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Knights Daily Update

That's captain Nick Hoover, if you please!

November 16, 2011

Happy Wednesday, everyone. We've got lots of Knights news and news from around the West Coast League for your reading pleasure today.

First, UC Irvine senior pitcher Nick Hoover, a three-year Knight (2009-11) and the winning pitcher in our WCL championship-game victory over Walla Walla, is a captain for the 'Eaters team in UCI's annual Ants vs. 'Easters series that concludes fall practice.

Here are the details from the UCI website. We'll be well-represented, as UCI is one of our long-time partner schools and Hoov and pitchers Mark Trentacosta, Sebastian Santos, Evan Brock and infielder Chris Rabago all have played for the Knights, or will in the future.

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In case you missed Tuesday's blog, the Knights signed infielder Austin Hamilton of Linn-Benton CC and pitcher Chris Bishop of Pacific Lutheran to 10-day contracts.

Here are the details from today's Corvallis Gazette-Times. A slightly longer version of the story is available on Our Sports Central, an outstanding resource for WCL news.

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Former Knights' standout Alex Burg, the MVP of our 2008 WCL champions, and current Knights' manager Brooke Knight are the stars in this promotional video from the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League.

A catcher in the San Francisco Giants' organization, Burg is hitting .321 with four homers and eight RBIs for the Heat, who are 7-0 heading into a Thursday-Sunday series at Sydney. Knight managed the Heat to the first ABL championship in 2011 and is back for an encore.

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Some news from around the WCL:

KITSAP: Former co-owner Bill Anderson has left the team's ownership group in an amicable parting, according to this story in the Kitsap Sun newspaper.

However, the franchise, a charter member of the WCL, remains stable and should be bolstered by a new five-year lease that gives it complete control of concessions at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds ballpark.

That's good news. We had fun in Kitsap last June; the Knights swept the series and the crack broadcast team of Dan Segel and yours truly made its debut as pinch-hitters for Mike Parker on KEJO radio. We return to Kitsap this July 30-Aug. 1; hopefully it will be warmer and sunnier there than it was the last time!

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have released their 2012 schedule. We're there on July 3-5, so we should be treated to a nice fireworks show at Joe Martin Field, where future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. made his pro debut as a teenage Mariners' farmhand back when Bellingham had a short-season Class A franchise in the Northwest League.

BEND: The Elks have signed Arizona State freshman right-handed pitcher Darin Gillies and Washington State freshman second baseman Jordan Copeland for the 2012 season. All the details can be found on the first menu item on the Elks' website.

That's all for today. Stay dry, and check back in on Thursday!


Hamilton, Bishop sign 10-day deals

November 15, 2011

The Knights have signed freshmen Chris Bishop of Pacific Lutheran University and Austin Hamilton of Linn-Benton Community College to 10-day contracts for the 2012 season.

Hamilton is a 5-foot-9, 155-pound infielder from North Salem High. He hit .524, with seven homers and 40 RBIs, for the Vikings in 2011, was a first-team 6A all-stater, and played in the Reser's All-Star Series.

Bishop is a 5-11, 175-pound right-handed pitcher from Rochester High in Centralia, Wash. At PLU he will be a teammate of returning Knights' all-WCL pitcher Max Beatty, and coached by former Knights' standout Geoff Loomis.

As 10-day signees, Hamilton and Bishop will help fill out the roster until all the projected regulars arrive in mid-to-late June after their college seasons end. They are not guaranteed roster spots for the entire season, but it's not unusual for a 10-day signee to earn a full-time roster spot.

For example, outfielders Kramer Scott and Matt Nylen and infielder Sean Myrom were 10-day signees in 2011 and they stayed with the team all year. Shortstop Alex Foulon was also a 10-day signee and he too would have remained on the club all summer if he had not sustained a season-ending shoulder injury.

The Knights open the 2012 season at Walla Walla on June 1. The home opener is June 5 against Klamath Falls.

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Here's a West Coast League notebook story from The Daily News of Kelso-Longview, with several items of interest from around the circuit.

