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Knights Daily Update

Susac, Duffy highly-rated by Baseball America

January 30, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone.

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Some Knights alumni news to report.

Alums Andrew Susac (2009) and Matt Duffy (2010) are ranked No. 1 and No. 9, respectively, by Baseball America on its list of prospects in the San Francisco Giants organization. Susac is a catcher, Duffy a shortstop/second baseman.

That is actually kind of strange, however. Both players finished the 2014 season in the majors, were on San Francisco's roster throughout the playoffs and even appeared in their World Series win over Kansas City. So we are not exactly sure why they are regarded as prospects, and not major-leaguers.

Be that as it may, congrats to both players. Susac played at Oregon State, Duffy at Long Beach State.

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Alum Bud Norris (2005) of the Baltimore Orioles recently made a $5,000 gift for a baseball student-athlete nutrition plan at Cal Poly, his alma mater. The Major League Baseball Players Association matched the gift. Norris played for the Knights before his junior year at Cal Poly. He was drafted the following June by Houston in the 6th round as the 189th overall selection, and began his pro career.

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Former Walla Walla general manager Zachary Fraser will assume the same role with the Yakima Valley Pippins this season, the team has announced. Both teams are run by the same ownership group, Pacific Baseball Ventures. Here is more on that story, from the Yakima Herald-Republic newspaper.

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We were unable to link this story from the Kitsap Sun newspaper on the plans new owner Matt Acker has for the Kitsap Blue Jackets last fall, but now it's available. He has high hopes for the franchise, one of the oldest in the WCL, and we wish him the best.

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That is all for today. Have a weekend.


Bud Norris signs with Orioles

January 27, 2015

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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Some Knights alumni news to report.

The Baltimore Orioles have signed alum Bud Norris (2005) to a new deal, one year for $8.8 million. He's one of our notable Cal Poly alums. Bud was 15-8, 3.65 for the Birds in 2014, with 139 strikeouts in 165.1 innings.

Here is more on that story, from MLB.com. Congrats to Bud, who was all-West Coast League for us.

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The San Diego Padres have invited alum Rocky Gale (2007, 2009) of the University of Portland to their major-league camp as a non-roster invite. He hit a career-high .303 last season at triple-A El Paso, with no homers and 35 RBIs in 77 games.

Also, infielder Brent Morel (2006, 2007), the first Corvallis Knight to make the major leagues, has been invited to spring training by Pittsburgh, also as a non-roster invitee. He split time between the Pirates and triple-A Indianapolis in 2014. He hit .179 with four RBIs in 23 games for the Pirates and .271 with four homers and 53 RBIs in 92 games at Indianapolis.

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The Bellingham Bells have signed three players from Chico State University to the 2015 roster. They are pitchers A.J. Epstein and Hunter Haworth and outfielder Alex Michaels, a former Knights (2012) who played at Cal Poly before transferring. Here is more on that story, from the Our Sports Central website.

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The Walla Walla Sweets have made some moves as well, adding first baseman Dominic Lopez of Texas A&M Corpus Christi and pitcher Sam Hellinger of College of San Mateo to their 2015 roster. Here is more on that story, from the Our Sports Central website.

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That is all for today. Have a day and we will see you on Friday.


Padres release RHP Max Beatty

January 25, 2015

Happy Monday, everyone. It was a great weekend in Corvallis and we hope it was in your neck of the woods, too.

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Some Knights alumni news to report.

The San Diego Padres have released pitcher Max Beatty (2010-12), a Pacific Lutheran product who recovered from cancer to become a mainstay on our 2011 and 2012 clubs. Max was drafted by San Diego in 2013 and spent the past two years in Class A, where he was 2-3 in 39 games, with a 4.87 ERA, one save and 52 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. Max played with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League last summer.

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The Chicago White Sox have signed free-agent second baseman Drew Garcia (2007), a UC Riverside product who was a member of our first team in Corvallis.

Drew was drafted by the White Sox in 2008 and then played six years in their farm system before being traded to Colorado during the 2013 season. He spent last year at triple-A Colorado Springs in the Pacific Coast League and hit .237 in 96 games, with four homers and 36 RBIs.

Drew is a lifetime .250 hitter in 734 minor-league games, with 44 homers and 366 RBIs. He will most likely start the year with Charlotte in the triple-A International League.

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The Miami Marlins have released pitcher Justin Hepner, a San Diego State product who pitched briefly for us in 2011. He made two appearances for the Gulf Coast League Marlins last year and had no record and a 12.37 ERA in three games.

