Monthly Archives: July 2013

SK Wolves camping at Fort Worden; Villwock back in the sport; Seahawks, Huskies, WCL & more

The South Kitsap Wolves have stolen a page from the highly-successful Bellevue Wolverines, the state football powerhouse that has won 10 Class 3A state football championships and been recognized as one of the premier programs in the country.

Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff has been bringing the Wolverines to Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend for a week-long camp since 2002.

South Kitsap coach Eric Canton has his Wolves at Fort Worden this week. They arrived Sunday afternoon and will leave Wednesday. I spent a good part of the day with the Wolves on Monday observing and talking to coaches and players. You can read the story on Sunday.

Quick hits

Dave Villwock retired as a driver, but the all-time winningest pilot in hydroplane history didn’t take long to find a team to work with. He’s working with the Beacon Plumbing team and will be in Seattle for the Seafair races this weekend.. It’s not quite as well funded as some of his past teams.

“Right now we’re using an old propellor that I think was used to hold a door open,” Villwock told the Tri-City Herald at last weekend’s races in Pasco. “But I think Bill Cahill (the owner of Beacon Plumbing) wants to commit more money.”

So wide receiver Percy Harvin is going to have surgery to repair his injured hip, and there’s no timetable for his return. Not only was he supposed to be a big part of the Seattle Seahawks’ offense, but he was expected to return kicks, which is why Leon Washington is no longer with the Hawks. Leon signed with the Patriots. He’s going to be a tough guy to replace. He also returned punts and was a threat to take it to the house every time he touched the ball. WR Golden Tate and cornerback Walter Thurmond are two potential candidates to handle return duties.

The Washington Huskies kicked defensive end Pio Vituvei off the team for violating team rules, coach Steve Sarkisian announced on Tuesday. Vituvei was a sophomore who played in nine games as a true freshman.

Which brings me to John McGrath’s column on how Sarkisian has handled the Austin Seferian-Jenkins situation. The Tacoma News Tribune columnist thinks he should have made a decision one way or the other a long time ago. He writes:

“For somebody who wants his team to hurry up in every phase, Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian is setting a curious example. There’s an issue he must resolve, and he’s plodding over it at the approximate speed of a grocery-store line on Thanksgiving Eve.”

In case you missed it, you can read my Q&A with Dick Baird, the former UW recruiting coordinator and Husky assistant who now works as a broadcast analyst for KJR radio.

SK senior Logan Knowles, one of the top all-around athletes in the area, visited the Naval Academy in January and could end up playing baseball for the Middies. It’s not a done deal, but he’s leaning in that direction, said his dad, Mark Knowles, the affable Gold Mountain Golf Club pro. Logan Knowles shared backup quarterback duties with Cooper Canton a year ago, but has been moved to wide receiver on offense. He’s also a returning starter in the secondary. Knowles was one of the unsung heroes for the South Kitsap baseball team that reached the Class 4A title game a year ago.

New West Coast League president Dennis Koho was a visitor at the Kitsap BlueJackets game on Monday night. Koho headed to Wenatchee on Tuesday to complete his goal of visiting all 11 WCL teams. I talked to Koho via phone and met him briefly at the ballpark. Koho, the WCL and the BlueJackets will be the subject of my Thursday column.

Bremerton’s Bree Schaaf and other U.S. bobsled drivers will compete from the driver push bar in a competition on Friday, August 2, in Calgary. Coaches will select driver and push athlete combinations based on results for a series of race-offs on Saturday. Elana Meyers and Nick Cunningham are the respective women’s and men’s defending champions in the driver push category. The U.S. National Push Championships is the first official competition of the 2013-2014 season.  The next step in team selections will be a series of races on the Lake Placid, N.Y. and Park City, Utah tracks in October. Schaaf, an Olympian who finished fifth at the 2010 Games, is trying to fight her way back on the team. She had  hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and wasn’t fully recovered this time a year ago.

South Kitsap grad Brady Steiger got his first professional hit on Tuesday (July 30) for the Gulf Coast League Yankees. The former Lewis-Clark State star, a second-team NAIA All-American, recently signed with the Yankees while playing for the Seattle Studs. He saw his first game action on Tuesday. He was the designated hitter and went 1-for-5.

Silverdale’s Erynne Lee will tee it up in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Aug. 5-11 at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.). Lee, a junior-to-be at UCLA, earned an exemption after being a member of 2012 USA World Amateur Team, a member of 2013 USA Copa de las Americas Team and a quarterfinalist at last year’s Women’s Amateur. Lee’s been a semifinalist (2008) and medalist (2010) of this tournament, in addition to reaching the quarterfinals three times.


