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Knights Daily Update

The Knights are the West Division champs!

August 15, 2011

We're the West Division regular-season and playoff champions for the fourth time in five years after Sunday's 3-0 victory over Bend at Goss Stadium gave us a 2-1 series win over the arch-rival Elks.

That's quite an accomplishment, and one we're very proud of. This team has really come together and competed all summer to move us into position for our second West Coast League championship.

It's hard to believe that we were once 14-12 in the WCL after losing 5 of 6 in successive series against Wenatchee and Bend on June 30-July 5. The last of those five losses, at Bend, were by wide margins as the Elks pounded us 12-3 and 11-2.

Since then we're 23-5 in WCL play, 3-0 in non-league games and 2-1 in the playoffs. We haven't lost back-to-back games since those July 4-5 blowouts at Bend, and we don't plan to lose twice to the Walla Walla Sweets in the playoffs, either.

We leave for Walla Walla at 2 p.m. today. Game 1 of the best-of-3 WCL Championship Series is set for 7:05 p.m. Tuesday at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla; I've never been there and am looking forward to the trip.

Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Ozzie Smith began their pro careers there when Walla Walla was a Padres' franchise in the Northwest League. OSU baseball coach Pat Casey started there too, fresh out of the University of Portland.

The Sweets have done a great job of upgrading the place, and it will be the site of the 2012 WCL All-Star Game. The Sweets averaged almost 1,600 fans a game so it should be a great atmosphere.

Wednesday is a travel day. Game 2 is set for 6:40 p.m. Thursday at Goss Stadium; Game 3 (if necessary) is Friday at 6:40 p.m., also at Goss.

Thursday will be a Block 15 Thursday, as usual. Reserved seats are $10, GAs are $5; the downtown tickets office will be open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, from 10 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday and from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday. Stadium ticket sales start at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Season-ticket holders can reserve their same seats and punch cards can still be used. See you at the ballpark!

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Lefty Dylan Stuart of UC Riverside is our probable starting pitcher on Tuesday. He was the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was the starting pitcher for the West in the WCL all-star game, and is 2-1 with a 1.34 ERA.

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The Knights won the season series from the Sweets 4-2. Walla Walla won 2 of 3 at Borleske Stadium on June 3-5, when we didn't have our full team, but the Knights swept in Corvallis on June 23-25, when more of our regular players were in the lineup.

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Outfielder David Andriese, a two-year veteran, had to leave the team on Monday morning and return to his hometown of Redlands. He's the best man in a wedding this weekend and thus can't play in the Championship Series.

Andriese hit .226 in 33 games, with three homers and 20 RBIs.

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And speaking of attendance, even though our crowds for the playoff series against Bend were lower than normal, we keep adding to our record season.

We've now drawn 40,801 for 32 games, an average of 1,275 per opening. Our old mark was 31,536, in 33 games in 2009.

Playoffs remain a tough nut to crack, as our playoff crowds have historically been lower than our regular-season crowds. But we can rectify that on Thursday, so get your seats now.


Bend at Corvallis, Game 2.

August 13, 2011

Bend visits the Knights at Goss Stadium in Game 2 of the West Coast League West Division playoff series. The ticket booth and stadium gates open at 6 p.m.

Here are some Game 2 notes:

* Bend won Game 1 of the West Coast League West Division playoffs 3-1 in Bend on Friday before a crowd of 1,383 at Vince Genna Stadium. Daniel Chavez was the winner, Max Beatty the loser, and Nick Wagner drove in the deciding runs with a two-out, two-run double in the third inning.

* Game 3 (if necessary) is set for 6:40 p.m. Sunday at Goss Stadium.

* Tonight's projected starting pitchers are right-hander Chris Johnson (5-0, 1.83) of Portland for Corvallis and right-hander Brandon Brennen (3-1, 5.03) of Oregon for the Elks. Johnson is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two games against Bend this summer; Brennen is 0-1, 6.00 in one game against the Knights.

* Johnson has pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings after allowing three runs in the first inning of a July 8 start at Kelowna. He had five scoreless innings after the first on July 8; six more against Kelowna on July 16; five more against Cowlitz on July 27, and five more against Bend on Aug. 1.

