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Knights Daily Update

Altobelli named the Johnny Bench Award watch list

March 8, 2012

Some good news this morning via Lubbock, Texas, the home of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Junior catcher and former Corvallis Knight Bo Altobelli is one of 43 players from around the country to be listed on the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award for the second season in a row.

He is one of 11 players to be named to the Bench Award Watch List for the second consecutive season. He's hitting .306 (15-49) this season, with seven runs, one home run, six RBIs and three steals in three attempts.

The award honors players who serve as their team's starting catcher in at least 75 percent of the games. Semifinalists will be announced on May 16, finalists on June 4. The winner will be announced on June 28 in ceremonies at Wichita, Kan.

So, congrats to Bo!

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The always-anticipated countdown hits 85 today: It's a mere 85 more days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla against the Sweets. And that means, just 89 more days until Opening Night VI, June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems.

I know it seems like a long ways away, but it's not. And with the Beavers opening their home season on Friday night against West Virginia, it seems closer than ever. So make sure you order your season tickets and three-game mini-packs, either online or at the Knights WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvegas.

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Pretty slim day on Wednesday in the world of college baseball. Only one of our feeder schools was in action.

* Ex-Knights shortstop Trent Oleszczuk (2011) was 1-for-4 for Seattle U in a 1-0 victory over St. Joseph's. Teammate Nate Roberts (2011-12) did not play.

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Here's a story from The Daily Herald, a suburban Chicago newspaper, on former Knights star Brent Morel (2006-07), the starting third baseman for the Chicago White Sox and one of the stars of our January Hot Stove Night.

The ChiSox expect a big season from Morel after a strong September. He had eight homers and 19 RBIs in that month and walked 15 times in 85 at-bats after walking just seven times in his previous 328 at-bats.

"Finishing up strong definitely gives me some confidence going into this season," Morel says in the story. "Like I said, I don't think I'm going to go out there and hit 40 home runs or anything, but hitting for more power is something I think I'm capable of doing."

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Former Knight Matt Hague (2005), the "Slider Guy" on our posters, programs and other promotional material, is bidding for a big-league job with the Pittsburgh Pirates after a strong season at triple-A Indianapolis earned him a spot on their 40-man roster.

Here's a writeup on the former Washington/Oklahoma State star from the website Rum Bunter, a Pittsburgh sports website that I've never heard of.

Here's another story that mentions Hague from MLB.com, with a video of a two-run homer he hit off of Corvallis native Kevin Gregg of the Orioles two nights ago.


Big day for future Knight Nick Torres

March 7, 2012

It was a big day for 2012 Corvallis Knight Nick Torres of Cal Poly on Tuesday when the Mustangs visited Santa Clara for an unofficial Corvallis Knights reunion day at Schott Stadium.

Santa Clara won 11-6, but Torres was the star. He homered, doubled, scored twice and drove in a run to raise his average to .353. Former Knight Jimmy Allen (2011) also doubled, singled twice, scored a run and drove in another for the Mustangs to up his average to .404.

Cal Poly's David Armendariz, our 2011 MVP, was 2-for-4 with a run. Mitch Haniger (2010) was 0-for-4 and Alex Michael was 0-for-1 for the Mustangs.

Chris Mendoza (2010-12) pitched the first five innings for Santa Clara and allowed four earned runs. He was not involved in the decision. Ex-Knight Justin Viele (2010) was 2-for-3 and scored twice for the Broncos.

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Some other former or future Knights were also in action on Monday-Tuesday; here's a roundup.

* Portland's Caleb Whalen (2012) was 1-for-4 in a 5-0 win at Concordia on Tuesday. Sean Myrom (2011) was 0-for-3 for the Cavaliers.

* UC Riverside's Mitch Patito (2010-11) allowed three runs and had seven strikeouts in four innings and was the losing pitcher in a 4-0 setback at UCLA on Monday.

* Seattle infielder Trent Oleszczuk (2011) was 1-for-3 with a run in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over St. Joseph's on Tuesday. They play again today.

