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Knights Daily Update

PLU-Concordia means the season has started!

February 4, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had fabulous weekends, have recovered from your Super Bowl parties, and are ready for some baseball!

One of our partner schools, Pacific Lutheran University, opens the 2013 season today by hosting Concordia Univeristy of Portland in an 11 a.m. doubleheader at PLU. Looks like the weather should be decent and they'll get both games in.

PLU's head coach is Geoff Loomis, a former Knight. We don't know who the projected starters are for the Lutes, but I'd be shocked if Max Beatty (2010-12) doesn't get the nod in one game and it's possible Chris Bishop (2012-13) and Jake Otness (2013) could see some mound time too.

We'll have a report on what transpired in Tuesday's blog.

Central Washington, where 2013 Knights Devon Barker, Eddie Malone Jr. and Scott Stone play, lost 5-4 to Cal State East Bay in Hayward, Calif., on Sunday in its opener. Barker, Malone and Stone did not play; the series resumes today and Tuesday, weather permitting.

In the meantime, it's only 120 more days until we begin our 2013 season with a Science and Art Day II nonleague encounter with the Portland Lobos at Goss Stadium. It will be here before you know it, so get your season tickets and 10-game punchcards now at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis!

Now, on to today's Knights news.

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We've got an update on Tristan Hobbes, the Walla Walla play-by-play broadcaster for the past two seasons and a real Friend O' the Blog. He'll be the new play-by-play voice of the Ocean State Waves, a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League based in South Kingston, R.I., this summer.

That dovetails perfectly with his school-year position in the sports information department at Bryant University, located in nearby Smithfield (isn't everything nearby in Rhode Island?). He will be in Corvallis on March 1-3, though, when Oregon State hosts Bryant in its home-opening series.

So congrats to Tristan. No word yet on who will be taking his place with the Sweets.

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Left-handed reliever Marc Rzepcznyski (2006) of the St. Louis Cardinals, one of six Knights' alums to play major-league baseball in 2012, has avoided arbitration by signing a one-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals did not release the financial terms. Rzepczynski, who made $504,000 in 2012, had asked for $1.3 million; the Cardinals offered $900,000.

Here are more details on the deal, from MLB.com.

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No WCL news to report today, so we'll close. See you on Tuesday.


Welcome to February!

February 1, 2013

Flipped the page on the calendar on the wall at the WWHQ today so it is now officially February. So long to foggy January, and good riddance!

With the new month, we're now down to just 123 days until our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. It's getting closer!

We had a lot of news on Thursday, with the signing of George Fox University pitcher Sean Eberhardt and with Pacific Lutheran pitcher Max Beatty being named the No. 2 draft-eligible NCAA Division III pro prospect by Baseball America magazine. Not sure if we can top that today, but we'll sure give it the old college try!

So, on to the news!

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Hot Stove Night II just won't go away. Here is Volume 1 of our video highlights; rumor is Volume II will be along shortly. Please pay no attention to the dumpy-looking guy in the Knights polo.

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Can't have a Friday without an Australian Baseball League update on former Knights Adam Melker (2008, 2009), Carter Bell (2009) and Liam Baron (2008-09), now playing for the Perth Heat, and on pitcher Eric Massingham (2006-07) of the Canberra Cavalry.

The regular season has ended and Canberra finished in first place with a 27-19 record. It has automatically advanced to the ABL Championship Series, which starts Feb. 8.

Perth finished third at 25-21 and now plays second-place Sydney in the best-of-3 Preliminary Series, starting tonight. The victor will play Canberra in a best-of-3 series for the title. Perth is the two-time defending champion, as Knights' coach Brooke Knight led them to the 2011 and 2012 crowns.

* Melker (Cal Poly) hit .247 (20-81) in 22 games, with a homer and six RBIs. He has returned to the United States to begin preparation for spring training. He's in the St. Louis organization and had a good year with double-A Springfield (Mo.) in 2012.

* Bell (Oregon State) hit .278 (49-176) with three homers and 30 RBIs in 46 games. He's in the Arizona organization and spent last season at advanced Class A.

* Baron (Linn-Benton, Gonzaga) was 0-0 with a 6.59 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 13.2 innings in 14 appearances, all in relief.

* Massingham (Cal Poly) was 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 appearances, all in relief. Massingham had 23 strikeouts in 25 innings.

The Championship Series will be televised on the MLB Network.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: We mentioned earlier this week that the Bells have hired University of Miami (Fla.) graduate Michael Weisman as their new play-by-play voice. Here's more on the story from The Bellingham Herald newspaper.

