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Brooks Hatch Blog: Sweets in Town for First Time Since 2014

Happy Friday, everyone, from the world-wide headquarters (WWHQ) of the Corvallis Knights, your 2016 West Coast League champions!

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The Knights host North Division rival Walla Walla for the first time since the 2014 season this weekend, starting with tonight’s 6:40 p.m. contest. Because of the WCL’s unbalanced schedule, the Knights played only one series against the Sweets in 2015 and 2016 and they both were in Walla Walla.

Corvallis leads the all-time series 22-8, and is 13-2 in games played at Goss Stadium. Corvallis is also 2-0 vs. the Sweets in the playoffs, as they swept the 2011 WCL Championship Series between the clubs.

The Sweets feature Gonzaga senior third baseman Nick Nyquist. He ranked seventh in the WCL batting race with a .340 average following Wednesday’s games. Lefty Tim Josten, an incoming freshman at Cal State Fullerton, is 3-0 with an 0.52 ERA and a save in six appearances.

The Knights won the South Division’s first-half championship with a 17-10 record to clinch an automatic postseason berth. They have now qualified for the playoffs in 11 consecutive seasons, the longest streak in WCL history.

Saturday’s 6:40 p.m. game against Walla Walla is All Family Vision Care $1,000 Kids Dash for Cash Night, presented by State Farm Insurance. Gates open at 6 pm. Kids 12 years of age and under are eligible to dash for the cash on the Goss Stadium infield.

Our projected starting pitchers for the Walla Walla series are lefties Ross Massey of Tulane, Jordan Horak of Portland, and Hazahel Quijada of UC-Riverside.

Corvallis concludes its 10-game homestand on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday against Kelowna. The Falcons captured the North Division’s first-half championship and have also qualified for the playoffs. All three games start at 6:40 p.m.

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Thursday’s crowd of 1,158 raised our total attendance this season to 25,408 for 18 dates, an average of 1,412 per opening. That’s down 634 from a corresponding date in 2016.

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Alum K.J. Harrison (2015) has signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was their third-round selection in the recent MLB draft, after a standout career at Oregon State.

The San Diego Padres have promoted infielder Peter Van Gansen (2013) to San Antonio in the double-A Texas League. He started the season at Lake Elsinore in the high-A California League. He was drafted in 2015 out of Cal Poly and is in his third season in the organization.

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Montgomery (AA Southern, Rays) first baseman Dalton Kelly (2014) continued his amazing hitting streak by going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in an 11-5 win over Jacksonville on Thursday to repeat as the Corvallis Knights Minor League Player of the Day. He is batting .474 (18-38) in nine games since being promoted from Charlotte of the advanced-A Florida State League, with four doubles, a triple, four homers, 12 RBIs and an astronomical 1.459 OPS. He played at UC Santa Barbara.

Honorable mention goes to:

  • Durham (AAA International, Rays) outfielder Cade Gotta (2011) was 3-for-4 with a double and three runs scored in an 11-7 loss to Charlotte. He played at San Diego Christian. Danny Hayes (2010) was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Charlotte; he played at Oregon State.
  • El Paso (AAA Pacific Coast, Padres) catcher Rocky Gale (2007, 2009) was 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI in a 13-7 loss to Los Vegas. He played at Portland.
  • Greeneville (R Appalachian, Astros) first baseman Roman Garcia was 1-for-5 with a two-run double and a run scored in a 6-5 loss to Johnson City. He played at San Diego.

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That’s all for today. See you at the ballpark tonight, and back here on Monday.