Seattle’s Sherman: Cornerback, Mouth, Columnist

He thinks he’ s the best cornerback in the NFL.

He probably thinks he’s the most interesting man in the world, capable of parallel parking a train, but that one’s been taken by the character in those highly entertaining Dos Equis beer commercials.

And, you know what, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks could very well be the best cornerback in the NFL. We’ll find out this season because he’ll be under the biggest microscope a cornerback has ever been under.

And maybe he can parallel park a train? If you asked him, I bet he’d say he could.

Sherman wrote his first column for MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback) with Peter King, an site, last week.

A sample:

“I play the game the right way. I play hard. I don’t take cheap shots. I never try to hurt anybody. And I respect people who respect me. It’s pretty simple. But if you don’t respect me, or if you doubt my ability, I’m not just going to sit there and swallow it. I’ll come at you. I know there are people out there—fans and other players—who say, ‘Just shut up and play.’ But that’s not me. Never has been, never will be. I can’t make everyone out there happy.”

We’ll keep our eye on what Sherman is writing. It could turn out to be as interesting as those “most interesting man” in the world commercials.




Steiger signs with Yankees

Brady Steiger signed a free-agent contract with the New York Yankees.

The South Kitsap grad, a first baseman/third baseman at Lewis-Clark State, was playing for the semi-pro Seattle Studs this summer. Bypassed in the draft, the Yankees liked what they saw this summer.

Here’s a column I wrote about Steiger this spring. He took an interesting route to get to professional baseball, giving up the sport at one point while on scholarship at Washington State. Once he got the bug again, he played a year of JC baseball in California and landed at LC-State last year.

Here’s what his coach at LC-State, Jeremiah Robbins, had to say about Steiger:

“He’s been phenomenal this year,” Robbins said. “The guy has the highest work ethic I’ve ever had in a player. He’s so mentally tough, so physically tough. He prepares himself the right way every single day, whether it’s going to practice, class or getting ready for a game day.

“He’s just a pleasure to be around. He’s a team leader. He not only provides offense but defense. He’s been our rock.”

Steiger reports to the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League team in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday.

CK grad Williams lands job at Boise State & more stuff

Isaac Williams, a highly-successful men’s basketball coach at NAIA DII Eastern Oregon, has landed at Boise State as the director of basketball operations.

I somehow missed this story about the Central Kitsap graduate.

For more background on Williams, here’s a column I wrote in February.

Everybody you talk to has nothing but good things to say about Williams. I don’t think this will be his final stop in the coaching business.


Looks like Willie Bloomquist, back on the disabled list after breaking bones in his hand, spent some time in the Port Orchard area during the All-Star break. Here’s a photo of Willie’s daughters on the Puget Sound waters. The Arizona Diamondback, an avid outdoorsman, also tweeted a picture of his daughter with a nice rainbow trout.

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto will be racing in Washougal on Saturday. It’s one of the oldest tracks on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross circuit and Villopoto, who has a healthy lead in the 450cc standings, has never won on what is considered his “home” track.

The Kitsap BlueJackets open a three-game home series vs. Kelowna, B.C., Friday night at 6:35 p.m. They play Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Going to stop by Saturday and chat with first baseman Daniel Orr, the Kingston High and Everett CC product. Orr’s headed to Corban University in Salem, Ore., next year. Look for the story the following weekend. Here’s a look at the BlueJackets’ hitting stats. And here’s the BJs pitching numbers.

Also working on a story about LakeLand Village Golf Course in Allyn. It’s an interesting 27-hole facility, owned and operated by Steve Anderson.  His grandfather was the original owner of the property.

Drew Vettleson, a Central Kitsap grad playing for the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Class A Florida State League, had hit in eight of his last nine games heading into Friday’s game. He’s hitting .274 and leads the team in hits (89) and is second in doubles (20) and RBIs (41). The most puzzling statistic about Drew this season is that the strong-armed outfielder has an uncharacteristic 13 errors.


Mariners: Bremertonian designs ‘Game of Throws’ giveaway T-shirt

The Game of Throws T-shirt designed by Bremerton’s Eric Wahlquist was voted the winner of a Mariners’ contest. The first 5,000 fans to Tuesday’s game against Boston receives one.

Seattle All-Star pitchers Felix Hernandez and Hiashi Iwakuma are featured on the T-shirt. Ten were for sale on Ebay ($14.99 each). Oops, only eight are left.

All Stars: Puig? Ibanez? Why not?