* The Knights and Elks have met in three previous West Division playoff series. The Knights won in 2008 and 2009, the Elks in 2010. Bend leads the all-time playoff head-to-head 5-4.

* Bend is without second baseman Michael Benjamin, third baseman Tyler Christian, first baseman Stetson Olson and outfielders Justin Maffei and Royce Bollinger, all full- or part-time starters who had to leave the team for various reasons after the regular season. The Knights are missing pitcher Jace Fry from their regular-season roster.

* The Knights broke their franchise attendance record on July 30 and have drawn 39,562 fans in 29 home dates, an average of 1,276 fans per opening, including the WCL All-Star Game. The old record was 31,536 in 33 dates in 2009. They are 8,465 fans ahead of 2010, with at least one playoff game remaining.

* No. 2 seed Walla Walla defeated No. 1 seed Wenatchee 8-4 on Friday in Game 1 of the East Division playoffs. They play Game 2 tonight in Wenatchee; Game 3 (if necessary) is Sunday in Wenatchee.

* The best-of-3 WCL Championship Series starts Tuesday in the East Division representative's ballpark. Wednesday is a travel day and Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be at the West entrant's stadium on Thursday and Friday.


The Knights are ready

August 12, 2011

The Knights have arrived in Bend and are just about ready to take the field for BP for Game 1 of the West Coast League West Division playoffs at picturesque Vince Genna Stadium after an easy drive over the mountains.

It's a sunny, breezy day in Bend, with some high clouds and temperatures in the 80s.

Tonight marks the fourth year in a row the Knights (37-17 WCL) have traveled to Bend (29-25) for the first round of the WCL playoffs. They're 1-2 here in the previous three playoff games.

Bend won six of the nine games between the teams in the regular season but the Knights won the last two and have won seven of their last eight league games. The Knights are also 23-5 in their last 28 WCL games since being swept by the Elks on July 3-5.

The Elks are also somewhat shorthanded, as several key players had to leave the team to report to their schools for various reasons. Second baseman Michael Benjamin, first baseman Stetson Olson, third baseman Tyler Christian and outfielders Justin Maffei and Royce Bollinger, all season-long starters, are no longer with the club.

Coach Brooke Knight is confident the Knights did not peak on its run to the West Division title. They are healthy and have a rested bullpen heading into the final 10 days of the summer season.

"The guys are playing well," he said after Thursday night's practice at Goss Stadium. "We've been on a bit of a run and things are coming together. "We're pitching well and the bats came alive halfway through the summer. We're hitting with some confidence and it's nice to see the guys develop a little bit."

Corvallis also did not half-step through its final series with Cowlitz, even though it had already clinched the top seed for the playoffs and had nothing to play for. It took 2 of 3 very competitive games against the Black Bears and knocked them out of the playoffs.

"It's a real credit to our guys," Knight said. "Winners want to win and you obviously don't want to go into the most crucial part of your whole endeavor reeling a little bit from getting beat by the team you could have potentially played in the first round.

"I was proud of our guys we had slightly more intensity that we'd had in a couple other series. It really felt like a playoff atmosphere and hopefully prepared us for these next few games."

The pitching staff is rested and ready. The three projected series starters - Max Beatty (6-1, 2.42) tonight, Chris Johnson (5-0, 1.83) on Saturday and Chase Johnson (3-1, 2.03) on Sunday, if necessary - were all WCL all-stars.

Top relievers Mark Trentacosta and Ben Wetzler have not pitched since Tuesday night.

"We are right where we want to be," Knight said. "Sometimes if you take too much time off it's not a healthy thing. It's working out well, guys seem to be rested, we seem to be healthy and we've got plenty of bullets in the bullpen."

Beatty said he's excited to start a playoff opener, quite a leap for someone who pitched sparingly after joining the Knights late last season.

"I've had a chance to be a starter the whole season, I've done well and now I've got the first start," he said. "It's real big.

"In a three-game series, you get the first win and you're that much closer to getting the second one," and advancing to the championship against Wenatchee or Walla Walla.

Beatty said he'd be nervous, but added that that's the case before every game he starters, playoffs or not.