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Some more news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks are bringing back Daniel Chavez, Bo Walter and Danny Grazzini for another season. All three players are sophomores at the College of San Mateo in the South Bay area.

Chavez was first-team WCL all-star and a 3-1 winner over the Knights in Game 1 of the West Division plaoffs last August. For complete details on the signings, click right here and read the top story on the menu.

WENATCHEE: We reported several weeks ago that AppleSox broadcaster Chrtis King was headed to Idaho and a new position as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Boise State women's basketball team.

Here are more details on the move. We often took a feed from Chris when we played in Wenatchee and he always did a great job.

Best of luck in your new job, Chris.


Susac, Osich rank high on Giants' prospect list

November 14, 2011

It's just one man's opinion so we can't vouch for its accuracy or even how much this writer knows about the San Francisco Giants minor-league organization.

But former Knights Andrew Susac (2009) and Josh Osich (2008) are ranked as the No. 6 and No. 7 prospect in the team's minor-league organization in this story on the FanGraphs website.

Both were drafted by the Giants in 2011, signed late and did not play in the minors last summer. They will start their pro careers this season.

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Assistant general manager Bre Kerkvliet has been named the Knights Employee of the Year. Here are the details from the Knights' homepage.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: We mentioned this last month but here are more details on the Bells' hiring of Nick Caples as their new general manager. He formerly worked for the Wenatchee AppleSox.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets, who lost to the Knights in the WCL Championship Series in just their second season, have signed two players from North Dakota State for the 2012 season, including one returnee.


Knights sign UC Irvine infielder Chris Rabago

November 10, 2011

You may have already seen this on our transactions page or on Facebook, but we've got a new signing to report.

The Knights have added freshman infielder/catcher Chris Rabago of UC Irvine for the 2012 season, general manager/coach Brooke Knight has announced.

He is a 5-foot-11, 180-pounder from Riverside Poly High School in Riverside, Calif. He was a two-time Big 8 League all-star, a three-year letterman, the Riverside Poly 2011 Athlete of the Year, and played for Angels Elite, a prestigious scout league team in Southern California.

Rabago hit .304, with a homer and 19 RBIs, for Riverside Poly in 2011 and .425 with five homers as a junior. He was also Riverside County's MVP in an 8-4 victory over San Bernardino County in the 2011 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association All-Star Game last June.

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Speaking of UC Irvine, there are lots of Knights in these photos of the Anteaters' annual "Baseball Spooktacular."

So check out the cosstumes worn by Sebastian Santos, Nick Hoover, Mark Trentacosta, Chris Rabago and Evan Brock. Looks like Mark has really taken to his adopted state of Oregon, as he's pretty spiffy in his Paul Bunyan logger outfit.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks have signed three University of Washington players for the 2012 season: junior right-handed pitcher Josh Fredenhall, sophomore outfielder Will Sparks and freshman catcher Parker Guinn.

Here's the complete story from the Bend website; it's the second item.


WCL sets attendance record for the sixth year in a row

November 9, 2011

All you faithful readers of The Blog (at least I hope there are some of you!) know I'm an attendance geek. It's one thing I ALWAYS look at in any box score, in any sport, at any level.

So obviously I was really geeked to read the WCL news release announcing the league's total attendance increased by 25 percent last season, to a record 330,445 fans.

You fans of the Knights certainly did your part. Our total attendance increased by nearly 11,500 to a franchise-record 42,447. That's more than three times the total attendance in our first year (12,729).

We hope to do even better in 2012, and help the league grow for a seventh year in a row.

And for any other attendance geeks out there, here's a link to summer baseball attendance throughout the country.

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As we've mentioned several times, former Washington State starter/reliever/graduate assistant coach Connor Lambert will return for another season as our pitching coach in 2012. Here's the complete story from the homepage of our website.

Corvallis pitchers set the WCL season record for strikeouts (401) and led the league in ERA (2.47) in 2011 in Connor's first season as pitching coach.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

KELOWNA: Second-year Falcons' coach Al Cantwell talks about the improvement he expects from his team in this video interview with Falcons' broadcaster Ryan Watters. He was a late hire in 2011 and led the Falcons to a 19-34 record and last place in the East Division.

