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Knights Daily Update

Lambert, Gallegos to return; two Beavers sign

October 28, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone.

Pretty disappointing weekend in Corvallis with the Beavers' tough loss to Stanford on Saturday night. But we've got some good news about the Knights that should help ease your pain.

Veteran pitching coach Connor Lambert and Corban University standout junior infielder Marc Gallegos will return for their fourth and second summers (respectively) for the Knights.

Also joining the team are Oregon State freshman catcher Logan Ice of Rogers High School in Puyallup, Wash., and OSU freshman corner infielder/outfielder Dan James of El Toro High in Lake Forest, Calif.

The pitching coach at Tacoma Community College during the school year, Lambert's Corvallis staffs led the WCL in ERA in 2013, 2012 and 2011, and set a (since broken) WCL record for strikeouts (401) in 2011. He was a four-year letterman at Washington State.

An Astoria High graduate, Gallegos missed the 2013 summer season with a shoulder injury. He was second-team all-WCL in 2012, hit .316 in conference games and set a (since broken) franchise record with 26 stolen bases.

He was hurt midway through a super sophomore season at Corban University. He was hitting .393 (46-117) through 27 games, with a homer, 20 RBIs and 12 steals in 15 attempts, when he was sidelined.

Gallegos hit .346, with 26 RBIs and 33 steals, at Corban in 2012 and was an NAIA West first-team all-star selection, and an NAIA West Gold Glove selection. He was a first-team 4A all-stater at Astoria in 2011.

Ice was rated as the No. 230 high school player by Perfect Game USA and played for the Kansas City Royals in the 2012 Area Code games. He was team captain and all-league as a senior and all-league and second-team all-area as a junior.

James was a four-year letterman at El Toro and hit .330 (126-382) for his career, with eight homers and 68 RBIs. He was first-team all-league all four years, was all-state as a junior and the team captain as a senior.

Welcome back, Connor and Marc, and welcome to the team, Logan and Dan!

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Former Knights' intern Megan Murphy (2008, 2011) is now working at Arizona State as a Group Events Consultant for the athletic department. Megan graduated from Corvallis High and from Oregon and had been working for the Bakersfield Blaze in the California League. Congrats on her new job!

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Former Knights' standout pitcher Eric Massingham (2006-07) is returning for his second season with the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League. He was 3-2, 3.60 in 18 games for Canberra in 2012-13, helping the Cavalry win the ABL championship.

Pitcher Liam Baron (2008, 2009) will return for another season with the Perth Heat. And infielder Dean Green (2008) will play for the Sydney Blue Sox.

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That's all for today. See you on Tuesday!


Joe Duffin back for second season!

October 25, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone.

Looks like we'll have decent weather for Saturday night's big Oregon State-Stanford football game here in CorVegas. And nice weather as well for OSU's 2 p.m. baseball scrimmage at Goss Stadium on Saturday, which will feature plenty of former and future Knights. So stop on by if you can.

The West Coast League's fall meetings ended on Thursday. We expect to have a final, official 2014 schedule shortly; we do know we'll have 32 home games (27 league, five nonleague), so you'll get full value from your season-ticket dollar.

Remember, 2014 season tickets go on sale Nov. 1. Current season-ticket holders have until Jan. 1 to renew; after that, those seats go on the open market. So come see us at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis, or renew/buy online.

We've got a few items of note to pass along today, so let's get started.

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We're excited to report that sophomore outfielder Joe Duffin of Cypress (Calif.) JC will return for his second season with the Knights.

Joe hit .264 (28-106) in 41 total games in 2013, with a team-high five homers and 23 RBIs. He's a native of Santa Ana, Calif., who played at Villa Park High as a senior after playing the previous three seasons at Orange Lutheran High School.

Joe has transferred to Cypress JC from UC Santa Barbara for his sophomore season. He played sparingly at UCSB as a freshman and had one hit in 11 at-bats in 11 games. He expects to play a much larger role this spring. Welcome back, Joe!

Other returnees so far are pitchers Sean Eberhardt of George Fox and Chris Bishop of Pacific Lutheran, and outfielder Grant Melker of San Diego.

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Alum D.J. Johnson (2008-09) has been released by the Arizona Diamondbacks after three years in their farm system. He was a right-handed relief pitcher as a professional after mainly playing first base and DH with the Knights.