* DH Alex Silver (2012) of Texas was 1-for-4 on Tuesday in a 2-1, 12-inning victory over Dallas Baptist.

* Pitcher Greg Mahle of UC Santa Barbara was 1-for-1, allowed three earned runs and had four strikeouts in 5.1 innings of a 7-6 loss to Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday. He left with a 6-4 lead but was not involved in the decision.

* Outfielder Cade Gotta (2011-12) doubled twice, scored once and drove in a run on Monday in Riverside City College's 8-2 win over Fullerton JC.

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Pacific University pitcher Rob Dittrick, (2012) a 10-day signee, was named the Northwest Conferenbce Pitcher of the Week for his performance in a 7-1 victory over No. 2 Linfield this past Saturday. The junior from Mililani, Hawaii, threw Pacific's second complete game of the season and allowed just three hits over the first six innings.

He helped lead Pacific to its first series win over the Wildcats since 2001. Congrats to Rob!

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Great exposure for the Knights in the Salem Statesman-Journal this morning, with their Page 3 story on new assistant Andy Jenkins, a Salem native and graduate of South Salem High School. Most of our boosters come from the Albany-Corvallis area, but we've had some fans from Salem-Keizer at the ballpark and we always want to keep them in the loop.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

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

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That's it for today, barring some late developments. We're down to 86 more days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla; it's just 90 more days until our June 5 home opener against Klamath Falls.

So, don't forget to order season tickets, or our new 3-game mini-packs, either online or in person at our World Wide Headquarters (WWHQ) in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis.

See you on Thursday!


Knights hire Andy Jenkins as new assistant coach

March 6, 2012

We're off to co-host the Joe Beaver Show on KEJO, the flagship station of the Knights, in about an hour. The Blog will be pinch-hitting for Mike Parker, who is in Los Angeles for the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament.

But we've got a few news items to get out of the way first, starting with this headliner:

The Knights have hired former Oregon State star Andy Jenkins as our assistant coach, succeeding the Klamath Falls-bound Billy Clontz. "Jenks" will join fifth-year head coach Brooke Knight and second-year pitching coach Connor Lambert on our summer staff.

Andy played at South Salem and at Mt. Hood before heading to OSU in 2004-05. He then played in the Florida (now Miami) and Texas minor-league systems for six years until retiring in 2011. He's an undergraduate assistant at OSU this spring while finishing up his degree.

Here are all the details on our latest addition. Welcome aboard!

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A future Knight and a former Knight were nominated for Big West Conference honors this week, but were not selected.

Cal Poly freshman infielder Nick Torres (2012) hit .389 (7-18) at the SDSU Aztec Invitational, with two doubles and two RBIs, and was nominated for Player of the Week.

UC Riverside senior Eddie Orozco (2008-09) went eight innings in a 10-1 win at Sam Houston State on March 3. He allowed one run and seven hits and six strikeouts, and was nominated for Pitcher of the Week.

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We updated the statistics of our Division I players yesterday, 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 .226 (7-31) in 11 games, with two homers and five RBIs. Utility Chris Bishop is 0-for-7 as a hitter, but is 1-0, 1.99 in four games as a pitcher, with 18 strikeouts in 22.2 innings.

REDLANDS: Pitcher Kyle Hart is 2-1, 3.33 in five games, with 19 strikeouts in 27 innings. Pitcher Mike Massari is 0-2, 4.50 in eight games, with 10 strikeouts in 10 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, 4.41 in four games, with 19 strikeouts in 16.1 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 1-1, 5.84 in 13 innings in three games, with 15 strikeouts.

PACIFIC: Pitcher Rob Dittrick is 2-1, 3.27 in four games, with 14 strikeouts in 22 innings.

CORBAN: Infielder Marc Gallegos is hitting .441 (26-59) in 14 games, with seven RBIs.

CONCORDIA: Pitcher Eric Weir is 0-1, 5.73 in four games, with 15 strikeouts in 22 innings.

