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Knights Daily Update

Happy Friday, everybody

December 2, 2011

Happy Friday, everyone!

It's a pretty quiet day down here at the WWHQ in sunny, chilly downtown Corvallis. We have no transactions to announce (although we will have one with some local interest, probably early next week) and no other earth-shattering news.

So, we'll take this opportunity to update the 2012 roster for you after a spate of recent signings. Now remember, this is tentative, because quite often players can't make it to Corvallis as expected for one reason or another, but as of today here's how we will roll next summer (* = 10-day signee):

PITCHERS: Chris Bishop * (PLU); Bryan Granger (Cal Poly); Greg Mahle (UCSB); Zach Manley (Linfield); Mitchell Tripp (Oregon State); Jorge Perez (Grand Canyon); Max Beatty (PLU); Chris Johnson (Portland); Kyle Hart (Redlands); Dylan Stuart (UC Riverside); Cole Wiper (Oregon); Michael McCall (Oregon State); Justin Fischer (UCSB); Justin Peters (Texas); Trevor Teykl (Texas); Mark Trentacosta (UC Irvine); Chris Mendoza (Santa Clara); Cody Dill (UC Riverside); Mike Massari * (Redlands).

CATCHERS: Nate Esposito (Oregon State); Dane Lund (Mt. Hood); Austin Barr (Stanford commit).

INFIELDERS: Austin Hamilton * (LBCC); Chris Rabago (UC Irvine); Caleb Whalen (Portland); Jack Graham (Youngstown State); Nate Roberts (Seattle); Nick Torres (Cal Poly); Alex Foulon (Mt. Hood); Alex Silver (Texas); Zach Green (Oregon State signee); Ryan Plantier * (Cornell).

OUTFIELDERS: Caylen Clardy * (College of the Siskyous); Jacob Hoffman (PLU); Nate Blackham (Washington State); Connor Hofmann (Oregon); Matt Nylen (Western Oregon); Cade Gotta (Riverside CC); Alex Michaels (Cal Poly).

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed UCLA infielder Shane Zeile and Utah catcher Parker Morin for the 2012 season. Here are the details from the Sweets' website.


Future Beaver Green to play for Knights

December 1, 2011

Future Oregon State infielder Zach Green of Jesuit High School in Sacramento will play for the Knights in 2012.

The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Green signed with the Beavers in November. He hit. 438, with seven homers and 33 RBIs and made numerous all-star, all-city and all-region teams as a junior at Jesuit, the alma mater of former Knights Andrew Susac and Danny Hayes.

He hit .421, with four homers and 30 RBIs, as a sophomore and also played for the 2010 USA Baseball U-16 National Team. Green will be the third future Beaver to play with the Knights before his freshman year, joining Susac (2009) and Jake Rodriguez (2010).

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Former Knights pitcher Matt Andriese (2009) of UC Riverside, now in the San Diego Padres' organization, was recently rated as the No. 6 pro prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America magazine.

Numerous other former Knights in their first year of professional baseball earned high rankings in their respective organizations. Their accomplishments are also detailed in tha linked story.


Ryan Plantier signed to 10-day contract

November 30, 2011

Another new day, another new player.

The Knights have signed Ryan Plantier, a sophomore first baseman at Cornell, to a 10-day contract for the 2012 season.

Plantier is a 6-foot, 205-pound right-handed hitter from Pinnacle High School in Poway, Calif. He hit .194 as a freshman in 2011, with two triples, a homer and seven RBIs in 18 games. He is the first Corvallis Knight from an Ivy League school.

And if the name sounds familiar, it should. Ryan's dad is Phil Plantier, a former major-league outfielder (1990-97) with the Boston Red Sox and four other teams. Phil is now the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres after managing the Padres' Lake Elsinore franchise in the Class A California League this past season.

Ryan is the second projected 2012 Knight with major-league family ties. Infielder Jack Graham of Youngstown State is the son of former UCLA star Brian Graham, who is now the director of minor-league instruction for the Baltimore Orioles.