VICTORIA: HarbourCats Nick Pivetta (6) and David Schuknecht (22) made Baseball America's list of the top 25 junior college prospects for the 2013 MLB draft. Here are full details from the HarbourCats Baseball Blog.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed brothers Sean Silva of USC and Scott Silva of Gonzaga for the upcoming season. Here are more details from the Summer Baseball Insider website.

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That's all for today, and for this week. Have a great weekend!


Knights sign RHP Sean Eberhardt to a 10-day deal

January 31, 2013

Our early-season West Coast League games, before all of our anticipated full-time players arrive from their respective colleges, are just as important and count just as much as those played in July and August, after everyone has their full club.

So we're constantly looking for players to strengthen our roster in the first two weeks. We have six games with Cowlitz and three each against Wenatchee, Medford and Kitsap between June 5 and June 20 and it's imperative we do well and don't knock ourselves out of the Southern Division pennant race before July.

So, we sign a number of players to 10-day contracts. Our latest such addition is George Fox University sophomore Sean Eberhardt, who will join us in time for our June 4 nonleague opener against the Portland Lobos at Goss Stadium (BTW, that game is just 124 days away!).

Eberhardt is a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Milwaukie who graduated from Rex Putnam High School. He was a Three Rivers League all-star as a junior, and was the Northwest Oregon Conference's Pitcher of the Year, and a first-team all-star, as a senior. He played for the North team in the 2011 Reser's All-Star Series.

He played sparingly at George Fox as a freshman. He hit .500 (1-2) with an RBI and was 0-1 with a 27.00 ERA in one-third of an inning in his lone pitching appearance.

He also played for the Toros in WCL Portland last summer and was 2-0 in six games, with a 6.48 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Ten-game signees, such as 2012 WCL postseason all-star, WCL ERA champion and Knights' Pitcher of the Year Rob Dittrick of Pacific University, often earn a full-time roster spot.

Welcome Sean!

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Redshirt junior pitcher Max Beatty (2010-12) of Pacific Lutheran has been ranked as the No. 2 Division III pro prospect by Baseball America magazine. Max was the magazine's No. 1 pick in 2012, but he missed the entire college season while recovering from cancer. Congrats to Max!

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There's more news today related to our recent Hot Stove Night II, which was a major success.

The path taken to the major league's by one of that night's special guests, catcher Chris Stewart (2001) of the New York Yankees, is detailed in this column by sports reporter Brad Fuqua in today's Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Make sure to check it out.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

VICTORIA: We've mentioned the HarbourCats Baseball Blog before; it's a good read. Here's the latest installment, on the "Top 10 songs to play at Royal Athletic Park." We might have to appropriate a few of these for our own use at Goss Stadium this summer.

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That's all for today. See you tomorrow on a TGIF!


Happy Wednesday

January 30, 2013

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

January is almost over and we are down to a mere 125 more days until our June 4 season opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. Hard to believe, no?

And, while our season seems a ways away, all of our partner schools have started practice and some will open their respective seasons during the first week of February. So, we should have a lot of baseball to write about before too much longer.

We'll have weekly updates on all of our 2013 Knights every Monday (Division I players) and Tuesday (Division II, Division II, NAIA and JC players), so you can follow their progress throughout their school ball seasons.

So, as they used to say on the old Kung Fu TV show (yes, I'm showing my age), "Patience, grasshopper." Spring, sunshine and warm weather are on the way.

Now, on to the news.

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Oregon State senior left-handed pitcher Matt Boyd (2010) is making a bid for a spot in the starting rotation this spring. You may have already seen our story on Matt from Tuesday's media day, but if not just click right here and you'll be up to speed on one of our favorite alums.

Good luck to Matt and to the Beavers, who feature 12 former or current Knights on their 2012 roster!

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It's Week 4 of our new tradition, the Knights Top 10. Every Wednesday, we'll list the Knights Top 10 in a certain category and post it in the Knights Daily Blog.

Today we list the Top 10 leaders in strikeouts in a single season (WCL games only):

1. 47, Jon Berger (2008)

2. 44, Max Beatty (2011)

2. 44, Kyle Hart (2011)

4. 42, Matt Way (2007)

5. 41, J.R. Murphy (2007)

5. 41, Josh Osich (2008)

7. 40, Matt Andriese (2009)

7. 40, Kyle Kraus (2010)

9. 38, Kyle Kraus (2009)

10. 37, Liam Baron (2009)

Some great names there, for sure. Way, Osich, Andriese, Kraus and Baron are still active in professional baseball, Murphy played in the minors before retiring, and Hart and Beatty could get their chance this summer.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have hired University of Miami (Fla.) graduate Michael Weisman as their new play-by-play voice. He will broadcast all 57 games this summer. Here are more details, from the Bellingham website. Welcome to the WCL, Michael!