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The Adelaide Bite, coached by Knights' skipper Brooke Knight, have clinched first place and the #1 seed in the upcoming Australian Baseball League playoffs. They finished with a 32-16 record, four games better than second-place Perth. Adelaide will play the winner of the Perth-Sydney series for the championship. The playoffs start Friday.

Knight coached Perth to the 2011 and 2012 ABL championships. He took 2013 off, then was hired by Adelaide early in the 2014 season and returned there this year.

Here is a roundup of former Knights in the ABL:

ROCKY GALE (2007, 2009, Adelaide) : The former Portland catcher hit .275 (20-75) in 23 games, with no homers and nine RBIs. Gale is now back in the United States, preparing for spring training; he is in the San Diego minor-league system. He hit almost .300 at triple-A El Paso in 2014.

COLIN FELDTMAN (2013, Adelaide) : The former Portland pitcher is 0-0, 9.58 in seven games, with 15 strikeouts in 10.1 innings. He is back on the active roster.

LIAM BARON (2008-09, Perth) : The former Linn-Benton CC and Gonzaga pitcher is 0-0, 0.68 in six appearances, with eight strikeouts in 13.1 innings. He is a Perth native and a many-year veteran of the Heat.

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That is all for today. Have a day and we will see you on Wednesday.


Van Vleet added to Board of Directors

January 23, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone.

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More Knights news to report.

The Knights have added four people to our Board of Directors. Most recognizable to Corvallis fans is Jaimie Van Vleet, our former ticket director/director of player housing/jack of all trades down at the WWHQ.

She's done just about everything there is to do with the team since joining as an intern in 2008, and fully deserves this honor. Here is more on that story, from our website.

Congrats!

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The Yakima Valley Pippins have added two incoming freshmen at UC Riverside for the 2015 season. They've signed catcher Ryan Lillie and outfielder AJ Sawyer to their roster.

Lillie is from Vista Murrieta High School in Murrieta, Calif; Sawyer is from Temecula Valley High School, VMHS's rival. A. Here's more on that story, from Our Sports Central.

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The West Coast League-champion Bellingham Bells have added a two-game, non-league series with the San Francisco Seals on July 10 and 11. Both games will be played at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham, bringing the number of home contests to 29. please click here and read the details, from the Our Sports Central website.

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The Kelowna Falcons will play an unbalanced 54-game regular season schedule that will take them a league leading 9,239.2 kilometers (nearly 6,000 miles) throughout the Pacific Northwest. The club will play in the East Division and host 27 home games during their 15th season. Our Sports Central has all the details; just click here to read more about it.

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That is all for today. Have a great weekend and we will see you on Monday.


Knights sign Kaplan to 10-day contract

January 20, 2015

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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More signing news to report.

The Knights have signed freshman pitcher Chase Kaplan of Western Nevada (junior) College to a 10-day contract for the 2015 season. A graduate of Hillsboro High School, he played in the 2014 Reser's Oregon All-Star Series at Goss Stadium.

Kaplan is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound lefty. Ten-day signees are not guaranteed a full-time roster spot, but it's not uncommon for a 10-day signee to remain with the team the entire season.

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The Knights will celebrate our silver (25th) anniversary season in 2015 with what we're calling the start of the franchise's "Golden Era." Here is more on that story, from the Knights front office team.

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The West Coast League-champion Bellingham Bells have announced the return of two outfielders, Walker Olis of Pacific University and Aaron Stroosma of Liberty University in Virginia. For more on that story, please click here and read the details, from the Our Sports Central website.

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The Walla Walla Sweets have finalized their 2015 coaching staff. Our Sports Central has all the details; just click here to read more about it.

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That is all for today. See you on Friday.


Derrick Mahlum to return for 2015 season

January 18, 2015

Happy Monday, everyone. Hope you all had great weekends.

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More signing news to report, and another familiar face to announce.

Right-handed pitcher Derrick Mahlum of Pacific Lutheran University will return for his second season with the Knights. A 6-foot-4, 215-pound sophomore from Mill Creek, Wash., Mahlum was 2-1 with a 4.60 ERA in eight games in 2014. He had 25 strikeouts in 29.1 innings and held opponents to a .257 batting average.

He was a second-team Northwest Conference all-star as a freshman at PLU and helped lead the Lutes into the NCAA tournament. He was 7-3 with a 2.28 ERA in 11 games, with 77 strikeouts in 71 innings.

Mahlum is one of five returnees from the 2014 pitching staff, joining Angel Landazuri of UC Riverside, Merrick Patito of Chaffey College, Austin Sodders of Riverside City College and Harrison McGhee of Concordia. Alex Nesbitt, a 2013 Knight who signed to return in 2014 before being shut down for the summer, will also be back in 2015.