The elder Graham has also managed in the Cleveland farm system, coached with Cleveland and Baltimore, and worked in Pittsburgh's front office.

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Speaking of Knights with MLB connections, former Knights' catcher Ned Yost IV (2002) was named a coach for the Brevard County Brewers in the Florida State League. He's the son of Kansas City Royals' manager Ned Yost, who also managed the Brewers at one time.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have signed left-handed pitcher Jacob Coats of tyhe University of Washington and outfielder Derek Atkinson of Clackamas Community College for the 2012 season, according to this story in the Bellingham Herald newspaper. Both played for the Bells in 2012.

Here's a more detailed story from Bellingham's website.

COWLITZ: The Black Bears have signed catcher Clint Coulter, a Camas Union High School senior who is an Arizona State signee, and returning pitchers Kody Watts of the University of Portland and Ian Ekery of Central Arizona College.

Here are the complete details from the Cowlitz website.


Knights sign Boston draftee Cody Dill

November 29, 2011

The Knights have signed freshman right-handed pitcher Cody Dill of UC Riverside for the 2012 season.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Dill graduated from Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., in June and then was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 26th round of the MLB draft.

He was 4-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 10 games in 2011, with 49 strikeouts in 51 innings, and was 6-2 in nine games in 2010, with 37 strikeouts in 44.1 innings. He was a Baseline Conference all-star as a junior and senior.

"Cody has a very good arm, and has the potential to be a front of the rotation guy," UC Riverside coach Doug Smith said of Dill.

Here's a link to the story in today's Corvallis Gazette-Times.

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Thursday is Doernbecher Day at Yogurt Extreme, one of the Knights' sponsors. The company will be donate 50% of that day's sales to Doernbecher Children's Hospital as its way of saying thank you for saving the lives of children every day.

The Corvallis stores are located at 922 NW Circle Blvd., Ste. 120 (next to Market of Choice), and at 2011 Monroe Ave., Ste. 108, across the street from OSU. Both stores open at 10 a.m.; the Circle store closes at 11 p.m., the campus store at midnight.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks have signed seven new players from the University of Portland and Seattle University for the 2012 season.

The newest Elks are infielder Cullen Hendrickson, pitchers Grant Gunning and Kyle Doyle and utility Grant Newton of Seattle, and pitchers JR Bunda, Travis Radke and Brandon Snyder of Portland.

For complete details, please click here and read the first two items on the menu. Hendrickson and Snyder played for the Elks last summer.

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have added an assistant coach and have signed four more new players for 2012, according to this story on Our Sports Central.

The new assistant coach is Klamath Falls native Kurt Lupinski, who was one of our groundskeepers last summer, and who has worked with the Oregon State program throughout his undergraduate days at OSU.

He'll join new Gems head coach Josh Hogan, a former Knights mainstay (2007-09), and assistant coach Billy Clontz, a former Knights player (2006, 2008-09) and assistant coach (2010-11).

WENATCHEE: The defending regular-season East Division champion AppleSox have released their 2012 schedule. Like the Knights, they open on the road on June 1 and at home on June 5.

The Knights visit Wenatchee one June 8-10 in our third series of the season. The AppleSox return the favor and visit Goss Stadium on July 9-11.

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That's all for today. Remember, Knights stuff makes the perfect holiday gift and we've got plenty of new merchandise, 10-day punch cards, season tickets and caps for sale at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis.

Our June 5 home opener against Klamath Falls will be here before you know it, so stop on in!


Redlands pitcher Massari signs 10-day contract

November 28, 2011

The Knights have signed right-handed pitcher Mike Massari of the University of Redlands to a 10-day contract for the 2012 season.

A 5-foot-10, 170-pound graduate of Quartz Hill High School in Palmdale, Calif., he pitched sparingly in 2011 and was 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA in 1.2 innings in two appearances.