RIVERSIDE CC: Outfielder Cade Gotta is hitting .283 (13-46) in 15 games, with a homer and eight RBIs.

COLLEGE OF THE SISKYOUS: Infielder Caylen Clardy is hitting .289 (13-45) in 12 games, with no homers and five RBIs.

MT. HOOD: The Saints have not updated their stats; pitcher Kendall Motes, catcher Dane Lund, infielder Alex Foulon and outfielder Tristan Metcalf will play for the Knights this summer.

LINN-BENTON: The Roadrunners have not updated their stats. Infielder Austin Hamilton will play for the Knights this summer.

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Some news from around the WCL:

WENATCHEE: The AppleSox have signed four players from Pacific Lutheran and George Fox, two of the Northwest's top NCAA Division III programs. They are left-handed pitcher Trevor Lubking and outfielder Taylor Wattenberg of PLU, and infielder Derek Blankenship and catcher Josh Rapacz of George Fox. Here are all the details from the team's website.


Knights announce three-game mini-plans

March 5, 2012

Welcome back to reality - er, Monday - after a beautiful weekend in the Center of the Universe, Corvallis, Oregon, USA. If Saturday and Sunday didn't get you fired up for baseball, nothing can!

We're down to 88 days until our June 1 opener in Walla Walla against the Sweets, and down to 92 more days until Opening Day VI, set for June 5 at Goss Stadium against the Klamath Falls Gems.

And we've just made it easier and more affordable for you to purchase Knights' tickets. Starting today, we're offering three three-game mini-ticket plans so you can reserve a seat for some of our top promotional nights, and save a few bucks in the meantime.

So, check it out by clicking right here. You won't be sorry!

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The Blog will be talking some Corvallis Knights baseball (and other topics) on Tuesday, when we pinch-hit for Mike Parker and co-host the Joe Beaver Show with Jon Warren. Should be fun.

The show will air from noon until 2 p.m. on KEJO 1240 AM, our flagship station. We'll also have some important Knights news to announce that will be of interest to all our fans. So tune in; if you can't listen via radio, KEJO's streaming audio is available by clicking here.

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Former Knights' Brent Morel (2006-07) and Matt "Slider Guy" Hague (2005) signed their 2012 contracts with the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively, over the weekend.

Brent is the ChiSox starting third baseman. Hague was promoted to the Bucs' 40-man roster in the offseason and is a good bet to make the team.

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It's a Monday after another weekend of competition for our 2012 Knights, so today we'll update the stats of our incoming Division I players. On Tuesday, we'll have updated numbers on our Division II, Division III, NAIA and junior college players.

Here we go!

CAL POLY: Freshman outfielder Nick Torres is hitting .340 (16-47) with no homers and seven RBIs in 12 games. Frosh outfielder Alex Michaels is at .250 (1-4) with no homers or RBIs in two games. Freshman Bryan Granger hasn't pitched yet. The Mustangs were 2-2 at the San Diego State Aztec Invitational last weekend.

OREGON STATE: Freshman pitcher Carlos Rodriguez is 0-0, 6.75 in four games, with two strikeouts in 2.2 innings. Freshman catcher Nate Esposito is hitting .000 (0-1) in two games. Freshman pitchers and Michael McCall haven't played yet. OSU went 3-1 in a tournament in Surprise, Ariz., last Thursday-Sunday.

OREGON: Sophomore outfielder Connor Hofman is hitting .278 (5-18) with a homer and five RBIs in seven games. Oregon swept a three-game set against Long Beach State last weekend to improve to 10-1.

SANTA CLARA: Junior pitcher Chris Mendoza is 0-0, 9.00 with a save and a three strikeouts in seven innings in seven games. SCU went 2-1 against San Jose State this past weekend.

SEATTLE: Junior infielder Nate Roberts is hitting .167 (6-36) with a homer and 10 RBIs after 11 games. Seattle defeated St. Martin's on Saturday in its lone weekend game.

UC IRVINE: Freshman infielder Chris Rabago is hitting .286 (2-7) with one RBI in five games. Junior pitcher Mark Trentacosta is 0-0, 3.00 in three innings in two games, with three strikeouts. UCI went 1-2 against Washington over the weekend.