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Alum Chris Stewart (2001), a veteran catcher from Riverside City College and our 2001 MVP, has re-signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He inked a one-year deal for $1.25 million, a $250,000 raise from 2014.

Stewart enjoyed his best season as a major leaguer in 2014. He hit a career-best .294 (40-136) in 49 games, with no homers, 10 RBIs and his usual stellar defense as Russell Martin's backup. Martin is gone, so Stewart should see more action in 2015.

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The Adelaide Bite, managed by Corvallis skipper Brooke Knight, are all alone in first place with a 29-15 record after the latest round of games in the Australian Baseball League. They lead Perth by five games; the regular season concludes this week.

Here is a roundup of former Knights in the ABL:

ROCKY GALE (2007, 2009, Adelaide) : The former Portland catcher is hitting .275 (20-75) in 23 games, with no homers and nine RBIs. Gale is now on Adelaide's reserve roster. He is in the San Diego minor-league system. He hit almost .300 at triple-A El Paso this season.

COLIN FELDTMAN (2013, Adelaide) : The former Portland pitcher is 0-0, 10.80 in six games, with 14 strikeouts in 8.1 innings. He is back on the team's active roster.

LIAM BARON (2008-09, Perth) : The former Linn-Benton CC and Gonzaga pitcher is 0-0, 0.68 in six appearances, with eight strikeouts in 13.1 innings. He is a Perth native and a many-year veteran of the Heat.

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That is all for today. See you on Wednesday.


Holly Jones headlines the Gazette-Times

January 16, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone.

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We reported last week that the Knights have hired former intern Holly Jones (2005-07), a veteran of private business, the West Coast League and minor-league baseball, as our new Senior Vice-President of Operations. She will be responsible for event operations, marketing, ticketing, analytics and food and beverage service.

That story was front-page news in Thursday's editions of the Corvallis Gazette-Times. Please click here to read reporter James Day's story on Holly.

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Alum Marc Rzepczynski (2006), a 29-year-old lefty from UC Riverside, has re-signed with the Cleveland Indians. He inked a one-year deal for $2.4 million.

He posted a 2.74 ERA in 46 innings within a career-high 73 appearances. Rzepczynski struck out 46, walked 19 and limited lefty batters to a .180 average. Since being acquired from the Cardinals in exchange for minor league infielder Juan Herrera on July 30, 2013, Rzepczynski has posted a 2.17 ERA in 100 games for the Indians.

Rzepczynski is one of only 15 lefty pitchers in the American League to log at least that many appearances over the past two seasons and his ERA ranks first within that group. Please click here for more details, from MLB.com.

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Yet another alum will be coaching in the West Coast League this summer. The Wenatchee AppleSox have named Miles Kizer (2010), an assistant coach at Western Oregon, as an assistant under new head coach AJ Proszek.

Congrats to Miles, who played at Washington and at WOU. You can read more on that story from Our Sports Central by clicking here. Proszek succeeds longtime Wenatchee coach Ed Knaggs, who retired after the 2014 season.

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The Walla Walla Sweets have signed two players from Long Beach State for the 2015 season. They are Chris McCready, a 6-foot 1, 175-pound freshman outfielder from Valencia, Calif., and Darren McCaughan, a 6-foot 1, 175-pound right-handed pitcher from Downey, Calif., and Los Alamitos High School. Here is more on that story, also from Our Sports Central.

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That is all for today. Have a great weekend and we will see you again on Monday.


Perez, Choate named top-100 senior prospects by Perfect Game

January 13, 2015

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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Big news for alum Jorge Perez of Grand Canyon University, a key starter/reliever on our 2013 West Coast League championship team and our 2012 WCL runner-up.

Jorge has been named the No. 2 senior prospect for the 2015 MLB draft by Perfect Game in its list of the top 100 college senior candidates for this June's MLB draft. He was 1-6 with a 3.43 ERA in 14 games last season, with 38 strikeouts in 63 innings. Obviously the scouts can look past his stats to see what a good pitcher Jorge is.

Jorge was selected by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 2014 draft as the 902nd overall pick, but did not sign.

Washington senior reliever Brandon Choate (2013-14), an all-WCL player the past two seasons, is also on the list. We are not sure where, however, since it's a pay site and we were unable to access the entire article. Brandon was 4-1, 2.54 in 21 games in 2014, with 24 strikeouts in 28.1 innings. He held opponents to a .221 batting average.

Congrats to both players. I'm sure we will be reading about them in the 2015 draft.