"You do what you can to overcome them, and you just get through it with your team," he said.

Bend handed Beatty his only loss of the summer, 5-2 at Goss Stadium on July 3. Beatty was staked to an early 2-0 lead but gave up five runs on nine hits in four innings.

Coincidentally, the winner was tonight's starter for the Elks, Daniel Chavez.

Beatty said he talked with pitching coach Connor Lambert after that loss, identified his problem, and didn't let it happen again. He's 3-0, 1.61 in four starts since then and has not gone less than five innings.

"I was out of myself, I wasn't into the game, I needed a little more focus," in the previous game against the Elks, he said. "Going into (tonight) I'll be extra focused, for sure."

He has a 19/2 strikeout/walk ratio in those four starts and that's been the most important factor in his success.

"Every time it doesn't go my way, it's when I fall behind on the count," he said. "I just need to focus, nail it, get ahead, control my fastball, not try to overthrow and just stay within myself."


Destination: Bend

August 12, 2011

The Knights leave at 12:30 p.m. today for Bend and their opening-round playoff game against the Elks, which starts at 6:35 p.m. at Vince Genna Stadium in that Central Oregon city.

The Blog will be on the team bus, as yours truly is again sitting in for Mike Parker and handling tonight's radio broadcast on KEJO-AM 1240. We've heard the radio facilities at VGS are quite primative (yes, we are spoiled by Goss Stadium) and we may be doing the game via cellphone, but we've got the charger all packed and we'll do the best we can.

Game 2 is set for 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Goss Stadium; Game 3, should it be necessary, would be at 6:40 p.m. Sunday night, also at Goss. Wenatchee and Walla Walla have the same schedule in the East Division playoffs, which start tonight in Walla Walla.

The West Division champion will play either Wenatchee or Walla Walla in the WCL Championship Series. That best-of-3 showdown starts Tuesday in Washington and then returns to Oregon on Thursday and Friday (if necessary)after a travel day on Wednesday.

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Speaking of Wenatchee, the AppleSox and Wenatchee Valley College have signed a new agreement to extend the team's lease at Paul Thomas Sr. Field for the next four seasons, the AppleSox announced on Friday in a news release.

The AppleSox have played at Paul Thomas Sr. Field, on the campus of Wenatchee Valley College, since their inaugural season in 2000. The new four-year lease agreement will run through the 2015 season. Paul Thomas Sr. Field is the home of the Wenatchee Valley Knights baseball program during the school year and is the home of the AppleSox during the summer. The stadium includes 1,200 fixed seats that feature both general admission and premium seating. The premium seats make up the lower bowl around home plate and were brought in from the Kingdome before it was implosion in March, 2000.

TheAppleSox are set to break their single season attendance mark after Saturday's playoff game. They drew 42,410 fans in 32 regular-season openings, an average of 1,325 per game. The previous record was 42,774, set in 2010.

I've never been there, a drought that hopefully will end this year because that would mean the Knights are playing for the WCL championship. Of course, I've never been to Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla, another place I've never been.

And speaking of attendance, the WCL smashed its season record this year as 266,174 fans attended 240 games, an average of 1,109 per opening. Here's a link to the complete stats for the league season. Nonleague games aren't included and they'd probably boost attendance to more than 300,000.

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Here's our weekly rundown of Knights in the minor leagues:

NICK AKINS (2007, Dodgers: The former Vanguard College infielder is with the Great Lakes Loons in the Class A Midwest League, where he's hitting .224 (51-228) in 64 games, with 10 homers and 40 RBIs.

MATT ANDRIESE (2009, Padres): The former UC Riverside star is 4-1, 1.59 in 11 games with the Eugene Emeralds, with 40 strikeouts in 39.2 innings.

DAYTON ALEXANDER (2011, Athletics): The former Feather River outfielder is hitting .237 (23-97) with no homers and 10 RBIs in 31 games with the Arizona Rookie League Athletics.

CODY BARTLETT (2007, Blue Jays): The ex-Washington State middle infielder is hitting .195 (16-82) with Bluefield, W. Va., in the short-A Appalachian League, with a homer and 15 RBIs in 23 games.

