Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gaucho Marks - April 23rd edition

Andrew Calica utilizing his tractor beam in centre field
Future HarbourCat Andrew Calica continues to be a steady influence at the plate and a sparkling presence in the field (more on that later!). Over the last seven games, Calica's UCSB Gauchos are a pedestrian 4-3, taking two of three from Cal State Fullerton, dropping two of three to Long Beach State and winning a singleton against BYU. This stretch has seen the Gauchos fall out of the Top 25 for the first time in a while.

Calica has had some ups and downs at the plate, but overall remains pretty solid, hitting about .270 during this latest span. This puts his season average at .336 which is good enough for fourth on the team. Highlights include a three for three day against BYU (which included a bunt single) and a two for six day against Cal State Fullerton. He is second on the team in runs scored (24) and hits (41) and still maintains an OPS above .800. Net, the guy's got game and even during his team's mini-slump, he's still faring pretty well.

In the field though, Calica remains as slick as a dab of Brylcreem (look it up!). In the first victory over the Titans, the teams were tied at two in the seventh when, with one out, CSF smashed a frozen rope into AC's patch of land. Sure that it would drop, their runner on second started busting for home but Calica made a diving catch, doubling off the unsuspecting-but-now-believing runner to preserve the tie and allow the Gauchos to pull it out in the bottom of the ninth. His fielding percentage remains untarnished and although I have not yet seen him play, all accounts seem to indicate that he has a tractor beam around him, not only catching what comes to him, but catching balls that he has no business getting to.

Putting all this together, I'm seeing the HarbourCat's starting centre fielder who will maybe start batting deep in the order but eventually settle into the number two spot where he belongs. Whatever the case, I suspect he will be an everyday player for the 'Cats and should be fun to watch.

I know it is only April, but the days are getting longer and I can't help but dream of baseball days ahead. Only 44 more sleeps.


HarbourCatNip
  • OSU Beaver and future HarbourCat slugger Gabe Clark has had an up and down couple of weeks but is back in the line-up in his regular designated hitter/first base role. Clark went six for twelve (.500) last week as OSU took two of three from Washington State. This was highlighted by a four for five performance where he rocked the Casbah with four RBI's and two doubles. Last night Clark went hitless in four at bats in a 7-6 loss to Sacramento State, whom they are playing again this evening. I'm seeing Clark as a probable starter for the 'Cats, most likely as DH and playing the odd game at first base. I'm thinking he will hit five or six in the lineup.
  • Utah hurler Bret Helton has not had a start in the past couple of weeks and has only pitched two thirds of an inning in two appearances. In his total of 17 pitches, he gave up one hit, no runs and one free pass. Utah seems to be exercising all the arms in their possession, maybe trying to find some chemistry in what is turning out to be a losing campaign. Helton has not had an at bat in the last two weeks.
  • Fellow Ute and my prediction to be the 'Cats starting right fielder, Wyler Smith, is only one of three Utah players to start every game this year. While he is only hitting .238, no one on the Utes is hitting above .276, so his spot seems secure. In the past six games, Smith has gone a respectable .240 and is riding a 5 game hitting streak that includes two triples. In his last hitless game (almost two weeks ago), he laid down a sacrifice bunt in the 13th inning to advance what turned out to be the winning run in a rare Utah win.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 promotions announced

Fireworks at RAP are always a big draw
The Victoria HarbourCats have released their promotional schedule for the 2014 season and there’s something on the jam-packed baseball calendar for just about everyone.

On the baseball side of things it was revealed that the Cats will play a second exhibition game against the Langley Sr. Blaze. We were aware that the two teams would face off in Duncan on Sunday June 22nd, but we now know that they will also play each other the night before at RAP. The pair of games will be an excellent test for our young HarbourCats.

The big news on the promotional side is that there will indeed be a Harvey the HarbourCat Bobblehead Night. The first 1,500 fans through the gates on Friday July 18th will receive a free bobblehead of the best mascot in Victoria. You can expect a big lineup outside RAP well before the gates open on that night. As we reported earlier, the Kelly Norris-Jones bobblehead night is set for Tuesday June 17th, but only 1,000 of those collectors’ items will be available.

Other promotions that caught my eye include Baseball Card Giveaway Day on Friday July 25th, a $25,000 pitch contest on Sunday August 3rd and fireworks nights on June 30th and August 9th. Fan appreciation day on Sunday August 10th will also feature the grand prize of the season-long Getaway Day promotion -- a trip for two to Seattle to see the Mariners play the Jays the following day. This doozy of a prize includes transportation via the Clipper, two nights in a hotel and tickets for the August 11th game at Safeco Field.

Victoria baseball cards are back!
We’ll also see the return of the the Winning Wednesdays promotion that sees Spinnaker’s Beer (Mmmmmmmm, Kolsch) on sale for $5. This year there will be four of these events and due to the unbalanced schedule they will take place on the first four Wednesdays of the season (June 11th, June 18th, June 25th and July 2nd). This promotion wasn't a huge draw last season and I’m not expecting things to be much different this year -- Wednesday isn't exactly a big party night and the discount isn't significant enough to bring in hundreds of extra fans either. Personally, I’d much rather see a version of the wildly popular Thirsty Thursday promotion that targets the young party crowd with $3 or $4 beer, but we are in straight-laced Victoria after all. At least we are making baby steps in the right direction.

