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Knights Daily Update

Space still available for Hot Stove Night II

January 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Space is still available for fans to attend Hot Stove Night II, our top off-season event. It's scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium; admission is $5, but free for Diamond Club members, host families, and for anyone who buys a season ticket or 10-game punch card at the gate.

Our very special guests are catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman (1993) of the New York Yankees, a couple of Knights' alums who've been very successful in professional baseball.

Registration is available by e-mailing me at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. See you there!

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Speaking of Stewart, here's a rundown on the Yankees' catching situation from Howard Z. Unger of Yahoo Sports. And here's more analysis on the catching position from SI.com. Either way, it sounds as if Stewart has a roster spot and will get plenty of chances to play.

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Another former Knights' star in MLB, Houston right-handed pitcher Bud Norris (2005) of Cal Poly, had an up-and-down season in 2012 as he battled a knee injury. He finished last season on a high note, however, is expected to bounce back and is Houston's solid No. 2 starter heading into spring training.

Here's some analysis on Norris from Astros' correspondent John Burgess. Remember, Houston slides over to the AL West this season after spending its first 50 years as a National League franchise.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

VICTORIA: The expansion HarbourCats have signed five more players for the 2013 season. The top signee is Brandon Smith, an outfielder from Grand Canyon University who was a previous 15th-round draft pick of the Washington Nationals. Here are the complete details on the signings, from the Our Sports Central website, a great source for WCL news.

And here's more on the signings from the HarbourCats' website.

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That's all for today. See you on Wednesday, when we'll have volume 2 of the Knights Top 10.


Top team honors for Ainsworth

January 14, 2013

It's another back-to-work Monday throughout the country, and down here at the WWHQ as well. Tough to start the grind again after a great weekend, but hey, we gotta eat.

So, on we go, with another blog. We've got a lot of news to report, but first things first.

* It's only 141 more days until our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. Seems like a long ways off, especially since it feels more like hockey season outside than baseball season, but it will be here before you know it.

* Please don't forget Hot Stove Night II, scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium. The event features catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman (1993) of the New York Yankees, two Knights alums who've been very successful in professional baseball.

Admission is $5 at the door. Diamond Club members and other season-ticket holders will be admitted free of charge, as will those who buy a 10-game punchcard or season ticket that night.

Reservations are available by e-mailing me at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. It should be a great night; see you there!

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Trainer Jeremy Ainsworth has been named the 2012 Knights Staff Member of the Year, recognizing his exceptional service to the Knights, and to our West Coast League opponents who need attention when visiting our fair city. Here are all the details, from our website. Congrats to Jeremy!

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Your's truly was on the Joe Beaver Show on Friday, and co-host Jon Warren asked me how many WCL alums played in the majors in 2012. I said between 15-20; the exact number is 18, six of whom (Tommy Hanson, Bud Norris, Chris Stewart, Brent Morel, Matt Hague, Marc Rzepczynski) are Knights' alums.

Here's a complete list of all WCL alums in affiliated ball last summer. It's pretty impressive.

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Here's some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed right-handed pitcher Brandon Luper, a senior at Esparanza (CA) High School who has signed with UC Santa Barbara. He was 7-3 with a 1.83 ERA as a high school junior in 2012.

"Brandon has shown improvement overall this past fall and looks to have a stellar senior year," said UCSB coach Andrew Checketts, a former Knights' pitchig coach (2000). "He has a sinking fastball that touches 90 and a sharp low 80s slider that he pounds the strike zone with."

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have signed shortstop Ryan Clark and catcher Campbell Wear of UC Santa Barbara for the 2013 season. More details are available in this story from the Klamath Falls Herald and News newspaper.

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


Our big news - Mike Parker is returning!

January 10, 2013

We promised we'd have some big news today and we do.

Award-winning broadcaster Mike Parker is returning as the voice of the Knights this summer after a one-year hiatus. He'll be assisted by his daughter Lydia, a budding broadcaster who will graduate from Corvallis High this June and then study communications/media at Oregon State this fall.

Here are more details on Mike's return from our website.

Needless to say, we're thrilled with Mike's decision and we think we'll have the best broadcaster in summer collegiate baseball for the seventh year in a row. Mike's a great broadcaster who loves Corvallis and the Knights.

And we should have some news onn last year's broadcaster, 2012 Virginia Tech graduate Kevin Burke, in the very near future. He should be working in affiliated baseball this summer.

So, welcome aboard (again) Mike.

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We've had a flurry of reservations for Hot Stove Night II this week but we still have room for more fans. It's scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium.

The event features catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman (1993) of the New York Yankees, two Knights alums who've been very successful in professional baseball.