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The Victoria HarbourCats have signed five players from the Northwest Athletic Conference (formerly the NWAACC) for the 2015 season. They are John Naff, an outfielder/first baseman from Everett College; Jamie Umbinetti, an infielder from Edmonds Community College; Curtis Bafus, a right-handed pitcher from Everett College; Matt Fish, a left-handed pitcher from Pierce Community College, and Kyle Francis, a right-handed pitcher from Everett College.

Francis and Bafus are freshmen; Umbinetti, Fish and Naff are sophomores. You can click right here for more information, from the Our Sports Central website.

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The Klamath Falls Gems have added Bryce Mallory, a native of nearby Weed, Calif., to their front office. He has a Sports Management degree from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kan.

He has resigned from the Weed Police Department, where he was a Community Service Officer, so he can work in his chosen career field and begin immediately with the Gems. Please click right here for more details on that story, from the Our Sports Central website.

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That is all for today. Have a great day and we will see you again on Friday.


Knights open regular season on June 3

January 9, 2015

Happy Friday, everyone. We have a busy weekend on tap but for many of you, it's the end of the work week and that is always worth celebrating!

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As you may have read on the homepage, the Knights have finalized our 2015 schedule. We start on June 3 against the Portland Sea Dogs on Science, Art and Engineering Day at Goss Stadium, and close the regular season with an Aug. 9 afternoon home game against Medford. Playoffs follow, and we plan to be there, too.

Fireworks are schedule for June 20, July 3 and Aug. 8. The rest of our promotional schedule will be released shortly and you can be sure we will have something going on every night. Plus, the new "Banners" hospitality deck will be open out in left field and that sounds like a lot of fun.

For the complete schedule, please click here and read the story from our web site. See you at Goss Stadium!

Also here is the official WCL release on the schedule, with a team-by-team chart of who plays who, and where and when.

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Former Knights' shortstop Peter Van Gansen (2013) of Cal Poly will return to the La Crosse (Wisc.) Express of the Northwoods League this summer, the team announced. PVG was all-WCL for our 2013 championship team and also had a great season in the Northwoods League in 2014.

Please click right here for more details on that story, from the La Crosse website. Best of luck to Peter, another in the long line of Cal Poly standouts for the Knights.

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Former Knights' intern Mariah Ellis (2011), a member of our first class from the OSU College of Business, was recently named an account services representative at Nike, working with Foot Locker.

She had been a Nike Soccer Account Service Representative for PRO Unlimited of Beaverton since July, 2014. COB intern classmate Erica Hohlt also works at Nike.

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Infielder Dustin Breshears of Gonzaga and outfielder Lou Della Fera of Maine will return to Bellingham to play with the Bells this summer. Both were key members of the 2014 Bells team that defeated the Knights 2-1 in the WCL Championship Series. For more details, please click here to read a story from the Bellingham website.

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That is all for today. Have a great weekend and we will see you again on Monday.


Holly Jones rejoins the hometown team

January 7, 2015

Happy Wednesday, everyone.

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As you may have read on the homepage, the Knights added a major piece to the front-office staff earlier this week with the addition of former West Coast League Executive of the Year and minor-league management veteran Holly Jones.

A former Knights' staffer from 2005-07 as a University of Oregon undergraduate, the Churchill High School graduate will serve as our new Senior Vice-President of Operations, responsible for event operations, marketing, ticketing, analytics and food and beverage service.

For more details on that story, please click here and read the story from our web site.

Welcome back to the team, Holly!

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Former Knights' player (2006, 2008-09) and assistant coach (2010-11, 2013) Billy Clontz will return for his second season as manager of the WCL's Kelowna Falcons, the team announced recently.

The Falcons were 14-39 overall and ended the 2014 season on a 12-game losing streak, numbers he hopes to reverse in 2015. Former Knights' Players of the Year Richie Jimenez (2009) and Dylan Jones (2010) were his assistant coaches in 2015; it's not known yet if they will return for another summer in Canada.

Please click right here for more details on that story, from the Kelowna website.

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The Seattle Mariners Winter Caravan will be in Victoria on Wednesday, Jan. 21, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Scheduled guests are broadcaster Dave Sims; mascot the Mariner Moose; current pitchers James Paxton and Charlie Furbush, and former pitcher Steve Sinclair.

Paxton played in the WCL for Kelowna in 2007. For more details, please click here to read a story from the Victoria website that also includes news on recent moves in the team's front office.

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The M's Caravan will also be at Pybus Market in Wenatchee for a free event from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 13 to promote the organization and upcoming 2015 Major League Baseball season.

The Mariners will be represented by Danny Farquhar, Dominic Leone and James Jones. Broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith and the Mariner Moose will also be there. You can click here for more information from the Wenatchee website.

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That is all for today. See you on Friday!