It was also announced that fans will be able to buy discounted General Admission tickets for the bleachers along the right field line at any 7-11 store in Greater Victoria. This is a great idea -- not only do fans on a tight budget get a chance to see the HarbourCats but it’s also great exposure for the team to have their tickets available in so many stores. And yes, the price for these seats is 7 dollars and 11 cents (although sticklers will point out that with the penny retired it’s technically $7.10).

Overall, the promotional schedule for 2014 is significantly better than it was in the HarbourCats’ inaugural season. Hats off to the marketing staff in the HarbourCats front office for a job well done. It should be a great season... and it starts in only 51 days!!

HarbourCatNip
  • Single-game tickets go on sale on April 19th at 10 a.m.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Conant, DeGoti and Lombana returning to H-Cats

Bryan Conant. Photo by Bubba.
The HarbourCats announced earlier today that three players from last year’s roster will be returning to Victoria this summer. Bryan Conant, Alex DeGoti and Logan Lombana will all be paying a return visit to the Garden City in 2014.

As far as improving the team goes, “Conant the Barbarian” is the most important signing of the three. The big lefty was the ace of Victoria’s pitching staff last year, compiling a record of 4-1 with an outstanding 1.81 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. While the 2014 roster has been loaded with offensive talent for some time, Conant’s return will go a long way towards shoring up the team’s starting rotation. He is eligible for this June’s MLB draft, so there is a chance that he could turn pro instead of returning to the HarbourCats.

DeGoti hit .286 with three homers and 21 RBI last summer and he played a key offensive role at the top of the batting order. His on-base percentage of .370 ranked fourth on the team, behind only Ty Russell (.485), Alex Real (.402) and Austin Russell (.376). DeGoti has struggled with the Long Beach State Dirtbags this spring, hitting only .200 with no homers and four RBI in 45 at-bats.

Lombana, a teammate of DeGoti's at Long Beach State, went 2-2 last summer with a 6.00 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. He has a 4.72 ERA and 1.28 WHIP pitching out of the Dirtbags bullpen this spring.

HarbourCatNip
Charlie Strandlund. Photo by Gus.
  • Chris Lindmark and Victoria’s Charlie Strandlund were named assistant coaches on Friday and they’ll join Ben Jackson on Bob Miller’s staff. 
  • Local baseball fans will remember Strandlund from his 2010 season with the Victoria Seals, especially the day he played all nine positions in a GBL game. Strandlund is also a former collegiate player and he has also been hugely successful in senior men’s baseball at the national level. He’s currently scheduled to suit up for all home games. 
  • Lindmark used to play for Bob Miller at Cuesta College before transferring to Grand Canyon University. In an unlikely coincidence, he is a former teammate of current HarbourCat Kelly Norris-Jones. Lindmark will be coaching both home and away games.
  • Both Conant and DeGoti were named All-WCL Second Team last summer (Alex Real earned All-WCL First Team and Ty Provencher received All-WCL Honourable Mention).

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Seat selection day is this Saturday at RAP

The Victoria HarbourCats have released further ticket details for the 2014 season.

Bucket seats at RAP!
The team also announced that they will be holding a seat selection day this Saturday for season ticket and flex pack holders. This will be the first-ever true SEAT (not bench) selection day at RAP, since the City of Victoria has recently finished installing over 1,500 bucket seats. Only the silver General Admission (upper) benches now lack seat backs.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are on sale now, but there is also a new Fireworks Four-Pack that is available starting on Saturday (for one week only). The four-pack includes the first three home games of the year and the first fireworks night (June 30th).

Single-game tickets will go on sale on April 19th at 10 a.m. Ticket prices are in line with last year’s pricing, but there are only two price levels -- reserved seats for $14.50 (all have seat backs) and the cheaper GA option for $9.50 (only sections 6 and 7 have seat backs). Children and seniors also get a $1 discount. Considering the high quality of West Coast League baseball, HarbourCats fans will be getting great value for their money.

HarbourCatNip
  • The HarbourCats released Mike Gershman on Monday. The current roster sits at 32 players: 13 pitchers, 3 catchers, 7 infielders and 9 outfielders.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gaucho Marks - April 9th edition

Baseball America Top 25 as of April 7
After a brief stint hitting leadoff, UCSB's Andrew Calica has settled back into hitting in the number six spot. Lately though, he has been struggling a bit going three for 25 over his last seven games with eight strikeouts and four walks. He is still hitting a very respectable .354 (well above the .307 team batting average) and has a .867 OPS, so it's not like the guy isn't contributing offensively. In fact, the Gauchos have gone 3-4 over that stretch and dropped to #22 in the Baseball America rankings so he is not alone in his struggles.

To put it in perspective though, the last three games (they went 1-2) were against Cal Poly who is currently ranked fourth in the country, so it's not like the games aren't tough either. It seems like the whole team is trying to find their groove again after their sizzling hot streak earlier in the year. Things don't get much easier as they head into a three game set this weekend with #18 Cal State Fullerton.