Admission is $5 at the door. Diamond Club members and other season-ticket holders will be admitted free of charge, as will those who buy a 10-game punchcard or season ticket that night.

Reservations are available by e-maling me at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. It should be a great night; see you there!

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed high school seniors Chayce Kaaua and Iolana Akau, both Hawaii commits, and UH freshman Jonathan Lopez for the 2013 season. Here's more from the Sweets' website.

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That's it for today. See you on a TGIF.


Big news on the horizon

January 9, 2013

Happy hump day, everyone.

We must confess, it's a pretty slow news day down here at the WWHQ. Our signings are complete, our partner schools haven't started spring practice yet, and our Hot Stove Night II party is still two weeks away.

But we will have a major announcement on Thursday that should be very popular in Knights Nation. So please stay tuned and check back in to the blog and to the news portion of our website on Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, we can revel in the fact that it's just 146 more days until our June 4 home opener, an 11 a.m. nonleague game against the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium.

So, it's getting closer, and will be here before we know it!

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We're starting a new tradition today, 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. So, here are the Top 10 crowds in Corvallis Knights history:

1. 3,506 (7/3/2009)

2. 2,930 (7/2/2012)

2. 2,930 (7/3/2011)

2. 2,930 (7/3/2010)

5. 2,570 (8/9/2011)

6. 2,517 (7/26/2011, WCL All-Star Game)

7. 2,273 (8/4/2012)

8. 2,162 (6/6/2012)

9. 1,927 (6/25/2011)

10. 1,752 (7/25/2012)

We've drawn 175,382 fans in our six seasons in Corvallis. Sometime this summer we'll pass the 200,000 mark, a real milestone. We can't do it without you, the best fans in the WCL!

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BEND: Here's a short profile of 2012 Elks' standout Will Sparks from Summer Baseball Insider, another great source for news on the WCL and the the entire, expanding world of summer collegiate baseball.

MEDFORD: The expansion Rogues have received their first shipment of new team merchandise, according to the club's website. It's worth checking out.

WALLA WALLA: Our aforementioned Hot Stove Night II fete isn't the only offseason party in the WCL. The Seattle Mariners Caravan is coming to Walla Walla on Thursday, Jan. 17, from 4:15 p.m until 5:45 p.m. at the Reid Campus Center Ballroom (345 Boyer Avenue) on the Whitman College campus. Here are more details, from the Sweets' website.

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That's all for today. Stay tuned tomorrow for important Knights news!


Jorge Perez earns preseason honors

January 8, 2013

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Welcome back to the blog, which as of today has a new name: the Knights Daily Update. That better reflects our goal here, to provide Knights Nation with a daily (Monday-Friday) diet of team- and league-related news.

We're down to 147 more days until our June 4 opener, a nonconference game with the Portland Lobos on Science and Art Day II at Goss Stadium. Seems like a long ways off, but it will be here before you know it!

We're also down to just 14 more days until Hot Stove Night II, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium (please note the venue change). Catcher Chris Stewart and scout Mike Thurman of the New York Yankees are the featured speakers.

Reservations are encouraged and available by e-mailing Brooks Hatch at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. Admission is free for Diamond Club members and other season-ticket holders, and $5 for everyone else. You can also get in free by buying a 10-game punch card or a season ticket at the door.

So, see you there!

Now, on to the news!

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Sophomore right-handed pitcher Jorge Perez of Grand Canyon University, a 2012 and 2013 Knight, was named a Player to Watch for the upcoming season by the American Baseball Coaches Association's NCAA Division II All-America Baseball Committee.

Jorge was 3-3 record and 2.48 ERA at GCU in 2012 as a freshman. He then went 3-3, 2.79 in nine games with the Knights, with 32 strikeouts in 48.1 innings. He also made the West Division All-Star team and started the All-Star Game in Walla Walla.

Here are more details from the Grand Canyon University website.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have signed freshman shortstop Ryan Clark and junior catcher Campbell Wear of UC Santa Barbara for the 2013 season. Here's more from the Our Sports Central website, a great place for WCL news.

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


It's a back-to-work Monday

January 7, 2013

It's a back-to-work Monday down here at the WWHQ of the Corvallis Knights.

It's only 148 more days until our June 4 opener with the Portland Lobos at Goss Stadium. That sounds like a long time, but even though it's lousy outside this morning the weather will improve, summer will arrive, and Knights' baseball will return!

It is our slow time but we'll try to find some Knights' news of interest; we've also tracked down some news items from elsewhere in the WCL.

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Don't forget, the venue for our Hot Stove Night II event has been moved to the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium instead of the Corvallis Country Club. It will feature catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman (1993) of the New York Yankees, two Knights' alums who have been very successful in professional baseball.

