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Knights Daily Update

Knights hire three more interns

February 28, 2012

Welcome back to the Blog, on a rainy Tuesday morning at the WWHQ. Unlike Philadelphia, it's not always sunny in Corvallis.

We've got lots of news from the Knights and from around the West Coast League to report, so let's get after it.

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The Knights have named Amanda Schulberg, Elyssa Ansberry and Allie Spathas of the Oregon State University College of Business as interns for the 2012 season.

A sophomore, Schulberg is a native of Henderson, Nev., majoring in business and sports psychology. Ansberry is a junior from Lake Oswego who is majoring in biology, with a minor in business and chemistry. Spathas is a junior from Portland majoring in business entrepreneurship and marketing.

They will join Carli Sash, a junior from Jacksonville, Ore., majoring in Business Information Systems and Business Administration, with an international option, and Caitlynn Phillips, a sophomore Merchandising Management/Business and Entrepreneurship major who grew up in the Marshall Islands before moving to Dallas, Ore., as 2012 interns.

These five women will comprise the second class of OSU College of Business students to intern with the Knights. The team and the COB began its partnership in 2011, when five COB students worked for the team throughout the winter and spring terms and in the summer.

For more information on our new interns, please click here.

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Former Knights pitcher Brian Ranta (2011), a senior at George Fox, was named the Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday. Ranta battled All-American Brian Rauh of No. 2 Chapman in a game the Bruins 3-2 in 12 innings. Ranta went 10 innings, scattered six hits and had four strikeouts. He wasn't involved in the decision.

Two other 2012 Knights 10-day signees were nominated: Freshman Chris Bishop of Pacific Lutheran, and junior Rob Dittrick of Pacific University.

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Former Knights pitcher Matt Boyd was nominated for Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week, but did not win. Ex-Bellingham outfielder Jeff Gelalich of UCLA was the Player of the Week.

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Several of our players were in action on Monday, and here's how they fared:

* Washington State outfielder Nate Blackham was a combined 3-for-7, with a run and two RBIs, as the Cougars swept Nebraska-Omaha in Pullman.

* PLU outfielder Jacob Hoffman was 0-for-2 in the Lutes' 3-2, 12-inning loss at St. Martin's.

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In our roundup of top performers from this past weekend, we overlooked Redlands pitcher Kyle Hart, a standout on our 2011 club who is returning this summer. Kyle blanked Claremont-Mudd-Scrip 3-0 this past Friday with a complete-game three-hitter. He had eight strikeouts.

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We updated the statistics of our Division I players on Monday. Today, here's an update on how our Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college players are faring:

PACIFIC LUTHERAN: Outfielder Jacob Hoffman is hitting .278 (5-18) in seven games, with three RBIs. Utility Chris Bishop is 0-for-7 as a hitter, but is 1-0, 1.02 in three games as a pitcher, with 17 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.

REDLANDS: Pitcher Kyle Hart is 2-1, 3.00 in four games, with 18 strikeouts in 21 innings. Pitcher Mike Massari is 0-2, 5.62 in six games, with nine strikeouts in eight innings.

GEORGE FOX: Pitcher Alex Keenan is 2-1, 2.45 in four games, with five strikeouts in 7.1 innings.

GRAND CANYON: Pitcher Jorge Perez is 0-2, 3.48 in three games, with 11 strikeouts in 10.1 innings.

WESTERN OREGON: Outfielder Matt Nylen is hitting .288 (15-52) in 14 games, with no homers and nine RBIs.

LINFIELD: Pitcher Zach Manley is 1-0, 4.70 in 7.2 innings in two games, with eight strikeouts.

PACIFIC: Pitcher Rob Dittrick is 1-1, 4.85 in three games, with nine strikeouts in 13 innings.

CORBAN: Infielder Marc Gallegos is hitting .488 (21-43) in 10 games, with seven RBIs.

CONCORDIA: Pitcher Eric Weir is 0-1, 7.71 in three games, with 10 strikeouts in 14 innings.

RIVERSIDE CC: Outfielder Cade Gotta is hitting .243 (9-37) in 12 games, with a homer and seven RBIs.

COLLEGE OF THE SISKYOUS: Infielder Caylen Clardy is hitting .297 (11-37) in 10 games, with no homers and five RBIs.

MT. HOOD: The Saints and pitcher Kendall Motes, catcher Dane Lund, infielder Alex Foulon and outfielder Tristan Metcalf start their season on Saturday.