While Calica may still be finding his way at the plate a bit, he remains a stalwart in the field. In 78 total chances, he has still not made an error and showcased this talent late in a tight game last week against Hawaii. Clinging to a one run lead in the eighth, Hawaii loaded the bases with one out and then smacked a liner to our boy AC. Calica snagged it and then gunned out the foolish Rainbow Warrior who was trying to tag up from third. Double play, inning over.

He is also stealing bases at a steady rate when he does get on, putting constant pressure on opposing pitchers. So far this year, Calica has stolen nine bases in eleven attempts which is not bad at all. He's no Billy Hamilton (can you tell I'm a Reds fan??) or even Luis Jimenez (heh heh!) but still makes hurlers pay attention to him when he is on the pads.

HarbourCatNip
  • Our boy Gabe Clark of the sixth ranked Oregon State Beavers is also having a down cycle and has started only two of the past seven games, going two for six. He has been used a couple of times as a pinch hitter but has yet to collect a hit in three at bats. The Beavers have gone 6-1 over this stretch and Clark's average has dropped to just below .300, but here's to hoping he is back in the lineup as a regular soon.
  • With a lot of future 'Cats on these highly-ranked teams, I suspect we will not be seeing a full roster until after the College World Series has concluded. All of our lads will stay with these teams until they are eliminated, which does, however, open the door for some of the 10-day contract dudes to strut their stuff.
  • One of those teams who will not be making a run into the College World Series is the Utah Utes, who have only won two of their last 15 games and are 11-19 overall. Pitcher Bret Helton has pitched twice since we last checked in on him and been chased early both times. In an 8-7 loss to Cal, Helton only went two and two thirds giving up seven hits and four runs (all earned) and most recently went four innings, again giving up seven hits and four runs (only two earned) while striking out one and walking four in those two starts. He has only had one recent plate appearance (as a pinch hitter) and did not register a hit.
  • Fellow Ute Wyler Smith has moved around in right and centre field and continues to get regular starts batting in the number four, five or six spot. Over the last seven games, he has hit only .185 (five for 27) but the good news is that after three hitless games, Smith has now hit safely in his last three games so appears to be headed in a positive direction.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner - 10-day contract edition

Normally our HarbourCanucks Corner blog post features the Canadians who have been signed to full-season contracts, but this update focuses on the five Canucks who have been signed to 10-day contracts. While it’s unclear how long these guys will spend with the HarbourCats this summer, they will likely play an important role in the early going.

Darren Honeysett has been the regular centre fielder for Monterey Peninsula College, but the versatile Canadian has also seen time in left field, first base and even the second sack. The sophomore from Port Coquitlam is hitting .279 with no homers and 15 RBI in 104 at-bats for the Lobos (not to be confused with the University of New Mexico Lobos). Honeysett has shown good strike-zone judgement and he sports a tidy .389 on-base percentage. Perhaps his most impressive statistic so far is his team-leading 10 stolen bases in only 11 attempts.

Nanaimo’s Alex Rogers has been the top starter in the Trinidad State Junior College (Colorado) rotation so far this season. The freshman pitcher has reeled off four good starts in a row and now holds a 2.78 ERA and 1.35 WHIP over 45 ⅓ innings pitched. Rogers hasn't struck out very many guys (5.0 K/9), but he has shown excellent control (2.0 BB/9) for the Trojans.

Victoria Eagles product Eric Hegadoren has been hampered by injuries this spring with the College of the Canyons (Santa Clarita, California). The 6’ 10” freshman got into his second game of the season this week, and he has walked three and struck out three in 1 ⅓ scoreless innings on the hill.

Former Victoria Mariner Matt Bryan has been the regular left fielder at Treasure Valley Community College (Ontario, Oregon) this spring. The sophomore is hitting .209 with no homers and 7 RBI in 43 at-bats, but Bryan has shown a keen batting eye and has an excellent .407 on-base percentage. He has also played error-free baseball in the 16 games in which he has appeared.

Mike Gershman has posted a 5.40 ERA in 25 innings pitched as a junior at Valley City State University. Gershman has been hit relatively hard, but he has shown excellent control. The versatile Manitoban has also hit .260 with two homers and 14 RBI in 73 at-bats.

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Jordan Smith
  • Jordan Smith has been hired as the new voice of the Victoria HarbourCats. Smith has been the play-by-play man for the Victoria Cougars junior hockey team for the past four years and he was also the PA announcer for UVic basketball games this season. You can follow him on Twitter at @VicPlayByPlay.
  • Griffin Andreychuk registered a four-hit game on March 29th and has managed to raise his batting average from .160 to .263 over the last couple of weeks. Andreychuk is back to being the team’s starting shortstop, but unfortunately his fielding remains inconsistent (.881 fielding percentage in 20 games).
  • Former Victoria Eagle Brandon Feldman made his first two starts of the season in late March and only gave up one earned run in 9 innings pitched. He now has a sparkling 0.82 ERA with 10 strikeouts and 5 walks in 11 innings on the hill this season. Feldman, who can also play in the outfield and both corner infield positions, hasn't made any plate appearances since March 16th and is hitting .167 in 24 at-bats.
  • Kelly Norris Jones has been limited to one at-bat since March 22nd, a double on Friday. He’s hitting .190 in only 21 at-bats this season. The Fighting Illini’s starting catcher (Jason Goldstein) is leading the team in hitting, so it has been tough for Norris-Jones to get any playing time.
  • Seattle U’s Will Dennis had an outing for the ages on Saturday afternoon, especially considering the fact that he has been used exclusively as a short reliever this year. The lefty sidearmer entered the game with a couple of runners on in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Redhawks knotted in a 3-3 tie with Sacramento State. Not only did he induce an inning-ending double play, but Dennis went on to pitch EIGHT outstanding innings of relief. Unfortunately, he eventually gave up a run in the bottom of the 15th to take the loss. His line for the day? A slick 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. Remarkably, Dennis only needed 64 pitches to get through those eight innings. Opponents are hitting a feeble .215 against him this season.
  • In spite of hitting .356 on the season, freshman Hunter Mercado-Hood hasn't been able to claim much playing time of late. In the last two weeks, Mercado-Hood has been relegated to pinch-hit and DH duties and has gone two-for-six with an RBI. His on-base percentage is .457 in 59 at-bats this season.
  • Sophomore infielder Bryce Greager has received four starts at DH over the last couple of weeks for the University of Nevada, going 3-for-14 in that span. He is now hitting .243 in 37 at-bats, but he has a respectable .333 on-base percentage.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Teen Wolf III : RAP Summer