UC RIVERSIDE: Pitcher Dylan Stuart is 1-2, 4.29 in three games, with 12 strikeouts over 21 innings pitched. Freshman pitcher Antonio Gonzales is 0-0, 10.12 in four games, with three strikeouts in 2.2 innings; freshman Cody Dill hasn't pitched yet. Riverside was 1-2 at Sam Houston State over the weekend.

PORTLAND: Freshman infielder Caleb Whalen is hitting .357 (10-28) with two homers and eight RBIs in eight games. Junior pitcher Chris Johnson is 1-1, 5.73 in 11 innings over three games, with nine strikeouts. UP was 1-2 at Cal State-Bakersfield over the weekend.

WASHINGTON STATE: Sophomore outfielder Nate Blackham is hitting at .406 (13-32) clip with seven RBIs in nine games. The Cougars won two of three vs. Northern Colorado over the weekend.

TEXAS: Sophomore infielder Alex Silver is hitting .277 (3-11) in four games played, with no homers and two RBIs. Sophomore pitchers Trevor Tykel and Justin Peters have not played yet. The Longhorns lost two of three at the Houston College Classic over the weekend.

UC SANTA BARBARA: Freshman utility man Greg Mahle is hitting .414 (12-29) with no homers and seven RBIs, and is 0-0, 11.57 with two strikeouts in 2.1 innings as a pitcher, in nine games. UCSB was 1-2 against Loyola Marymount this past weekend.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE: Freshman infielder Jack Graham is hitting .212 (7-33) over nine games, with two RBIs. The Penguins lost three games at the Austin Peay tournament this past weekend.

TEXAS TECH: Junior Aaron Corwin is 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA over one inning in his lone appearance vs. Rice. Tech was 1-2 at the Houston Baseball Classic this past weekend.

CORNELL: Sophomore infielder Ryan Plantier was 1-for-2 with two RBIs in two games. Cornell swept a four-game series at Maryland-Eastern Shore this past weekend.

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That's all for today. We should have a story up on red-hot pitcher Eric Young of Delaware, a 2009-11 Knights' mainstay, later today; he has a 0.00 ERA and a 2-0 record in three starts.


Zep re-signs with world champion St. Louis Cardinals

March 2, 2012

Holy smokes, it's Friday already.

And that means there are just 91 more days until our June 1 opener against the Walla Walla Sweets at Borleske Stadium in Walla Walla. It seems like only yesterday that we crushed the Sweets 14-3 there in the first game of the WCL's Championship Series, but it was really last Aug. 16.

The countdown to Open Day VI at Goss Stadium, June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems, is now down to 95. Many of you Knights fans should be hearing from us soon, with a special opening-night offer, so don't ignore us when our telephone number pops up on your caller ID!

In the meantime, here's your daily ration of Corvallis Knights news.

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Former Knight Marc Rzepczynski (2006) has re-signed with the world-champion St. Louis Cardinals. A left-handed situational reliever, "Zep" was a key member of the team down the stretch after being acquired from Toronto just before the trade deadline.

His success with the Cardinals (0.00 ERA in four World Series appearances) has made him a more confident pitcher, according to this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

Now 25, Zep's entering his fourth big-league season. He's 8-14 lifetime, with a 3.99 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 187 career innings in 96 appearances with Toronto and the Cardinals.

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Here's an interesting tidbit on ex-Knight Brent Morel (2006-07), the Chicago White Sox third baseman who was one of the stars at our Hot Stove Night back in January.

According to baseball analyst Lewie Pollis of Beyond the Box Score, Morel is a possibility to become the next Jose Bautista, the Toronto Blue Jays' slugger who has emerged from obscurity to hit 97 homers in the past two seasons.

Pollis' entire story can be found here. And here's more analysis on the piece from analyst Jonah Keri of the Internet website Grantland.