LINN-BENTON: The Roadrunners and infielder Austin Hamilton start their season on Saturday.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have signed two players from the University of Oregon: Freshman RHP Henry Gigeous, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Algonquin, Ill., and sophomore second baseman Aaron Payne, a 5-11, 175-pounder from San Clemente, Calif.

WALLA WALLA: Here is the latest installment of 10 Things to Know About Sweets Baseball, a regular feature on the Sweets' website.

WENATCHEE: The AppleSoxhave signed junior Aaron West and sophomore Tyler Kane, two right-handed pitchers from the University of Washington, for the upcoming season. Further details are available right here.

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And Knights alum Tommy Hanson has recovered from a slight concussion suffered in a recent car accident and had an excellent throwing session with the Atlanta Braves in spring training on Tuesday.

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That's all for today. We'll have more Knights' news on Thursday.


Happy Friday; Schultz signs with La Crosse

February 24, 2012

Finally, it's Friday.

And now it's only 98 more days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla, and just 102 more until Home Open VI, June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems at Goss Stadium. When we return on Monday, both countdowns will be in double-digits. We're getting closer!

We'll have a special announcement on some attractive ticket packages next week, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here's a few news items to tide you over for the weekend.

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A late update: Former Knights pitcher Scott Schultz, (2011) now a sophomore at Oregon State, has signed with the La Crosse (WI) Loggers of the Northwoods League for the 2012 summer season.

Scott was 4-3 with a 3.54 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 28 innings for us last summer and helped us win the West Coast League championship. Here's a link from the Summer Ball website.

Best of luck to Scott, who is landing in a good place. La Crosse is a great city with a long history of organized and summer collegiate baseball.

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As we noted earlier this week, the Knights could have seven alums in the major leagues this season (Tommy Hanson, Bud Norris, Chris Stewart, Marc Rzepczynski, Brent Morel, Bobby Scales, Matt Hague), the most of any West Coast League franchise. And former Knight Mike Thurman had a long MLB career with several teams before becoming a scout for the Yankees.

So who else from the WCL is/was major-league material? Here's a rundown, compiled by El Presidente, Knights' president/ WCL co-founder/WCL historian Dan Segel, with each player's current/last MLB club in parethesis:

WENATCHEE: Tommy Milone (Oakland); Clay Mortensen (Boston); Cole Gillespie (Arizona); Jason Hammel (Baltimore).

BEND: Eric Sogard (Oakland); Jacoby Ellsbury (Boston); Brian Barden (St. Louis).

KELOWNA: Chris Davis (Baltimore); Mark Todd (St. Louis); Nyjer Morgan (Milwaukee).

BELLINGHAM: Eddie Kunz (N.Y. Mets); Ty Taubenheim (Pittsburgh); Anthony Claggett (Pittsburgh); Jeff Francis (Kansas City); Kevin Richardson (Texas).

There are also numerous players on MLB 40-man rosters in addition to Hague, a precursor to making the majors: Stephen Fife (Bellingham, L.A. Dodgers); Tyler Graham (Bend, San Francisco); Duke Welker (Bend, Pittsburgh); Evan Reed Bend, Miami), and Jeremy Hefner (Spokane, N.Y. Mets).

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More former/current/future Knights were in action on Thursday as several of our partner schools got their weekend series/tournaments started a day early. Here's a roundup:

* Ben Wetzler (2011) got the win,Taylor Starr (2008) the hold and Matt Boyd (2010) the save in Oregon State's 10-7 win over Pacific. Danny Hayes (2010) was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI and Jake Rodriguez (2010) was 1-for-4.

* Outfielder Connor Hofmann (2011, 2012) had a homer, two hits and two RBIs for Oregon in a 13-4 win over Belmont.

* Outfielder Cade Gotta (2011, 2012) tripled, scored four times and walked three times in Riverside CC's 18-13 win ovcer Sacramento City College.

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Great story on Knights' veteran pitcher Chris Mendoza (2010-12) on the Santa Clara website. He's off to a great start this year, with a save and a 0.00 ERA in two innings over two appearances.

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Former Knight Thomas McCarthy (2010) of the University of Kentucky is one of 30 nominees nationwide for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award focuses on the total student-athlete experience and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

Lowe's will announce the winner during the 2012 NCAA College World Series, June 15-26 in Omaha. Here's a link to Kentucky's announcement of McCarthy's nomination.