Originally signed as a free agent out of Western Oregon by Tampa Bay in 2010, D.J. played for four affiliated teams and one independent league club in a three-year career. He was 5-7, 3.36 in 76 career games, with 19 saves and 108 strikeouts in 96.1 innings. He did not pitch in 2013.

His top season as an affiliated pro was 2011 with the Missoula Osprey in the Pioneer League. He was 1-0, 2.08 in 20 games, with 10 saves and 32 strikeouts in 26 innings. That earned him a promotion to South Bend in the low-A Midwest League in 2012; later that season he was bumped up to Visalia in the high-A California League.

D.J. played at Mt. Hood Community College before enrolling at WOU. Best of luck to D.J.

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That's it for today. Have a great weekend and we'll see you on Monday.


Dean Green signs with Sydney Blue Sox

October 24, 2013

Happy Thursday, Knights fans!

Another nice day in Corvallis, a perfect time to stop by the Knights' WWHQ in downtown Corvallis to pick up a season-ticket renewal or purchase form, or to purchase a 2013 West Coast League commemorative championship tee-shirt. We'd love to see you!

We've got a few items of note to pass along today, so let's get started.

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Alum Dean Green (2008), a former star at Oklahoma State and at Barry University, has signed with the Sydney Blue Sox of the Australian Baseball League. Here's more on that story.

Dean has played in the Detroit organization for the past three seasons. He's hit at every stop, but has battled injuries. He played at Lakeland in the advanced A Florida State League, at West Michigan in the low-A Midwest League, and with the Gulf Coast (Rookie) League Tigers in 2013 and hit .296 (73-247) in 63 total games, with eight homers and 40 RBIs.

Dean's hitting .312 (276-885) in 235 career games, with 27 homers and 163 RBIs, so he just needs to stay healthy to keep moving up in the organization. Best of luck Down Under!

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Normally we update the stats of our four alums are playing in the Arizona Fall League, MLB's premier off-season development circuit, on Friday. But we've got other duties to attend to tomorrow so we're doing it today.

MITCH HANIGER: The outfielder from Cal Poly is hitting .333 (15-45) in 12 games for the Surprise Saguaros (Brewers), with two homers and 12 RBIs.

ANDREW SUSAC (2009): The catcher/first baseman from Oregon State is hitting .435 (10-23) in eight games with the Scottsdale Scorpions (Giants), with a homer and four RBIs.

SAM GAVIGLIO (2009): The right-handed pitcher from Oregon State is 1-0, 4.50 in two games with the Salt River Rafters (Cardinals), with seven strikeouts in eight innings.

TYLER ANDERSON (2009): The left-handed pitcher from Oregon has not yet appeared in a game with the Salt River Rafters (Rockies).

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Remember, Oregon State will hold its final fall scrimmage at 2 p.m. Saturday at Goss Stadium. The weather is supposed to be good so it should be a comfortable afternoon at the ballpark.

We will be well-represented (as usual) on the Beavers this season and our alums should play a big role in their attempt to repeat as Pacific-12 Conference champions and as College World Series participants.

Former Knights on the club are freshman pitcher Kevin Flemer (2013); senior pitchers Ben Wetzler (2011), Taylor Starr (2008, 2012) and Scott Schultz (2011); senior catcher Dane Lund (2011-13); junior catcher Nate Esposito (2012); sophomore infielder Gabe Clark (2013); senior infielder Kavin Keyes (2013); junior pitcher Jace Fry (2011); senior pitcher Brandon Jackson (2012), and redshirt sophomore pitcher Carlos Rodriguez (2012).

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed sophomore RHP Sam Sheehan of Westmont (Calif.) College for the 2014 season. He's from Calvary Christian High in Bonita, Calif., and was 0-0, 6.23 in four appearances in 2013, with six strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

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That's it for today. See you on Friday.


Season tickets remain a great bargain

October 23, 2013

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

Remember, season tickets go on sale on Nov. 1. Existing season-ticket holders have until Jan. 1 to reserve their current seats; any not reserved by that time will be opened to the general public.

We've made several changes in our season tickets plans and in single-game pricing this year but we're still committed to providing affordable family fun.

