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Knights Daily Update

Knights sign two more for 2014

October 17, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone.

More signings to announce this morning. The Knights are happy to add right-handed pitcher Stephen White, a freshman at Tacoma Community College, where he's mentored by Knights' pitching coach Connor Lambert, and outfielder Jackson Ruckert, a junior at Linfield. Ruckert is a 10-day signee.

White is a 6-foot-3, 195-pounder from Woodinville High in Woodinville, Wash., an east side suburb of Seattle. He was 9-2, 1.45 in 12 games (10 starts) in 2013, with 42 strikeouts in 53 innings. He was a second-team Class 4A all-state selection and a first-team KingCo all-star.

Ruckert is a 5-10, 175-pound lefty/lefty from West Albany High. He hit .154 (2-13) with no homers or RBIs in 27 games in 2013, and played primarily as a pinch runner or late-inning defensive replacement. He scored five times and was 3-for-3 in stolen bases.

He lettered six times in football and baseball at WAHS, was a three-time Mid-Willamette Conference all-star and was a two-time 5A all-state selection. He hit .421 for his career at WAHS.

He's our third player from Linfield, joining pitcher Chris Haddeland and outfielder Jimmy Cleary, another 10-day signee.

Welcome to the Knights, gentlemen.

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Alum Alex Nesbitt (2013) of Washington was the winning pitcher for the Gold team on Tuesday in a 5-4 win over Game 2 of the annual Purple & Gold World Series. Brandon Choate (2013) also pitched for the Gold team.

Game 3 is at 7 tonight (Thursday) at Titon Field at Everett Community College. Game 4, the finale, is set for 3 p.m. on Sunday at Everett Memorial Stadium.

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Oregon State released its 2014 schedule on Wednesday and Nesbitt and Choate are two of several Knights alums who will visit Goss Stadium this spring. OSU hosts the Huskies on May 16-18.

Portland's Mike Lucarelli (2013), Cody Lenahan (2013), Colin Feldtman (2013) and Caleb Whalen (2012) will play at Goss on March 4, and face OSU again at Portland on April 1 and at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer on May 13.

Oregon's Stephen Nogosek (2013), Jared Priestley (2013) and Connor Hofmann (2011-12) play at Goss on April 25-27. They also host the Beavers in Eugene on May 6 and May 20.

Stanford's Austin Barr (2012) comes to town on April 4-6.

We'll announce our 2014 OSU Knights later this fall. Our current alums with the Beavers are Ben Wetzler (2011), Jace Fry (2011), Carlos Rodriguez (2012), Nate Esposito (2012), Kavin Keyes (2013), Dane Lund (2013), Gabe Clark (2013) and Kevin Flemer (2013), and coach Andy Jenkins (2012).

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The Bend Elks have hired veteran George Fox University head coach Marty Hunter as their manager for the 2014 season. It's a very solid hire; here are more details, from the Our Sports Central website; here's more yet from the Bend Bulletin newspaper, and here's even more from the team's website (click on the top topic).

Hunter (bio here) succeeds Joe Dominiak, who led the team the past two seasons. Hunter's son, Taylor Hunter, was a middle infielder for us in 2009.

Congrats to the Elks on their hire. There will be at least four new coaches in the WCL in 2014: Hunter; ex-Knights player/coach Billy Clontz at Kelowna; Gary Hatch's successor at Bellingham, and whomever is hired by the new Yakima franchise.

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Some news from elsewhere in the WCL:

KITSAP: The BlueJackets have signed Butler University infielder Alex Horowitz; Dixie State right-handed pitcher Tanner Howell, Montana State-Billings right-handed pitcher Byron Baker and MSU-Billings lefty/first baseman Tanner Walton for 2014.

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That's it for today. See you on Friday.


Knights announce three new signings

October 16, 2013

We're back to work today after a trip back to the East coast for a family wedding and we've got lots of Knights-related news to report. So, let's get started.

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We have three signings to announce today.

