BlueJackets loaded and ready for ’06

The Kitsap BlueJackets are ready to take the field.

Sure, BlueJackets coach Matt Acker just finished the roster, getting in the final player contracts for the summer coliegiate league team, but that only adds to his anticipation of opening day.

“We have all our contracts in,” Acker said. “I’m more than happy.”

When looking at the most recent additions, it’s easy to see why.

The outfield will be bolstered by the additions of Charleston Southern University junior Stephen Herzog as well as the University of Washington’s Brett Kaluza.

Kaluza is hitting .219 in 29 games for the Huskies, picking up 15 runs and 11 RBI in spot time.

On the infield, Bradley Boyer will also come over from UW, bringing his .270 average in 40 games along with him. He also leads the Huskies with a pair of triples and has 18 runs.

At catcher, the team has added Hawaii Pacific University junior Andrew Sramek as well as Ivan Munoz, a junior at Western Oregon University from Newport, Ore. Western Oregon is currently the No. 1 NCAA II West Region team, taking sixth overall in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association rankings. Munoz has been a big part of that, batting .341 (11th in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference) with three homers and 36 RBI in 38 games. Munoz also leads GNAC with 17 doubles, displaying promising gap power.

In fact, a look at the 2006 GNAC standings shows just how good the BlueJackets have the potential to be.

BlueJacket-to-be Jamie Nilsen is second in the GNAC with a .375 average, scoring 46 times on five triples and six homers to go with 34 RBI. Kevin Corrigan, another offseason addition from Western Oregon, is fourth at .364, blasting nine homers and driving in 44. Ex-BlueJackets Adam Siler and Nate Baker are also in the top 10. Both Saint Martin’s University students were unable to return with the addition of SMU coach Joe Dominiak as an assistant coach.

“That’s what they bring,” Acker said of the potent bats. “And that’s what we need.”

Acker said the team will look different this year in terms of age and maturity as well, with younger pitchers and more experienced hitters.

“Our pitching staff has got a lot of young kids on it,” Acker said. “And the hitters are a little older. You can kind of tell that.”

The BlueJackets will kick off the season at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8 in an exhibition against the Tacoma Cardinals.

Volunteers needed

With less than one month before the start of the season, the BlueJackets are still looking for host families. Families are not required to provide transportation and all players have phone cards or cell phones. Host families also receive free general admission seats to BlueJackets games. For more information on becoming a host family, contact Jeannine Lewis, the BlueJackets housing and jobs coordinator, at (360) 698-1090.

Family members wanted

The BlueJackets are also looking for family members in the area of original BlueJacket Joe Sullivan. The team is hoping to honor Sullivan, a pitcher who died in 1985, this summer. The southpaw from Tracyton pitched parts of five seasons in the majors. A 1928 graduate of Silverdale (now Central Kitsap) High School, Sullivan won 30 games with the Detroit Tigers (1935-36), the Boston Braves (1939-41) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1941). In his first year with Detroit in 1935, the Tigers went 93-58 to capture the AL pennant for the second consecutive season. The Tigers went on to claim the franchise’s first World Series crown, topping the Chicago Cubs 4-2 in six games. Sullivan played with the likes of Hank Greenberg, Goose Goslin and Schoolboy Rowe on the team to name a few. That season, Sullivan was 6-6 with a 3.51 ERA in 125 2/3 innings pitched.

His most productive season came in 1940, when he won 10 games for the Braves and compiled a 3.55 ERA. His major league career over, Sullivan returned to Kitsap County and pitched with the Bremerton Bluejackets of the Western International League in 1946. He worked at PSNS from 1945 to 1970.

Born in Illinois, Sullivan died in Sequim in 1985 after a bout with cancer.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Sullivan’s relatives, contact the BlueJackets at (360) 479-0123.

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