CARTER BELL (2009, Diamondbacks): The former Oregon State infielder is hitting .258 (29-113) in 28 games with Yakima in the Northwest League, with no homers and 10 RBIs.

MICHAEL BLAKE (2010, Diamondbacks): The former Mt. Hood CC/Hawaii star is 3-4, 4.70 in 86 games with the Yakima Bears in the short-A Northwest League, with 40 strikeouts in 23 innings.

ALEX BURG (2008, Giants): The MVP of the 2008 WCL champions, a Washington State alum, is hitting .286 (52-182) in 50 games with the San Jose Giants of the Class A California League, with seven homers and 27 RBIs.

NIC CUCKOVICH (2011, Royals): The onetime Riverside (Calif.) CC standout is hitting .295 (26-88) in 23 games with no homers and 11 RBIs with the Arizona Rookie League Royals.

DUSTIN EMMONS (2009-10, Mets): The former UC Riverside star is 1-0, 3.91 in 13 games with Kingsport (W. Va.) in the short-A Appalachian League, with 14 strikeouts in 25.1 innings.

JOHN ESHLEMAN (2008, Giants): The former Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) JC player is hitting .224 in 33 games with Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League, with no homers and 14 RBIs.

ROCKY GALE (2007, 2009, Padres): The catcher from the University of Portland is hitting .114 (4-35) in 11 games with Ft. Wayne in the Midwest League, with no homers and one RBI.

DREW GARCIA (2007, White Sox): The 2B from UC Riverside is hitting .224 (63-281) in 81 games with triple-A Charlotte of the International League, with six homers and 31 RBIs. The right-handed pitcher from Oregon State joined the Batavia Muckdogs of the Class A New York-Penn League this week but has not pitched yet.

DEAN GREEN (2008, Tigers): The former Oklahoma State/Barry U. standout is hitting .366 (60-164) with six homers and 30 RBIs in 42 games with the (Norwich) Connecticut Tigers in the short-A New York-Penn League.

D.J. JOHNSON (2009, Diamondbacks): The former Mt. Hood/Western Oregon pitcher is 1-0, 0.56 in 11 games with the Missoula Osprey in the short A Pioneer League, with five saves and 17 strikeouts in 16 innings.

SCOTT LYMAN (2010, Marlins): The former UC Davis pitcher has been assigned to the Jamestown Jammers in the short-A New York-Penn League but has not pitched yet.

ADAM MELKER (2008, 2009, Cardinals): The ex-Cal Poly outfielder is with the Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League and is hitting .240 (61-245) in 77 games, with no homers and 24 RBIs.

JIM MURPHY (2007, Phillies): Our 2007 MVP as a first baseman from Washington State is at Lakewood in the Florida State League and is hitting .267 (107-401) in 111 games, with 22 homers and 70 RBIs.

JAMES NYGREN (2009, Marlins): The former OSU righty is 4-1, 1.00 with six saves in 14 games with the Gulf Coast League Marlins. He has 30 strikeouts in 27 innings.

GREG PEAVEY (2007, Mets): The one-time Oregon State pitcher is with the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League and is 5-2, 3,83 in eight games, with 29 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.

NICK STRUCK (2009, Cubs): The Mt. Hood CC righty is 2-3, 5.12 in seven games with the triple-A Iowa Cubs, with 24 strikeouts in 38.2 innings.


Off to Bend for the playoffs

August 11, 2011

We're headed to Bend and Vince Genna Stadium for the first round of the WCL playoffs, starting at 6:35 p.m. Friday with Game 1 of the best-of-3 series.

The pitching rotation may change, but for now it appears that Max Beatty of PLU (6-1, 2.42) will start on Friday and Chris Johnson of Portland (5-0, 1.83) will start Saturday's Game 2 at Goss Stadium.

Chase Johnson of Cal Poly (3-1, 2.03) will start Game 3, if necessary, at 6:35 p.m. Sunday.

Our staff is fresh, despite a three-game series at Cowlitz. And we took that series very seriously even though we had absolutely nothing to play for and could have started backups and pitchers who hadn't thrown much this summer.

