bats) while serving as the everyday guy for an extended period, and hit .317 an injury-plagued 2013 season when he was limited to 48 games and 150 at bats. Yeah, I know he’s hitting .192, but that’ll go up in a hurry if he gets regular at bats. Besides, Brad Miller is hitting .150 and Nick Franklin’s at .138.i

* The Derek Jeter Farewell Tour comes to Safeco Field on June 10-11-12. He’s among the greatest Yankees in the storied history of that franchise. Nobody will wear No. 2 again. It’ll be retired alongside No. 3 (Babe Ruth), No. 4 (Lou Gehrig), No. 5 (Joe DiMaggio) and No. 7 (Mickey Mantle). Not sure where he ranks among those immortals. He’s never led the league in hitting or won an MVP, but has there ever been a more class act than Jeter? Oh, by the way, no Yankee in history has more hits or has played in more games than Jeter. There’s not a lot of players I’d pay money to see, but I’m gonna pay money to see Jeter when he passes through Safeco next month.

* The day was Oct. 28, 1988. I turned 36. The same day, I wrote a column for The Sun, explaining why the grandstands at Roosevelt Field should not have been torn down. It should have been refurbished. For newcomers, Roosevelt was a grand old stadium that sat where there’s now a parking lot at Olympic College next to the Warren Avenue Bridge. I’ll turn 62 this October and still cringe when I look at that parking lot. I’m still from the school that says when you have a piece of usable recreational property you hang onto it. You can’t replace a field in the core of the city. Twenty-six years later, we know that to be true.

* Yeah, I was going through some old boxes, trying to downsize a bit when I came across the column on Roosevelt Field. I also came across a 1946 Bremerton Bluejackets program. It cost 10 cents back in the day. That the was inaugural season of the Bluejackets (yes, lower case J; the current West Coast League Kitsap BlueJackets spell it with a capital J). The Bremerton Bluejackets were a member of the Western International League, a Class B professional team. They were managed by Sam Gibson and the team was referred to as the “Gibsonmen” at times. Pitcher Joe Sullivan and second baseman Frank Plouf were the only Bremerton players on the roster that year. Oh, by the way, the Bluejackets, who were only around three seasons, played their games at Roosevelt Field.

 

 

 

Baseball, father-sons & other Thursday stuff

Attended the Mariners’ home opener on Tuesday with my dad and son. Something about baseball and dads and sons that’s special. Mix in my best friend, who is like a brother to me, another son to my dad and another dad to my son and it was a really special day.

But back to that original thought about baseball and dads and sons. Baseball’s different than any other sport and it all starts, I think, with playing catch.  No words are necessary. There’s just something magical about it and the sound of the ball popping in the leather glove.

My dad, now 89, would probably have a tough time playing catch today, mostly because he blew out his arm while throwing so much batting practice pitches to me and my friends while growing up.

Some quick thoughts on the Mariners:

You can’t help but be impressed with the easy-going, relaxed way Robinson Cano plays the game. He oozes confidence and that’s going to rub off on some of his teammates. I think it already has.

It’s so early, but manager Lloyd McClendon seems to be making all of the right moves. We’ll see, but he seems to have a good eye for talent. I like that he settled on Abraham Almonte as his center fielder and leadoff hitter early on. I rolled my eyes at first when he handed the first base job to Justin Smoak, but it retrospect that was a good, confidence-building move. If guys don’t produce, I think McClendon has a deep enough bench and enough talent at Tacoma — Nick Franklin, Endy Chavez, Cole Gillespie — that he won’t hesitate to make a move. He’s already rotating Michael Saunders, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero in right field.

I was the guy who predicted the M’s would win the AL West. That was mostly predicated on the rest of the division slipping back some, and the M’s strong starting pitching. If it stays healthy, I think Seattle stays in the race all the way. James Paxton’s visit to the DL for a strained lat doesn’t seem serious, but he’s a key element to the rotation. I think the big lefty is just as good as Taijuan Walker, who is working his way back from injury, as is Hisashi Iwakuma. If they stay healthy, I’m sticking to my pick.

