Krulish: An exciting late summer is ahead in Seattle

Mark Krulish

Mark Krulish

The state Department of Health finally shared some good COVID-related news this week as it announced 70 percent of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

The good vibes lasted all of about 10 seconds as that same day, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide drought state of emergency. A dry spring and early summer combined with that blasted “Heat Dome” that gave us a taste of life in the Australian Outback, helped create conditions for a very active fire season. It seems we just can’t catch a break.

As we hope for a freak Pacific storm and the continuation of the relatively cooler temperatures we’ve had lately, we can also hope the action continues to heat up on the field as we seem to be headed for an exciting summer.

The Seattle Sounders broke an MLS record last week, going unbeaten in their first 13 consecutive matches. The hometown kid Kelyn Rowe (he grew up in Federal Way) scored his first goal to break a scoreless tie in the 62nd minute and perennial offensive hero Raúl Ruidíaz put the icing on the cake during stoppage time to give the Sounders a 2-0 win over the Houston Dyanmo.

There’s still a long way to go in the MLS season, but the streak has remained intact despite missing stalwarts such as Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Jordan Morris, Stefan Frei and Will Bruin. It bodes well for another deep late-fall playoff run for the Rave Green.

And then there are the Mariners, who were just 3.5 games out of the final wild card spot at the All-Star break. Their record is 48-43 despite a negative-50 run differential and an offense that sits 30th in batting average and on-base percentage in Major League Baseball, 26th in slugging percentage and 22nd in runs.

But anytime the Mariners can get into their bullpen with a lead, it seems their relief pitchers are always able to shut down opponents. Kendall Graveman, Erik Swanson, Paul Sewald, Dan Steckenrider and JT Chargois have excelled in the late innings. Some of the starters, such as Yuskei Kikuchi and Chris Flexen have had nice years, and rookie Logan Gilbert looks better every start. Surprisingly, it’s the usually-reliable Marco Gonzales who has struggled this year.

Could the Mariners surprise and sneak into the playoffs? It’s going to be tough if they can’t score more consistently — and they have Cleveland, Toronto, New York and Los Angeles right on their heels —but good pitching can cover a lot of those warts, and although it’s unlikely given the rebuilding plan, trading for a bat at the deadline is never out of the question. For the first time in a few years, there will be a reason to stick it out with the M’s through the dog days of summer.

Hockey fans will get their first look at both the present and future of the Seattle Kraken with the NHL Expansion Draft and then first-year player entry draft happening in July. Following that, free agency opens, and we’ll get a chance to see if General Manager Ron Francis swings for the fences right away and signs a high-priced star. They will have plenty of salary cap space to do so, but spending flexibility may remain a priority in the short-term. From there, the anticipation will build until the first game at the gleaming new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle Center in mid-October.

We can’t forget about the local kids either. The South Kitsap Eastern little league has qualified its senior and junior baseball teams in the state tournament. The Bainbridge Island Little League majors are in as well, and one more local representative could join them as Bainbridge Island, North Kitsap North and South Kitsap Eastern are the final three teams playing in the District 2 8-10 year-old tournament. Those tournaments all kick off in the next two weeks.

On the softball side, the North Kitsap Little League junior all-stars have reached their state championship game, which took place Thursday night against Kirkland.

If any team makes it through, they would represent Washington at their respective regional tournaments, taking on the best teams from each state in the Northwest.

After a dark year, it’s great to have so much energy buzzing through the local sports world once again, and hopefully that’s where the heat stays.

More in Sports

Mark Krulish
Kraken hope slow and steady wins the race

The tortoise and the hare, one of Aesop’s fables, is one of… Continue reading

Kiwanis Park gets new disc golf putting green

It’s golf, but without the heavy clubs, carts and dress code, and… Continue reading

Chad Rounds, Jimmy Lee Burrus and Ryan Hough on the water at the completion of the Warrior Paddle. (Contributed photo)
Veterans paddle to raise awareness for mental health

Armed Forces veterans know what it means to face a challenge head-on.… Continue reading

Raul Ruidiaz tries to squeeze by a Sporting KC defender in Seattle’s 3-1 loss on Sunday at Lummen Field. (Mike Fiechtner/Sounders FC Communications)
Sounders win at Austin, lose at home, but stay in 1st

With a number of veteran players remaining out of the lineup due… Continue reading

The Bainbridge LL Senior All Stars were coached by Larry Goode and Life Horwitz. The players were: Christian Benze, McCrea Curfman, Garrett Goade, Conor Grady, Spencer Grady, Matthew Grant, Jack Grant, Ben Hobbs, Monty Horowitz, Judah Marshall, Andrew O’Connell, Isaac Sellers, Miles Wieland, Owen Bernstein and AJ Stevens. (Photo courtesy Ed Wieland)
BI baseball team that almost wasn’t goes 15-2

At the beginning of the Little League season, it looked like the… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Krulish: 2021 sports season one we’ll never forget

It was likely the shortest high school sports season in state history,… Continue reading

New Seattle Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol listens during a news conference June, 24 in Seattle. (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times via AP)
Seattle Kraken putting together NHL coaching staff

The Seattle Kraken inaugural season is rapidly approaching, and with the expansion… Continue reading

Ben Kussie digs out of the box for the Reds in the 18th annual old-timers and alumni Stars and Strikes game as MacKenzie Bond waits on deck. Bond tripled home Kussie in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game and send it to extra innings. (Photo courtesy Paimon Jaberi)
Reds win BI’s Stars and Strikes game with walkoff double

Participants glad to be back after year off due to COVID

Most Read