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems announced the hiring of Oregon assistant Mitch Karraker as their new pitching coach, and the signing of Arizona left-handed pitchers Tyler Crawford and Xavier Borde, and outfielders Leo Sierra (Cumberland University), Jake Ringold (West Virginia) and Lewis Sebrell (Herkimer, N.Y., Junior College).

Karraker will complete a coaching staff that already includes former Knights infielder Josh Hogan as their head coach and former Knights star/assistant coach Billy Clontz as the top assistant.

Here's the complete release from the Klamath Falls website. The Knights host the Gems on June 5-6 in our home-opening series.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets are teaming up with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to help make the Holiday season a little nicer for kids in that city. Here are the details from the Sweets' website.


Oakland A's honor ex-Knight Dayton Alexander

November 8, 2011

Former Knights outfielder Dayton Alexander (2011) of Feather River College was named the Oakland A's Most Improved Player in the Arizona Fall League.

After a slow start, Dayton rallied to hit .243 in 44 games, with no homers and 12 RBIs. He was the A's sixth-round selection in the 2011 MLB draft.

A native of Wailuku, Hawaii, who had committed to Washington, Alexander hit .267 in four games with the Knights before turning pro. Congrats to Dayton!

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We just discovered that Knights catcher/designated hitter Corey Davis (2010-11) of Wright State tied a WCL record with five sacrifice flys in 2011. The mark was originally set by ex-Knight Dylan Jones, a 2010 teammate of Davis's.

A slew of new individual and team league records were established in 2011. Here's a link to the complete WCL record book.

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And speaking of Davis, he was ranked 11th in the Summer Ball website's ranking of the WCL's Top 25 position players for the 2011 season.

Our MVP, David Armendariz of Cal Poly, was ranked No. 12; playoff star Ryan Gorton of Oregon State was ranked 17th and Sean Myrom of Concordia was ranked No. 23.

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Here's a story from the West Australian newspaper on former Knights' catcher Alex Burg of the Perth Heat, the MVP of our 2008 WCL championship team.

Burg hit .400 (4-10) with two homers and four RBIs last weekend as the Heat swept Adelaide in their season-opening series. Perth's manager is Knights' skipper Brooke Knight (but you probably already knew that).

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Ex-Aloha Knight Darin Holcomb (2005), who played at Gonzaga before turning pro with the Texas Rangers, was forced to retire from pro baseball with a back injury after playing for the double-A Tulsa Drillers of the Texas League the past two seasons.

Holcomb recently attended the Major League Scouting Bureau's two-week scout school in Phoenix. According to Baseball America, he plans to complete his degree in sports management and promotion.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: Four University of Oregon Ducks will play for the Elks this summer, according to the second story on the team's website.

They are freshman catcdher Shawn Chase of Phoenix, Ariz.; infielder Eric Sapp of Oceanside, Calif.; outfielder Nick Wagner of Dove Canyon, Calif., a returnee from 2011, and pitcher Jared Priestley, a 2012 signee who is a senior at Roseburg High.


Connor Lambert coming back in 2012

November 7, 2011

As we reported on Friday, Connor Lambert will return as pitching coach for the 2012 Corvallis Knights.

We had a blurb on that on Friday, and will have a longer, more detailed story than this up on the website later this week, but here is a Cliff Notes version.

Lambert is a graduate of Washington State, was a four-year letterman (2007-10), and served as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater in 2011. With the Knights, he directed a staff that set the West Coast League season record for strikeouts (401), and led the league in ERA (2.47).

"I learned and grew just as much as all of my pitchers did last summer," Lambert said. "I attribute this to the pitching staff (and) coach Brooke Knight and (assistant coach) Billy Clontz.

"Coach Knight gave me the freedom to learn from various mistakes as well as take a few risks. I really can't say enough about coach Knight and how his vision shaped our championship season. He is truly a great head coach to work with and I look forward to another summer on his staff.

