The Stark Truth

Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Wet stuff drives you crazy & links on Hammel, Willie B., T. Kelly & RV2

March 8th, 2014 by cstark

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.

 


All Seahawks: Jersey No. 12 cracks NFL’s Top-10 list

March 7th, 2014 by cstark

The No. 12 jersey of the Seattle Seahawks, which honors its fans, is now the No. 10 selling jersey in the NFL. Russell Wilson’s No. 3 is No. 1, Marshawn’s Lynch’s No. 24 is No. 5 and Richard Sherman’s No. 25 comes in at No. 6.

Michael Bennett had a helluva year for the Seahawks and he’s going to test the free-agent market. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Just gotta ask, how many of you knew who Bennett was prior to the start of the 2013 season?

The 10-best NFL free-agent bargains? This story by Chris Wesseling at NFL.com rates Golden Tate No. 1 and Walter Thurmond No. 3.

Here’s ESPN’s primer on free agency as it pertains to the Seahawks.

The New York Daily News takes a look a the top 20 free agents and predicts that Bennett will wind up in … Seattle. The paper says Golden Tate will sign with the Jets.

Quarterback Russell Wilson worked out with the Texas Rangers earlier this week. Wilson played a season of Class A ball before, and he enjoyed the day. The Rangers also enjoyed having Wilson around. “He can teach kids about attitude and commitment and work ethic and application and I think that’s what life is about. Period,” said Texas manager Ron Washington.

Wilson was asked how much he wished he could have got in the spring game for an inning.

“How much did I want to play an inning? How much did I want to play the whole game is the question,” he said.

Cornerback Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL and will face a four-game suspension, but somebody’s going to sign the free agent. According to this Bleacher Report, the onus is on Browner to prove that he is worthy of a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Golf notes: Kelly tees it up in Chile; St. Patty’s Shootout at Rolling Hills

March 5th, 2014 by cstark

Troy Kelly is playing in the Chile Classic, a Web.com Tour event that starts Thursday in Santiago, Chile.

The CK grad is playing in his first PGA event in almost a year. Kelly’s last event was the Valero Texas Open last April. He left the tour with a knee injury that required surgery and now has five rehab starts on the Web.com Tour before heading back to the PGA Tour. He’ll play four straight Web.com events before the PGA’s Houston Open.

Kelly, a Central Kitsap grad, and his family moved from LaQuinta, Calif., to Tacoma, in the last year. His brother, Ryan, remains his caddy.

Tacoma’s Andrew Putnam, who was second in the season-opening Web.com tournament in Columbia, is entered. So is Nick Taylor, the former Husky great.

Update: Kelly shot a 1-under 71 and is tied for 54th after the first round.

Remember Russell Henley?

Former University of Georgia star Russell Henley won the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic last week. Henley, then an amateur, won the Nationwide Tour’s Stadion Classic at Athens, Ga., in 2011, beating Kelly by two strokes. Henley wasn’t eligible for the $99,000, which went to Kelly. The money helped Kelly secure his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season.

News from the NWGMA

The Northwest Golf Media Association held its first meeting of 2014 in conjunction with last weekend’s Seattle Golf Show.

I wasn’t able to make it, but here’s a bit of news that came out of the meeting, courtesy Craig Smith, the NWGMA secretary.

Gig Harbor’s Larry Gilhuly, director of the Western Region of the USGA Green Section, reviewed the “firsts” for the 2015 U.S. Open that will be held at Chambers Bay at University Point.

It will be the first time the Open will be played in the Northwest.

It will be the first time the tournament will be played on fescue grass.

It will be the first time the Open will be held on a links course.

It’ll be the first time the FOX network covers the Open.

Par will be 70 and Gilhuly repotted that the tee box on the par-4, 16th has been moved closer to Puget Sound.

More notes from the NWGMA meeting:

TheWeb.com Tour will play the WinCo Foods Portland Open on the Witch Hollow course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club on Aug. 21-24.  The final three days overlap with the Champion Tour’s Boeing Classic in Snoqualmie. … The state’s newest course, Gamble Sands, in Brewster, will open to the public on Aug. 2. Green fees for non-residents will be $130 ($150 with cart). Gamble Sands is designed by David McLay Kidd, who designed the original Bandon Dunes course. … The USGA’s 2014 Women’s Amateur Public Links Championships will be played July 14-19 at The Home Course in Dupont. This is the final year of the championship. The USGA is replacing the men’s and women’s APL with four-ball (best ball) events. … Eric Steiner of the USGA reported that it took only 36 hours to fill the U.S. Open’s 4,500 volunteer positions. The assistant manager of the 2015 Open called it “unprecedented enthusiasm,” for the event.