It's an interesting projection. Morel was awful for the first five months of the season, hitting a meager .250/.271/.317 on August 31. Then he turned into a three-true-outcomes machine, hitting .224/.340/.553 in September, with eight homers, 15 walks, and 18 strikeouts over 103 plate appearances.

One theory has Morel showing a better batting eye, which led to better pitches to hit, and thus his home run barrage. Maybe. Then again, Morel slugged .464 in 1,300-plus plate appearances as a minor leaguer. And while a streak of Zobrist-Bautista-Morse is pretty damn impressive, it's still a small sample.

More broadly, despite frequent speculation in baseball circles that second-half performance can portend a breakout the next year, we've yet to see a conclusive study on the issue. And then there's this: home run-to-flyball rate can depend on multiple factors beyond a hitter's control, from random statistical variance to the quality of an opposing pitcher.

Here are the pitchers who surrendered homers to Morel last September: Brad Penny, David Huff, Frank Herrmann, Rick Porcello, David Pauley, Tim Collins, Chad Durbin, and Everett Teaford. In other words, Morel's homer binge may well be the result of luck and a string of cream-puff pitchers.

But if the prophecy comes true and Morel does become the next Jose Bautista ... well, that's about as best-case as a best-case scenario could possibly be. (The White Sox still won't win anything, even if that happens.)

So, stay tuned.

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Several former, current or future Knights were in action for their respective college teams on Thursday. Here's a roundup:

* Pitcher Ben Wetzler (2011) allowed three runs and had four strikeouts in 5.2 innings and got a no-decision in a 5-4 loss to St. Mary's. Danny Hayes (2010) was 0-for-3 with a run; Jake Rodriguez (2010) was 0-for-1, and Ryan Gorton (2011) was 1-for-2.

* Cal Poly's David Armendariz (2011) and Mitch Haniger (2010) were 0-for-3 and Jimmy Allen (2011) was 0-for-3 in a 4-3 loss to San Diego State. Nick Torres (2012) was 2-for-4 with two runs and Chase Johnson (2011) gave up one run in one inning and took the loss.

* Riverside CC's Cade Gotta (2011-12) was 1-for-4 with a run in a 4-3 win over Santa Ana College.

* Grand Canyon's Jorge Perez (2012) allowed four runs in six innings, had eight strikeouts and got a no-decisoon in a 5-4 loss at Hawaii-Hilo.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: Former Elks outfielder Justin Maffei (2011) of the University of San Francisco is having a big spring with the Dons, according to this story in the San Mateo Daily Journal. Maffei played at the College of San Mateo the past two years.

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


More top talent headed for WCL this summer

March 1, 2012

Those of us associated with the Corvallis Knights and the West Coast League take great pride in the caliber of play our league provides. We're not the Cape Cod League, the gold standard in our field, but we're certainly one of the top three or four college summer baseball leagues.

A total of 130 former WCL players were in affiliated baseball last season, according to this report compiled by the WCL. Five former Knights played in the majors and many played affiliated baseball in the minors.

More top talent is one the way this summer. Nine of Baseball America magazine's Top 100 high school players eligible for the 2012 Major League draft are slated to play in the WCL this summer. All are likely to be drafted in June; all have committed to college programs, and must decide by mid-July if they will turn pro or attend school.

Cowlitz has four of the nine, led by catcher Clint Coulter, (30) an Arizona State signee from Camas, Wash.

Other top players headed for Cowlitz are Cole Irwin, (70), a left-handed pitcher from Yorba Linda, Calif. (Oregon); right-handed pitcher Felipe Perez (72) of Fullerton, Calif. (UCLA), and outfielder Andrew Pullin (80) of Centralia,Wash. (Oregon).

Three Top-100 players will join the Wenatchee AppleSox. They are shortstop Tanner Rahier (29) of Indian Wells, Calif. (San Diego); outfielder Ty Moore (85) of Mission Viejo, Calif. (UCLA), and right-handed pitcher Taylor Jones (94) of Kent, Wash. (Gonzaga).

