Out of Write Field
Making sense of the ever-changing South Kitsap sports landscape.
South Kitsap athletic director Ed Santos was spotted at last week’s state gymnastics championships at Tacoma Dome, but not because the school is looking to add that sport. Santos said he was there to watch his niece, who competed for Capital.
While the Wolves won’t field a gymnastics squad during the 2014-15 school year, Santos would not rule one out in the future. Santos, who has worked in the South Kitsap School District since 1983, said the Wolves had a gymnastics team in the past — he was not certain whether that was the 1980s or more recent — and could add that program again.
“I’m all about kids having opportunities,” he said.
But Santos said, “We have not really had anyone express a ton of interest” in competing in gymnastics. Santos said that, along with finding coaches, would be necessary before the Wolves add a program.
Fans of South Kitsap’s boys basketball team are used to driving to watch the Wolves in the playoffs. But those trips have been to places such as Auburn and Tacoma. South’s latest venture is a day trip as the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association released the sites for regionals today with the Wolves playing at 4 p.m. Saturday against Gonzaga Prep at Central Valley High School in Spokane Valley.
The format is simple for regionals: one-and-done. South clinches its first state tournament berth since 2006 with a win. The Class 4A Hardwood Classic is the following week at Tacoma Dome. All games at regionals at loser-out contests.
This marks the second consecutive season the Wolves have advanced to regionals. They lost 74-65 in overtime last season against Garfield in Mill Creek.
TACOMA — South Kitsap coach Chad Nass hoped for a similar scenario to last year where the Wolves had five medalists at state wrestling even though they only brought six competitors.
But those aspirations ended when two of the program’s six wrestlers were eliminated during the first day of Mat Classic XXVI on Friday at Tacoma Dome.
South had a strong first round as five of its wrestlers won, but only 145-pound junior Adam Lutovsky, who won a regional championship last week, prevailed in his quarterfinal match. Lutovsky pinned Yelm’s Ryley Hallman in 3 minutes, 13 seconds, in the first round and then earned an 8-5 decision versus Kentwood’s Dalton Meyers. He is scheduled to face Central Valley’s Colton Orrino at 10:40 a.m. Saturday. If Lutovsky wins, he would wrestle for the state championship at 7 p.m.
Coach Chad Nass praised Lutovsky’s work. He felt the others ran into difficult draws, but still have an opportunity to place Saturday. The Wolves’ remaining competitors include senior Amberlee Brasch, who wrestles at 137 in the girls tournament, sophomore Brandon Forster (126) and senior Tristan Hartmann (195). All three can place as high as third.
Hartmann rebounded from his quarterfinal setback to pin Heritage’s Chris Jones in 5:36.
“He has to come through the back door, which we have done all year,” Nass said.
Seniors Joel Sherman (126) and Joseph Barnum (152) were eliminated.
TACOMA — The late-running wrestling regionals prevented us from seeing much of South Kitsap’s 71-64 win against Evergreen (Vancouver) during Saturday’s loser-out game at Mount Tahoma in the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament.
But John Callaghan attributed much his team’s success to the execution of their 1-3-1 defense that was designed to keep the much-taller Plainsmen from dominating inside.
“We played smart,” Callaghan said. “That is the best defense we have played. I’m so proud of the way our guys played.”
He praised the ability of 6-6 sophomore Isaiah Lewis to stay out of foul trouble during the second half. Callaghan also was pleased with 6-2 senior Logan Knowles’ ability to contain taller players in the post when Lewis accumulated three first-half fouls.
The result means South (16-7) will play another loser-out game at 7:45 p.m. Tuesday against Federal Way at Auburn. If the Wolves win that game they will need to win one more district contest to advance to regionals for a second straight season.
Countless coaches spoke about their teams beginning two wins away from state for years when they advanced to the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament. But the math is not quite that simple these days. Teams still can qualify for regionals if they win their first two games. Otherwise, it becomes a little more complicated as the brackets show.
South Kitsap’s boys team has an easier route to advance to regionals for a second consecutive season than the girls team by virtue of opening at home at 7 tonight against Puyallup. Meanwhile, the Wolves’ girls team travels to Puyallup. A victory in the opener for the boys team means they play the winner of Evergreen (Vancouver) vs. Kentridge at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Auburn. If the Wolves win that game, they would clinch a regional berth and not play again until 7:45 p.m. Thursday at Auburn for seeding purposes. But any losses make that course much more difficult to navigate. If South loses either of its first two playoff games, it must survive multiple loser-out games in a quest to earn the district’s seventh seed.