There’s been a lot of debating about whether Yasiel Puig, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ wonder kid, belongs in the All-Star game. The fans didn’t vote the outfielder in as a starter, and he didn’t make it as a sub either, but he’s on the list of five NL players competing in the “Final Vote” for the last berth on the team. He should easily win. Who doesn’t want to see this kid from Cuba who hit .436 with 44 hits and and a .713 slugging percentage in his first month? Dude’s 22. Send him to New York and give him an at-bat.

What’s Yasiel Puig have to do with the Mariners? Northing, except the M’s have a 41-year-old dude who has that little white baseball looking like a watermelon right now when he takes a swing at it. You might have heard of him. Raaauuuuuuuul Ibanez. You could argue that he was just as hot as Puig during the month of June. Ibanez had 10 HRs and 22 RBIs last month. Those are Barry Bonds-like numbers. OK, his average isn’t great (.257 through Sunday), but after hitting another home run on Monday, he’s up to 22 bombs (5th in the AL) and 51 RBIs. He’s had eight home runs in his last 12 games. He’s had at least one hit in all 12 of those games. Send Raul to New York and give him an at-bat, too. If Puig belongs, Raul certainly measures up.

Just the numbers

Prior to Monday’s game against Boston, Seattle ranked 6th in the majors in home runs with 104, but only 28th out of 30 teams in runs scored (325). Last time I looked, scoring runs is the stat that really matters. Miami (284) and the Chicago White Sox (314) rank No. 30 and No. 29 in runs scored.

St. Louis (22) and Arizona (28) are the only teams with fewer stolen bases than the Mariners (30).

Seattle was hitting .235, ahead of only Houston (.234), NY Mets (.234) and Miami (.231).

Kyle Seager leads the M’s with a .286 average, which ranks No. 52 in the league. Kendrys Morales ranks No. 65 and is hitting .272 (remember, this was through Sunday). Nick Franklin (.284) didn’t have enough at-bats yet to qualify.

What’s it all mean? The M’s are too dependent on the long ball, but they’ve been better over the last month. In the last 30 games, the M’s have four of the top-100 average hitters in baseball: No. 60 Ibanez (287, 11 homers), No. 75 Franklin (.277, 7 homers), No. 84 Endy Chavez (.275) and No. 90 Seager (.269, 5 homers). Not earth-shaking numbers, but at least the M’s aren’t relying on Seager and Morales and the incredibly-hot Ibanez to carry the load. And Justin Smoak’s starting to do his part, which shouldn’t be overlooked. Smoak’s production could be key going forward for this franchise.

With the arrival of Franklin, shortstop Brad Miller and catcher Mike Zunino, the product on the field is at least more entertaining than the one the club was running out there earlier. And now that they’ve won five of seven against the Rangers, Reds and the AL-best Red Sox, there might be reason to believe that the Mariners just might … ah, never mind. I’m not even going there.


Handicapping Dawgs and Cougs; Jonson tied for 5th at PNGA Amateur; Sherman’s softball game Sunday

Chris Huston, college football writer for CBS, took a look at the over/under lines on how many games Pac-12 football teams will win in 2013.

The line for the Washington Huskies was 7.5. It was 4.5 for the Washington State Cougars. Will the Huskies win more than seven games? Will WSU win more than four?

Here’s how Huston sized up the UW and WSU:

Washington, 7.5

Over (-120)/Under (-120)

The Huskies have been consistently mediocre under Steve Sarkisian with three straight 7-6 seasons. This may be his last chance to show he can get it done in Seattle. The talent is certainly there, with all-star recruits on both sides of the ball. But this Husky program is still trying to find its identity. The schedule does Sarkisian no favors, as Washington opens withBoise State, then travels to Chicago to take on Illinois. October is a bear, with a home game against Oregon sandwiched between road games at Stanford and Arizona State. It’s going to be tough for UW to break out of its 7-win gulag. VERDICT: Under

Washington State, 4.5

Over (-130)/Under (-110)

Mike Leach is in his second season in the Palouse and his team should be much improved after last season’s disappointing 3-9 record. Whether that will translate into more wins is the big question. The season starts out rough, with road trips to Auburn and USC, but games against cream puffs Southern Utah and Idaho means the Cougars should be 2-2 heading into a late September game against Stanford in Seattle. WSU doesn’t have Colorado on its schedule, but it also misses UCLA. The last three games against Arizona, Utah and Washington will determine the win total and I like Leach’s chances to get two of those three. VERDICT: Over.