We played to win, and the mood on the busride home from Cowlitz on Wednesday night was great. Everyone's excited about the playoffs, still having fun, and ready to finish the job.

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Game 2 of the playoffs against Bend is at 6:40 p.m. Saturday at Goss Stadium. The stadium ticket office and the gates open at 6 p.m.; GA tickets are $5 and reserved seats are $10.

You can purchase playoff tickets at our downtown WWHQ on 4th Street and Madison Avenue today from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m, and from 8:30 a.m. until noon on Friday, or at the stadium on Saturday.

If Game 3 is necessary, it will be played at 6:40 p.m. Sunday at Goss Stadium. The WCL Championship Series against Wenatchee or Walla Walla starts on Tuesday in Washington, and returns to Oregon for games on Thursday and Friday, if necessary.

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Some news and notes:

* Corvallis won its final nine WCL regular season series and was 23-5 in its last 28 games over that span. In the past four years we've won 37 (2011), 31 (2010), 38 (2009) and 31 (2008) WCL games (137), more than any other WCL club by a wide margin.

* Our total attendance has reached a franchise-record 39,562 for 30 dates, an average of 1,319 per game. Our old record was 31,536, in 33 dates in 2009.

* Our team ERA of 2.47 led the West Coast League.

* Catcher Corey Davis of Wright State finished fifth in the WCL in hitting with a .317 average.


Off to Cowlitz this afternoon

August 10, 2011

The entire Knights staff will head to Cowlitz for tonight's regular-season finale with the Black Bears at picturesque Story Field in Longview, Wash.

If we win, we'll face longtime rival Bend inthe first round of the WCL playoffs, starting Friday night in Bend. If we lose, we'll face the second-year Black Bears, and head back to Longview on Friday.

Either way, we're home on Saturday night for Game 2 of the West Division playoffs, starting at 6:40 p.m. Playoff tickets will be available at the WWHQ in downtown Corvallis all day Thursday, and at the stadium starting at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Season-ticket holders can keep their same seats, and punch cards will be accepted.

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Speaking of tickets, our Wilson Motors Night crowd of 2,570 on Tuesday night was spectacular (as were the postgame fireworks, what a show). It was our second-largest crowd of the year, our third above 2,500, and the fourth-largest crowd in franchise history.

So big thanks to Wilson Motors, a sponsor since our first day in Corvallis, and to our great fans.

And speaking of those great fans (another brilliant transition, no?), last night's crowd raised our season total to a whopping 39,562. If not for that postponed game against Klamath Falls in June, and crappy weather throughout a mid-July homestand, we've have cracked 40K for the regular season.

We're averaging 1,319 per game (our preseason goal was 1,200 per game) and we're 9,644 fans ahead of 2010 on a comparable date, and 11,809 ahead of 2009, when we set our old attendance mark of 31,536 in 33 dates.

Incredible. Again, big thanks to the best fans in the WCL.

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Our team has moved up five spots to No. 12 in this week's Perfect Game USA Top 35 summer baseball rankings.Wenatchee moved up one spot to No. 3.

Here are this week's rankings.

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Nice article in the Burbank edition of the Los Angeles Times on Knights' pitcher Kyle Hart of Burbank and the University of Redlands.

Click right here to read reporter Jeff Tully's feature on Hart, who is our starting pitcher tonight. He one-hit Klamath Falls over seven innings in his last start, and had a career-best 10 strikeouts.

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And finally, former Knights right-handed pitcher Sam Gaviglio (2009) of Oregon State has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, who selected him inthe fifth round of the MLB draft this past June.

Here are the details from reporter Kris Henry of the Medford Mail-Tribune newspaper.

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A few items concerning the Cowlitz Black Bears, who we play tonight:

* Pitcher Jeff Gold set a WCL record on Monday night with his fourth complete game in a 2-1 loss to the Knights. He shared the old mark with former Knight Ben Guidos (2009), who also had three CGs for the Bend Elks last summer.

* And Cowlitz catcher Braxton Miller tied the WCL record for walks (36) when he walked against the Knights on Monday. He did not walk on Tuesday and needs one more tonight to break a record first set by Clayton Eslich of the Wenatchee AppleSox in 2010.