* Outfielder Dalton Kelly of UC Santa Barbara is a 6-foot-3, 180-pounder from Redding, Calif., who appeared in 27 games (10 starts) and hit .244, with two extra-base hits and nine RBIs as a freshman. He hit .333 with runners on base and .429 with runners in scoring position, hit .200 (2-10) as a pinch-hitter and had four multi-hit and three multi-RBI games.

Kelly was a three-year letter winner at Foothill High in Redding, earned All-League and All-Section honors, helped lead the Cougars to the 2012 Section Championship and earned Student Athlete of the Year and State Scholar Athlete of the Week honors from ESPN.

* Junior outfielder Scott Quinlan of UCSB is a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Danville, Calif., who played at Chabot JC before transferring to UCSB. He hit 11 homers and was a Golden Gate Conference all-star in 2011. He played at San Ramon Valley High, hit .370 with four homers and was an East Bay all-star selection as a senior.

* UC Riverside freshman right-handed pitcher Angel Landazuri is a 6-foot, 185-pound pitcher from Redlands High in Redlands Calif. As a junior, he was a first-team Citrus Belt League all-star after going 8-2 with a 1.06 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 72.2 innings.

Here's UCR coach Doug Smith's evaluation:

"Angel will arrive on the campus as arguably the most polished pitcher in the [recruiting] class. He can throw three pitches for strikes at any time and at any in count. He is a strike thrower with a good feel for our program."

Welcome to the team, guys.

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As most of you Knights fans, and readers of the Blog, already know, former Knights' player (2006, 2008-09) and assistant coach (2010-11, 2013) Billy Clontz has been hired as the new head coach of the Kelowna Falcons. Here's even more on the story from the Kelowna website.

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We missed this earlier this summer, but we're happy to report today that alum Caleb Whalen (2012) of the University of Portland and the Los Angeles Brewers was the MVP of the California Collegiate League's all-star game after he hit a single, double and triple in the contest.

A junior at UP, he was also rated as the league's top pro prospect by Baseball America. Here's their evaluation:

"After two modest seasons at Portland, Whalen took the CCL by storm this summer, hitting .361/.434/.525 with 15 doubles and nine steals for the league-champion Brewers. He singled, doubled and tripled in the league all-star game to capture MVP honors, and scouts who saw him repeatedly came away more impressed with each viewing.

"He's the best player in the entire league, bar none, no question in my mind," one NL area scout said. "He's really athletic - he shocked me with his combination of tools and skills."

Whalen has a live 6-foot-1, 185-pound body and plus-plus speed. He has good body control and actions at second base or third, and his plus arm plays at the hot corner or in the outfield. At the plate, the right-handed hitter impacts the ball with authority and drives balls through the gaps, giving him a chance to become a plus hitter with average raw power."

Congrats to Caleb.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have hired Western Washington University graduate Stephanie Morrell as their new marketing director. Click here for full details, from The Bellingham Herald newspaper, and here's even more from the team's website.

COWLITZ: Jim Appleby has been named as the team's GM. He will be entering his fourth season as part of the team's front office, having spent the last two seasons as its Director of Operations. Here's more, from the Cowlitz website. Congrats to Jim, who always makes the trip to Corvallis when we host the Black Bears.

MEDFORD: The Rogues will host a workout by the University of Oregon team at Harry & David Field on March 24. Click here for more details.

WALLA WALLA: Sweets' GM Zachary Fraser has been promoted to chief operating officer of Pacific Baseball Ventures, the owners of the Sweets and the new Yakima franchise. Fraser, who spent four seasons at the helm of the Walla Walla Sweets, will be responsible for the long-term development of all operations in both Walla Walla and Yakima.

The Sweets promoted Katie Baxter to general manager, a role in which she will be directly responsible for management of day-to-day operations of the team. Here are more details, from the Walla Walla website.

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That's it for today. See you on Thursday.


WCL to re-align in 2014

October 8, 2013

Well, we've been promising you big news about the West Coast League for several weeks. Today's the day we reveal what's up.

The WCL will re-align into three divisions based on natural geographical boundaries for the 2014 season, president Dennis Koho announced Tuesday.

