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Knights Daily Update

The 2012 Knights are taking shape

September 28, 2011

We've got two more signings to announce today as our 2012 team continues to take shape.

The newest Knights are right-handed pitcher Michael McCall, a 6-foot-2, 155-pound Oregon State freshman from Gig Harbor, Wash., and right-handed pitcher Justin Fischer, a 6-2, 195-pounder from UC Santa Barbara and Agoura High in Calabasas, Calif.

McCall was rated as the No. 11 player in Washington and 498th nationally by Perfect Game USA heading into his senior season. Here's a story on McCall from the OSU website; he also played for the U-18 Narrows Baseball Club team.

Fischer also played for the Quakes Baseball Club.

So far, six members of our 2011 West Coast League championship club are slated to spend another season in Corvallis: Pitchers Mark Trentacosta (UC Irvine) and Chris Mendoza (Santa Clara); catcher Dane Lund (Mt. Hood CC); shortstop Alex Foulon (Mt. Hood CC), and outfielders Cade Gotta (Riverside CC) and Matt Nylen (Western Oregon).

Newcomers so far are the aforementioned McCall and Fischer; catcher Austin Barr (Camas High/Stanford 2012-13); first baseman Nick Torres and outfielder Alex Michaels of Cal Poly, and infielder Alex Silver and pitchers Justin Peters and Trevor Teykl of our newest partner school, the University of Texas.

Our other Oregon State signees will be announced shortly and we also expect to announce the return of several more players from our 2011 champions. So stay tuned to the blog and also check out our transactions page for more information.

The WCL fall owners meeting is Oct. 7-8 in Portland and hopefully the 2012 schedule will be completed and ready for publication. All nine franchises are expected to return.

There should not be any expansion for 2012, but that's certainly on the horizon as the league grows possible ownership groups crop up in viable Northwest markets.

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Our signing of Western Oregon outfielder Matt Nylen and Camas (Wash.) High catcher Austin Barr was on our website on Tuesday but good news always bears repeating.

So here's the story again from today's editions of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

And here's a longer version, with more information on the signings and other topics, from Our Sports Central.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

COWLITZ: It's old news that Black Bears coach Bryson LeBlanc is leaving after two seasons to become an assistant coach at UC-Riverside.

But for some reason, this story on his departure popped up this morning as "new" during our daily Internet search for WCL-related items. But it's pretty informative, so we linked it anyways.


Nylen to return; Knights sign Barr

September 27, 2011

More good news in today's Knights' blog.

Outfielder Matt Nylen, a key member of our 2011 West Coast League championship team, will return to the Knights for the 2012 season. A two-year standout at Mt. Hood CC, he's now a junior at Western Oregon.

The Knights also announced the signing of catcher Austin Barr, a senior at Camas (Wash.) High School who will play at Stanford in 2013.

Nylen joined the Knights as a 10-day signee and eventually made the full-time roster. He hit .238 with no homers and 16 RBIs in 43 regular-season games, and .258 overall, with no homers and 19 RBIs, including non-league games and the playoffs.

Nylen was a first-team NWAACC South Division All-Star in 2011 for MHCC. He also played for the Saints in 2010 after graduating from Clackamas High School.

Barr is a 6-foot-2, 210-pound right-handed hitter who was recruited by almost every Pacific-12 Conference team. He made the Vancouver Columbian newspaper's all-region team and was a first-team Greater St. Helens League all-star as a junior in 2011.

"He's a five-tool kid. He has it all. He has exactly what a baseball body should be. He's big, strong and has a 4.0 grade-point average," Camas coach Joe Hallead said of Barr.

Nylen is the sixth member of the 2011 championship team to re-sign with the Knights. He joins catcher Dane Lund and shortstop Alex Foulon of Mt. Hood CC; outfielder Cade Gotta of Riverside (Calif.) CC; and pitchers Mark Trentacosta of UC Irvine and Chris Mendoza of Santa Clara.