If UW quarterback Keith Price gets his mojo back after a disappointing 2012 season, I think Washington has a chance to win nine, maybe 10 games. The defense was much-improved a year ago, and it should be even better. The offensive line should also be a strength. And, like Huston pointed out, this could be Sarkisian’s last chance to get it done. Another seven-win season and the honeymoon will be over. Another seven-win season and Sark’s stock will drop considerably.

I’m think Leach will get it done on the Palouse, but only if his team can get some sort of a running game established. Doesn’t need to be much, but it has to be better than it was a year ago when WSU ran for an average of 29.1 yards a game. They’ve got some experience up front, including John Fullington, the senior from North Mason who has started the last 30 games for the Cougars. Look for the Cougs to win six games. If they won’t win four, Leach might catch the next pirate ship out of Pullman.


Jonson tied for 14th

Bainbridge’s Carl Jonson, who will be a junior at UNLV, is tied for 5th after the first round at the PNGA Men’s Amateur, being played at Bandon Dunes Resort in Oregon. Jonson shot a 3-over 75 on the Bandon Dunes course Saturday. He plays Bandon Trails today. The low 64 advance to match play. Here’s the leaderboard.

Jonson was medalist in this event a year ago at Wine Tree Golf Club in Walla Walla and advanced to the championship match, where he lost 5 & 4 to Ban Shotaro of San Jose, Calif. Shotaro also carded an opening-round 75. He’s playing in the same threesome with Jonson. The other player in the group, Mark Strickland of Mukilteo, shot 1-under 69 and sits atop the leaderboard.

Ed Jonson, Carl’s dad, won this tournament in 1974 at the Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish.

Port Orchard’s Bjorn Bjorke is in a good position to make the cut to match-play after shooting 77 on the Bandon Dunes course. The Olympic College golf coach is tied for 16th at 5-over.

Sherman’s softball game today

Festivities for Richard Sherman’s Celebrity Softball Game Sunday, July 7, at Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium begin at noon. Here’s a list of some of the celebs scheduled to show up. Lots of Seahawks will be there. Larry Fitzgerald of the Cardinals and ex-Sonic Shawn Kemp are also playing. Says here that Golden Tate’s the early favorite to win the home-run derby. Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson will coach the teams.

Back to the DL for Willie B

Willie Bloomquist will miss six-to-eight weeks with two broken bones in his left hand. The South Kitsap grad suffered the injury when he was hit by a pitch on June 26.

Bloomquist, 35,  ended last season on the DL with a back injury, and he missed the first two months of this season with an oblique injury.

The shortstop/second baseman was hitting .292 this season after hitting a career-best .302 a year ago.

Jamal Crawford Pro-Am Summer League starts in Seattle

Bremerton’s Miah Davis will be playing for the Jayhawks in the Jamal Crawford Pro-Am Summer League, which starts this weekend. Games run through Aug. 31 at Seattle Pacific University. Admission is $5.

If you’re a hoops junkie, it’s a chance to see some really good basketball. Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin will show up for some of the games.  There’s a lot of ex-Huskies and NBA and athletes like Davis who play overseas.

Here’s a link to a Seattle Times story that has all of the rosters. I wasn’t able to find a schedule. You can also follow the league on Twitter.

Closer to home, the Olympic College Summer League runs through the end of July. Games are Monday and Wednesday, starting at 6:15 p.m. It’s a six-team league. Davis also participates in this league, playing for a team of Bremerton alums called the Wildcats.

Happy 4th, happy crabbing

Baseball, hot dogs and crab.

Judging by the number of crabbers I’ve seen on Port Orchard Bay today — between Illahee and Bainbridge Island — I’m thinking that’s Kitsap’s theme for July 4 this year.

Crab season in Puget Sound waters opened July 1,took a couple days off, and opened again today (the 4th). Crabbers will be out from Thursday to Monday until the season closes in September.

Check the Washington State Fish & Wildlife site for regs and other information.

Hope  you have a safe and happy fourth

And as someone once said, the best way to be safe on the fourth is to not buy a fifth on the third.

If you’re really hard up for entertainment, you can check out my column, which published in the print and online editions today.

What’s the best golf deal around?

I’ve got a buddy who’s been playing LakeLand Village in Allyn for $15. Says he goes to an online site and makes his reservations that way.

What are the other best golf deals out there? I’ll share some of the best deals in this post and in the print editions of The Sun.

Did you know you can play the Olympic Course for $25 Monday-Thursday after 3 p.m.? You can play the Cedars at Dungeness for $20 during super twilight hours Monday-Thursday.

There’s a lot of good twilight rates and special rates out there. Wanna share your favorites?

Just comment here or email me at