* Reserved seats (sections C, D, E) season tickets are $175.

* The Block (sections B, A) season tickets are $155.

* General admission (all other sections) season tickets are $125.

* Our popular 10-game punch card is $50.

* Single-game reserved seats are still $10 ($11 on Fireworks Nights). Single-game GA seats are now $6.

There will be a $5 processing charge on all debit and credit card orders. Order forms are available at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis. Stop in and see us!

We expect to play 32 home games during the regular season - 27 West Coast League contests and five non-league games. So the per-game cost for reserved seat season-tickets ($5.49), for The Block ($4.83) and for GA ($3.91) remains the best bargain in town.

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Knights' alum Kevin Flemer (2013), now a freshman at Oregon State, is part of a 2013 Beaver recruiting class that was ranked No. 5 in the country by Baseball America. Here are more details, from OSUbeavers.com.

The Beavers will hold their final fall scrimmage at 2 p.m. Saturday at Goss Stadium. Knights' alums on the team are Flemer; senior pitchers Ben Wetzler (2011), Taylor Starr (2008, 2012) and Scott Schultz (2011); senior catcher Dane Lund (2011-13); junior catcher Nate Esposito (2012); sophomore infielder Gabe Clark (2013); senior infielder Kavin Keyes (2013); junior pitcher Jace Fry (2011); senior pitcher Brandon Jackson (2012), and redshirt sophomore pitcher Carlos Rodriguez (2012).

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Freshman pitcher Stephen Nogosek (2013) is part of an Oregon recruiting class ranked No. 7 by Baseball America. Sophomore pitcher Jared Priestley (2013) and senior outfielder Connor Hofmann (2011-12) are our other alums at Oregon.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: Here's the Bells' version of the WCL's recent decision to split into three divisions, from The Bellingham Herald newspaper. Bellingham will be in the West Division, with Victoria, Kitsap and Cowlitz.

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That's it for today. It's a pretty slow time around the league.


Knights sign USD commit Kevin Padlo

October 22, 2013

Hope everyone is having a great Tuesday. Another foggy morning in downtown CorVegas, but it's supposed to burn off before too long and another spectacular, sunny day is forecast.

Our 2014 schedule has not been formally approved by the West Coast League yet, pending a few tweaks after the scheduling committee receives some feedback from all 12 franchises. However, if the present proposed slate is adopted we can tell you that opening day is just 227 days away!

We'll hold off on the countdown for a while, though.

Remember, season tickets go on sale on Nov. 1. Current season-ticket holders have until Jan. 1 to reserve their current seats. Any not reserved by that time will be opened to the general public.

We've made several changes in our season tickets plans and in single-game pricing this year but we're still committed to providing affordable family fun.

* Reserved seats (sections C, D, E) season tickets are $175.

* The Block (sections B, A) season tickets are $155.

* General admission (all other sections) season tickets are $125.

* Our popular 10-game punch card is $50.

* Single-game reserved seats are still $10 ($11 on Fireworks Nights). Single-game GA seats are now $6.

There will be a $5 processing charge on all debit and credit card orders. Order forms are available at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis. Stop in and see us!

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We have another signing to announce as we continue to build a team that (we hope) can successfully defend our 2013 WCL championship.

Corner infielder Kevin Padlo, a senior at Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, Calif., will play for us in 2014. He has committed to the University of San Diego.

Padlo is a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder. He hit .357 (30-84) with five homers and 25 RBIs for MVHS as a junior in 2013, and .297 (11-41) with no homers and 12 RBIs after being promoted to the varsity as a sophomore in 2012. He also plays basketball and averaged 16.8 points and 5.3 rebounds as a junior.

Padlo played for the Brewers team in the Area Code Games at Blair Field in Long Beach, Calif., earlier this year. He made a big impression on coach Josh Belovsky with several strong performances.

"Padlo was a bit of a surprise for us," Belovsky told Baseball America. "Going through the tryout process, I didn't know much about him. He made a name for himself during the tryouts, and he's continued to showcase himself out here.

"He's a solid defender at third base, and he's got plenty of bat speed. And he's been making solid contact in the game. I think he's a guy we'll definitely be keeping an eye on.