More signings will be announced as their paperwork arrives.

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Our 2011 Knights commemorative championship tee-shirts have arrived!

They are $22.50 apiece, and are available at the WWHQ, in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis (corner 4th Street and Madison Avenue), or by mail at PO Box 1356, Corvallis, OR 97339-1356.

Checks should be made out to "Knights Baseball Club." If you need your tee-shirt (or shirts) shipped, please add $7.50 to your order for shipping & handling.

Some fans have already ordered by mail; we'll get your shirts out to you ASAP!

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Knights' coach/general manager Brooke Knight is preparing for his second season with the Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League and will join the club soon, according to the West Australian newspaper.

A few details get lost in translation; Brooke's coming to Oz from San Diego, not Santiago, and the Knights won the West Coast League title, not the Western League.

You should notice another familiar name in the story. Former Crescent Valley High/Oregon State standout Kevin Hooker will assist the club until Knight's arrival. Kevin's older brother, Geoff Hooker, is the founder of the ABL.

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Speaking of Knights in Australia, former Knights player and coach Billy Clontz and ex-Knights star Dylan Jones are coaching the Morley Eagles, a junior team in the Western Australia State League.

Ex-Knights catcher Travis Anderson (2008) is playing for the Black Ducks of the Swan Districts Baseball Club in the same league.

Billy will be the assistant head coach of the Klamath Falls Gems in 2012, working with ex-Knight/new Gems' head coach Josh Hogan.


Knights notebook for 9/26

September 26, 2011

We did some research this morning to see if we missed anything Knights-related during the second half of our season and in the five weeks since we defeated Walla Walla to capture our second West Coast League championship.

Turns out we did overlook a few items, and we'll make amends for that today in the lead item of your daily Corvallis Knights blog.

* Outfielder Kramer Scott of the University of Portland was named a West Coast Conference second-team academic all-star. A senior, he has a 3.44 cumulative grade-point average in organizational communication.

Ex-Knights pitcher Kyle Kraus (2009-10) of UP earned honorable mention all-academic; he's a senior marketing and management major. Kyle also earned first-team all-league honors as a pitcher, but I think we reported that already. He spent this past summer pitching for Hyannis in the Cape Cod League.

* Pitcher Kyle Hart of the University of Redlands was named a third-team NCAA Division III West Region all-star for his stellar 2011 spring. Hart was 9-3, 3.94 and had 80 strikeouts in 88.1 innings.

Infielder Dan Winterstein (2009) and pitcher Brian Ranta (2011) of George Fox University, each of whom played briefly for the Knights as 10-day signees, earned second- and third-team honors, respectively.

* Ex-Knights first baseman Dean Green (2008) of Oklahoma State and Lee University was a New York-Penn League all-star and went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the short-season single-A league's All-Star Game.

Green played for the Connecticut Tigers, a Detroit affiliate, and hit .341, with seven homers and 44 RBIs, for the Norwich-based team.

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Good news for those of you patiently waiting for your 2011 Knights commemorative championship tee-shirts. We just heard from our supplier, and they should be ready and in the office by Tuesday afternoon.

They are $22.50 apiece, and are available at the WWHQ, in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis (corner 4th Street and Madison Avenue), or by mail at PO Box 1356, Corvallis, OR 97339-1356.

Checks should be made out to "Knights Baseball Club." If you need your tee-shirt (or shirts) shipped, please add $7.50 to your order for shipping & handling.

Some fans have already ordered by mail; we'll get your shirts out to you ASAP!

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Former Knights shortstop Justin Viele of Santa Clara (2010), a mainstay of our 2010 West Division regular-season championship club, played for the Eau Claire (Wisc.) Express in the Northwoods League this past summer.

Here's a story about his summer from the SCU website. Justin will be a junior at Santa Clara next spring.

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Our own big-leaguer, Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel, hit a two-run homer against Kansas City on Saturday.

He now has eight homers and 19 RBIs in September and is hitting .251, with 10 homers and 41 RBIs, for the season and has proven he belongs in the major leagues.