The 30 candidates will be narrowed to the 10 finalists who will be placed on the final ballot midway through the regular season. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.

Congrats to Thomas!

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Finally, former Knights intern Leslie Mak of Oregon State earned the Pacific-12 Conference's Special Performance of the Week honors for her 9.950 beam routine in a triangular at OSU last Friday. Here's a link to the story and a video of the routine.

Congrats, Leslie!


Chase Johnson excels as Cal Poly closer

February 23, 2012

Hey, what a beautiful day in Corvegas! The sun's out; let's play two!

We've reached another milestone in the countdown: Double figures. It's only 99 days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla, and a mere 103 until Home Opener VI, set for June 5 at Goss Stadium against the Klamath Falls Gems.

In the meantime, here's some more news items to cure your Knights' jones:

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Cal Poly sophomore right-handed pitcher Chase Johnson had a great summer for us in 2011 and played a major role in our successful run to the West Coast League championship.

Apparently the Fallbrook, Calif., native is picking up right where he left off. He was dominating this past weekend as the Mustangs opened the season by sweeping Oklahoma State in SLOtown.

Case finished off two of the wins against the Cowboys and had a combined five strikeouts in two innings. He had another scoreless inning against Santa Clara on Tuesday and is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and seven strikeouts in three innings over three games this spring.

That merited a writeup in the local paper. Here's the story, from the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

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Former and current Knights played a role in Seattle University's 5-1 victory over Washington on Wednesday at Husky Ballpark.

* Second baseman Trent Oleszczuk (2011) was 1-for-3 with a double and a run. Shortstop Nate Roberts (2011-12) was 0-for-4 but scored a run after being hit by a pitch.

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Former Aloha Knight (2005) and current Atlanta Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson is feeling much better after suffering a mild concussion in an automobile accident on Monday en route to spring training in Orlando.

Here are all the details from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

VICTORIA: The addition of Victoria as the WCL's 10th franchise in 2013 is moving along, as city officials have been given the green light to start lease negotiations with the club, according to The Victoria News.


Sherfy earned Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week honors

February 22, 2012

Another day, another honor for a Corvallis Knight.

Oregon sophomore right-hander Jimmie Sherfy (2011) was named the Pacific-12 Conference's Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday for performance in a 3-2 win at Hawaii on Feb. 18.

Sherfy allowed just two hits and struck out 13 while throwing 5.2 innings of scoreless relief in the victory. Here are all the details, straight from the Pac-12 website.

"The Sherf" was one of three former, current or future Knights to win a conference player of the week award this week. UC Riverside pitcher Dylan Stuart (2011-12) was the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week; Corban infielder Marc Gallegos (2012) was the Cascade Collegiate Conference Player of the Week.

And former Knight Nathan Eisenhauer (2010) of Pacific Lutheran was hominated for Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Week honors, but was not selected.

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A few updates involving former, current or future Knights from Tuesday's college baseball games:

* Portland infielder Caleb Whalen (2012) had three hits and four RBIs in an 11-4 win at Concordia. Whalen had a run-scoring double in the fifth inning and a two-run double in the seventh, and leads the Pilots with seven RBIs. Concordia's Sean Myrom (2011) was 0-for-3 with an RBI.

* UC Riverside pitcher Mitch Patito (2010-11) allowed one hit and had five strikeouts in five innings in his first college start to lead the Highlanders over San Diego State 7-1. Pitcher Antonio Gonzales (2012) added an inning of scoreless relief.

* Riverside CC outfielder Cade Gotta (2011-12) was 1-for-4 with a run in a 3-2, 11-inning win over Mt. San Antonio College.

* Lots of Knights involved in Santa Clara's 5-2 win at Cal Poly. For the Mustangs, Mitch Haniger (2010) was 0-for-2; David Armendariz (2011) was 0-for-4; Jimmy Allen (2011) was 0-for-2; Nick Torres (2012) was 1-for-4 and Chase Johnson (2011) pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. For SCU, Justin Viele (2010) was 1-for-3 with a run.

* Texas infielder Alex Silver (2012) was 0-for-1 in a 7-5 loss to Texas-Arlington.

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Former Knights Dylan Jones (2009-10) and Billy Clontz (2006, 2008-09) are tearing it up for the Morley Eagles in the West Australia Baseball League.