Regular-season home finale tonight

August 9, 2011

It seems like yesterday we began the Blog countdown for the START of the regular season at 144.

Now it's t-minus 1 to the end of the regular season, and just over a week until the end of another summer of West Coast League baseball, as the latest the season can go is August 19.

And tonight is our regular-season home finale, against the Cowlitz Black Bears at Goss Stadium. It's Wilson Motors Night, and we'll have 1,000 packs of free Big League Chew to give away, and a postgame fireworks display.

Nothing but the the best for Wilson Motors, a great sponsor of the Knights ever since we moved to Corvallis for the 2007 season.

Here's a couple items of interest:

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* The OSU Daily Barometer profiled Knights pitchers (and Beavers sophomores-to-be) Ben Wetzler and Scott Schultz in a recent story; click here to read it.

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* Walla Walla clinched the No. 2 seed in the East Division playoffs on Monday night. It will play Wenatchee on Friday, Saturday and possibly Sunday.

That could be interesting, as the teams are also closing out the regular season with a three-game set. Not saying it will happen, of course, but tempers can flare when teams play each other five (or six) times in the span of a week.

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And finally, here are some notes pertaining to tonight's home season finale against the Black Bears. (These are the same notes the media big-wigs in press box will receive later today!)

* The Knights (40-16, 36-16 WCL) have clinched the West Division championship, and the top seed for the best-of-3 West Division playoff series. They will play either Bend or Cowlitz in the series, starting Friday at the No. 2 seed's stadium. Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be played at Goss Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.

Cowlitz (27-25) must win tonight and on Wednesday night in Longview to make the playoffs. Bend (29-25) has completed its season; Cowlitz owns the tie-breaker over the Elks.

* The Knights have won eight games in a row, 14 of their last 15, and 24 of 28 (.857) since being swept by Bend on July 3-5. They have won eight consecutive WCL series and have not lost consecutive games over that span.

* Corvallis has a 3-1 edge in the season series against the Black Bears after Monday's 2-1 victory. The Knights lead the all-time series 9-1 and are 5-0 against Cowlitz all-time at Goss Stadium.

* Cowlitz scored a run against Corvallis starting pitcher Jace Fry on Monday, ending a streak of 46 consecutive scoreless innings by Corvallis starters over nine games.

The streak was compiled by Nick Hoover (2), Fry (6), Chris Johnson (5), Chase Johnson (5), Kyle Hart (7), Max Beatty (5.1), Sebastian Santos (4), Chris Mendoza (6) and Fry again (5.2).

* Cowlitz shortstop Mitchell Walding (Phillies, 5) and outfielders Spencer O'Neil (Yankees, 33) and Billy Flamion (Astros, 25) were all selected in the June MLB draft. They each were WCL All-Stars, have signed with Oregon and are expected to join the Ducks for the 2012 season if they do not turn pro.

* The Knights broke their franchise attendance record on July 30 and have drawn 36,992 fans in 29 home dates, an average of 1,276 fans per opening. The old record was 31,536 in 33 dates in 2009. They are 8,465 fans ahead of their 2010 pace, with one regular-season game, and at least one playoff game, remaining.

* The Knights conclude the WCL regular season at Cowlitz on Wednesday night and open the West Division playoffs on Friday against the Black Bears or Bend. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) of the divisional playoffs will be Saturday and Sunday at Goss Stadium, starting at 6:40 p.m.

* Walla Walla clinched the No. 2 seed for the East Division playoffs on Monday night. It will host No. 1 seed Wenatchee on Friday in Game 1, and go to Wenatchee for Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) on Saturday and Sunday.


Playoffs on the horizon

August 8, 2011

By this time Wednesday we could know exactly who we'll face in the first round of the WCL playoffs, either Bend of Cowlitz.

Either way, we know we'll open on the road on Friday night, and then host Game 2 at 6:40 p.m. Saturday and Game 3 (if necessary, we hope not) on Sunday.

Advance tickets are available at the WWHQ in downtown Corvallis from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday; from 10 a.m. until 5:30 on Wednesday and Thursday; from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. on Friday; at the stadium on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m., or via e-mail at tickets@corvallisknights.com

Reserved seats are $10 and general admission tickets are $5; punchcards can be used for GA tickets.