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That's it for today, barring something unexpected. See you on Tuesday.


Knights in the pros

September 23, 2011

We're in the process of updating our website after the 2011 season and in doing so president Dan Segel made an interesting discovery.

By his count, 118 former Aloha/Corvallis Knights have played affiliated minor- or major-league baseball since playing for us. Several more played professionally as well, but in the various independent leagues around the country that are not directly affiliated with major-league baseball. Here's a list of our alumni, with an * designating who played affiliated ball after leaving the Knights.

By our count, 25 former Corvallis Knights played minor- or major-league baseball, or signed contracts but did not play, in 2011. That's an average of more than five a year since our move to Corvallis for the 2007 season.

Here's the honor roll: Brent Morel, Nick Akins, Tyler Anderson, Matt Andriese, Dayton Alexander, Cody Bartlett, Carter Bell, Michael Blake, Alex Burg, Dustin Emmons, John Eshleman, Rocky Gale, Drew Garcia, Sam Gaviglio, Dean Green, D.J. Johnson, Drew Leary, Scott Lyman, Adam Melker, Jim Murphy, James Nygren, Josh Osich, Greg Peavey, Andrew Susac and Nick Struck.

We're sure there are many more on the way. And we're not including infielder Nic Cuckovich of Riverside CC, who signed with us and was all set to play in Corvallis last summer before he was drafted by Kansas City and turned pro.

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Oregon State will install a plaque commemorating the May 1, 2011 no-hitter at UCLA by former Knights pitcher Josh Osich at Goss Stadium later this year, according to the OSU baseball Twitter feed.

A left-hander who is now in the San Francisco Giants organization, Osich pitched for the Knights in 2008 after his freshman season at OSU. He was the winning pitcher in a 4-1 victory over Wenatchee in the final game of the WCL CXhampionship Series, in which the Knights swept the AppleSox to capture their first WCL crown.


Morel shines; more ex-Knights earn all-star honors

September 22, 2011

We have more great news to report about some former Knights in professional baseball.

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First, our own major-leaguer, Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel, homered, doubled, scored twice and drove in three runs in an 8-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.

BeMo is now hitting .279 in 20 games in September, with seven homers and 17 RBIs. He's at .254, with nine homers and 39 RBIs, for the season in less than 400 at-bats, very solid numbers for someone who the White Sox thought might have a hard time handling major-league pitching.

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Former Knight Matt Hague (2005) of the University of Washington and Oklahoma State was the International League's all-star first baseman after a standout season with the Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh's triple-A franchise.

Hague - remember, he's "Slider Guy," the sliding Knight whose photo appears in a lot of our promotional material - hit .309 in 141 games, with 37 doubles, three triples, 12 homers and 75 RBIs.

Here's a story on Hague from MiLB.com that appeared earlier this summer.

He's now hit over .300 for three of the five teams he's played for since signing with the Pirates in 2008. He's at .302 lifetime in 462 minor-league games, with 41 homers and 243 RBIs.

We're mystified as to why the Pirates didn't call him up in September, when the MLB rosters are expanded from 25 to 40. But then again, the Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992 so it's not as if anything they ever do makes sense.

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Washington State alum Jared Prince (2006) was named a Carolina League all-star as a utility/outfield player. He hit .282 in 131 games at Myrtle Beach, the Texas Rangers' high-A franchise, with 30 doubles, eight homers and 72 RBIs.

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All told, four former Knights made minor-league all-star teams this summer: Hague, Prince, first baseman/DH Jim Murphy (2007, Class A Lakewood, Sally League, Phillies) and third baseman Darin Holcomb (2005, Class AA Tulsa, Texas League, Rockies).

And Dean Green (2008), who had a standout season with the Class A Connecticut Tigers, will be No. 5 when the New York-Penn League finally releases its all-star team, as he had a great season (.341, 7-44) there.