The date and time haven't changed, it's still set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by e-mailing us at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. It's free for season-ticket holders and Diamond Club members, and for anyone who buys a season ticket or a 10-game punchcard at the door. Otherwise, it's $5 a head.

Should be a fun night! See you there!

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BEND: We haven't heard much from the Elks lately but here's their latest news. Joe Dominiak will return as head coach for the 2013 season, assisted by Scott Anderson, on the Elks coaching staff for the past seven seasons, and former 17-year major league pitcher Alan Embree. The Elks have also finalized their 2013 schedule. Details of both moves are available as menu items on the home page of the team's page.

MEDFORD: The expansion Rogues have five fireworks shows planned for their first season. Details can be found by clicking here, for a story on the team's website.

VICTORIA: Victoria baseball fan Gary Belleville has started a blog about the expansion HarbourCats that has plenty of information on one of the WCL's two new teams for 2013. Here's the link to the aptly-named HarbourCats Baseball Blog.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed UCLA freshman pitcher Cody Poteet and UCLA commit Luke Persico, a senior outfielder at Great Oak High School in Temecula, Calif. Here are all the details, courtesy of the team's website.

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That's it for today.


It's a big news Friday in Corvallis

January 4, 2013

Yes, we're back, after taking a break from the blog on Thursday to work on other Knights' business.

What were we doing, you ask? Well, gathering material for today's big Knights news, which now has been spread throughout Knights Nation via Twitter, Facebook and this blog.

We're thrilled to announce that Knights' veteran player and assistant coach Billy Clontz is returning to the fold after spending the 2012 season coaching in Klamath Falls alongside former Knights' standout Josh Hogan. Billy played a major role in our 2008 WCL title as a player, and an equally-big role in our 2011 crown as an assistant coach.

Here's a link to the story elsewhere on our website announcing the big news. Welcome back, Billy!

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Just an FYI, the venue for our Hot Stove Night II event has been moved to the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium instead of the Corvallis Country Club. It will feature catcher Chris Stewart (2001) and scout Mike Thurman (1993) of the New York Yankees, two Knights' alums who have been very successful in professional baseball.

The date and time haven't changed, it's still set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by e-mailing us at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com. It's free for season-ticket holders and Diamond Club members, and for anyone who buys a season ticket or a 10-game punchcard at the door. Otherwise, it's $5 a head.

Should be a fun night! See you there!

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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.

Melker is hitting .247 (20-81) in 22 games, with a homer and six RBIs. He's presently on the inactive list and hasn't played since Dec. 15. Bell is hitting .276 (35-127), with three homers and 22 RBIs in 32 games. Baron is 0-0 with a 6.97 ERA and eight strikeouts in 10.1 innings in 10 appearances, all in relief.

The Heat are 17-15 and are in third place, 4.5 games behind the Canberra Cavalry in the ABL pennant race. Sydney is in second place.

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Former Knights pitching coach Andrew Checketts (2000), now the head coach at UC Santa Barbara, one of our partner schools, was named to Baseball America's "Top 10 College Head Coaches Under 40" list, which was released on Thursday morning (see what we miss when we skip a day?).

Congrats to Andrew! Here are the details, from the UCSB website.

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


More local flavor for the Knights

January 2, 2013

We are back, after a long day of watching football on Tuesday while celebrating the New Year's holiday, and after some vacation and an extended holiday break.

So now we're rested and ready for the home stretch leading up to Year VII (7) in Corvallis. According to the brand-new 2013 calendar I hung up on the office wall this morning, it's just 153 more days until our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos on Science & Art Day II at Goss Stadium.

And remember, we've got lots going on in Knights Nation before the opener. Coming up next is Hot Stove Night II, set for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Corvallis Country Club. It will feature catcher Chris Stewart and scout Mike Thurman of the New York Yankees.

It's free for season-ticket holders and host families, only $5 for everyone else, and free with the purchase of a 10-game punch card or season ticket at the event. Reservations are available by e-mailing brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com.

See you there!

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Now, for that local connection we heralded in the headline.

The Knights have signed Scott Stone, a junior third baseman and first baseman at Central Washington University, to a 10-day contract. He starred at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis from 2009-10, and his parents (Jane and Bill) are a Knights' host family.

Scott played at Mt. Hood CC in Gresham the past two years. He hit .243 (18-74) with 15 RBIs in 37 games in 2012, and .250 (13-52) with a homer and five RBIs in 27 games in 2011. He's a 6-foot-5, 205-pound first baseman who bats and throws right-handed.

Scott was a Mid-Willamette Conference all-star and a 2010 first-team 5A all-state selection at CV. He also played in the 2010 Oregon All-Star Series.

Welcome to the club!

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

COWLITZ: The 2012 Black Bears were ranked as the No. 6 sports story in the Kelso-Longview area by The Daily News newspaper of Longview. Here are the details from the paper.

