Dominant BlueJackets pitcher drafted by Anaheim Angels

A day after striking out 13 against feeder Olympia, Jackets pitcher taken in eighth round of draft.

PORT ORCHARD — The cold weather, roster without many numbers and parent club facing its feeder team gave the game a preseason feel.

It also served as preparation for some, but pitcher Christian Scholl didn’t look like he needed it.

Scholl, a 6-foot right-hander who played at Green River Community College and signed with Washington State, allowed just one hit and struck out 13 batters in five innings Thursday for the Kitsap BlueJackets, who lost an 8-5 exhibition game against their feeder team, Olympia, at South Kitsap High School.

“Tremendous,” said Kitsap coach Matt Acker, who coached Scholl at Green River. “He’s an outstanding pitcher. He’s going to be a force in this league if he’s around.”

He may not be now, as Scholl was selected in the eighth round with the 259th overall pick by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“That’s big,” Acker said. “Top 10 rounds is big. I’m proud of him, happy for him. It’s a heck of an opportunity.”

It was easy to see why he got drafted, Acker said.

“He’s definitely a phenomenal talent,” he said. “But on top of that, he’s a super competitive kid. I think that’s why he’s special.”

With a fastball touching the low-90s consistently, Acker said that competitiveness is what makes him stand out from hundreds of other prep and collegiate pitchers with similar velocity.

“What separates him is that competitiveness,” Acker said. “And (Thursday) was a prime example. He wants to kick your butt.”

Scholl marks the third Jacket to get drafted, joining Matt Fields and Lyndon Estill. Acker said it adds further validity to the talent in the league and team.

“It’s always positive to see the level of talent in our league,” Acker said.

Now Scholl will have to decide whether to sign with the Angels or honor his previous commitment to Washington State.

Acker said Scholl has a place in the rotation if he doesn’t sign with a major-league team, but the Jackets went into an evaluation process after he left the game. That’s because some players competed in the College World Series and won’t join the team until next week.

As a result, Acker said the team has inked Colby Toghetti, a North Dakota State University pitcher who came highly recommended by former Jackets and current Bisons assistant coach David Pearson.

Some players, such as former Olympic High standout Nick Bankus, also pitched. Bankus, a left-handed pitcher at the University of Portland, likely will start the season with Olympia.

“We’ve got a good chance to see the players,” Acker said. “It’s important for us to see them.”

Kitsap had a 4-0 lead in the sixth inning when the A’s tied the game off Bankus. They then took the lead with two runs in the seventh and added a couple more in the ninth.

The BlueJackets also played an exhibition game Friday in Poulsbo — results weren’t available by press time. Acker said the games gave the team an opportunity to see fans in other areas of Kitsap County and also benefited local Little League teams.

Proceeds from Thursday’s game were donated to the South Kitsap Western Little League.

— Sports editor Aaron Managhan contributed to this report.

Short hops

Scholl wasn’t the only player with BlueJackets ties selected in the 2008 MLB Draft.

University of Portland senior outfielder Danny Meier, who played for Kitsap in 2006, was selected in the 24th round Friday, the 722nd overall selection by the Houston Astros.

Meier was one of Kitsap’s top bats, hitting .295 with 27 runs, two homers and 25 RBI in his Kitsap tenure.

He hit .284 in 53 games, all starts, for the Pilots this season, leading the team with 15 homers and 46 RBI, earning All-West Coast Conference honors in the process. His 15 dingers also led the WCC.

Later, Shane Kaufman, who saw action in eight games out of the pen, compiling an 0-1 record with a 1.29 ERA for Kitsap last season, was drafted in the 28th round (837th overall) by the San Francisco Giants.

Kaufman is a senior out of San Diego State University. He went 1-3 with a 7.98 ERA in 22 games for SDSU, eight starts, while striking out 48 batters.

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