With an obligatory shout-out to BC native Michael J. Fox (and a catchy idea for a sequel), the latest player announcement includes a third member of the University of New Mexico Lobos coming to Victoria this year.

Pitcher Preston Ryan will join OF Danny Collier, and fellow mound-master Carson Schneider on the journey to Victoria this summer. The three young wolves should feel right at home with some built-in camaraderie by the time they get here...

Danny Collier continues to produce excellent offensive and defensive numbers. He's hitting .341 through 24 games, slugging .400. Just as impressive, he's still sporting a 1.000 fielding percentage. Collier also has an incredible consistency streak going, reaching base safely in 22 straight games.

Carson Schneider also continues to shine out of the pen. Schneider was finally tagged with his first earned run of the season this week to move his ERA off the 0.00 mark. It was the first time he had been asked to work an extended stint, going 2.1 innings. He ended up being credited with his first win of the season though, so he'll probably take the blemish! His next outing saw him go 2.2 innings, once again giving up no earned runs. He leads Lobos pitchers who have tossed more than 10 innings, with a stingy 0.82 ERA.

Leading Lobos: Danny Collier / Carson Schneider in action
These two are really impressing Lobos staff and fans alike. Both freshmen, both from the same local high school, and both having a fantastic year. Here's hoping they both have a great summer as well...

Another freshman pitcher, Preston Ryan is off to a slower start - he's started 3 games so far, but has yet to make it out of the early innings. His 11.58 ERA is actually on the decline though - his last start saw him go 4.1 innings with 4 strikeouts, giving up 5 runs.

The Lobos will have a tough weekend of ball, with the Jacksonville State Gamecocks bringing their mostly senior-filled roster to Lobo field. Should be some great ball - don't forget you can watch their games live on the interweb here.  Pretty sure "Gamecocks" was left off the list of potential team names when we chose HarbourCats. Just as well, I can't imagine what our mascot would have looked like...

HarbourCatNip

Pepperdine 'Cats Aaron Barnett and Devin Carter had strong weeks as well. Barnett came out of a mini-slump to raise his average back to .346, while Carter has been moved off the bench and into the DH and LF roles. Starting the last five games, his extra playing time has helped at the plate - he's raised his average to a respectable .294.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jimenez no more

April disappointment - Luis Jimenez shuns 'Cats for the "pong"
The amazing case of Luis Jimenez has taken yet another remarkable turn. Just days after his interest in signing with the HarbourCats was confirmed, Jimenez has decided to give up baseball all together and throw himself into his second love - competitive ping pong. Word has it that this was a tough decision, and he was helped through it by a close family friend - Sidd Finch - who now resides in Iceland in a remote suburb of Reykjavik. 
 
This could also be confirmed by taking the first letter from every paragraph of Tuesday's post to unveil this hidden message (!).

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

HarbourCats roster comes into focus

Andrew Nelson
The Victoria HarbourCats announced today that they have signed another six players for the 2014 season, boosting their roster count to 33. The latest roster additions are:

Player
Pos.
Year
2013-14 School
Jacob Hill
P
Sophomore
Orange Coast College
Andrew Nelson
P
Junior
University of Kentucky
Preston Ryan
P
Freshman
University of New Mexico
Thomas Bernal
1B
RS Junior
University of Kentucky
Ted Boeke
3B/SS
Freshman
Loyola Marymount University
Nathan Lukes
OF
Sophomore
Sacramento State

Perhaps the most significant signing in this group is starter Andrew Nelson, who has posted a sparkling 1.09
WHIP for the 22nd-ranked University of Kentucky Wildcats so far this spring. Nelson has excellent control to go along with good movement on his fast ball, and he is a potential staff ace on the HarbourCats.

Southpaw Jacob Hill has been dominant this season with Orange Coast College, posting a spectacular 0.98 WHIP and a perfect 8-0 record. He looks like a solid number two or three starter on the 2014 version of the HarbourCats, and along with Nelson and the University of Utah’s Bret Helton gives the team three very good starters.
Nathan Lukes

Sacramento State’s Nathan Lukes is a dynamic player who just may be our starting right fielder this summer. He’s an on-base machine, posting a .427 OBP in his first 104 at-bats with the Hornets this spring, so he would fit in nicely at the top of the HarbourCats batting order. Lukes led Sacramento State with seven outfield assists in his freshman season and he has three more so far this year.

