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Knights Daily Update

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.


Five Knights among top MLB prospects

September 20, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone.

Did some checking on MLB.com today and found that five Corvallis Knights alums are ranked among the top 20 prospects in their respective major league organizations.

Here's a rundown of each player, and MLB's evaluation. The first number in parethesis is where the player ranked after the 2013 season; the second is where he ranked before the season.

* MITCH HANIGER (2010), BREWERS (12, 11):"The Brewers kept on drafting bats in 2012, taking this Cal Poly product in the sandwich round. His pro debut was cut short by a knee injury, but he is healthy and ready to show he's the kind of college bat that can move quickly through a system.

"Improved plate discipline helped him tremendously during his junior season, allowing him to tap into his above-average power more consistently and be a better all-around hitter. There will be some swing-and-miss to his game, but it looks like there should be walks, long balls and enough hitting ability to make him a regular.

"Haniger played center field in college, and that's where he played during his brief time on the field for the Brewers in 2012, but most see him shifting over to right, where his strong arm and offensive profile should play just fine."

* MATT ANDRIESE, PADRES (19, NR): "After a successful professional debut in 2011 at short-season Eugene, Andriese continued the impressive start to his career at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore last year. He led the California League with a 3.58 ERA, and ranked second in the Padres system with 131 strikeouts.

"Andriese mixes his low-90s fastball with a curveball, slider and split-change. All four of his pitches have a chance to be at least average Major League offerings, and he commands all of them for strikes. If Andriese continues to refine his delivery, he profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter."

* ANDREW SUSAC (2009), GIANTS (15, 17): "The Northern California native got to play at home during his first full season of pro ball, going straight to San Jose in the California League after getting first-round money as a second-round pick in 2011. The Oregon State product has the skill set to be a solid all-around backstop.

"His best tool is his power and it's legitimate, though it didn't show up during his 2012 season. He moves well behind the plate and was able to throw out 32 percent of would-be basestealers. Look for him to get lessons from the lumps he took in 2012 and carry them over for a stronger 2013."

* JOSH OSICH (2008), GIANTS (20, NR): "Osich was a starter at Oregon State and threw a no-hitter to beat UCLA and Trevor Bauer in 2011. He has battled injuries throughout his career and underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010. His health issues scared teams again on the eve of the 2011 draft when he was pulled from his start in the NCAA Tournament after one inning because of elbow and back discomfort.

"Osich has major league stuff when he's healthy and could be a starter. His injury history, however, makes him a better fit in the bullpen, where his power arsenal makes him a potential high-impact reliever. Osich throws his fastball in the upper-90s and mixes it with a solid slider and changeup. He reached Double-A Richmond this year and is moving quickly toward San Francisco."

* TYLER ANDERSON (2009), ROCKIES (5, 6): "The Oregon product spent his first full season of pro ball pitching in the bandbox that is Asheville's home stadium and ended up leading the organization in ERA and finishing second in batting average against. An advanced college lefty, he could start moving quickly now with a four-pitch mix at his disposal.

"His fastball is average, but he works it to both sides of the plate effectively, working quickly to throw strike one. His changeup is outstanding, an above-average offspeed pitch with sink. He throws a slider and a curve, with the former a touch better than the latter, and he mixes all his pitches well with a fairly deceptive delivery. His ceiling is limited, but he could fly up the ladder to the big leagues in a hurry now."

It sounds as if we've got some alums who have major-league futures. We'll be watching!

You can click here to access MLB's complete Prospect Watch.

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Here's one final story about Yakima's entrance into the West Coast League, from KIMA TV in that fair city. Voting for the new team's nickname begins today on its website, Yakimabaseball.com. Your choices are Pippins, Cascaders; Sun Rays; Red Tails, and Short Hops. My guess is Red Tails or Short Hops will win.

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That's all for this week. Have a great weekend, Go Beavs! and we'll see you on Monday.


Knights continue to sign prime Northwest Conference talent

September 19, 2013

Our recent signing of Linfield junior Chris Haddeland, the 2013 Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year, continues our history of landing the top talent from one of the premier NCAA Division III leagues in the country.

In fact, Haddeland is the third consecutive NWC Pitcher of the Year to play for the Corvallis Knights. Alum Rob Dittrick (2012) of Pacific University won the award in 2011; Brian Ranta (2011) of George Fox University won the award in 2012.

Several NWC Players of the Year have also suited up for the Knights since we moved to Corvallis for the 2007 season. Outfielder Matt Wyckoff of George Fox, the 2009 NWC Player of the Year, was a mainstay on our 2007 and 2008 clubs. And 2008 NWC Player of the Year Kyle Stalker of Willamette was a key member of our 2008 WCL championship team.

PLU pitchers Max Beatty and Nathan Eisenhauer and infielders Corey Moore of PLU and Taylor Hunter of George Fox also were NWC all-stars and Knights.

And former Linfield star Alex Justis, the 2005 co-NWC Pitcher of the Year, and ex-PLU star Joe DiPietro, the 2006 and 2007 NWC Pitcher of the Year, each played for the old Aloha Knights.

Of course, we have great connections in the NWC. Former Knights' superstars and coaches Geoff Loomis and Randy Rutschman are the head coach at PLU and a top assistant at George Fox, respectively.

And with the signing of Haddeland and sophomore outfielder Jimmy Cleary, we're establishing a relationship with coach Scott Brosius at Linfield. We also signed Wildcat pitcher Zach Manley in 2012, but he missed the summer with an arm injury.

Here's to the NWC!

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We mentioned on Wednesday the five finalists for the new nickname of the Yakima franchise, which starts playing in 2014. They are Pippins; Cascaders; Sun Rays; Red Tails, and Short Hops.

Fan voting starts on Friday at the Yakima website. As they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often!

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Our commemorative West Coast League championship t-shirts continue to fly out the door. To check out the two color options 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 and XXXL. 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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Speaking of signings, here's what our 2014 club looks like so far:

* RHP Chris Haddeland, Linfield junior.

* RHP Sean Eberhardt, George Fox junior.

* LHP Jordan Spencer, Oregon junior.

* LHP Joey Wise, Grand Canyon freshman.

* OF Jimmy Cleary, Linfield sophomore. #

* INF Ray Ayo, Lane CC freshman. #

NOTE: # = 10-day signing.

We'll announce more signings as fall progresses. There's sure to be more familiar names in our future signees to accompany Eberhardt, a returnee from our 2013 championship team.

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No news from around the WCL, so we'll close. See you on Friday!