Jones, who also played some for the Perth Heat, the Eagles parent club, is hitting .471 in 23 games, with no homers, 18 RBIs and a league-best 16 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He's also pitched in 12 games (11 starts) and is 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 86 innings.

Clontz, who also coached for the Knights in 2010 and 2011, is a player-coach for the Eagles and is hitting .340 in 23 games, with no homers and 11 RBIs.

The Eagles season continues through March 7.

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Some news from elsewhere in the WCL:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have hired hired San Jose State graduate Justin Allegri to be their play-by-play voice for the 2012 season. Here are the details from the Bellingham website.

WALLA WALLA: Here's the latest installment of "10 Things to Know About Sweets Baseball," a regular feature of the Sweets' website.

WENATCHEE: The AppleSox have signed infielder Taylor Sparks, outfielder Jeff Stephens, and right-handed pitchers Sam Moore and Kyle Davis of UC Irvine for the upcoming season. Here are the details from Our Sports Central.


Segel elected VP; Hanson OK; Gallegos honored

February 21, 2012

Lots more Corvallis Knights news today as the countdown to the 2012 season drops to 101: It's just 101 more days until we start the defense of our West Coast League championship with a June 1 game at Walla Walla, who we swept last August in the WCL Championship Series.

And that means it's just 105 more days until Opening Night VI at Goss Stadium, June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems. So get your tickets today; we'll unveil an exciting opening-night ticket offer sometime next week.

Knights' coach Brooke Knight has returned to the United States after leading the Perth Heat to their second straight Australian Baseball League championship, and will be in Corvallis tonight for some high-level organizational meetings.

We hope to talk to BK about the upcoming season, and have a report in the near future. So stay tuned.

Now, onto the news.

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Knights president Dan Segel has been elected as a West Coast League vice-president in a vote of the league's owners. He had been the secretary; congrats to El Presidente!

Eddie Poplawski of the Bellingham Bells was elected to a second term as a vice-president. Tony Bonnaci of the Cowlitz Black Bears will return as the treasurer, and Mark Nonis of the Kelowna Falcons will succeed Segel as secretary.

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One of our star alumni, current Atlanta Braves' standout pitcher Tommy Hanson, is recovering after sustaining a slight concussion in an automobile accident on Monday en route to spring training.

Hanson, who played for the Aloha Knights in 2005, was injured when his car blew a tire near the team's spring training complex at Disney World in Orlando. He will be sidelined for a few days.

Here are the complete details from ESPN.com.

The Knights already have more major-league alums than any WCL franchise and we could have seven ex-Knights in the majors this year: Hanson; Houston pitcher Bud Norris (2005); Cardinals pitcher Marc Rzepczynski (2006); White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (2006-07); Giants catcher Chris Stewart (2001); Cubs infielder Bobby Scales (1997), and Pirates first baseman Matt Hague (2005).

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The coach who clued us in on Corban College shortstop Marc Gallegos, a 10-day signee, told us the freshman from Astoria High School would make our full-time roster.

Well, that remains to be seen but he's off to a great start. Gallegos is hitting .529 (18-34) in eight games and on Monday was named the Cascade Collegiate Conference's Player of the Week.

Gallegos was 8-for-15 in four games, with at least one hit in every game, had four runs and four RBIs, and stole six bases in six attempts as the Warriors swept two doubleheaders at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

It would not be unprecedented for a 10-day signee to make the club full-time, and be a major contributor. In fact, five of the eight position players and DH who started our championship-clinching win over Walla Walla last Aug. 18 did not have full-time status, or weren't even on the roster, when the 2011 season opened.

Outfielders Kramer Scott and Matt Nylen were 10-game signees, and catcher Ryan Gorton, shortstop Trent Oleszczuk and outfielder Cade Gotta all joined us after the season had started.

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Here's how our Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college players are faring:

PACIFIC LUTHERAN: Outfielder Jacob Hoffman is hitting .265 (4-15) in four games, with three RBIs. Utility Chris Bishop is 0-for-7 as a hitter, but is 0-0, 1.54 in two games as a pitcher, with 13 strikeouts in 11.2 innings.

REDLANDS: Pitcher Kyle Hart is 1-1, 5.25 in three games, with 10 strikeouts in 12 innings. Pitcher Mike Massari is 0-1, 5.06 in four games, with eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

GEORGE FOX: Updated stats are not available but pitcher Alex Keenan pitched two scoreless innings and won Saturday's game against Concordia of Texas.