"Coach Clontz was very helpful in getting me acclimated to the Knights' family and becoming not just a great colleague but a great friend. Coach Clontz's work ethic was a real inspiration to me last summer and made it really fun to head to the ballpark each day."

Knights' pitchers Mark Trentacosta, Ben Wetzler, Chris Johnson, Dylan Stuart, Jace Fry and Max Beatty were each all-league and played for the West Division in the WCL all-star game.

"I am really pleased Connor has chosen to return to our club," Knight said. "He has that special talent of being able to relate to the guys effectively, which enables him to share some of the knowledge he has gained in his own career.

"I expect that he will be even more confident and polished in 2012."

No successor has been named for Clontz, who left the Knights after two seasons as an assistant for a similar position with Klamath Falls Gems under new Gems' coach Josh Hogan.

The Knights open the 2012 season at Walla Walla on June 1. Their home opener is June 5 against Klamath Falls.

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Even more merchandise arrived this morning and we've got quite a display set up down here at the WWHQ. Included in the new stuff wwere many pairs of black mesh shorts, which were a very popular item last season and sold out quickly.

We've also got lots of hoodies, crew-necked sweatshirts, zipper sweatshirts, and lots of long- and short-sleeved tees. So come on down and check out our new stuff.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets announced that J.C. Biagi will return for his third season as their coach. He led the Sweets to second place in the WCL's East Division and to second-place in the WCL in 2011 in just their second season.

VICTORIA: Some updated news on the potential 2013 expansion team in beautiful Victoria, B.C. ann


We've got lots of new merchandise

November 4, 2011

It's a Friday down here at the WWHQ and we're ready to wrap up the work week. But first, the Blog must be updated.

New 2012 merchandise orders are starting to roll in down here at Madison Plaza - shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, in black, gray, white and cardinal.

So if you want to get a head start on your holiday shopping, or if you just need to update your Knights' gear, stop in and see us at the WWHQ in downtown C-Vegas, on the corner of 4th Street and Madison Avenue.

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Connor Lambert is returning as our pitching coach in 2012. He did a great job with last year's staff, as we set a WCL record in strikeouts and led the league in ERA.

We'll have a complete story on Lambert's return sometime next week on our home page.

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One of our top fans, Nicole Weathers, talks about her new gig as a guest commentator on Oregonian columnist John Canzano's radio show, the Bald-Faced Truth.

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Several former Corvallis Knights had big roles for the Perth Heat on Thursday night in a 6-1 victory over the Adelaide Bite in the Australian Baseball League opener for both teams.

Ex-Knights pitcher/first baseman Dylan Jones hit a two-out double in the last of the seventh and Alex Burg, the MVP of our 2008 WCL champions, singled him home with the go-ahead run.

The Heat are the defending ABL champions and they play Adelaide - who they defeated in last year's ABL Championship Series - throughout the weekend.

We also had an update on Berg on our website recently. He just finished a great season with the San Jose Giants in the California League.

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Some news from around the WCL:

KELOWNA: The Falcons have released their 2012 schedule. The Knights play a single game there on July 6 and a doubleheader on July 7.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets, who lost to the Knights in the 2011 WCL Championship Series after they upset Wenatchee in the East divisional series, have also released their 2012 schedule. The Knights open the season at Walla Walla for the second year in a row on June 1-3.


Massingham was the Player to be Named Later

November 3, 2011

Learned an interesting factoid about former Knights pitcher Eric Massingham (2006-07) of Cal Poly while doing a "Where are they now" story for next year's program.

(Yes, we're actually working ahead. Why couldn't I ever do that in college?)

Anyhow, during the course of our research we discovered that Massingham, a former Phillies' farmhand who played for the Evansville (Ind.) Otters of the independent Frontier League in 2011, was actually TRADED FOR HIMSELF after a great season in which he set franchise records for saves (22) and ERA (1.38).

Here's the skinny:

Massingham was dealt to the Somerset (Mass.) Patriots of the Atlantic League on Aug. 31 for a player to be named later. And on Sept. 23, the Patriots sent Massingham back to the Otters to complete the Aug. 31 trade.