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed New Mexico outfielder Austin O'Such. He played at Yavapai CC in Prescott, Ariz., and also played for the Blue Jackets in 2011.

MEDFORD: The addition of the expansion Medford Rogues to the WCL was rated as the No. 10 sports story in Southern Oregon by the Medford Mail and Tribune newspaper. Here are the details.


So long, 2012!

December 31, 2012

It's time to say goodbye to 2012, which was a great year for the Corvallis Knights.

We won the West Division regular-season and playoff championships, came within one win of repeating as West Coast League champions, had the MVP of the WCL All-Star Game (Connor Hofmann), and drew nearly 42,000 fans, despite having terrible weather in June and not having a premier attraction like the WCL All-Star Game.

So, thanks to our fans, our players and our coaches, our interns and our staff!

And, with the end of the calendar year we're just 155 days away from our June 4 opener against the Portland Lobos at Goss Stadium. It will be here before you know it, so get your season tickets, punch cards and merchandise now!

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Speaking of the upcoming 2013 season, our schedule and player roster are now up on corvallisknights.com. Check them out!

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Remember, Hot Stove Night II, featuring catcher Chris Stewart and scout Mike Thurman of the New York Yankees, is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Corvallis Country Club. Space is limited; make your reservations by e-mailing Knights' director of public relations Brooks Hatch at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com

Admission is free for Host Families and season-ticket holders, and $5 for everyone else. Admission is also free if you buy a punch card or season tickets at the gate. See you there!

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Here'a an update from the Summer Ball on former Kelowna/Bend standout Royce Bolinger, now in the Texas organization.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KELOWNA: Four former Falcons have been named first-team All-Canadian for the 2012 college season by the Canadian Baseball Network (CBN). Here are the details from the team's website

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed UC Irvine infielder Kris Paulino and right-handed pitcher Josh Bornstein for the 2013 season. Paulino also played for the Sweets in 2012. Here are the details from the team's website.

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That's all for today. Have a happy, safe New Year's Eve and New Year's Day and we will see you on Wednesday!


A great way to end the week

December 21, 2012

We are back, after a day up in Portland as your Knights brain trust attended to some company business and then had its annual Board of Directors meeting at the Rose Garden, prior to the Trail Blazers-Denver Nuggets game.

It was great re-connecting with the guys who formed our franchise more than 20 years ago, and with some great players from our past.

I'm probably forgetting someone here, so please forgive any oversights, but among the honored guests at the meeting/party were former player/team co-founder Joe Segel;; ex-coaches Matt Dorey, Randy Rutschman and Gabe Sandy, and players Joe Gerber, Eric Gunderson, Brett Smith, Don Nichols, Doug Nichols and Jeff Moore, among others. Unfortunately one of my personal favorites, ex-Beavers/Knights star pitcher Jeff Post, had a prior engagement and couldn't attend.

Those guys were the heart and soul of the club back in the 1990s and early 2000s, when we were known as the Aloha Knights, before the 2005 formation of the West Coast League and the 2007 move to Corvallis from Mt. Hood CC.

New Victoria HarbourCats general manager Holly Jones, a former Knights' intern, was also on hand. A good time was had by all.

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We've got some great news to report today. Former Knights' pitchers Jimmie Sherfy of Oregon and Ben Wetzler of Oregon State, bullpen mainstays on our 2011 West Coast League championship team, were named preseason All-Americans on Friday by Louisville Slugger.

Both are juniors at their respective schools. A right-handed closer, Sherfy was a first-team selection. A left-handed starter, Wetzler was a third-team choice.

The Louisville Slugger preseason All-American team was selected by the Collegiate Baseball newspaper, features a who's who of NCAA Division I baseball players.

So, congrats to Jimmie and Ben, who helped us field one of the greatest bullpens in WCL history in 2011.

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Former Knights slugger Mark Samuelson (2006-07) of UC Riverside, a first baseman, has re-signed with the Washington Wild Things in the independent Frontier League for the 2013 season. He played for the now-defunct London Rippers and the Wild Things in 2012.

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We've gotten great coverage from the Corvallis Gazette-Times over the years. Here's some recent Knights news from reporter Brad Fuqua's blog.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

MEDFORD: The expansion Rogues have signed 2012 WCL All-Star third baseman of Nevada and first baseman/outfielder Billy Hansen of Regis (Colo.) University for the 2013 season. Byler, a sophomore, starred for the Klamath Falls Gems in 2012 and was named a West Division All-Star. Hansen, a freshman, is a native of Ashland and signed a 10-day contract. Here are all the details from the Our Sports Central website.

And here's more on the signings from the hometown Medford Mail-Tribune newspaper.

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