If necessary, a third WCL West Divisional Series playoff game will be held at 6:40 p.m. Sunday. The samed ticket prices apply.

The WCL championship series starts in Wenatchee, Bellingham or Walla Walla on Tuesday, Aug. 16. If the Knights advance to the finals, we'll be home at 6:40 p.m. Aug. 18 and at 6:40 p.m. Aug. 19, if necessary.

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Our final two regular-season home games are tonight (6:40 p.m.) and Tuesday (7:15 p.m.) against Cowlitz.

Tonight is Hilton Garden Inn Fan Appreciation Night, presented by SunWize Technologies. Oakland A's ninth-round round draft pick/Oregon State signee Jace Fry (2-1, 1.39) is our probable starting pitcher tonight.

Tuesday is Wilson Motors Fireworks Do-Over Night. Free GA tickets are still available at the dealership, corner 5th Street and Buchanan Avenue just north of downtown, and the first 1,000 fans through the main gates get a pouch of Big League Chew.

Gates open at 6 p.m.; the game starts at 7:15 p.m. Lefty Dylan Stuart (2-1, 1.31) is our projected starter.

See you there!

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We'll add to our franchise-record attendance total with three home games this week and with your help we can crack the 40,000 plateau.

We're at 35,860 in for 28 dates this summer; that's 1,281 per opening, well above our ambitious goal of 1,200 per opening. We're also 8,883 ahead of last season at a comparable date.

We've already smashed the old franchise attendance mark of 31,536, set in 33 dates in 2009, the last time we advanced to the WCL Championship Series.


Playoff info update

August 4, 2011

The Knights have clinched their fifth straight West Division championship, and the resulting playoff berth. Now all that remains is to determine who we'll play in the first round, either Cowlitz or Bend.

Our playoff opener is Aug. 12, on the road. Our home playoff opener is Saturday, Aug. 13, at 6:40 p.m.; we'll also host on Aug. 14, if necessary. Tickets are $10 for reserved, $5 for GA, and will be available at the WWHQ in downtown Corvallis during the day, or at the stadium starting at 6 p.m., before our Monday and Tuesday games with Cowlitz, and before every home playoff game.

If the Knights advance to the WCL Championship Series, we'll be on the road on Aug. 16 and back home on Thursday, Aug. 18 and Friday, Aug. 19, if necessary. The same prices apply.

Season-ticket holders can reserve their same seats.

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The Knights have jumped up four spots to No. 17 in this week's Perfect Game USA summer baseball rankings. Wenatchee is No. 4; it's the only other WCL team in the Top 35.

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Here's a roundup of our minor-league Knights:

NICK AKINS (2007, Dodgers): The former Vanguard College infielder is with the Great Lakes Loons in the Class A Midwest League, where he's hitting .240 (48-200) in 57 games, with 10 homers and 38 RBIs.

MATT ANDRIESE (2009, Padres): The former UC Riverside star is 3-1, 1.77 in nine games with the Eugene Emeralds, with 36 strikeouts in 35.2 innings.

DAYTON ALEXANDER (2011, Athletics): The former Feather River outfielder is hitting .213 (16-75) with no homers and nine RBIs in 24 games with the Arizona Rookie League Athletics.

CODY BARTLETT (2007, Blue Jays): The ex-Washington State middle infielder is hitting .217 (15-69) with Bluefield, W. Va., in the short-A Appalachian League, with a homer and 15 RBIs in 20 games.

CARTER BELL (2009, Diamondbacks): The former Oregon State infielder is hitting .267 (23-86) in 20 games with Yakima in the Northwest League, with no homers and nine RBIs.

MICHAEL BLAKE (2010, Diamondbacks): The former Mt. Hood CC/Hawaii star is 2-4, 4.58 in 16 games with the Yakima Bears in the short-A Northwest League, with 35 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.

ALEX BURG (2008, Giants): The MVP of the 2008 WCL champions, a Washington State alum, is hitting .303 (50-165) in 46 games with the San Jose Giants of the Class A California League, with six homers and 25 RBIs.