He was 0-0 with a 15.95 ERA in 7.1 innings in 2010, with nine strikeouts, and 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 2009, with seven strikeouts in 10.2 innings. He is a college teammate with Knights' pitcher Kyle Hart, who is returning to the Knights this summer.

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Former Knights utility player Jake Roy, a key member of our 2007 West Division championship team that lost to Moses Lake in the WCL Championship Series, has been named an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

A former standout at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, S.D., Jake played infield, outfield and catcher for the 2007 Knights, our first team in Corvallis. He hit .274 in 47 games, with a homer and 15 RBIs.

Since leaving the Knights, Jake worked as a strength and conditioning assistant at the University of Memphis while earning his Master's degree. Last summer he was the strength and conditioning coach for the Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs, the St. Louis Cardinals' affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League.


Armendariz homers in Cal Poly's fall World Series

November 23, 2011

Our 2011 MVP, first baseman David Armendariz of Cal Poly, hit a two-run homer this past Saturday in the decisive game of the Mustangs' annual Cal Poly World Series.

However, his Green team lost 5-4 to the Black team. Here are the details from the Cal Poly website.

Armendariz also had an RBI single on Nov. 18 in a 6-2 loss in Game 1 of the World Series on Nov. 18. He hit .286, with a homer and 28 RBIs, in 52 regular-season and playoff games for the Knights in 2011.

Outfielder Alex Michaels, a 2012 Knight-to-be, had two hits for the Green team and first baseman Nick Torres, another 2012 Knight-to-be, had an RBI double for the Black team in Game 1.

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We've probably got a few signings left in our bag of tricks but for the most part our projected 2012 roster is complete.

There certainly will be some additions or subtractions, thanks to injuries, academics and other concerns, but for now here's who is supposed to come to Corvallis next summer (* = 10-day signee):

PITCHERS: Chris Bishop * (PLU); Bryan Granger (Cal Poly); Greg Mahle (UCSB); Zach Manley (Linfield); Mitchell Tripp (Oregon State); Jorge Perez (Grand Canyon); Max Beatty (PLU); Chris Johnson (Portland); Kyle Hart (Redlands); Dylan Stuart (UC Riverside); Cole Wiper (Oregon); Michael McCall (Oregon State); Justin Fischer (UCSB); Justin Peters (Texas); Trevor Teykl (Texas); Mark Trentacosta (UC Irvine); Chris Mendoza (Santa Clara).

CATCHERS: Nate Esposito (Oregon State); Dane Lund (Mt. Hood); Austin Barr (Stanford commit).

INFIELDERS: Austin Hamilton * (LBCC); Chris Rabago (UC Irvine); Caleb Whalen (Portland); Jack Graham (Youngstown State); Nate Roberts (Seattle); Nick Torres (Cal Poly); Alex Foulon (Mt. Hood); Alex Silver (Texas).

OUTFIELDERS: Caylen Clardy * (College of the Siskyous); Jacob Hoffman (PLU); Nate Blackham (Washington State); Connor Hofmann (Oregon); Matt Nylen (Western Oregon); Cade Gotta (Riverside CC); Alex Michaels (Cal Poly).

And remember, opening day is June 1 at Walla Walla and our home opener is June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems. (The countdown to opening day is 191).

Season tickets are available here or at our office in Madison Plaza in downtown Corvallis; you can also buy merchandise, which makes a great holiday gift, online or at the office.

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We'll have more on another 10-day signee on Monday. In the meantime, the WWHQ is shutting down for the holiday weekend; here's hoping everyone in the Knights Nation has a happy, safe Thanksgiving!

See you on Monday.


Clardy signs 10-day contract

November 22, 2011

The Knights have signed freshman infielder/outfielder Caylen Clardy of the College of the Siskyous to a 10-day contract.

A Beaverton native, the 5-foot-8, 188-pound Clardy led Aloha High School to the 2010 state 6A football championship. He was a defensive back on the 2011 COS football team and had one interception and 25 tackles in eight games.