We know that ex-Knights major leaguers Chris Stewart, Tommy Hanson, Bud Norris and Marc Rzepczynski never played in Corvallis. Neither did Prince, Holcomb or Hague.

But they - and Morel, Murphy and all the other current minor-leaguers who did play for the Corvallis Knights - illustrate the quality talent our franchise attracts every year.

And we fully expect many of our former Corvallis Knights to make minor-league all-star teams, and the majors, in the very near future.

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Regular readers of the blog know I'm an attendance geek. So when the WCL league office asked us to break down our 2011 numbers, we were happy to dig into the spreadsheet and comply.

So, after crunching the numbers, here's how we fared:

TOTAL WCL ATTENDANCE: We drew 34,733 for 28 home openings, and averaged 1,240 for 25 regular-season openings (we had two doubleheaders) and three playoff games.

HIGH SINGLE-GAME ATTENDANCE: We drew 2,930 for the July 3 Fireworks Night against Bend, our third straight sellout on that night. We'd draw several hundred more if we could sell standing room.

OVERALL ATTENDANCE: Our overall attendance was 42,447 for 33 home dates, an average of 1,286 per opening.

We drew 34,733 for league regular season/playoff games; 2,517 for the All-Star Game, and 5,197 combined for three games against WCL Portland and one against the T. Gerding Construction American Legion team.

INCREASE FROM 2010: Our total attendance grew 11,438 from 2010, a 37 percent increase. Our per-game average count drew by 286 a game, a 29 percent increase. (We had 33 home dates in 2011 and 31 in 2010, so that accounts for the discrepency in our total growth and per-game growth.)

So thanks for helping us have a great season! Our players really enjoy competing in front of the best fans in the West Coast League.

We'll have our 2012 ticketing information available soon, and the 2012 schedule should be available by late October. So keep reading the blog.


Knights add Cal Poly OF/Inf. Nick Torres

September 21, 2011

The Cal Poly-to-Corvallis pipeline is open again.

The Knights have signed Mustangs' first baseman/outfielder Nick Torres, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound graduate of Lakewood High in Lakewood, Calif., for the 2012 season.

Torres will join fellow Mustang freshman Alex Michaels on next year's Knights. The Knights announced Michaels' signing back on Sept. 9.

Torres was a C.I.F. Southern Section Division 1 all-star in 2011 and was the Moore League co-MVP. He hit .373, with five doubles, five triples, two homers and 27 RBIs in 34 games for Lakewood in 2011, and played with the SoCal Outlaws summer league team for two years.

The Knights have had numerous Cal Poly standouts since moving to Corvallis, such as current Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (2007); pitchers Kevin Castner (2007), Eric Massingham (2007), Jared Eskew (2008) and Chase Johnson (2011); infielders Jimmy Allen (2011) and 2011 team MVP David Armendariz, and outfielders Adam Melker (2008-09) and Mitch Haniger (2010).

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Former Knights' first baseman Jim Murphy, the Washington State slugger who was our 2007 MVP (.352, 5-28), was named to the South Atlantic League all-star team as the Designated Hitter after a big season with the Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws.

Murph, who turned 26 years old on Sept. 16, hit .268 in 129 games, with 35 doubles, 22 homers, 77 RBIs and a .490 slugging percentage. He's hit 47 homers and has 217 RBIs in four minor league seasons since signing with the Phillies' organization after the 2008 season, and is Lakewood's all-time leader in homers (36) and RBIs (145).

Congrats to Jim. His two-run homer off Kitsap closer (and WSU teammate) Ross Humes at Goss Stadium in the last of the eighth that gave the Knights a 4-3 win in the rubber game of the 2007 West Division playoffs remains one of the classic moments in franchise history.

He also has the only grand slam in Corvallis Knights history, off former Spokane pitcher (and ex-OSU star) Kraig Sitton in 2007.

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The news about our new partnership with the University of Texas appears in today's editions of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Stay tuned to the G-T, the Blog and our home page for updates on our signings. We'll have more to come in the near future.