"There are always those guys that come here and aren't really on the map yet, and he's one that I think guys are going to walk away having him on their list."

That's also good news for the Knights. Welcome to the team!

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Alums Jared Priestley (2013) and Jimmie Sherfy (2011) were honored by the University of Oregon for their 2013 accomplishments following last Friday's annual alumni game. Priestley received the team's Academic Achievement Award; Sherfy shared the Most Valuable Pitcher award.

Congrats to both!

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We have some other alumni news of note to report.

Former Aloha Knight Joe Gerber (1999, 2001), an ex-Oregon State star from Grant High in Portland who reached triple-A in a long minor-league career, was inducted into the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame this past Sunday.

Also inducted was ex-Knights' assistant coach Gabe Sandy, a scout for the Miami Marlins and a special guest speaker at our first Hot Stove Night event in 2012. Gabe coached for the Aloha Knights in 2005 and 2006.

Congrats to both!

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed sophomore right-handed pitcher Alex Bush of Westmont College. He's a 6-1, 170-pounder from Menifee, Calif., who played at Lindfield Christian High School. He was 1-1, 1.45 in 12 games in 2013, with 10 strikeouts in 18.2 innings pitched.

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That's all for today. See you on Wednesday.


Season tickets go on sale Nov. 1

October 21, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone.

Opening day is still about eight months away but it's never too early to talk about the 2014 season, We're signing players and building what we think will be another championship contender.

Season tickets go on sale on Nov. 1. Existing season-ticket holders have until Jan. 1 to reserve their current seats; any not reserved by that time will be opened to the general public.

We've made several changes in our season tickets plans and in single-game pricing this year. As always, we're still committed to providing affordable family fun.

* Reserved seats (sections C, D, E) season tickets are $175.

* The Block (sections B, A) season tickets are $155.

* General admission (all other sections) season tickets are $125.

* Our popular 10-game punch card is $50.

* Single-game reserved seats are still $10 ($11 on Fireworks Nights). Single-game GA seats are now $6.

Order forms are available at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis. Stop in and see us!

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Good news to report on the alumni front.

Outfielder Mitch Haniger (2010), a former Cal Poly star now in the Milwaukee minor-league system, was named the Arizona Fall League's co-Player of the Week for Oct. 8-13. In his first four games for the Surprise Saguaros, the 22-year-old hit .563 (9-for-16) with seven RBIs, including three doubles and a grand slam.

Here's more on the story from the Cal Poly website.

Mitch was selected by the Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2012 draft after earning Big West Conference Player of the year honors as a junior. He hit a combined .264 (125-473) with 11 homers and 68 RBIs in 129 total games with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (41) in the low-A Midwest League and Brevard County (88) in the advanced-A Florida State League.

Congrats to Mitch!

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It's been a while since we've reminded you, but our commemorative West Coast League championship t-shirts are still available. To check out the two color options (charcoal, heather) and to order, please visit our website, Corvallisknights.com.

The names of all the players and coaches are printed on the back. Get yours now, or get one for a gift. T-shirts are only $25 plus shipping and handling.

Sizes are available in M and XXL (charcoal) and S, M, L, XL and XXL (heather). Get one while they're still available!

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No news to report from the West Coast League today. The 2014 schedule is getting closer to completion, the new Yakima expansion franchise should be announcing its nickname soon and Bellingham still must hire a manager, so there will be no shortage of topics down the road.

See you on Tuesday.


Chris Bishop returns; Knights sign Derrick Mahlum

October 18, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone.

We've got more signings to announce, from our longtime partner school Pacific Lutheran University. Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Bishop will return, and he'll be joined by freshman right-handed pitcher Derrick Mahlum.

Chris was 5-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 14 appearances for the Knights in 2013, with 37 strikeouts in 52.2 innings. He was second-team all-West Coast League. He also played briefly for the Knights in 2012 as a 10-day signee and was 0-0, 1.12 in three games, with a save and six strikeouts in eight innings.

Chris was 2-3, 4.89 in 16 appearances as a PLU sophomore in 2013, with three saves and 37 strikeouts in 42.1 innings. He was the Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 18-24, 2013, after allowing no runs on six hits over eight innings in two appearances, with 14 strikeouts. He was 3-3 with a 4.40 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 59.1 innings at PLU as a freshman in 2012.