Corey Hart gave us a glimpse of what he could do for the M’s on Tuesday. I wasn’t impressed with his first two swings as he fell in an 0-2 hole against Angels starter Hector Santiago. I turned to my son and said, “Is this guy going to be the next Richie Sexson?” A couple seconds later he Hart crushed a pitch for a three-run moonshot home run to left. He lined a ball over the dead center-field fence for a homer in his next at bat. It got out about thisquick. If he stays healthy, Hart could be a steal at $6 million plus incentives.

One more M’s thought: Felix Hernandez is among a lot of MLB players who wear their baseball hats a little crooked, but new closer Fernando Rodney takes that look to a new level. His hat is practically sideways. How does it stay on his head?

More stuff

South Kitsap grad and Chicago Cubs’ starter Jason Hammel got his second win and had a little fun with first baseman Anthony Rizzo after the game.

North Mason grad and Central Washington infielder Kasey Bielec is third in batting (.398) in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. Bielec, a junior, has five home runs and 28 RBI for the Wildcats (18-13, 11-9 GNAC). He was 4-for-6 on Sunday in a split with Western Oregon.

North Kitsap grad and former Kitsap BlueJacket Dan Jewitt of the Omaha Mavericks was the Summit League Player of the Week last week. The junior outfielder hit .526 (10-for-19) with six RBI and two doubles. Jewitt’s hitting a team-high .400 for the Mavericks (14-12, 3-3 Summit), starting 15 of the 18 games he’s played.

Drew Vettleson’s still looking for his first hit at Double-A Harrisburg. The Senators outfielder is hitless in 16 at bats. The former Central Kitsap star  was traded to the Washington Nationals by the Tampa Bay Rays organization prior to the start of spring training.

Jason Day and Steve Stricker. If I was in a Masters’ pool, I wish I had one of those guys. Wonder how long Fred Couples will contend? You know he will. He’s always on the top of the leaderboard for a couple days, then he fades. Maybe this is the year he hangs tough?

Richard Sherman’s second annual celebrity softball game will be July 20 at Safeco Field. More information here.

Don’t forget, Willie Bloomquist and Bree Schaaf will be at Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods on Thursday night, helping the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable raise money for the Elton Goodwin scoreboard and Elton Goodwin Foundation. Starts at 6 p.m. Everyone’s welcome. Lots of silent auction items available: Robinson Cano signed jersey and bat, Felix Hernandez signed jersey and ball, Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners tickets etc…

KAR auctioning off signed Cano, Hernandez jerseys for Goodwin fundraiser on Thursday

UPDATE: There will also be signed Robinson Cano, Willie Bloomquist and Abraham Almonte bats to bid on. The signed Cano jersey and bat will be part of a package. We’ll also raffle off some items. Everyone gets tickets at the door.

Went to the Mariners’ opener on Tuesday and there sure were a lot of No. 22 jerseys in the crowd?

Want a chance to own your own signed Robinson Cano No. 22 jersey? How about a Felix Hernandez signed No. 34 jersey or signed Hernandez baseball? Want a chance to bid on Seahawks and Mariners tickets? How about Mariners tickets with field access prior to a game? Want to bid on a foursome of golf with carts at Gold Mountain, Kitsap Golf & Country Club and McCormick Woods? How about a $300 gift card to Clearwater Casino?

Want to hear Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist talk about his Major League Baseball career, or ask him some questions about the current Mariners?

Would you be interested in learning how Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf transitioned from Olympic bobsledder to Olympic broadcaster? Want to ask her some questions?

All of this is possible if you stop by Port Orchard’s McCormick Woods Golf Course for Thursday’s Kitsap Athletic Roundtable meeting. Things get going with a 6 p.m. social hour. The program starts at 7. There’s no dinner, but there will be a no-host bar.

Tickets are $30 ($25 for KAR members) and $10 for students 18 and under and they will be available at the door.

Proceeds will help build a scoreboard at the South Kitsap High School baseball field that will be named in honor of former coach Elton Goodwin and to the Elton Goodwin Foundation, which will provide scholarship money to South Kitsap students. Bloomquist’s among there the hundreds and hundreds of players Goodwin touched over the years.

