BlueJackets lose Scholl, opener

Kitsap catcher Lawson Hipps slides into home during the BlueJackets season opener Wednesday. - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Kitsap catcher Lawson Hipps slides into home during the BlueJackets season opener Wednesday.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

Returning BlueJacket Christian Scholl’s tenure with the 2008 Kitsap squad may be short-lived.

Scholl struck out 13 batters in five innings in an exhibition last week.

“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 (last week) 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 this 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.

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.

Current Jacket Jake Shadle also was drafted, getting selected in the 36th round by the San Diego Padres, 1,095th overall. Shadle remained with the team through Wednesday’s Jackets opener however.

Jackets drop opener

If Matt Acker is going to lose, at least it’s to one of his own.

The Kitsap BlueJackets dropped their home opener Wednesday night, falling 7-6 to the Tacoma Cardinals at Lobe Fields at the Fairgrounds. In a game filled with errors (three on the Cards and two on the Jackets), David Benham ripped a two-out RBI double to put Tacoma up for good in the bottom of the ninth.

“Do I want to lose to them? No, never,” Kitsap coach Acker said. “But at the same time, if I have to lose to somebody, the feeder team is part of our system. It’s good to see the kids and it’s good to see what we have in our system.”

Tacoma players will compete for Kitsap’s final four roster spots, which must be set in July.

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