A four-year letterman in baseball and football at Rochester High in Centralia, Chris was also a two-time Evergreen League MVP, and a three-time all-state pitcher and outfielder at RHS before enrolling at PLU.

A Mill Creek, Wash., native, Mahlum was a 2A all-stater at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett. He was on the Seattle Times newspaper's all-area team, and was named all-Washington by USA Today.

Mahlum was 11-1, 0.79 in 14 games in 2013, with 90 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 71 innings. He held opponents to a .138 batting average. He was 7-0 in 10 games in 2012, with 35 strikeouts in 48 innings. Overall he was 18-1, 1.06 in 25 games in two seasons at AMHS, with 125 strikeouts in 119 innings.

Bishop and Mahlum are coached by ex-Knight player and coach Geoff Loomis at PLU. Welcome back Chris, and welcome to the Knights, Derrick.

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We've got more good news to report for you bargain-conscious Knights fans. Our first "Clearing the Bases" sale is planned for Dec. 14 at the Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis, the world-wide headquarters of the Corvallis Knights.

We'll have merchandise, caps, memorabilia, some team artifacts and other items for sale at excellent prices, just in time for the holidays. Knights' team apparel makes an excellent stocking stuffer, or a full-blown Christmas gift.

Additional details will be available the closer we get to the big day. So save the date (Dec. 14) and come on down to the heart of downtown Corvallis to check it out.

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Four alums are playing in the Arizona Fall League, MLB's premier off-season development circuit. Here's an update on their progress:

MITCH HANIGER (2010): The outfielder from Cal Poly is hitting .407 (11-27) in seven games for the Surprise Saguaros (Brewers), with a homer and eight RBIs.

ANDREW SUSAC (2009): The catcher/first baseman from Oregon State is hitting .308 (4-13) in four games with the Scottsdale Scorpions (Giants), with no homers and an RBI.

SAM GAVIGLIO (2009): The right-handed pitcher from Oregon State is 0-0, 6.75 in one start with the Salt River Rafters (Cardinals), with three strikeouts in four innings.

TYLER ANDERSON (2009): The left-handed pitcher from Oregon has not yet appeared in a game with the Salt River Rafters (Rockies).

The AFL runs through mid-November. We'll have an update on our alums every Friday.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

MEDFORD: The Rogues have signed six more players for the upcoming season, increasing their roster to 30. Click here for more details, from the Summer Baseball Insider website.

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That's it for today. Have a great weekend.


Knights sign two more for 2014

October 17, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone.

More signings to announce this morning. The Knights are happy to add right-handed pitcher Stephen White, a freshman at Tacoma Community College, where he's mentored by Knights' pitching coach Connor Lambert, and outfielder Jackson Ruckert, a junior at Linfield. Ruckert is a 10-day signee.

White is a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder from Woodinville High in Woodinville, Wash., an east side suburb of Seattle. He was 9-2, 1.45 in 12 games (10 starts) in 2013, with 42 strikeouts in 53 innings. He was a second-team Class 4A all-state selection and a first-team KingCo all-star.

Ruckert is a 5-10, 175-pound lefty/lefty from West Albany High. He hit .154 (2-13) with no homers or RBIs in 27 games in 2013, and played primarily as a pinch runner or late-inning defensive replacement. He scored five times and was 3-for-3 in stolen bases.

He lettered six times in football and baseball at WAHS, was a three-time Mid-Willamette Conference all-star and was a two-time 5A all-state selection. He hit .421 for his career at WAHS.

He's our third player from Linfield, joining pitcher Chris Haddeland and outfielder Jimmy Cleary, another 10-day signee.

Welcome to the Knights, gentlemen.

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Alum Alex Nesbitt (2013) of Washington was the winning pitcher for the Gold team on Tuesday in a 5-4 win over Game 2 of the annual Purple & Gold World Series. Brandon Choate (2013) also pitched for the Gold team.

Game 3 is at 7 tonight (Thursday) at Titon Field at Everett Community College. Game 4, the finale, is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday at Everett Memorial Stadium.

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Oregon State released its 2014 schedule on Wednesday and Nesbitt and Choate are two of several Knights alums who will visit Goss Stadium this spring. OSU hosts the Huskies on May 16-18.