Also

John Hurley’s St. Patty’s Day Shindig is Saturday, March 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Rolling Hills Golf Club. It features corned beef dinner and music by Seattle’s Phil Randoy combo. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.,dinner at 3:30 p.m. The St. Patty’s Day Shootout, a two-person scramble, tees off at Rolling Hills at 9:30 a.m. Cost is $32.50 per team. It’s $20 for non-golfers to attend the Shindig.

 


Monday links: Cunningham, Hammel, Vettleson, Bloomquist

March 3rd, 2014 by cstark

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.

 


Villopoto maintains Supercross points lead

March 2nd, 2014 by cstark

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto professes “to be struggling a little bit,” but he’s still on top of the AMA Supercross standings.

The Kawasaki rider was fourth in Saturday night’s race at Indianapolis, the ninth race of the 17-race series. Villopoto has won twice this season, but not in the last five weeks. He had 10 victories a year ago when he clinched his second third straight Supercross title in the 11th week of the series at Salt Lake City.

Prior to the Indianapolis race, Villopoto said there were reasons why he hasn’t been Villopotoesque in recent weeks:

“There’s a combination [of factors],” Villopoto said. “One of them is the field is maybe getting closer. And on my end, I’m just struggling a little bit, maybe not having the best weekends and trying to find that sweet spot, that good setting, if you can find it, if that’s ever out there. So it’s a combination of everything. Me struggling a little bit and also, like I said, a big part of it is the competition is so close this year.”

The Supercross series moves to Daytona, Fla., next week. The Seattle race at CenturyLink Field is April 12.

Villopoto is trying to become the fourth rider to win three four consecutive  Supercross titles. The others: Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael. That’s some pretty exclusive company.

The current overall 450SX point standings:

  1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Kawasaki, 184
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 161
  3. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 158
  4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 154
  5. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., 143
  6. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Kawasaki, 111
  7. Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda, 109
  8. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 109
  9. Wil Hahn, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 93
  10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 93

 


Updates on Kitsapers in college

February 27th, 2014 by cstark

Here’s some updates on local athletes playing college sports. I know it’s not an all-inclusive list. If you know somebody else who is out there, please add a comment to this blog:

TRACK AND FIELD

Shane Moskowitz (jr., Central Kitsap) was part of an Oklahoma State distance medley relay that qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.

Moskowitz ran the 1,200 meters leg and the Cowboys finished with a time of 9:29.91, which missed the school record by 1.5 seconds. The mark ranks No. 7 in the NCAA. The top 12 relays qualify for the national meet.

Moskowitz has run a 7:57.79 3,000 meters and a 2:24.48 1,000 yards this indoor season.

Irene Moore (jr., King’s West/Olympic College) is competing in the pentathlon. She was 11th at the GNAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. … Erika Crock (sr., South Kitsap) is a distance runner for the Saints.

SOFTBALL

Haylee Baker (Sr., Bainbridge/Bellevue CC) is hitting .455 for Western Washington (8-3) going into this weekend. The shortstop has one homer and 7 RBI.

BASKETBALL

Guard Jarell Flora (jr., Bremerton) is Seattle University’s third-leading scorer (8.7 points). He’s started 20 of 25 games for the Redhawks (12-13, 4-8 WAC) and averages 3.1 rebounds.

Forward Jalen Carpenter (so., Bremerton) averages 8.6 points and 5.9 reobunds for Weber State (6-19, 2-14 Big Sky). Carpenter leads Weber in offensive rebounds and has started 15 of 25 games.

Guard Krista Stabler (so., Central Kitsap) averages 7.5 points for St. Martin’s (15-10, 9-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference). She’s started five games for the Saints and plays 20.8 minutes per game.

BASEBALL

Two former Olympic College players — pitcher Devin Smith (jr., West Seattle) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (jr., Blaine) — are playing at NCAA Division I Alabama A&M (3-8). Smith is 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA after two starts. He has pitched 14 innings and allowed 10 hits, striking out eight and walking two. Dhanani has started seven games and is hitting .143.

Daniel Orr (jr., Kingston, Everett CC) is hitting .354 for Corban University (5-6). The IB/OF has four doubles, five triples and 14 RBI, all team highs.

Catcher Curtis Wildung (jr., North Kitsap) is hitting .214 for Pacific Lutheran (5-4). Wildung hit a home run in a 1-0 win over Concordia and has started eight games.