GRAND CANYON: Pitcher Jorge Perez is 0-1, 5.06 in two games, with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings.

LINFIELD: Pitcher Zach Manley is 1-0, 0.00 in 6.2 innings in his lone start, with seven strikeouts.

PACIFIC: Pitcher Rob Dittrick is 0-1, 6.72 in two games, with six strikeouts in eight innings.

CORBAN: Infielder Marc Gallegos is hitting .529 (18-34) in eight games, with seven RBIs.

CONCORDIA: Pitcher Eric Weir is 0-1, 4.50 in one game, with no strikeouts in 6.2 innings.

RIVERSIDE CC: Outfielder Cade Gotta is hitting .164 (4-24) in eight games, with a homer and five RBIs.

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That's all for today. We'll have more Knights news, and updates from around the WCL, on Wednesday.


Schwartz to broadcast Lancaster JetHawks this summer

February 20, 2012

Welcome back to the Blog after a busy weekend for our Divison I players, who opened their seasons this Friday, Saturday and Sunday all around the country.

We'll have a complete update on all of our players later in the blog, but first we have a few other items that merit your attention. Here goes.

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Former Knights broadcaster Jason Schwartz, who worked with us in 2010 after graduating from USC, will be the voice of the Lancaster (Calif.) JetHawks this season. They're Houston's franchise in the long-season Class A California League. Here are the details, from the club's website.

He'll also have a ton of other responsibilities with the team, including a weekly TV show, as he continues to move up the broadcasting ladder. Jason was the play-by-play voice of the Tri-City Dust Devils in the Northwest League last summer. He's been the voice of the USC women's basketball team the past two years and this March he'll again work for the league at the Pac-12 women's tournament.

Our 2012 broadcaster, Kevin Burke, is finishing up his final semester at Virginia Tech. He expects to arrive in Corvallis on May 25, in time to watch the Oregon State-Oregon series at Goss Stadium and in plenty of time to acclimate himself with the 2012 Knights and his new summer home.

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Knights pitcher Dylan Stuart of UC Riverside shut out BYU on Friday and on Monday was named the Big West Conference Pitcher of the Week. He threw a complete game, with seven strikeouts.

Way to go Dylan!

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Oregon State senior and 2011 Knights intern Leslie Mak was profiled last week in this story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. She then had a standout meet against UCLA and California on Friday night that will position her for potential Pacific-12 Conference honors; stay tuned to the Blog this week for updates.

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Finally, we'll have some news on several exciting ticket plans for the 2012 season early next week. They'll make it easier, and even more affordable, for you to watch the Knights this summer.

I know summer seems a long ways off, but it's only 102 more days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla, and a mere 106 until our June 5 home opener against the Klamath Falls Gems.

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Now, it's time for our version of Weekend Update, in which we update the stats on all of our 2012 Knights. We're doing things a little different this year, and listing the players by their teams instead of individually.

Today we'll list our Division I Knights; on Tuesday we'll update our Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college players.

CAL POLY: Freshman infielder Nick Torres is hitting .333 (3-9) with no homers or RBIs in three games. Frosh outfielder Alex Michaels is at 1.000 (1-1) with no homers or RBIs in one game. Freshman Bryan Granger hasn't pitched yet.

OREGON STATE: Freshman pitcher Carlos Rodriguez is 0-0, 0.00 in two games, with one strikeout in one inning. Freshman pitchers Mitchell Tripp and Michael McCall, and freshman catcher Nate Esposito haven't played yet.

OREGON: Sophomore outfielder Connor Hoffman is hitting .333 (1-3) with no homers and two RBIs in one game.

SANTA CLARA: Junior pitcher Chris Mendoza is 0-0, 0.00 with a save and a strikeout in two innings in two games.

SEATTLE: Junior infielder Nate Roberts is at .125 (1-8) with four RBIs after three games.

UC IRVINE: Freshman infielder Chris Rabago is hitless in his only at-bat. Junior Mark Trentacosta hasn't pitched yet.

UC RIVERSIDE: Pitcher Dylan Stuart is 1-0, 0.00 in one game, with seven strikeouts in nine innings. Freshman pitcher Antonio Gonzales is 0-0, 13.50, with two strikeouts in 2/3 of an inning in his lone game, and freshman Cody Dill hasn't pitched yet.