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Former Knight Chris Stewart of the San Francisco Giants, our 2001 MVP, homered and singled on Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The aforementioned Brent Morel hit his eighth homer of the season at Kansas City last Friday. He has six homers and 14 RBIs in 19 games this month.

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Some updates from elsewhere in the WCL:

COWLITZ: Seven Black Bears were listed among the top pro prospects in the WCL by the Perfect Game USA website.

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems announce the signing of eight players, including University of Portland outfielder Nick Armenta, who was ticketed to play for the 2011 Knights before being sidelined for most of the season by injury.



Beavers start fall workouts with Knights connection

September 20, 2011

The Oregon State baseball team began its fall workouts on Monday at Goss Stadium, featuring a plethora of former Corvallis Knights (and undoubtedly several future Knights, although we haven't announced which 2012 Beavers will play for us next summer).

The Beavers pitching staff reads like a Knights roster: Matt Boyd, Scott Schultz, Ben Wetzler, Jace Fry, and Adam Duke are all alums. So are catcher Ryan Gorton, fresh off a stellar 2011 season with us, and infielders Danny Hayes and Jake Rodriguez, members of the 2010 club.

Fry, of course, was named the WCL's top pro prospect, and the pro prospect among incoming freshman in all 21 summer leagues, by Perfect Game USA. Wetzler was named the top pro prospect at the WCL All-Star Game by the MLB Scouting Bureau.

Fry also leads a recruiting class ranked No. 9 in the country by Collegiate Baseball magazine.

Here are the details on opening day from Hank Hager at OSUBeavers.com, with nice photos of Gorton on the baseball home page and with the story.

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Oregon has also started its fall workouts down in Eugene.

The Ducks feature 2011 Knights Connor Hofmann and Jimmie Sherfy, and 2011 WCL standouts Kyle Garlick of runner-up Wenatchee and outfielder Billy Flamion of Cowlitz, the guy who robbed Knights' star David Armendariz of a homer on July 24 in what may have been the WCL's Catch of the Year.

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A good story on our new relationship with the University of Texas can be found on Our Sports Central, a website with lots of WCL news. Please check it out.

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Former Aloha Knights star Darin Holcomb has been forced to retire from baseball because of an injured back. He played at Gonzaga, and for the Knights in 2005, the first year of the WCL.

An third baseman who was a Texas League all-star this season with the Tulsa Drillers, Colorado's Double-A franchise, he hit .268 with four homers and 32 RBIs in 74 games. He was also a Texas League all-star in 2010, when he hit .271, with 13 homers and 52 RBIs.

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Some news from around the WCL:

WENATCHEE: Former Oregon State outfielder Cole Gillespie, the 2006 Pac-10 Player of the Year and a member of the 2005 AppleSox, was promoted to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sept. 16 after a great season with the triple-A Reno Aces.

Here's a blurb from MLB.com:

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said outfielder Cole Gillespie was promoted on Friday for two reasons: to provide depth this month and to prepare him as a potential emergency outfielder in October.

Gillespie, 27, hit .300 with 19 doubles, 16 triples and 12 home runs for Triple-A Reno. He also had 24 stolen bases and 100 runs in 137 games.


Knights partner with Texas

September 19, 2011

Remember last week when we said we'd have some big news to report in the near future? Well, the Longhorn is out of the bag.

Knights president Dan Segel announced on Saturday that the Knights have added the University of Texas, one of the most successful programs in ther history of college baseball, as a partner school.

Three Longhorns have signed to play in Corvallis next summer, when we'll be gunning for our sixth straight West Division title and a repeat WCL championship.

Here are all the details, from our website. Just another reason to get excited about Knights baseball.

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Please take a minute and fill out this fan survey. We want your feedback so we can make the Knights' baseball experience even better!

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Remember, West Coast League commemorative Knights championship tee-shirts are now on sale. We should have them in stock soon, hopefully by the end of the week.