NIC CUCKOVICH (2011, Royals): The onetime Riverside (Calif.) CC standout is hitting .333 (24-72) in 18 games with no homers and eight RBIs with the Arizona Rookie League Royals.

DUSTIN EMMONS (2009-10, Mets): The former UC Riverside star is 1-0, 3.52 in 10 games with Kingsport (W. Va.) in the short-A Appalachian League, with 12 strikeouts in 23 innings.

JOHN ESHLEMAN (2008, Giants): The former Mt. San Jacinto (Calif.) JC player is hitting .221 in 30 games with Salem-Keizer in the Northwest League, with no homers and 14 RBIs.

ROCKY GALE (2007, 2009, Padres): The catcher from the University of Portland is back with Ft. Wayne in the Midwest League after a brief stay with San Antonio in AA, and is 0-for-20 in seven games.

DREW GARCIA (2007, White Sox): The 2B from UC Riverside is hitting .217 (55-274) in 73 games with triple-A Charlotte of the International League, with five homers and 23 RBIs.

DEAN GREEN (2008, Tigers): The former Oklahoma State/Barry U. standout is hitting .336 (45-134) with three homers and 19 RBIs in 34 games with the (Norwich) Connecticut Tigers in the short-A New York-Penn League.

SCOTT LYMAN (2010, Marlins): The former UC Davis pitcher has been assigned to the Jamestown Jammers in the short-A New York-Penn League but has not pitched yet.

ADAM MELKER (2008, 2009, Cardinals): The ex-Cal Poly outfielder is with the Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League and is hitting .249 (61-245) in 72 games, with no homers and 23 RBIs.

JIM MURPHY (2007, Phillies): Our 2007 MVP as a first baseman from Washington State is at Lakewood in the Florida State League and is hitting .272 (9103-378) in 104 games, with 21 homers and 67 RBIs.

JAMES NYGREN (2009, Marlins): The former OSU righty is 3-1, 1.19 with five saves in 11 games with the Gulf Coast League Marlins. He has 27 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

GREG PEAVEY (2007, Mets): The one-time Oregon State pitcher is with the St. Lucie Mets in the Florida State League and is 5-2, 4.10 in eight games, with 28 strikeouts in 41.2 innings.

NICK STRUCK (2009, Cubs): The Mt. Hood CC righty is 1-3, 4.50 in five starts with the triple-A Iowa Cubs, with 14 strikeouts in 28 innings.


We are the WCL West champions - again

August 3, 2011

We are the WCL West Division champions - again.

The Knights crushed Klamath Falls 13-2 on Tuesday night to clinch a share of the West Division title. Our magic number is one so when we win again - or when Bend loses again - we will be the outright champions of the West Division for the fifth consecutive summer.

We also lead third-place Cowlitz by 5.5 games. So no matter what happens, they can't pass us and we can't finish any lower than second in the West Division, and the two top teams advance to the playoffs.

The complete playoff picture should be cleared up by the weekend.

The winner of the West (most likely us) will travel to either Bend or Cowlitz for Game 1 of the best-of-3 divisional series on Aug. 12 for Game 1. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be Aug. 13 and 14 at the champion's stadium.

Bend leads Cowlitz by 1.5 games; Bend has five games left, Cowlitz six. Cowlitz holds the tie-breaker if they finish in a dead head.

Wenatchee clinched first place in the East last week and will travel to either Walla Walla or Bellingham on Aug. 12 for Game 1 of their best-of-three series. The Bells and Sweets are each 20-26 with eight games left apiece. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are at Wenatchee on Aug. 13 and 14. Bellingham won the season series 4-2 and thus has the tie-breaker.

The best-of-3 WCL Championship Series starts Aug. 16 at the East Division representative's stadium. Aug. 17 is a travel day; Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are at the West rep's venue on Aug. 18 and 19.

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Former Knights Richie Jimenez of UNLV (2008, 2009) and Pat Colwell of San Diego State (2009) were named Mountain West Conference academic all-stars for the spring sports season.

The 2009 WCL Player of the Year, Jimenez had a 3.22 grade-point average in physical education. Colwell had a 3.05 GPA in real estate. Both players are seniors.