PORTLAND: Freshman infielder Caleb Whalen is hitting .333 (2-6) with a homer and three RBIs in two games. Junior pitcher Chris Johnson is 1-0, 5.06 in 5.1 innings in his lone game, with four strikeouts.

WASHINGTON STATE: Sophomore outfielder Nate Blackham is at .364 (4-11) with three RBIs in three games.

TEXAS: Sophomore infielder Alex Silver and sophomore pitchers Trevor Tykel and Justin Peters have not played yet.

UC SANTA BARBARA: Freshman utility Greg Mahle is hitting .429 (3-7) and is 0-0, 13.50 with two strikeouts in two innings as a pitcher in two games.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE: Freshman infielder Jack Graham is hitting .273 (3-11) in three games, with two doubles.

TEXAS TECH: Junior Aaron Corwin hasn't pitched yet.

CORNELL: The Big Red and sophomore infielder Ryan Plantier don't start their season until March 1.

That's all for today. We'll update everyone else on Tuesday.


The WCL looks good for Victoria

February 17, 2012

I's must be dotted and T's must still be crossed before it's 100 percent official.

But West Coast League expansion to beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, looks like a go after the Victoria City Council directed a city official to begin lease negotiations with the owners of the prospective expansion team.

So that's very good news. Victoria is a great market and locating there expands the league's footprint throughout the Pacific Northwest. And we can't wait for our first road trip there. Welcome to the WCL!

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Knights veteran pitcher Eric Young, an effective starter/reliever for us from 2009-11, gets the baseball today as the Delaware Blue Hens open the 2012 season at the University of Houston. Here's a preview from the UD website.

Also, Young was named one of two team captains for the upcoming season. Go EY!

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Thursday was a tough day on the diamond for some former/future Knights.

* PLU's Corey Moore (2011) was 0-for-4, Jacob Hoffman (2012) was 0-for-2 and Chris Bishop (2012) was 0-for-2 in a 13-6 loss at UT-Dallas.

* Riverside CC outfielder Cade Gotta (2011-12) was 0-for-3 in a 12-4 home loss to Nevada Western JC.

* And on Tuesday, Redlands' starter Kyle Hart (2011-12) gave up a run and had a strikeout in a one-inning start against Azusa Pacific. Reliever Mike Massari, (2012) a 10-game signee, had two strikeouts in one inning but gave up the winning run in a 4-3 loss for the Bulldogs.

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Dylan Stuart is UC Riverside's opening-day starter

February 16, 2012

One of UC Riverside baseball coach Doug Smith's priorities last summer when he assigned sophomore-to-be Dylan Stuart to the Corvallis Knights was to get his talented lefty some experience as a starting pitcher.

Stuart was a situational reliever in 2011, when he was named the Big West Conference's Freshman Pitcher of the Year. He was strictly a starter with the Knights, and went 2-1 with a 1.38 ERA in nine starts. He made the West Division all-star team, started the West Coast League all-star game, and was named a second-team WCL all-star.

Mission accomplished.

On Friday, Stuart will be UCR's opening-day starter when the Highlanders host BYU in the first game of a three-game series. Former Knight Eddie Orozco, (2009-10) will pitch Friday's second game; ex-Knight Mitch Patito (2010-11) is a top reliever and outfielder David Andriese (2010-11) is one of UCR's top offensive threats.

So, best of luck to all our Highlanders this weekend, when almost every former, current or future Knight on a Division I program begins his season.

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Knights 10-day signee Rob Dittrick of Pacific University was the Boxers' opening-day starter at Hawaii-Hilo on Wednesday. He allowed one run on three hits in three innings, had three strikeouts, and was not involved in the decision.

Dittrick was the Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011, when he was 8-3 with a 2.26 ERA.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

WENATCHEE: The AppleSox have signed freshmen right-handed pitcher Zach Abbruzza; right-handed pitcher Kevin Moriarty; left-handed pitcher Derek Callahan, and infielder Mitchell Gunsolus of Gonzaga and high school seniors Taylor Jones, a right-handed pitcher from Kentwood High in Covington, Wash., and Cabe Reiten, an infielder from Olympia High, for the 2012 season.

Here are the complete details from the AppleSox, via Our Sports Central.