Left-handed pitcher Hunter Virant (21) of Camarillo, Calif., (UCLA) will play at Walla Walla.

And the Knights have signed shortstop/pitcher Carson Kelly (28) of Westview High School (Oregon).

There's no guarantee they won't all turn pro. But if they don't, once again there will be plenty of young talent in the league this summer.

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Speaking of top talent and the Knights, former Knights Tyler Anderson (2009), Andrew Susac (2009) and Josh Osich (2008) are listed in MLB.com's rankings of the top 20 prospects in the respective major-league organizations.

A left-handed pitcher from Oregon who was the first former Corvallis Knight to be drafted in the first round (2011), Anderson is ranked No. 5 in the Colorado organization.

Susac and Osich played at Oregon State and were drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2011, Susac in the second round, Osich in the sixth. Susac is ranked 15th, while Osich is ranked 19th.

The aforementioned Carson Kelly is ranked No. 44 among all draft-eligible players.

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Former Knights pitchers Ben Wetzler (2011), Matt Boyd (2010), Taylor Starr (2008) and Jace Fry (2011) merit a mention in this story about Oregon State pitchers in the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

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Not much action on Wednesday involving 2012 Knights. The only games involving our current players were the two Seattle took from Nebraska-Omaha, 3-2 and 8-3.

Infielder Nate Roberts (2011-12) hit a two-run homer in the opener but was a combined 1-for-8 on the day. Infielder Trent Oleszczuk (2011) had a double, single and two RBIs in the nightcap and was a combined 2-for-6 with a run and two RBIs.


EY is the Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week

February 29, 2012

We've got some great news to start off with on an otherwise dreary and cold day in the center of the universe, the Corvallis Knights' WWHQ in beautiful downtown Corvegas.

One of our favorite all-time Knights, Riverside CC/Delaware pitcher Eric Young, was named the Colonial Athletic Association's Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday for his outstanding performance against The Citadel this past Friday. Young blanked the Bulldogs on two hits through eight innings and got the victory in a 5-0 win.

Young still hasn't allowed a run in 15 innings over two starts this season. On opening day, he blanked Houston for seven innings and left with a 5-0 lead; however, the bullpen blew that advantage and he got a no-decision.

Here are all the details on the award, from the Delaware website. Way to go, EY!

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Lots of former, current and future Knights were in action for their respective college teams on Tuesday. Here's a rundown:

* Outfielder Cade Gotta (2011-12) of Riverside CC was 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI for Riverside CC in a 9-4 loss to Mt. San Antonio College.

* Infielder Nate Roberts (2011-12) of Seattle was 3-for-4 with an RBI in Seattle U's 3-2 loss to Nebraska-Omaha. Infielder Trent Oleszczuk (2011) was 0-for-3 with an RBI for Seattle.

* Santa Clara infielder Justin Viele (2010) scored two runs in an 8-4 win over Nevada.

* A ton of Knights helped UC Irvine to a 3-2 win over Japan Railroad, a touring team from that country's industrial league. Nick Hoover (2009-11) pitched the final 2/3 innings and got the win; Mark Trentacosta (2011-12) had two scoreless innings, with three strikeouts; Evan Brock (2010) pitched a scoreless inning; Sebastian Santos (2011) allowed a run in 2.3 innings, and infielder Chris Rabago (2012) was 0-for-3.

* UC Riverside pitcher Mitch Patito (2010-11) allowed three runs in four innings and had six strikeouts in an 8-5 loss to San Diego, but wasn't involved in the decision.

* Texas infielder Alex Silver (2012) was 1-for-3 with a run scored in a 2-0 win over Houston Baptist.

* UC Santa Barbara DH Greg Mahle (2012) was 4-for-5 with a double, a run and three RBIs in a 7-1 win at Fresno State.

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Great story in the San Francisco Chronicle on former Knights catcher Chris Stewart, (2001) who is competing for the backup job with the San Francisco Giants.

Best of luck to Stewart, who last year helped us out with this interesting Q & A for the Knights website.

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And Knights alum Tommy Hanson (2005) 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.


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.