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


More honors for Sherfy

January 29, 2013

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

We're off to Oregon State baseball media day later this morning, where pitchers Matt Boyd (2010) and Ben Wetzler (2011) and infielder Jake Rodriguez (2010), three of 12 former or current Knights on this year's club, are expected to speak.

(Gabe Clark, Andrew Moore, Nate Esposito, Carlos Rodriguez, Danny Hayes, Jace Fry, Brandon Jackson, Scott Schultz and Taylor Starr also have played, or will play, with the Knights.)

Until then, though, don't forget that it's just 126 more days until our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. So, be sure to get your season tickets and/or 10-game punch cards now at the Knights' WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis.

We also have some news to report before we head over to OSU.

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Former Knights' relief pitcher Jimmie Sherfy (2011), a junior at Oregon, was named a fourth-team preseason All-American by College Sports Madness. He was also named a first-team preseason Pac-12 all-star by the same website.

Former website selected Walla Walla Sweets pitcher Hunter Virant (2012), a freshman at UCLA, as its "Freshman of the Year." Here's a link to CSM's entire preseason All-America team.

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Former Knights utility player Jake Roy (2007) begins his new job as an assistant strength coach at Brown University in Providence, R.I., this Friday. He will work with the lacrosse, baseball, hockey, squash, field hockey, fencing and swimming programs.

Jake worked in the San Francisco and St. Louis minor-league organizations for several years after getting his master's degree at the University of Memphis. He played baseball at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., after graduating from Corvallis High.

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One of our core missions with the Knights is to grow baseball in our area and throughout Oregon. With that in mind, the Knights and high school baseball coaches from Corvallis, Crescent Valley, West Albany and Lebanon high schools have teamed up to start a summer baseball tournament to coincide with the Reser's Oregon All-Star Series.

Games will be played at the local schools and the championship game will be played at Goss Stadium at 3 p.m. on June 16, immediately following the Oregon All-Star Series finale.

The tournament will feature school summer teams from all over Oregon and will played at Hansen Stadium at Taylor Field (Corvallis), Tim Wirth Memorial Field (CV), Croco Field (Lebanon) and Memorial Field (West Albany) on June 14-16. Teams in the Mid-Valley All-Star Classic will feature underclassmen players.

More details on the Classic are available by clicking here.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

WALLA WALLA: We reported last week that the Sweets had signed three players from the University of Portland. Here's more on that story from the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin newspaper.


Morel hopes to rebound in 2013

January 28, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had a great weekend!

We're down to 127 more days until our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. Science and Art Day I in 2012 drew more than 2,100 fans; we plan to surpass that this season and just the other day we received a reservation for 66 from Takena Elementary School in Albany.

Now, on with today's blog.

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Lots of news on Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (2006-07), the first Corvallis Knight to play in the major leagues.

* First, there's this story from MLB.com, which says Morel looks great and may be fully recovered from the back injuries that ruined his 2012 season.

* Reporter Evan Crum of Rant Sports speculates a trade may be in the offing, possibly with the Miami Marlins, who have expressed interest in the former Cal Poly star in the past.

Some ChiSox beat sites have speculated Morel may start the season at triple-A Charlotte, especially since the team spent $12 million for free agent Jeff Keppinger in the offseason. But they also note if Morel is healthy, he'll definitely compete for the starting job he owned in 2011 before sustaining the aforementioned back injury just before the start of the 2012 season.

Either way, we'll be rooting for Brent, one of six former Knights to play MLB in 2012.

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Knights' GM Bre Kerkvliet gets a mention in this story about the Philomath Chamber of Commerce in the Movers & Shakers section of today's Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

COWLITZ: The Black Bears have signed a partnership with the Three Rivers Athletic Club in Longview to become the team's "Official Gym and Workout Facility." All visiting WCL opponents will be welcome to use the facility, so that's good news for us as well. Here are more details, from the team's website.

MEDFORD: The Rogues have apparently signed Nebraska redshirt freshman Quentin Urban, an Omaha native who starred in football and baseball at Millard South High School in that city. Here's more from Summer Baseball Insider.