In the grand scheme of things, the Victoria HarbourCats roster is really starting to round into shape. The team boasts an impressive amount of hitting, so they shouldn't have too much trouble scoring runs this summer. In fact, the Cats roster is overflowing with talented outfielders -- no less than six of our players would be a starting outfielder on most West Coast League teams (Hunter Mercado-Hood, Lukes, Andrew Calica, Danny Collier, Devin Carter and Wyler Smith). 

On the pitching side, the team’s late-inning relief looks good. Will Dennis, Quintin Torres-Costa and Carson Schneider are a fine trio of shutdown lefties. Hopefully a right-hander will emerge from the bullpen to give us a solid option from that side as well. Like just about every team in baseball, the HarbourCats could use another reliable starter or two, especially since Nelson will probably be on a playoff run with the Wildcats and arrive late for the WCL season. However, additional player signings will be announced between now and Opening Day, so there is still a decent chance that our pitching staff will be beefed up further. Put it all together, and it’s clear that the HarbourCats will improve upon the 22-32 record that they posted in their inaugural season.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The bizarre world of HarbourCat prospect Luis Jimenez

Glove of Luis "the Igniter" Jimenez after it made an error
As I was Googling batting stats over the weekend, I happened upon what I am calling a Pembroke Street miracle. It seems the HarbourCats are on the verge of signing (but not yet announcing) a relatively unknown Div III player with an astounding - hold your breath here - .734 (!) batting average. Granted, it's only in 55 at bats but over that span he has ten home runs, 15 walks and a slugging percentage over 2.000.

Panamanian by birth, Luis Bartolo Jimenez (LBJ anyone??) does not come without a downside. After doing a bit of sleuthing, it seems that Mr. Jimenez has some, shall we say, quirks. Although I cannot find a picture of him online, he supposedly has a face tattoo that makes Mike Tyson's look like a minor facial blemish. He wears bright pink batting gloves and cleats, and has a braided ponytail that hangs just above waist-level. I know this is all aesthetic, but still, come on. You know anyone else like that?

Ranked very low in the MLB scouting reports, Jimenez does not seem interested at all in changing his strange ways. He has moved between a few (two that I know of) other colleges and junior colleges always with the same result - great stats and a short tenure.

In a matter of three years, this 20 year old phenom has put up some ungodly numbers at the plate but has ultimately driven his coaches over the edge. In trading a few emails with a couple of these poor souls, it seems that he barely speaks unless asked a direct question and even then, only in Spanish. What is even more puzzling though, is the fact that if you TEXT him (number unknown or believe me, I would have tried!) he will answer immediately and in flawless English. Go figure.

Luis also has some baseball "issues" that need to be either accepted, or dealt with in a swift manner. Example...the one time he struck out in his 55 at bats (looking), he walked away from the plate and sat with his bat for the remainder of the game. Afterwards, he made his way to a local cemetery and buried it next to several others that have let him down over the years. Being 6'6" and 245 pounds of blue, twisted steel, no one has yet been able to stand in the way of this bizarre behavior.

Fielding brings with it a similar ritual. Any glove that causes him an error - he plays shortstop/2B - receives a similar fate in that it is set aside (mid-inning, if need be) and unceremoniously burned right after the game (see attached photo). Numerous team/league suspensions and warnings have had little effect on this over the years.

On the basepaths, look out, because this guy puts Cincinnati Reds prospect Billy Hamilton to shame. Running like a gazelle on speed, Jimenez has 45, count 'em 45, stolen bases so far this year. As long as there is an open base ahead of him (including home), he's going. Even though catchers have the book on him, he has only been caught once all year and in true character, he calmly detached the base from the playing field and walked it back to the dugout. Too cool!

On top of all this, he continues to lobby the league to let him wear a catcher's mitt while he is playing the middle infield. It seems he did this all through his early minor baseball career but once he hit serious baseball, the rules got in the way.

Lastly, information is very scarce for such a "colourful" individual. The couple of coaches I have emailed, say he is still worth a shot. He has been described as a "loyal teammate" and an "incredible talent". But come on, like him or not, believe in him or not, how EXCELLENT would it be to have a guy like this in a conservative city like Victoria (for the one week until he gets the boot!)?

Some dilemma, eh? Well, I for one say that he is worth the risk, so box up this Tasmanian Devil and send him to the RAP! Meanwhile, we will try and get some more specifics on any official announcement and post back soon.





Monday, March 31, 2014

Bob Miller takes over as head coach

Bob Miller
Bob Miller is now the head coach of the Victoria HarbourCats. Miller and Dennis Rogers shared the coaching duties last summer, but Rogers has informed the club that he will not be returning for the 2014 season due to family health and business reasons.

Both men are more than capable of leading a West Coast League team on their own, so I wouldn't expect the change to have a negative impact on the performance of the HarbourCats. I mean no disrespect to the highly-decorated coach Rogers, but we have been blessed by an embarrassment of riches on the coaching side of things. 