Here's how the new league will shake down:

SOUTH DIVISION: Corvallis, Bend, Klamath Falls, Medford.

EAST DIVISION: Kelowna, Walla Walla, Wenatchee, Yakima.

WEST DIVISION: Victoria, Bellingham, Kitsap, Cowlitz.

"With expansion growing the league to 12 teams, the opportunity to align with three divisions creates even greater rivalries within natural geographic boundaries and will hopefully help member teams see some savings as it relates to ever-growing travel expenses," Koho said.

The three division winners and a wild card (the remaining team with the best record) will advance to the playoffs.

Teams will continue to play at least one series against every other opponent, but not every team will visit every city every year. The 2014 schedule will be released shortly; the regular season will begin in early June and end on August 11, with two rounds of playoffs to follow.

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"Yeah, it's the Milkman!"

That cry will reverberate around Goss Stadium again next summer, as University of San Diego junior outfielder Grant Melker will return in 2014 for his second season with the Knights.

Grant hit .280 (37-132) with no homers and 12 RBIs in 54 total games in 2013. He led the WCL in steals (26), set a team record with 31 total steals, and was honorable-mention all-WCL.

A graduate of Claremont High in Claremont, Calif., Melker played sparingly at USD the past two seasons, mainly as a late-game defensive replacement, but expects to have a larger role in 2014.

His older brother, Adam Melker, played for us in 2008-09 while playing at Cal Poly. Adam just completed his second season Springfield (MO.), St. Louis's affiliate in the double-A Texas League.

Welcome back, Grant!

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Just in case you somehow missed it, here's a link to the Our Sports Central story on Kelowna's hiring of former Knights' player and assistant coach Billy Clontz as the new head coach of the Falcons.

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Alum Ben Wetzler (2011), a key member of the bullpen and one of the emotional leaders of our 2011 WCL championship team, was profiled on Monday in this story in the Corvallis Gazette-Times. Benny turned down the pros for the second time in his career (he was also drafted out of high school) and will return to Oregon State for his senior season.

Teammate and fellow OSU senior Scott Schultz, another member of our 2011 champions, also receives a mention. He also turned down a potential pro contract to come back to OSU for his final season of eligibility.

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No other news from around the WCL, or from our partner schools, so we'll close. The blog is taking a few days off to attend a family function out East, so we'll see you next Wednesday. Have a great weekend and Go Beavers!


More on Billy Clontz to Kelowna

October 7, 2013

We told you on Friday that Knights' assistant coach Billy Clontz was headed to Kelowna to be the Falcons' new head coach. That should be official sometime later today.

"I am really excited for the opportunity [Kelowna owner] Dan Nonis and [general manager] Mark Nonis have given me," Clontz said. "I am looking forward to putting a competitive team on the field next summer.

"I appreciate the time I spent playing and working in the Knights' organization, and feel like I learned from the best."

Clontz starred at Corvallis High School and for the Richey's Market American Legion program before playing at Mt. Hood CC and Western Oregon. He was a starter at several infield and outfield positions for the Knights in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He earned all-WCL honors for Knights' teams that defeated Wenatchee in the 2008 WCL Championship Series, and that lost to the AppleSox in the 2009 finals.

Following his college career, Clontz joined a Knights' coaching staff that directed the club to the 2010 West Division regular-season title, and to the 2011 WCL championship. He also played and coached for the Morley Eagles in Australian baseball in 2011-12.

Clontz recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Ohlone College in Fremont, Calif., during the school year.

With Clontz's hiring, three former Knights are WCL head coaches. Corvallis coach Brooke Knight played for the team in 1994; Josh Hogan (2007-09) was the head coach at Klamath Falls in 2012 before moving to Medford last season. He'll also coach the Rogues in 2014.

Again, congrats to Billy as he begins his head coaching career.

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Right-handed pitcher Chase Johnson (2011), a Cal Poly alum, was rated as the No. 8 MLB prospect in the Northwest League this past season by Baseball America. He was selected by San Francisco in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Johnson was 3-2, 4.17 in 10 games with Salem-Keizer in the NWL, with 37 strikeouts in 41 innings. He also spent some time with the Arizona Rookie League Giants and was 4-2, 3.88 in 13 total games, with 44 strikeouts in 46.1 innings.