Portland's Mike Lucarelli (2013), Cody Lenahan (2013), Colin Feldtman (2013) and Caleb Whalen (2012) will play at Goss on March 4, and face OSU again at Portland on April 1 and at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on May 13.

Oregon's Stephen Nogosek (2013), Jared Priestley (2013) and Connor Hofmann (2011-12) play at Goss on April 25-27. They also host the Beavers in Eugene on May 6 and May 20.

Stanford's Austin Barr (2012) comes to town on April 4-6.

We'll announce our 2014 OSU Knights later this fall. Our current alums with the Beavers are Ben Wetzler (2011), Jace Fry (2011), Carlos Rodriguez (2012), Nate Esposito (2012), Kavin Keyes (2013), Dane Lund (2013), Gabe Clark (2013) and Kevin Flemer (2013), and coach Andy Jenkins (2012).

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The Bend Elks have hired veteran George Fox University head coach Marty Hunter as their manager for the 2014 season. It's a very solid hire; here are more details, from the Our Sports Central website; here's more yet from the Bend Bulletin newspaper, and here's even more from the team's website (click on the top topic).

Hunter (bio here) succeeds Joe Dominiak, who led the team the past two seasons. Hunter's son, Taylor Hunter, was a middle infielder for us in 2009.

Congrats to the Elks on their hire. There will be at least four new coaches in the WCL in 2014: Hunter; ex-Knights player/coach Billy Clontz at Kelowna; Gary Hatch's successor at Bellingham, and whomever is hired by the new Yakima franchise.

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Some news from elsewhere in the WCL:

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed Butler University infielder Alex Horowitz; Dixie State right-handed pitcher Tanner Howell, Montana State-Billings right-handed pitcher Byron Baker and MSU-Billings lefty/first baseman Tanner Walton for 2014.

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That's it for today. See you on Friday.


Knights announce three new signings

October 16, 2013

We're back to work today after a trip back to the East coast for a family wedding and we've got lots of Knights-related news to report. So, let's get started.

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We have three signings to announce today.

* Outfielder Dalton Kelly of UC Santa Barbara is a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder from Redding, Calif., who appeared in 27 games (10 starts) and hit .244, with two extra-base hits and nine RBIs as a freshman. He hit .333 with runners on base and .429 with runners in scoring position, hit .200 (2-10) as a pinch-hitter and had four multi-hit and three multi-RBI games.

Kelly was a three-year letter winner at Foothill High in Redding, earned All-League and All-Section honors, helped lead the Cougars to the 2012 Section Championship and earned Student Athlete of the Year and State Scholar Athlete of the Week honors from ESPN.

* Junior outfielder Scott Quinlan of UCSB is a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Danville, Calif., who played at Chabot JC before transferring to UCSB. He hit 11 homers and was a Golden Gate Conference all-star in 2011. He played at San Ramon Valley High, hit .370 with four homers and was an East Bay all-star selection as a senior.

* UC Riverside freshman right-handed pitcher Angel Landazuri is a 6-foot, 185-pound pitcher from Redlands High in Redlands Calif. As a junior, he was a first-team Citrus Belt League all-star after going 8-2 with a 1.06 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.

Here's UCR coach Doug Smith's evaluation:

"Angel will arrive on the campus as arguably the most polished pitcher in the [recruiting] class. He can throw three pitches for strikes at any time and at any in count. He is a strike thrower with a good feel for our program."

Welcome to the team, guys.

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As most of you Knights fans, and readers of the Blog, already know, former Knights' player (2006, 2008-09) and assistant coach (2010-11, 2013) Billy Clontz has been hired as the new head coach of the Kelowna Falcons. Here's even more on the story from the Kelowna website.

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We missed this earlier this summer, but we're happy to report today that alum Caleb Whalen (2012) of the University of Portland and the Los Angeles Brewers was the MVP of the California Collegiate League's all-star game after he hit a single, double and triple in the contest.

A junior at UP, he was also rated as the league's top pro prospect by Baseball America. Here's their evaluation:

"After two modest seasons at Portland, Whalen took the CCL by storm this summer, hitting .361/.434/.525 with 15 doubles and nine steals for the league-champion Brewers. He singled, doubled and tripled in the league all-star game to capture MVP honors, and scouts who saw him repeatedly came away more impressed with each viewing.