A lot of people are donating items for the silent auction. The signed Cano and Hernandez jerseys and trip to a Mariners game with field access will be auctioned off live.

Hope to see you there.

Bloomquist, Schaaf headline KAR’s Goodwin fund-raiser

If Willie Bloomquist was a Winter Olympic athlete, he said he’d try to be a bobsledder. The event fascinates the South Kitsap grad.

Bree Schaaf, an Olympic High grad,  is a former Olympic bobsled who worked as a broadcaster for NBC at the Sochi Olympics.

Willie, a utility player for the Seattle Marners, will be able to pick Schaaf’s brain about the sport during an April 10 Kitsap Athletic Roundtable event at McCormick Woods Golf Course. The two are going to be the headline speakers.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the purchase of a new scoreboard for the baseball field at South Kitsap High. That field will be named after Elton Goodwin, the Hall of Fame coach who died of a heart attack at 63 after having hip replacement surgery. Man, that’s tough to type. My eyes still get all watery every time I think that Elton’s not around anymore.

Bloomquist played for Goodwin and is one of five of his former players to reach the majors. Jason Ellison, Jason Hammel, Sean Spencer and Aaron Cunningham are the others. Hundreds of others went on to play college baseball.

So here’s the details of the event.

Date: April 10, a Thursday.

When: social hour 6-7 p.m. with the program to follow.

Where: McCormick Woods Golf Course.

Cost: $30 ($25 for KAR members).

There will be several auction items, so bring your wallet.

It should be a fun night, and a chance to listen to two of the most driven and successful athletes to come out of the area.

Tickets are being printed and will be available in advance. We’ll let you know where you can get them as soon as they are distributed.

If you can’t make it and and want to make a donation, you can contact me at chuckstark00@gmail.com, or call Cully Ecklund at 360-470-0747. C’mon, let’s raise some money in Elton’s honor.

 

Monday musings and notes …

Let’s get to it …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wet stuff drives you crazy & links on Hammel, Willie B., T. Kelly & RV2

Spent about nine hours on the road and at the ballpark today, and what did we have to show for it?

Nothing. Such is life if you’re part of a softball or baseball team that’s trying to get in some games in the Northwest. Mother Nature comes out on top a lot and it prevailed once again.

After warming up in the rain for 90 minutes at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex (known as The RAC), games were cancelled and the Olympic College softball team headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then a drive home in the driving rain. In case you’re wondering, I’m a volunteer assistant.

It’s now closing in on 9:30 p.m. I’m home. It’s still raining and I’m watching Washington State school UCLA in basketball, and wondering if it would be better to just go to bed. We lose an hour of sleep tonight, and the vans leave at 8:30 a.m. for another trip to Lacey, where the artificial turf could be playable. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, here’s some links:

Jason Hammel pitches three shutout innings for  the Cubs in his first official spring game of the season. The South Kitsap grad walked three batters in the first inning, but got out of the jam. Afterwards, he said he might have been a bit nervous.

Willie Bloomquist, who delivered an RBI single on Saturday,  says he’s happy to be a Mariner. “Who gets to put a uniform on twice and play in your hometown?” he told Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Troy Kelly had an eagle on the par-5 14th hole and shot 2-under 70 in the third round of the Chile Classic at Santiago, Chile. The 35-year-old Central Kitsap grad is 7-under for the tournament and tied for 25th heading into Sunday’s final round of the Web-com Tour stop. He’s six strokes off the lead. Tacoma’s Andrew Putman is tied for seventh after a 4-under 68. He’s at 206 for three rounds. Putman was second in the Web.com’s season opener at Puerto Rico. His bother, Michael Putnam, was the Web.com’s Player of the Year in 2013. Ex-Husky and Canadian Nick Taylor is tied for 50th after carding a 70 on Saturday.

Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto ended his five-race winless streak with a wire-to-wire win at Daytona. The Poulsbo rider with the RV2 moniker grabbed the lead at the start and won by over 12 seconds despite a fall. “So pumped to get the win tonight! This one felt good!” he tweeted.

 

Monday links: Cunningham, Hammel, Vettleson, Bloomquist

Catching up with some of Kitsap’s baseball pros:

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

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

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

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

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