Pitcher Joe Stevick (jr., Olympic) has been strong in three early relief outings for Linfield (7-2). Stevick has appeared in three games, pitching seven innings and allowing just one hit with a 0.00 ERA. He has three strikeouts, one walk and a save.

Infielder Kasey Bielec (jr., North Mason) is hitting .360 for Central Washington (4-4). He has two home runs and five RBI. … CWU lefty pitcher Kurtis Pitcher (sr., Klahowya, Western Oregon, Olympic College) pitched seven strong innings in his only start, a no-decision. He allowed five hits and two earned runs.

Josh Sontag (so., Central Kitsap) is an infielder/pitcher for St. Martin’s (1-6). Sontag is hitting .111 (just 9 at-bats) and has a 3.18 ERA after two appearances and 5.2 innings of relief.

GOLF

UCLA’s Erynne Lee (jr., Central Kitsap) shot 71-66-74—211 and tied for sixth at the Allstate Sugar Bowl Intercollegiate in New Orleans. UCLA won the team title in the tourney played at the English Turn G&CC.

UNLV’s Carl Jonson (jr., Bainbridge) tied for 14th at 1-under 143 at the Burns Intercollegiate in Lihue, Hawaii. The final round was rained out. The Rebels tied for eighth as a team.

 


Schaaf writes about transition from sled to announcing booth

February 16th, 2014 by cstark

Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf wrote a guest blog for Entertainment Weekly.

The skeleton athlete turned Olympic bobsledder (she was fifth in 2010 Games) turned NBC broadcaster writes:

I spent the first five years of my 12-year sliding career competing in skeleton before transitioning to the pilot seat of a bobsled. Twelve years of professional sleigh riding? Sounds like a Christmas movie starring the Lawrence brothers! But the few who have had the chance to give bobsled or skeleton a try just for “fun,” soon realize that it’s far too hardcore for made-for-TV movies. That is unless your brand of “fun” involves climbing into a washing machine, setting it on spin, getting pushed off a hill and slamming into boulders the whole way down. It is an almost violent 60 seconds, and something most people rarely want to repeat.

Here’s the full blog.

It sounds like she’s having a blast in Sochi. Here’s a recent tweet from Bree:

Heard @meredithvieira AND @MLauer just said my name! Always hoped it would be after a medal, still pretty darn cool! #Sochi2014 @NBCOlympics

Here’s Bree calling John Daly’s disappointing run in the skeleton. The American had a bad start and Schaaf calls it right away. “Oh no! ….”


Excited about UW softball

February 14th, 2014 by cstark

UPDATE: Washington 18, San Jose State 1 (5 innings). It was even more lopsided than the Seahawks’ Super Bowl victory.

It’s already in the mid-80s and we’re going to take advantage of the sunshine today by taking in a Husky softball game. The Washington Huskies (6-0) are playing San Jose State (6-0) in a tournament game in Tempe this afternoon.

Washington’s an easy team to pull for. I’m helping out at Olympic College as a volunteer assistant and head coach Dan Haas, assistant Heather Jenkins and myself took in a practice last month in Seattle.UW coach Heather Tarr couldn’t have been more gracious. She wandered up in the stands to welcome us and explain what the Huskies were trying to accomplish that day and answered all of our questions. She later showed off the UW’s locker room and coaches’ offices below the stadium.

Being an old men’s fastpitch player, it was interesting to see how the Huskies practiced. It’s easy to see why the Dawgs have enjoyed so much success under Tarr and her staff, which includes husband J.T. D’Amico, Lance Glasoe and Brad Ditter, the former head baseball coach at Edmonds CC. There’s a purpose to everything they do.

Washington was 45-17 and finished third at the Women’s World Series a year ago, and they return all but one starter.

I’m excited about Olympic College softball, too. Danny Haas is doing a solid job recruiting and we’ve got some talented ladies. Our season starts March 1-2 at an NWAACC tournament in Richland. Stop by and catch one of our home games when we get going. I think you’ll be impressed by the level of play.

 

 


Vettleson traded to Nationals

February 13th, 2014 by cstark

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

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

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

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


Waiting list for U.S. Open volunteers at Chambers Bay

February 13th, 2014 by cstark

The United States Golf Association is accepting waitlist applications for volunteers interesting in working the June 15-21, 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. There are  no guarantees at this point as enough people have signed up to fill all positions. Once again, you can be put on a waiting lift.  Click on this link for information.


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