In other words, Massingham was the "player to be named later" that he was originally traded for.

"I was traded by Evansville with a few days left in our season to Somerset as a sort of promotion because the Atlantic League is a high-talented league with a ton of former big leaguers on each team," Massingham said in explaining how it all went down.

"The Atlantic League's season runs three weeks longer than the Frontier League, so not only was it a chance to play at a high level but it was a way for me to extend my season an extra few weeks.

"Essentially, I was just being loaned to Somerset through the end of the season and in case they made a playoff run. But the only way to 'loan' me officially would be to trade me for a player to be named later and then use myself as the player to be named later.

"Definitely a peculiar situation."

Massingham ended up pitching in five games for Somerset as a situational reiever, and then was returned to Evansville when the Patriots' season ended.

Bizzare, huh?

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Summer collegiate baseball continues to grow in popularity, not only in the Pacific Northwest, where the West Coast League set an attendance record for the sixth year in a row, but around the country as well.

You already know about the WCL's plan to expand to Victoria, B.C. for the 2013 season. That should be a wonderful addition, as Victoria has a nice ballpark and is a wonderful city.

Expansion fever has hit several other leagues as well.

* The D.C. Grays will join the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League in 2012 and play at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

* The Lakeshore Chinooks will join the Northwoods League in 2012 and play at Concordia U. in Mequon, Wis.

* Trenton, N.J. and Allentown, Pa., will have new franchises in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League.

* The DuPage (Ill.) Hounds will join the Midwestern Collegiate League and play at Benedictine U. in Lisle, Ill.

* The Dayton (Ohio) Docs will join the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League and play at Wright State University,where former Knights all-star catcher Corey Davis is a star.

* And the Blog's birthplace, Olean, N.Y., will join the New York (State) Collegiate Baseball League in 2012.

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Some news from around the West Coast League:

COWLITZ: The Black Bears have released their 2012 schedule, according to the linked story on Our Sports Central.

The Knights play at Cowlitz on June 11, June 12, June 19 and June 20, and host the Black Bears on Aug. 2-4 in our final regular-season home series.


Summer Ball honors Matt Duffy

November 2, 2011

Former Corvallis Knights shortstop Matt Duffy (2010) of Long Beach State played for Orleans in the Cape Cod League in 2011 and apparently made quite an impression after placing third in the batting race with a .346 average, 16 runs, 16 RBIs and seven steals.

A second-team West Coast League all-star for us in 2010, Duffy was named the Cape Cod League's No. 5 prospect by the Summer Ball website, and the No. 80 overall prospect by Perfect Game USA.

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The Perth Heat, managed by Knights' skipper Brooke Knight, open their 2011-12 Australian Baseball League season at home on Thursday against the Adelaide Bite. Here's a preview from the Heat's website.

The Heat will have a definite Corvallis flavor to them this year, with former Knights Dylan Jones, Alex Burg and Liam Baron on the roster.

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Some news from around the WCL:

BEND: Three Utah Utes have signed contracts to play for the Elks in 2012. They are junior outfielder Conner Eppard of Lakewood, Colo., and pitchers Josh Chapman of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jackson Goulder of Cave Creek, Ariz.

A transfer from Western Nevada, Eppard was a first-team all-league player in 2011. He hit .335 in 55 games, scoring 47 runs, with 55 hits, 12 doubles, six triples, eight homers and 41 RBIs. He also stole 19 bases in 23 attempts.

Chapman is a sophomore righthander who appeared in 12 games and threw 26 innings as a freshman for the Utes. Goulder is a transfer Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, where he was 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 24 innings in 2011.

KITSAP: Somehow we missed this last August, probably because we were busy with the Knights' run to the WCL championship.

The Blue Jackets have named Ryan Parker as their new head coach, succeeding Matt Acker, who'd coached the club since its inception.

Parker was a BlueJackets' assistant coach the past four seasons. He's also the head coach at Olympic College in nearby Bremerton for the past five years; here's his complete bio.

Here's a story detailing the change from the Kitsap Sun newspaper.