Miller’s promotion does allow for a more clear definition of responsibilities for each member of the coaching staff. There was some confusion last season about the difference between a “head coach” and a “co-head coach”, and that ambiguity even spilled over onto the playing field. Rogers was tossed from a game at Royal Athletic Park last summer for a minor transgression and was initially given a suspension by the league office because disciplinary action automatically results whenever a team official other than the head coach is ejected from a game. Since Miller handed in the lineup card that day, the umpire considered him to be the head coach, but the suspension was overturned upon appeal by the HarbourCats. You can be sure that a similar type of misunderstanding won’t happen this year, because the person running the show will be readily apparent.

Ben Jackson will also be returning as the HarbourCats’ pitching coach and an additional coach will be named in the near future. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the many capable local coaches brought on to round out the staff.

HarbourCatNip

Monday, March 24, 2014

Gaucho Marks - March 24th edition

UCSB's new lead off hitter - Andrew Calica
It was quite a weekend for future 'Cat and UCSB Gauchos centre fielder Andrew Calica who was recognized for his recent hot streak by being named the Big West Field Player of the Week. The Gauchos completed a four game sweep of Wagner College last weekend with Calica building on his solid start to the season by absolutely feasting on the WC pitching by going a combined 10 for 17, scoring five runs and knocking in five himself.

This scorching pace has seen our future centre fielder move up in the order to the lead off spot and he hasn't missed a beat. In fact, he really got into the "Rickey Henderson" mentality in the final game, swiping three bases as well. Rumour has it he was selling popcorn in between games of the previous day's double header too (OK...maybe not...but I bet he'd be salesman of the week if he did)! And remember, this guy is a just a (redshirt) freshman. Calica's average now sits at a lofty .437 which is good enough for 11th in the entire country and third in the Big West.

As well as the big stick, it seems he is patrolling center field like no one's business. He is making difficult catches while showing off the same quickness that he has shown on the bases. I know it's a small sample size, and I'm sure he'll come come back down to earth, but this guy seems like the "real deal" and I cannot wait to see him play here in Victoria. But he needs a nickname, don't you think?


HabourCatNip
  • Gabe Clark of the number 6th ranked Oregon State Beavers had a rough time at the plate this weekend, going a combined one for eleven while striking out 4 times and walking twice. He is currently hitting in the six spot in the order - twice as the DH and once playing first base. This is most likely just a lull in what started off as an excellent season for Clark and even with that, he is still hitting .321 with an OPS over .900. As well, he drove in two of the four runs in the series opener against Arizona State, setting the tone for the 4-0 victory (the only win of the 3-game set)
  • Here is a nice article from a couple of weeks ago on our boy Gabe "the Babe" Clark
  • Utah Utes Bret Helton had a solid outing against a strong (ranked number 11) Oregon side, pitching six scoreless innings before giving up the ball after allowing two hits to lead off the seventh. The Utes eventually lost 3-1 but Helton, who drops to 2-2, struck out five while walking only one while surrendering a Scrooge-like five hits. He also filled in at DH in a win over Utah Valley, going one for five batting cleanup. Looking forward to that Nesovic-like versatility.
  • Utes teammate, centre fielder Wyler Smith, had a nice week at the plate going a combined five for ten, working his way up the prestigious cleanup spot. Smith hit safely in all four Utes games, knocking out two of the three Utah hits in a heartbereaking 1-0 loss to Oregon on Friday.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner - March 23rd edition

This is our latest installment of HarbourCanucks Corner, our weekly update on the Canadians signed to full-season contracts by the Victoria HarbourCats for the summer of 2014.

Unfortunately, the four Canadians who have been inked to full-season deals continue to under-perform this spring. It will be interesting to see what happens in June, because the Cats have signed some quality players to 10-day contracts who could end up taking playing time away from the “full-season” guys if they don't turn it up a notch. No matter what happens, competition on any team is always a good thing.
Brandon Feldman

Brandon Feldman of Otero Junior College got into three games in right field against McCook (Nebraska) Community College on March 15-16 and went two-for-eight with a walk and a run scored. He’s only hitting .167 over 24 at-bats on the season, but he still sports a solid .355 on-base percentage. Feldman hasn't pitched recently and his ERA for the season remains at 0.00, although he has only pitched two innings of relief so far. It has been tough to follow his progress this season, as Otero Junior College box scores seem to take at least a week to get posted online. The Rattlers are 13-14 overall and 7-11 in conference play.

Left fielder Nick Rutckyj went 2-for-12 with two RBI and a run scored for Cuesta College this week. The freshman is hitting .167 on the season with two homers and 9 RBI in 72 at-bats. The Cougars, who are a very young squad, now hold a 5-17 record, including a 1-8 mark in conference play. With a team batting average of .212 and a team ERA of 4.63, it’s unlikely that the team will be playing much past the end of their regular season on April 24th.

After playing their first 16 games on the road, the University of Illinois finally had their home opener this past Tuesday. The Fighting Illini won four of their five home games this week to raise their overall record to 11-10. Kelly Norris-Jones caught one of the five games and went 0-for-5 at the plate to lower his batting average to .150 on the season. The University of Illinois play Purdue next weekend in their first conference games of the year.  