They are $22.50 apiece, and are available at the WWHQ, in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis (corner 4th Street and Madison Avenue), or by mail at PO Box 1356, Corvallis, OR 97339-1356.

Checks should be made out to "Knights Baseball Club". If you need your tee-shirt (or shirts) shipped, please add $7.50 to your order for shipping & handling.

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Some news and notes from around the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems continue to build their 2012 roster by signing six more players, bringing the number of new players on board for Season II under new coaches Josh Hogan and Billy Clontz to 18.

WENATCHEE: The AppleSox, the West Coast League and the city of Wenatchee receive some props in this story in the AARP magazine.


TGIF at the WWHQ

September 16, 2011

It's a TGIF down here at the world-wide headquarters, where we're actively planning for the 2012 season, which is still nine months away but getting closer every day.

As the bossman (team president Dan Segel) said yesterday, we're thrilled and justifiably proud of what transpired in 2011 (WCL championship, record attendance, etc.) but we want to build on the momentum we created and have an even bigger season in 2012.

Part of that planning involves you, our faithful Knights' fans. We're working on adding online ticketing, which many of you have expressed a desire for, but we also want your feedback on other aspects of our operation.

So, please take some time and answer the fan survey that will soon be posted on our website. Help us make our great nights at the ballpark even better in 2012.

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Here's a photo of the new scoreboard down the left-field line at Goss Stadium, the home of the WCL-champion Corvallis Knights.

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We announced on Thursday that closer Mark Trentacosta and shortstop Alex Foulon will return for the 2012 season. Here's a link to the story in Friday's editions of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

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Remember, West Coast League commemorative Knights championship tee-shirts are now on sale. We should have them in stock in the very near future.

They are $22.50 apiece, and are available at the WWHQ, in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis (corner 4th Street and Madison Avenue), or by mail at PO Box 1356, Corvallis, OR 97339-1356.

Checks should be made out to "Knights Baseball Club". If you need your tee-shirt (or shirts) shipped, please add $7.50 to your order for shipping & handling.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have added six more players to their 2012 roster; five are returnees from the 2011 expansion team. Here are all the details from the Gems' website.

WENATCHEE: Former AppleSox (2006) pitcher Tommy Milone, now with the Washington Nationals, won his first major-league game on Thursday night, a 10-1 victory over the New York Mets.

Milone (1-0) allowed three hits and one run over 5.2 innings, with four strikeouts. Here's the complete story from the MLB.com website.


Closer Mark Trentacosta, SS Alex Foulon to return in 2012

September 15, 2011

This isn't the big news we talked about in Wednesday's blog, but it's still pretty big news nonetheless and a great thing for the Knights.

We're thrilled to report that West Coast League first-team all-star reliever Mark Trentacosta, a junior-to-be at UC Irvine, will return to the Knights in 2012.

So will Mt. Hood CC shortstop Alex Foulon, a 10-day signee whose hustle and solid defense earned him a full-time spot with the team before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in early July.

Trentacosta is a 6-3, 205-pound lefty from Orange, Calif., who was 3-1, 1.44 in 20 regular-season games, with nine saves. He was the closest thing to a sure thing in the WCL when he entered the game with a lead to protect, as he did not blow a save opportunity all summer.

Mark added two saves against Bend in the WCL divisional playoffs to establish a Corvallis Knights record of 11 in one season; the old mark of 10 was set by Taylor Starr in 2008. Mark allowed just one run in 23 total relief appearances and was a West Division all-star.

Foulon is a 5-9, 160-pounder from Vancouver, Wash., who is a sophomore at Mt. Hood CC. A first-team NWAACC all-star for the Saints in 2011, he hit .298 in 16 games, with three RBIs and three steals with the Knights after joining the team just before the start of the season.

He injured a shoulder on a head-first slide into second base in the eighth inning of an 11-7 win over Wenatchee on July 1. He stayed in the game and scored the eventual winning run, but could not play for the rest of the season.

Welcome back, Mark and Alex.