He did not play baseball at Aloha in 2011 but was the starting shortstop for the Warriors as a junior in 2010 and will play baseball at the COS this spring.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: We reported on Monday that the Bells have retained their 2011 coaching staff for the 2012 season. Here are more details from The Bellingham Herald newspaper.

BEND: The Elks have signed pitchers David Birosak, a junior lefty from Cal State Fullerton, and freshman righty Brent Jones of Cornell for the 2012 season. The details are available here, as the lead item on the menu.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets drew 43,131 fans to 27 league games in 2011 and they apparently remain a hot ticket. According to this story, season tickets have been selling quickly, with field boxes, diamond, and premier seats at historic Borleske Stadium already sold out.


Hague added to Pittsburgh's 40-man roster

November 21, 2011

Former Knights star Matt Hague (2005) didn't get called up to the big leagues this September after an all-star season at Indianapolis in the triple-A International League.

But he apparently figures in the future plans of the parent Pittsburgh Pirates, as he was added to their 40-man MLB roster last week. That means he's protected and cannot be selected by other MLB teams in the Rule 5 draft.

Here are complete details from MLB.com.

Hague hit .309, with 12 homers and 75 RBIs, at Indianapolis. He's playing for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League and is batting .301, with two homers and 15 RBIs, in 26 games. That season goes through mid-December.

A former standout at Washington and Oklahoma State, Hague is our Slider Guy, the sliding Knight whose photo appears in many of our promotional materials.

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The Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League - coached, of course, by our own Brooke Knight - are 11-0 and leading the ABL by a wide margin.

And former Washington State standout Alex Burg, a farmhand in the San Francisco organization and the MVP of our 2008 WCL champions, is leading the way, with five homers and 12 RBIs.

Burg credits a revamped swing for his success at San Jose this past season, and in Australia. He hit a career-best .298 at San Jose, with 14 homers and 45 RBIs in only 262 at-bats.

Here are the details from the West Australian newspaper of Perth. And here's another story on Burg, Knight and the Heat, with a nice photo of Burg and Brooke.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: Coach Gary Hatch and assistants Jim Clem and Bill Calkins will return in 2012, according to this story on the Bells' website.

BEND: The Elks continue to announce signings. The latest are junior infielder Stephen Halcomb of Gonzaga, a returnee from 2011, and Zags' teammates Derek Peterson and Sean-Luke Briga,, a pair of pitchers.

Here is the complete story from the Bend website. It's the first item on the menu.


Knights unveil new alumni page

November 18, 2011

For all you Knights alumni out there, or for those of you wondering what your former favorite Knights are up to, we're pleased to unveil the new alumni page on our website.

Hopefully it will help strengthen the connection between our alums and the ballclub. It will be updated regularly with news and notes on former Knights players.

And yes, we want to hear from former players to discover what they're up to these days. So alums, send any news, etc., to me at brooks.hatch@corvallisknights.com, and we'll pass it along.

And remember, the Alumni Game is set for 2 p.m. June 30 at Goss Stadium. We had our first alumni game in Corvallis several years ago and it was a blast. Just click the Alumni Game link on the alumni page for more info.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks have signed two players from Cal Poly for 2012: freshman right-hander Daniel Zandona, and sophomore first baseman Tim Wise. You can read more about these signings by clicking here; the story is the first on the menu.

WALLA WALLA: Two important members of the Sweets' 2011 club, which lost to the Knights in the WCL Championship Series, will be back in 2012. Oregon outfielder Andrew Mendenhall and Hawaii infielder Kalani Brackenridge will return.

Mendenhall was a second-team WCL all-star, a member of the East team in the WCL All-Star Game at Goss Stadium, and rated as the No. 16 pro prospect in the WCL. Here are more details from the Sweets' website.


Expect another strong pitching staff in 2012

November 17, 2011

Our roster isn't 100 percent complete yet and the major-league draft, injuries and eligibility problems could alter the picture somewhat between now and our June 1 opener at Walla Walla.