The University of Seattle Redhawks had the week off for final exams, but they resume play on Tuesday. Nanaimo’s Griffin Andreychuk is hitting .160 with 4 RBI in 25 at-bats so far this season. The Redhawks play their first conference games of 2014 next weekend against Texas Pan-American.

HarbourCatNip
  • Freshman Hunter Mercado-Hood has earned more playing time in right field for the USD Toreros of late. Mercado-Hood went 3-for-11 with three walks this week and was even slotted into the leadoff position for a game. The sweet-swinging HarbourCat is now hitting .358 with no homers and eight RBI in 53 at-bats. He also has an impressive .469 on-base percentage.
  • Although he is normally an infielder, Bryce Greager has been getting spot starts in right field recently with the University of Nevada. In the last couple of weeks Greager has gone 4-for-11 with two RBI to raise his batting average to .261. He also has a homer and four RBI in his 23 at-bats.
  • The expansion Yakima Valley Pippins announced that former HarbourCats broadcaster Ryan Rouillard will be the voice of the Pippins this summer. Rouillard did a great job last summer in the Cats’ inaugural season. The bloggers at the VHCBB wish him all the best in his new job. The HarbourCats are expected to name their broadcaster in the near future and they have the good fortune of being able to hire from a talented pool of local candidates.

Friday, March 21, 2014

3600 miles of HarbourCat updates

We’re another week closer to the start of the 2014 WCL season, and our boys playing Div-1 ball this spring are putting up some fabulous numbers. Let’s take a road trip around the south-west and check in on a few...

We start our journey in beautiful San Jose California. The SJ State Spartans aren't having a great year. Currently ranked #148 in the nation, they are struggling through a 6-16 season (3-6 in Mountain West Play). We’re here to watch RHP Mikey Wright. Originally a starter, Mikey has been sent to the bullpen and has seen limited action in the last couple of weeks. His 11.57 ERA and 4 losses are both team highs. Perhaps rushed into a starter role to start the season, he’s getting plenty of opportunities to work on his stuff out of the pen – he leads the Spartans with 8 appearances.


Heading down the coast to Malibu, located along a beautiful stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway just minutes from some of the best surfing beaches in the world, we find Pepperdine University. Pepperdine has produced a fair number of MLB players over the years – and an even more impressive number of Miss America/USA contestants!

The baseball program is currently ranked #48, and we’re here looking in on freshman catcher Aaron Barnett, and on sophomore outfielder Devin Carter. Barnett’s torrid pace to start the season tapered off this week – he’s currently in a 2-18 slump, but still sits second on the Waves with a .342 batting average on 26 hits. All but 2 of his hits have been singles. Carter is seeing very little playing time, going 1-2 in a couple of pinch hit appearances this week. He sits at .267 for the season.

Heading East to Albuquerque New Mexico, we find the team currently ranked #41 at 14-7 (4-2 in Mountain West). The UNM Lobos are riding a five game winning streak and are tied for second in their conference. Ex-HarbourCat Alex Real continues to impress, sitting fourth in team average at .325, while still maintaining a 1.000 fielding percentage in 20 games behind the plate. Current HarbourCat outfielder Danny Collier is building on his remarkable freshman year, although he slowed the pace this week going 5-23. He continues to hit .306 while also maintaining a perfect fielding percentage. Pitcher Carson Schneider saw limited action this week, giving up a hit against the only batter he faced, (luckily the runner was stranded). He is still sporting a 0.00 ERA, with one save.

If you want to whet your appetite for ball further, the Lobos stream each game live on the web here.

Done on the mainland, lets swing offshore to Honolulu to visit the #90 ranked Hawaii Warriors. Outfielder Alan Bladwin played in only one game this week, going 1-4, raising his average to .139. Pitcher Quintin Torres-Costa had his first mound appearance of the season, picking up a win while giving up a hit and two walks in a single inning of work. Ex HarbourCat Scott Kuzminsky continues to be solid on the mound for the Warriors, this week pitching an absolute gem 2-hit shutout against the Nevada Wolfpack.

That’s it from the road for this week. Hope you enjoyed the scenery!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

RAP ballyard to be named Sports Traders Diamond

The Victoria HarbourCats announced the signing of a four-year sponsorship agreement with Sports Traders, a local sporting goods business. The landmark deal includes naming rights to the RAP ballpark, exclusive and prominent signage in centre field, the Sports Traders logo painted on the field and the production of HarbourCats merchandise.

The deal appears to be a win for everyone involved -- the team, the local business, the city and even the fans. The HarbourCats should be commended for sourcing merchandise locally -- it helps keep profits in the community and it can only help the economy in this city. Unlike last year we might actually have have the option of buying a HarbourCats shirt that doesn't include a Nike swoosh. Most sports fans love that logo, but there are quite a few baseball fans in this town who aren't a supporter of the corporate giant, and appealing to the widest possible range of customers is always is good idea.

The deal is another feather in the cap for new GM Jim Swanson and Director of Marketing Brad Norris-Jones and another big step forward for the franchise. The naming rights component could not have been sealed without approval from the City of Victoria, and it proves once again that HarbourCats management works well with a wide range of stakeholders on southern Vancouver Island.