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The Miami Marlins have re-signed outfielder Alex Burg (2008), a former Washington State star who was the MVP of our 2008 WCL championship club. He originally signed with Miami this past spring after being released by the San Francisco Giants and then signed by Fargo-Moorhead of the independent American Association.

Burg played at New Orleans in the triple-A Pacific Coast League, at Jacksonville in the double-A Southern League and at Jupiter in the advanced-A Florida State League this past season. He hit a combined .253 (71-281) in 81 games, with six homers and 42 RBIs. His highest average (.300, 12-40) came at New Orleans.

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Nothing new in the West Coast League, so that's it for today. See you on Tuesday.


Billy Clontz headed to Kelowna

October 4, 2013

Big news down at the WWHQ of the Corvallis Knights this morning.

The Kelowna Falcons have hired Billy Clontz as their new head coach, general manager Mark Nonis announced Friday. A Corvallis native, Clontz formerly played (2006, 2008-09) and was an assistant coach (2010-11, 2013) for the Knights.

He succeeds Geoff White, who led the Falcons to a 19-35 record in 2013 in his first season as their head coach.

Billy will be the second member of the 2008 and 2009 Knights to become a WCL head coach. Josh Hogan (2007-09) coached at Klamath Falls in 2012 before moving over to Medford in 2013. Billy assisted for Josh in Klamath Falls in 2012 before returning to Corvallis.

Clontz, 27, helped direct us to our their third WCL championship. Billy was involved in all three titles, as a player (2008) or assistant coach (2011, 2013).

"We are all very excited for Bill's next endeavor," Knights' coach Brooke Knight said. "He has a tireless work ethic and a sound knowledge of the game. He will grind the Falcons towards a playoff appearance, I have no doubt.

"He will be greatly missed, and although bittersweet from a personal perspective, I can't wait to see him grow their on-field approach and passion to win. It's a great hire by Mark Nonis and his family."

You will be able to find more on this on our website, and probably on Kelowna's website, later today.

Congrats to Billy. We'll miss him but are excited about his promotion in the coaching world.

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We wrote on Thursday about the surprise resignation of Victoria general manager Holly Jones, the one-time assistant to Knights' president Dan Segel (2006-07). Here's more on that story from the Victoria Times Colonist newspaper.

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Not everyone we sign winds up playing for us, for various reasons. But we still keep track of them and follow their progress, as it helps us measure our own evaluation of the talent we attempt to bring to Corvallis every season.

I guess we did pretty well in 2012. We took second in the WCL behind Wenatchee, and three would-be 2012 Knights have been rated as Top-20 prospects in their respective minor league organizations by Baseball America magazine.

* Pitcher Cole Wiper of Oregon is ranked No. 20 in the Texas organization. An arm injury precluded him from playing with us. He was 2-1, 7.11 with he Ducks in 2013 as a draft-eligible redshirt freshman, and then played in the Arizona Rookie League.

* Infielder Zach Green, an Oregon State signee who instead turned pro after the 2002 draft and never made it to Corvallis, is ranked No. 4 in the Philadelphia organization. He played at Williamsport in the short-A New York-Penn League this past summer.

* Infielder Carson Kelly, an Oregon signee who instead turned pro in 2012 after his senior year at Westview High School and never made it to Eugene or Corvallis, is ranked No. 5 in the St. Louis organization. He played at State College in the short-A New York-Penn League this past summer.

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Holly Jones steps down at Victoria

October 3, 2013

Happy Thursday, everyone.

Big news in the West Coast League this morning involving former Knights Assistant to the President Holly Jones (2006-07). She has resigned as the general manager of the West Coast League's Victoria HarbourCats, effective immediately.

"I'd like to thank all the great people I've met over the last 14 months. I will not be returning for the 2014 season. I will be returning to Oregon to be with my family," Jones said via her Twitter feed.