"He's the best player in the entire league, bar none, no question in my mind," one NL area scout said. "He's really athletic - he shocked me with his combination of tools and skills."

Whalen has a live 6-foot-1, 185-pound body and plus-plus speed. He has good body control and actions at second base or third, and his plus arm plays at the hot corner or in the outfield. At the plate, the right-handed hitter impacts the ball with authority and drives balls through the gaps, giving him a chance to become a plus hitter with average raw power."

Congrats to Caleb.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have hired Western Washington University graduate Stephanie Morrell as their new marketing director. Click here for full details, from The Bellingham Herald newspaper, and here's even more from the team's website.

COWLITZ: Jim Appleby has been named as the team's GM. He will be entering his fourth season as part of the team's front office, having spent the last two seasons as its Director of Operations. Here's more, from the Cowlitz website. Congrats to Jim, who always makes the trip to Corvallis when we host the Black Bears.

MEDFORD: The Rogues will host a workout by the University of Oregon team at Harry & David Field on March 24. Click here for more details.

WALLA WALLA: Sweets' GM Zachary Fraser has been promoted to chief operating officer of Pacific Baseball Ventures, the owners of the Sweets and the new Yakima franchise. Fraser, who spent four seasons at the helm of the Walla Walla Sweets, will be responsible for the long-term development of all operations in both Walla Walla and Yakima.

The Sweets promoted Katie Baxter to general manager, a role in which she will be directly responsible for management of day-to-day operations of the team. Here are more details, from the Walla Walla website.

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That's it for today. See you on Thursday.


WCL to re-align in 2014

October 8, 2013

Well, we've been promising you big news about the West Coast League for several weeks. Today's the day we reveal what's up.

The WCL will re-align into three divisions based on natural geographical boundaries for the 2014 season, president Dennis Koho announced Tuesday.

Here's how the new league will shake down:

SOUTH DIVISION: Corvallis, Bend, Klamath Falls, Medford.

EAST DIVISION: Kelowna, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima.

WEST DIVISION: Victoria, Bellingham, Kitsap, Cowlitz.

"With expansion growing the league to 12 teams, the opportunity to align with three divisions creates even greater rivalries within natural geographic boundaries and will hopefully help member teams see some savings as it relates to ever-growing travel expenses," Koho said.

The three division winners and a wild card (the remaining team with the best record) will advance to the playoffs.

Teams will continue to play at least one series against every other opponent, but not every team will visit every city every year. The 2014 schedule will be released shortly; the regular season will begin in early June and end on August 11, with two rounds of playoffs to follow.

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"Yeah, it's the Milkman!"

That cry will reverberate around Goss Stadium again next summer, as University of San Diego junior outfielder Grant Melker will return in 2014 for his second season with the Knights.

Grant hit .280 (37-132) with no homers and 12 RBIs in 54 total games in 2013. He led the WCL in steals (26), set a team record with 31 total steals, and was honorable-mention all-WCL.

A graduate of Claremont High in Claremont, Calif., Melker played sparingly at USD the past two seasons, mainly as a late-game defensive replacement, but expects to have a larger role in 2014.

His older brother, Adam Melker, played for us in 2008-09 while playing at Cal Poly. Adam just completed his second season Springfield (MO.), St. Louis's affiliate in the double-A Texas League.

Welcome back, Grant!

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Just in case you somehow missed it, here's a link to the Our Sports Central story on Kelowna's hiring of former Knights' player and assistant coach Billy Clontz as the new head coach of the Falcons.

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Alum Ben Wetzler (2011), a key member of the bullpen and one of the emotional leaders of our 2011 WCL championship team, was profiled on Monday in this story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. Benny turned down the pros for the second time in his career (he was also drafted out of high school) and will return to Oregon State for his senior season.

Teammate and fellow OSU senior Scott Schultz, another member of our 2011 champions, also receives a mention. He also turned down a potential pro contract to come back to OSU for his final season of eligibility.

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No other news from around the WCL, or from our partner schools, so we'll close. The blog is taking a few days off to attend a family function out East, so we'll see you next Wednesday. Have a great weekend and Go Beavers!