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


Yes, it's another TGIF

January 25, 2013

Happy Friday, everybody.

And with the passing of another work week, we're down to 130 more days until our June 4 season opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. I know that seems like a long ways off, but a week from today we'll be into February and summer will be here before you know it!

So, better renew, or purchase, those 2013 season tickets, or pick up your 10-game punch card down here at the Knights WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis. We're gonna have a great summer and you don't want to miss out.

Now, on with the news.

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Three former Knights have been named preseason Pacific-12 Conference all-stars by College Sports Madness. Junior pitchers Ben Wetzler (2011) of Oregon State and Jimmie Sherfy (2011) of Oregon and junior infielder Jake Rodriguez (2010) of OSU were all second-team selections.

Congrats to Ben, Jimmie and Jake, each of whom should get a shot at pro baseball this June. Here's the complete list of all-stars.

And speaking of the Beavers, another former Knight, senior pitcher Matt Boyd (2010), is doing a video journal about the team this year. Click here for more details about that venture, and to watch the first episode.

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As we've already noted, it's Friday. And that means it's time for our weekly Australian Baseball League update on former Knights Adam Melker (2008, 2009), Carter Bell (2009) and Liam Baron (2008-09), now playing for the Perth Heat, and on pitcher Eric Massingham (2006-07) of the Canberra Cavalry.

* Melker (Cal Poly) hit .247 (20-81) in 22 games, with a homer and six RBIs. He has returned to the United States to begin preparation for spring training. He's in the St. Louis organization and had a good year with double-A Springfield (Mo.) in 2012.

* Bell (Oregon State) is hitting .284 (48-169) with three homers and 29 RBIs in 44 games. He's in the Arizona organization and spent last season at advanced Class A.

* Baron (Linn-Benton, Gonzaga) is 0-0 with a 6.92 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 innings in 13 appearances, all in relief.

* Massingham (Cal Poly) is 3-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 17 appearances, all in relief. Massingham has 22 strikeouts in 23 innings.

The Heat are 23-21 and are in third place, three games behind first-place Sydney. Canberra (25-19) is in second place, one game behind, and has already clinched a playoff spot.

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Former Knights' outfielder Mitch Haniger (2010) was one of many players honored at the 29th annual Santa Clara County Hot Stove Banquet, held this past Tuesday at the San Jose Elks Club. It honors Santa Clara County baseball players from the youth level to the pros, and other area individuals who have contributed to the game.

Haniger, a Santa Clara native who played at nearby Archbishop Mitty High and at Cal Poly, was the 2012 Big West Conference Player of the Year. He is now in Milwaukee's minor-league system.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

MEDFORD: The Rogues held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at their new home, Harry & David Field. Refreshments and samples of team merchandise were available, and there was a presentation detailing the progress of construction at the stadium.

WALLA WALLA: It seems as if the Sweets are always up to something. Today they announced the signing of three players from the University of Portland: Freshman infielder Lucas Hunter, freshman pitcher Zachary Torson, and sophomore pitcher Kurt Yinger. Here are all the details, from the Our Sports Central website, a great resource for WCL news.

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That's all for this week. See you on Monday!


Baseball America names Haniger top-10 prospect for Brewers

January 24, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone. Hope you're having a great day.

We've got more good news to report. Former Knights' outfielder Mitch Haniger, a West Coast League all-star from our 2010 team, has been ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the Milwaukee Brewers organization by Baseball America.

Mitch played at Cal Poly, was the 2012 West Coast Conference Player of the Year, and was a high pick by Milwaukee in last June's MLB draft. He played briefly for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Class-A Midwest League after signing, but then suffered a season-ending knee injury.

That's been repaired, however, and it shouldn't bother him this season.

Here's a link to the Brewers' Top-10 prospects. And congrats to Mitch.

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Earlier this year, longtime trainer Jeremy Ainsworth of Monmouth was named the Corvallis Knights Staff Member of the Year. Here's an item from his local newspaper, The Polk County Itemizer-Observer, on his award.

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As promised yesterday, here's Part 2 of Corvallis Gazette-Times sports writer Cliff Kirkpatrick's blog on Hot Stove Night II. This edition deals with New York Yankees' scout Mike Thurman, a 1993 Knight who is now the Yankees' Northwest scout. Part 1, about Yankees' catcher (and 2001 Knights' MVP) Chris Stewart can be found by clicking here.

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We had too many conflicts yesterday and thus were unable to compile our weekly Knights Top 10 list, which is supposed to be a regular Wednesday feature of the blog. Sorry about that.