"I am grateful for the love from partners, media, fans, friends, players and coaches and I wish everyone the best in the continued growth and success of the team."

Holly was the WCL's GM of the Year in 2013. Here's more on the story from the Island Sports News website.

Best of luck to Holly, who did a great job to make Victoria one of the most successful expansion franchises in WCL history.

And no, that's not the big news that will be forthcoming from the WCL within a month or so. You still have to wait for that announcement.

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Alum Elliot Surrey (2013) of UC Irvine, the WCL's ERA champion and our 2013 Knights Top Pitcher award winner, will play for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League next summer. Congrats to Elliot for a great opportunity.

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The Northwoods League announced its top 200 prospects from the 2013 season in Wednesday. The list was compiled by Bradley Smart from Smart on Sports after discussions with all 16 league managers.

Alum Nick Torres (2012) of Cal Poly, who played at Green Bay, was ranked No. 45. Here's Smart's evaluation of Torres, now a junior with the Mustangs:

"Torres is a solid outfielder with a great arm, he has a great swing at the plate as well. He hit .311 for the Bullfrogs, as well as hitting 14 doubles and knocking in 29 runs. A starter in the outfield, Torres was dominant for Cal Poly as a sophomore, hitting .333 in 59 games."

Congrats to Nick, who hit .286 (0-23) in 42 WCL games for us in 2012. He did not make Perfect Game Crosschecker's top-30 WCL pro prospects list in 2012.

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No other news from around the WCL. That's it for today, and we'll see you on Friday.


Knights sign two from WOU

October 1, 2013

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Finally, I see some sunshine in downtown Corvallis as I look down the hallway toward 4th Street. Hopefully that means the remnants of the typhoon that's battered the Pacific Northwest since Friday night have finally moved on and fall will return.

We've got other good news to report this morning. We've re-established our connection with Western Oregon University and have signed two WOU juniors - pitcher Zach Kayser and outfielder Tim Rausch - for 2014.

We have a long history with WOU, with Wolves such as Billy Clontz, Mike Cusick, Daniel Dillard, Griffin Boyd, Matt Nylen, AJ Burke and others I've probably overlooked being key players for us over the years. So welcome to the Knights, Zach and Tim.

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Here are more details on the newest Knights.

* Kayser transferred to Western Oregon after spending 2012-13 at Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne, where he was 0-0, 4.50 in two innings in his lone appearance. He is a junior eligibility-wise. He played two seasons at Lane CC in Eugene before heading to IPFW.

A three-time second-team Midwestern League all-star at Sheldon High School in Eugene, he was a three-time second-team Midwestern League all-star. He won the school's Scholar-Athlete Award in 2010 as a senior.

At Lane, Kayser was second-team all-NWAACC in 2012 and first-team all-NWAACC tournament in 2011, He was 3-1, 3.00, with eight saves and 30 strikeouts in 33 innings over 15 games in 2012 and 1-4, 1.52 in 16 games in 2011, with 15 strikeouts in 27.2 innings.

* A native of Polson, Mont., Rausch was second-team all-Great Northwest Conference in 2013 after hitting .351 (47-134) in 46 games. He redshirted in 2012 after batting .200 (5-25) with no homers and two RBIs in 15 games as a true freshman in 2011.

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Alum Matt Boyd (2010) of Oregon State will participate in a fan chat through Spreecast.com at noon on Wednesday. Click here for more details.

Matt was an All-American pitcher and helped lead the Beavers to the Pacific-12 Conference championship and a College World Series berth in 2013. He signed with Toronto, started his pro career at low-A Lansing (Mich.) in the Midwest League and then was promoted to Dunedin in the high-A Florida State League.

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Summer collegiate baseball is coming to Kenosha, Wisc., next summer, as the Northwoods League adds franchises in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Kenosha. That circuit will have 18 teams in 2014, playing in two 9-team divisions.

You know we love nickname contests, so here's an update on the finalists for Kenosha's new moniker.