Wetzler to start OSU's season-opener

February 15, 2012

Oregon State sophomore left-hander Ben Wetzler, a West Coast League all-star for the Corvallis Knights last summer, will start on Friday in OSU's season-opener at UC Santa Barbara.

Ben was 0-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 16 regular-season, playoff and all-star game appearances for the Knights, with two saves. He allowed just one run all summer, and pitched two key innings of shutout relief in a 7-5 win over Bend in Game 2 of the West Division playoffs, an elimination game for us.

Here's a link to a season preview in today's Corvallis Gazette-Times. Best of luck to Ben, who figures to be one of the Beavers top starters this season after an impressive 6-3 freshman season.

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OSU senior Leslie Mak, a 2011 Knights intern, was named Pacific-12 Conference Gymnast of the Week on Tuesay for her performance in a triangular at UC Davis last Friday. It's the second time this year she's won the award.

Mak helped the Beavers tie their fifth-highest score in school history with a 197.400-193.875 win over the Aggies. She won the beam (9.950), floor (9.90) and vault (9.875) on the vault. Her 39.675 in the all-around is the highest score in the Pac-12 this season.

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Here's a story from the Riverside Press-Telegram newspaper on former Knights pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, a UC Riverside product who now pitches for the St. Louis Cardinals. He pitched for us in 2006, our last season at Mt. Hood Community College.

The Knights could have seven former players on opening-day MLB rosters: veterans Rzepczynski; Atlanta pitcher Tommy Hanson (2005); Houston pitcher Bud Norris (2005); Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel (2006-07); San Francisco catcher Chris Stewart (2001); infielder Bobby Scales (1997), who has rejoined the Chicago Cubs organization after a season in Japan, and first baseman Matt Hague (2005), who was promoted to Pittsburgh's 40-man roster in the offseason after a solid 2011 season with triple-A Indianapolis.

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Pacific University pitcher Rob Dittrick, a Knights' 10-day signee and the 2011 Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year, is the Tigers projected opening-day starter today at Hawaii-Hilo. Here's a preview from the Pacific website.


Kraus named to WCC preseason all-star team

February 14, 2012

Welcome back to the blog, and happy Valentine's Day to all Corvallis Knights fans.

The sun's out in downtown Corvallis this morning and we're stoked to announce the countown to our season opener at Klamath Falls is nearing double digits. We're down to 108 days until our June 1 opener at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla against the Sweets, and only 112 days until our June 5 home opener against the Klamath Falls Gems at Goss Stadium.

So, it's getting closer by the day. Remember, season tickets and 10-game punchcards are available at the office, and online by clicking here. We've also got lots of team merchandise down at the WWHQ in the Knights offices, in the Madison Plaza building.

Now, on to today's news.

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Former Knights pitcher Kyle Kraus (2009-10), a senior at the University of Portland, was named a preseason West Coast Conference all-star by the league's coaches. A WCL all-star for us both years, Kraus was 6-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 14 starts for the Pilots in 2011.

Kraus was named a third-team preseason All-American earlier this year. He pitched for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the Cape Cod League last summer and was 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 games.

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Knights coach Brooke Knight, who on Sunday directed the Perth Heat to their second straight Australian Baseball League championship, tells the Australian Wide World of Sports website that he's not sure if he'll return for his third season.

We know for sure, though, that Brooke will be back for his fifth season with the Knights, and ready to win our fifth straight West Division title and to successfully defend our WCL championship.

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Youngstown State freshman and 2012 Knight Jack Graham is the Penguins' projected starting second baseman. They open the season on Friday against Canisius in a tournament at the USA Baseball Complex in the Raleigh suburb of Cary, N.C.

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Some news from around the WCL:

COWLITZ: The Black Bears have signed sophomores Andy Peterson and Kyle Kuck of Santa Ana College, Peter Summerville of Santa Clara, and Brian Frattali of Portland for the 2012 season. Summerville is a catcher; the other three players are infielders.

Complete details on the signings can be found here, on Our Sports Central, a great site for West Coast League news.

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have added Jeff Lyle of Lane Community College as their 2012 pitching coach. They've also signed shortstop Jake Whistler of Western Oregon and corner infielder Steven Fisher of UC Santa Barbara.

Whistler played one game for the Knights in 2011 as an emergency fill-in and went 1-for-3 against the Gems in our opening home series. Lyle will join ex-Knights Josh Hogan (head coach) and Billy Clontz (assistant coach) on the Gems staff. For more info on the signings, click here.