But the Knights always pride ourselves on our pitching; we led the West Coast League in ERA in 2011 and have for three times in our five years in Corvallis. And we've got a great nucleus of veterans returning in 2012, which has second-year pitching coach Connor Lambert excited about the upcoming summer.

Who's back? WCL all-stars Max Beatty, Chris Johnson, Mark Trentacosta and Dylan Stuart, and Kyle Hart and Chris Mendoza, that's who. They were a combined 21-4, with nine saves, in WCL games in 2011, so that's a great base for the pitching pyramid.

"Obviously I would take the entire 2011 staff back in a heartbeat, I can't tell you how much I connected with that group," Lambert said. "So to have six of those guys back for next summer is very exciting."

A junior at the University of Redlands, Hart was 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA. He had one bad outing all summer, when he was rocked in a 16-1 loss at Bellingham, and had a one-hitter over seven inings, with 10 strikeouts, at Klamath Falls in his last start.

"Kyle did everything we asked him to do," Lambert said. "He was probably our most versatile pitcher; he went from setup man early in the summer to long relief to starter. "If not for one rough outing, he arguably had one of the best summers out of all our pitchers. Not to mention, Kyle had a great attitude."

A junior at Pacific Lutheran, Beatty was 6-1, 2.42, led the staff in innings pitched (52). His early-season wins at Walla Walla and Kitsap were crucial because we were struggling before all of our eventual regulars showed up.

"Max was the 'horse' of the staff. He started every 5-7th day and was the model of consistency," Lambert said. "The thing I loved about Max was, he got better and stronger towards the end of the summer.

"As a coach that makes you feel good because you know he is doing his work behind the scenes, which can be really tough to do during a long summer.

"I can't say enough about Max's personality. Off the field or in the dugout he is a high energy guy that his teammates really rally around. And on the field, I know very few pitchers who match his competitiveness."

A sophomore at UC Riverside, Stuart was 2-1 with a 1.34 ERA and the best pickoff move in the league.

"Dylan is one of the smartest pitchers I've ever met. He knows what makes himself effective and that's exactly what he did all summer," Lambert said. "It was a proud moment as a pitching coach to have one of your pitchers start in the All-Star game and that is what Dylan accomplished.

"With the best pickoff move in the league he balanced skill, competitiveness and smarts to have a successful summer. Dylan suffered a minor finger injury at the end of the summer which I think caused a rough outing during the playoffs.

"However, I think this will make him hungry to do even better this next summer. Dylan's work ethic was in direct correlation to all his success that he had."

Johnson was 5-0, 1.83, had a 27-inning streak of scoreless innings and was named the Knights' Pitcher of the Year.

"Chris has next-level stuff with a next-level head on his shoulders," Lambert said. "Every day I got the feeling that Chris was looking to get better.

"Chris had a stretch of something 20-plus innings of not giving up a earned run. To me that means every time he took the hill he competed not just against his opponent and himself by seeing how far he can push himself.

"This is a special trait to have because many players become complacent during a long summer season. You get the feeling as a coach from Chris that he would run though a wall for you if you asked him to.

"All of the returning guys are those types. They give us a nucleus that has a real chance to compete at a high level next summer. I'm really excited to see these guys come June."

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Remember, 2012 season tickets are available online, and we'vve got some new Knights' merchandise on sale down here at the WWHQ in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis.

Our June 1 opener at Walla Walla and June 5 home opener against Klamath Falls seem like they're a long ways off, but they will be here before you know it so you want to be ready for the 2012 season.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: Former Bells pitcher Adrian Sampson of Bellevue (Wash.) College has signed a letter-of-intent to play at Oregon in 2013. He was 4-4 with a 1.71 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 63.1 innings for the club in 2011.

A 6-foot-3, 195-pound righty from Sammamish, Wash., Sampson was the East Division's starting pitcher in the WCL All-Star Game at Goss Stadium, and he was a first-team WCL all-star.