COMETS: The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League team ("A League of their Own") that played in Kenosha from 1943 thru 1951 was named the Comets. The team played at Simmons Field, where the new Kenosha Northwoods League team will call home, from 1948 thru 1951.

ESOX: The Esox is the name of the category of fish that includes the pike. Esox also ties into one of the previous names for the City of Kenosha, Pike.

KINGFISH: KingFish offers a unique combination of a tie to Lake Michigan, royalty and even a little nod to the King, Elvis Presley.

COOPERS: Traditionally, a cooper is someone who makes wooden staved vessels, bound together with hoops, for instance a beer barrel or cask. The name also connects to the Cooper Hawk that is native to the area. Lastly Samuel T. Cooper founded the iconic Kenosha company that became Jockey International.

SOCKETS: Sockets connects to the automotive history in Kenosha as well as Snap-on Tool Company, which is another iconic company based in Kenosha.

LAKE BEARS: Lake Bears is a memorable name that ties nicely to Lake Michigan and summertime in Wisconsin.

I like the Comets or Sockets, but they're all interesting choices. We'll keep you updated.

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No West Coast League news today, so we'll close. See you on Wednesday.


Finally drying out

September 30, 2013

Happy Monday, everyone.

Hope you survived our monsoon weekend. We lucked out on Saturday morning/afternoon and stayed mostly dry and comfy at the Oregon State football game, but not so much for the rest of Saturday and for all day Sunday.

But now it's starting to dry out. And the blog is back after several days of behind-the-scenes data entry work that (hopefully) will pay big dividends down the road. And it's a pretty slow time anyways, news-wise, so I don't think you missed too much.

So, on to the news.

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Four Corvallis Knights alums begin action on Oct. 8 in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which runs in October and November in the Phoenix area.

* Catcher Andrew Susac (2009) of Giants will play for the Scottsdale Scorpions. He spent 2013 at double-A Richmond in the Eastern League.

* Left-handed pitcher Tyler Anderson (2009) of the Rockies will play for the Salt River Raptors. He played primarily at Modesto in the Class A California League in 2013.

* Right-handed pitcher Sam Gaviglio (2009) of the Cardinals will also play for the Rafters. He spent most of 2013 on the DL but also pitched for Palm Beach in the Class A Florida State League.

* Outfielder Mitch Haniger (2010) of the Brewers will play for the Surprise Saguaros. He started 2013 at Wisconsin in the Midwest League and then was promoted to Brevard County in the Florida State League.

Each major league organizations sends its top six prospects to the six-team (Scottsdale Scorpions, Mesa Solar Sox, Salt City Rafters, Phoenix Desert Dogs, Peoria Javelinas, Surprise Saguaros) league. Most are double-A and triple-A players; clubs can send one Class A prospect.

The season starts on Oct. 8 and runs through Nov. 15. Games are played in the spring training stadiums used by the Giants, Mariners, Padres, Cubs, Athletics, Royals, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Rockies.

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Don't forget, our commemorative West Coast League championship t-shirts are still available. To check out the two color options (charcoal, heather) and to order, please visit our website, Corvallisknights.com.

The names of all the players and coaches are printed on the back. Get yours now, or get one for a gift. T-shirts are only $25 plus shipping and handling.

Sizes are available in S, M, L, XXL (charcoal and heather) and XXXL (heather only). We sold out of charcoal XL and 3XL, and heather XL. If you would like to purchase an XL size, please call 541-752-5656 or email bre.kerkvliet@corvallisknights.com.

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Some news from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

KITSAP: Lots of signings to announce for the BlueJackets, including two players with ties to the Knights.

Kitsap has signed Western Oregon RHP Eric Huson, who pitched briefly for us in 2012; WOU 2B/SS Austin Hamilton, who played for us in 2011; WOU RHP Zev Egli; Nevada OF TJ Friedl; Texas A&M-Corpus Christi OF Thomas Casey, and T&M CC RHP/3B Matthew Wagner.

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That's it for today. See you on Tuesday.


Big news coming from the WCL

September 25, 2013

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

We're not able to announce it yet, and we're not even sure of all the final details, but there will be some big changes in the West Coast League next season now that the addition of Yakima gives us an even 12 teams.