The Wolves’ girls team faces a similar path to districts. If they beat Puyallup, South plays the winner of Emerald Ridge/Skyview at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Puyallup. The team that wins that game returns Thursday to Puyallup for a seeding game. But as with the boys, any loses during the first two games makes the path toward regionals difficult.
Jason Hammel, a 2000 South Kitsap graduate, signed a one-year, $6 million contract Friday with the Chicago Cubs.
ESPN’s Buster Olney tweeted Saturday that the short contract could be related to concerns about Hammel’s elbow.
After garnering all-star game consideration when he finished with an 8-6 record and 3.43 ERA in 2012, Hammel regressed last year. He finished with a 7-8 record and 4.97 ERA. His strikeout ratio per nine innings also fell from a career-best 8.6 in 2012 to 6.2.
The Cubs mark Hammel’s fourth organization since he was drafted in the 10th round by Tampa Bay in 2010. In addition to Tampa Bay and Baltimore, where he pitched the last two seasons, Hammel also has played for Colorado.
In eight major-league seasons, Hammel has posted a 49-59 record with a 4.80 ERA.
Just got off the phone with Central Kitsap athletic director Bill Baxter, who said the Cougars will not petition to remain in the Class 4A Narrows League next fall.
Baxter said the decision was difficult because of CK’s longstanding ties to 4A Narrows. The school has competed in the state’s largest classification, which formerly was known as AAA, since 1989-90. The Cougars then moved to 4A when that classification was added in 1997.
“I’m going to miss playing those league games with South Kitsap, Olympia and Bellarmine because they made us a better team,” said Baxter, adding that it was his preference to remain in that league and he hopes to schedule nonleague games against those programs.
But he said that desire was outweighed by the prospect of competing in the eight-team 3A Narrows, which officially will add Capital from the Evergreen Conference. With eight teams, Baxter believes the league will be in line for more playoff berths. In addition to those schools, 3A Narrows will include Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, North Thurston, Shelton and Wilson. Bellarmine Prep, Gig Harbor, Olympia, South Kitsap, Stadium, Timberline and Yelm will compete in 4A Narrows.
The WIAA reclassifies schools every two years based on enrollment to avoid imbalances. Schools with the top 16 to 17 percent enrollment, such as South, are recognized as 4A.
I just spoke with South Kitsap athletic director Ed Santos who said the Narrows League configuration for 2014-16 could remain in flux until 5 p.m. today, which is the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s deadline for schools to elect to compete in a larger classification.
As of now, Bellarmine Prep, Gig Harbor, Olympia, South Kitsap, Stadium, Timberline and Yelm would comprise 4A Narrows, while Central Kitsap, Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, North Thurston, Shelton and Wilson would compete in 3A Narrows. According to Santos, CK officials would prefer to remain in 4A Narrows, but if the Cougars elect to play in that league they would knock Stadium, which is the smallest 4A school that has not “opted up,” down to 3A.
Santos, who co-chairs the Narrows League realignment committee with South principal Jerry Holsten, said Capital could join 3A Narrows, but that school also could remain at the 2A level if another program opts up.
South Kitsap graduate Willie Bloomquist has reached an agreement to return to the Seattle Mariners, according to several sources.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Bloomquist will sign a two-year, $5 million contract with the Mariners. He originally was drafted by Seattle in 1999 out of Arizona State and played with the Mariners from 2002-08. Since leaving Seattle, Bloomquist has played for Kansas City, Cincinnati and Arizona. In 48 games last season with the Diamondbacks, Bloomquist hit .317 and had a .360 on-base percentage.
Bloomquist, who has played second base, shortstop, third base and outfield in recent years, figures to serve as a backup in a youthful Mariners infield. Kyle Seager and Brad Miller are entrenched as the starters at third base and shortstop, respectively, while Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin are expected to compete for the job at second base unless one is traded.
Outfielder Aaron Cunningham, a 2004 South Kitsap graduate, signed a minor-league contract Tuesday with the Chicago Cubs, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.
Cunningham, 27, spent last season in Round Rock, which is Texas’ Triple-A affiliate, and hit .247 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI. The right-handed Cunningham always has been a disciplined hitter and that continued last season as he drew 50 walks in 486 plate appearances.
This marks the seventh organization Cunningham has joined since he was drafted in the sixth round of the 2005 amateur draft by the Chicago White Sox in 2005. Cunningham last played in the major leagues in 2012, when he hit .175 in 72 games with Cleveland.