So, we'll do it today. Here are the Top 10 leaders in batting average in a single season (WCL games only; must have at least 80 at-bats):

1. .383, Taylor Ard (2009)

2. .354, Richie Jimenez (2009)

3. .353, Logan Lotti (2008)

4. .344, Michael Blake (2010)

5. .343, Greg Mahle (2012)

6. .336, Dylan Jones (2010)

7. .320, Nate Blackham (2012)

8. .319, Jim Murphy (2007)

9. .317, Marc Gallegos (2012)

9. .317, Corey Davis (2011)

Just missing the cutoff were D.J. Johnson, who hit .316 in 2009, and two of the fastest outfielders we've ever had, Brent Warren of Oregon State and Connor Hofmann of Oregon. Warren hit .315 in 2009, as did Hofmann in 2012.

We'll be back next week with another edition of the Knights Top 10.

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No news from around the West Coast League today so we'll sign off. See you on Friday with our weekly Knights in Australian baseball update, and other topics.


Hot Stove Night II a big hit

January 23, 2013

Our Hot Stove Night II was a huge success!

Catcher Chris Stewart and scout Mike Thurman of the New York Yankees - Knights' alums who've gone on to successful careers in major-league baseball - informed and entertained a full house in the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium at Tuesday night's Hot Stove Night II celebration.

More than 70 fans attended the event and gleaned some inside information on playing and scouting in MLB. Many stayed around afterward to get autographs and to pose for photos with our very special, gracious guests.

Thanks to Corvallis Gazette-Times reporter Cliff Kirkpatrick for covering the event. Here's his story from Wednesday's editions of the G-T. And look for more on Stewart in the near future from G-T reporter/columnist Brad Fuqua, who interviewed Stewart before the event for an upcoming story.

Cliff also wrote more about the event in his daily blog. Click here to read much more about Stewart. Part II, on Thurman we're guessing, should be out soon and we'll link it when it appears.

And here's even more on the night, with photos, videos and a story from reporter Joe Raia, editor of the Corvallis TidBits website.

Big thanks to everyone who attended, and we hope you enjoyed the show. We're already planning Hot Stove Night III for Jan., 2014, and we've got some great guests with connections to the Knights in mind.

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Former Knights left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson (2009) of the University of Oregon, the first Corvallis Knight to be selected in the first rund of the MLB draft (2011), is ranked as the No. 7 prospect in Colorado's minor-league organization by Baseball America.

Anderson was a South Atlantic League all-star for the Asheville Tourists in 2012. He was judged to have the best control in the organization, and projects as Colorado's No. 5 starter in 2016. Here's more on Anderson from the UO baseball website.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have reached an agreement with The Vagabond Inn to be the host hotel for all West Coast League teams for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Here are the details, from the Our Sports Central website.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have been a huge hit in WW since their 2010 debut and it sounds as if they're off to a flying start for 2013 as well. Here's an update on ticket sales, plans for 2013 and other topics from their website. We don't visit Walla Walla this year because of the league's unbalanced schedule with the addition of Victoria and Medford, but maybe we'll see the Sweets in the playoffs.

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


Ex-Knights rated top prospects

January 22, 2013

Happy Hot Stove Day II, everyone. Less than 12 hours before Hot Stove Night II at Goss Stadium, and we're making final preparations down at the WWHQ.

It should be a great night. We can't handle any more reservations so we should have a full house to hear catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman of the New York Yankees, a couple of successful Knights alums, talk about their life and experiences in major league baseball.

So, we'll see you there!

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Three former Knights are mentioned in Baseball News Source's analysis of the top 10 prospects in each major-league team's organization. Here's the roundup:

* Lefty Tyler Anderson (2009) is rated as the No. 6 prospect in the Colorado organization. He had a stellar season at low-A Asheville in 2012. Here are the details.

* Outfielder Mitch Haniger (2010) is rated as the No. 10 prospect in the Milwaukee organization. Here are the details.

* Catcher Andrew Susac (2009) is ranked as the 10th-best prospect in the Giants' organization. He played at advanced-A San Jose in 2012. Here are the details.

Congrats to all three players, who we hope will be appearing in a major-league game near you in the not-to-distant future!

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We mentioned on Monday that University of Oregon junior pitcher Jimmie Sherfy, a 2011 Knight, had been named a second-team preseason All-American by Perfect Game. Here is even more on the story from the UO website.

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That's all for today. See you tomorrow, if we don't see you first tonight at the Hot Stove Night II fete.