So be on the lookout at this space, and at the WCL website, for updates as they are announced by new president Dennis Koho. The changes should make for an interesting 2014 season, we will admit to that.

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Otherwise it's pretty slow around Knights Nation. We should have some signings to announce early next week, and we're expanding our annual Science and Art Day to Science, Engineering and Art Day, since Oregon State's Colleges of Science and Engineering play such a major role in the event.

It will be on Wednesday, June 4 in 2014, so if any local elementary school teachers are reading this, keep that day open. We'll have information on the third annual celebration out shortly.

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News from elsewhere in the West Coast League:

MEDFORD: The Rogues have signed six more players for the 2014 season. Our Sports Central has the complete details.


Happy Tuesday

September 24, 2013

Happy Tuesday, everyone.

Don't know what it's doing in your neck of the woods, but it's drizzly and cool here in downtown CorVegas at the WWHQ of your Corvallis Knights. Summer is definitely over.

The 2014 season is just more than eight months away, but the wheels are turning. Hopefully we'll have a schedule by the end of October and we can start to plan our promotional lineup, etc. And we should have announcements on our player signings for 2014 as the paperwork starts trickling back in.

In the meantime, we'll scour the world for Knights-related news, for news from other West Coast League franchises, and even some news from the many other summer leagues around the country, if it's interesting or appropriate.

So, on to today's Knights blog!

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We've got some bad news to report.

Right-handed pitcher Mike Koons (2007), an original Corvallis Knight and a 2007 WCL all-star game selection, has been released by the St. Paul Saints of the independent American Association. He was 2-2, 4.61 in 14 games (8 starts) this season, with 22 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

A San Diego State alum, Mike signed with Houston during the 2007 All-Star break and played two years in their farm system before being released. He's subsequently played for Sioux City, El Paso and St. Paul in the American Association; for Orange County and Victoria in the defunct Golden Baseball League, and for Maui in the defunct North American Baseball League.

He turns 28 later this year. So if this is finally the end of the road, at least he played all over the country and also got to experience a season with the Saints, the premier - and maybe the most fun - franchises in independent baseball.

Best of luck to Mike, wherever he lands.

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Pitcher/infielder Stephen Nogosek, a member of our 2013 WCL championship team and a freshman at Oregon, is included in a 2014-15 UO recruiting class that is ranked No. 9 nationally by Collegiate Baseball. Here's a link with more details.

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Here's some news of interest from the new Kalamazoo, Mich., franchise in the Northwoods League. They have opened voting on a nickname for their team, which begins play in 2014.

I've always believe nicknames should have some local or team connection, and not your generic "Eagles, "Wildcats," "Hawks" or something like that. And Kalamazoo's choices fit that criteria. Their choices (the copy is from the Northwoods League website) are:

* CABBIES: Checker Taxi originated in Kalamazoo in 1923 and is where the universal yellow taxi color originated.

* CLUTCH: Webster's defines clutch as performing well in a very important or critical situation (a clutch hit in the bottom of the ninth). The noun clutch, a device that provides the transmission of power, ties into Michigan's rich history in the auto industry. Clutch also pays homage to Kalamazoo's own Derek Jeter, who's nicknamed "Captain Clutch."

* KRAKENS: The Kraken is a mythical underwater creature that terrorizes the seas. A fitting name for a team in Michigan, which has the longest freshwater coastline in the world, being surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes.

* KANGAROOS: Kangaroos are likeable, family-oriented, but are also known as fierce animals that don't go down without a fight.

* GROWLERS: A homage to the rich history of microbreweries that have originated in Kalamazoo, a growler is a glass or ceramic jug used to transport draft beer commonly sold in breweries. The native Michigan black bear can also be heard "growling" in the woods of upper Michigan.

I knew Jeter was from Kalamazoo, and I knew what a growler was, but I had no idea what a Kraken was. Now I do.

And speaking of nicknames, don't forget to vote for the WCL Yakima franchise's new moniker.

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That's all for now. See you on Wednesday.