On a lighter note, the name Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park is an unexpected gift to bloggers and anyone with the sense of humour of a 13-year-old boy. I’m guessing that the home of the HarbourCats will soon be referred to as the “STD at RAP” by many. Maybe that’s just me, but it seems to be a catchy acronym that just might spread (like, well... you get it). Hey, is it too late to call it Sports Traders Field?!?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gaucho Marks - March 18th edition

Andrew Calica smacks a walk off single in 2-1 win over Pepperdine
It has been an eventful couple of weeks for UC Santa Barbara outfielder Andrew Calica. Starting with an exhibition game against Waseda University (Japan), Calica was put in as a pinch runner in the ninth inning and eventually scored the winning run, on a walk off RBI single by teammate Tyler Kuresa. And it went uphill from there.

Over the next eight games, Calica was an impressive 11 for 29 (.379) at the dish, hitting safely in all but one of those games and in that one, he ended up collecting three walks. In a dramatic 2-1 win over Pepperdine where he was rewarded by moving up to number two in the order, this future 'Cat smashed a two-out, bases-loaded walk off single to break the 1-1 tie and secure the win.

But wait, there's more! The heroics continued a few games later against the Shockers (best nickname in college athletics!) when Calica led off the ninth with a single up the middle and eventually scored the wining run again in another Gaucho walk off victory. Rumour had it that he almost didn't make it up to bat as he got his cape caught in the phone booth on the way to the plate.

As well as upping his on-base percentage to .515 and maintaining a perfect fielding record, Calica sits at number three on the team with a lofty .389 batting average. In the past few games, he seems to have settled in at number five in the order after starting deep and jumping up to number two for the game against Pepperdine. So it seems the spotlight has not negatively affected this freshman lad as he sees the first sustained action of his collegiate career. It's nice to know that this sure-handed fielder will be patrolling the cool night air at the RAP in just a couple of months.

As for team accomplishments, after the Waseda win, the Gauchos swept two from ranked opponent Mississippi State, then split with Arizona, beat Pepperdine and took two of three from Wichita State. Interestingly enough (to me anyway), two of those teams are #1 seeds in the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament that starts on Thursday - Wichita State is #1 in the Midwest and Arizona is #1 in the West.

Thanks to this nice little run, UCSB has jumped into the number 19 spot in the Baseball America college rankings, up from number 23 last week. And as you can see, Mr. Calica has been a top contributor and looks to continue his impressive run as the Gauchos now play eight games in ten days, starting this Friday.

HarbourCatNip
  • Gabe Clark cooled off a bit last week, going one for twelve over three games and settling his average down to a terrestrial .356. He has been bumped down to number six in the order (from cleanup) but his Oregon State Beavers didn't miss a beat and are currently riding a ten game winning streak.
  • These ten games included a three game sweep of the Utah squad, home of another future 'Cat teammate, pitcher Bret Helton. Clark did not face Helton in the one game that he pitched. Helton collected his first loss against the Beavers, going four innings and giving up all five runs (four earned) while striking out four of the 19 batters he faced, and walking three. Helton also DH'ed in a couple of games over this stretch but didn't have much luck, going hitless in ten at bats while batting cleanup.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Four British Columbians signed to 10-day contracts

Matt Bryan
The HarbourCats announced on Saturday that they have signed four players to 10-day contracts, two of whom are Victoria natives.  The four include Victoria Eagles product Eric Hegadoren, a towering 6-10 pitcher, and Matt Bryan, a solid two-way outfielder and a former Victoria Mariner.

The signings bring the total number of players under 10-day contracts to five, as Mike Gershman was also inked to a short-term deal in early March. The 10-day players are:

Player
Pos.
Hometown
2013-14 School
Previous Team
Alex Rogers
P
Nanaimo, BC
Trinidad State Junior College
Nanaimo Pirates (BCPBL)
Eric Hegadoren
P
Victoria, BC
College of the Canyons
Victoria Eagles (BCPBL)
Matt Bryan
OF
Victoria, BC
Treasure Valley CC
Victoria Mariners (BCPBL)
Darren Honeysett
OF
Port Coquitlam, BC
Monterey Peninsula College
Coquitlam Reds (BCPBL)
Mike Gershman
P/OF
Beausejour, MB
Valley City State University
Carillon Sultans (MJBL)

Additional information on each of the four players just signed can be found on the team's official web site.

Eric Hegadoren
For those new to the West Coast League brand of ball, most teams rely heavily on players signed to 10-day contracts in the early part of the season. That’s because NCAA Division I playoffs don't conclude until late June, and players who participate in a regional tournament (or beyond) are going to be late reporting for Opening Day (June 6th). In fact, any player who competes deep into the College World Series tournament likely won’t be able to report until after Canada Day and will probably miss close to 40% of the WCL season. Players likely to report late this year include those from Oregon State (Gabe Clark), UCSB (Andrew Calica), Pepperdine (Aaron Barnett and Devin Carter), University of San Diego (Hunter Mercado-Hood) and the University of New Mexico (Carson Schneider and Danny Collier).

Last season, 10-day players such as Ty Russell were instrumental in allowing the HarbourCats to get out of the gate with a surprising 10-4 record. Hopefully a number of the latest super-subs will make similar contributions in the early going this year. With a good showing, one (or more) of the 10-day players could be around for a lot longer than 10 days and possibly even earn themselves a reserve spot on the team for the remainder of the season.

HarbourCatNip
  • Cal Poly pitcher Cameron Cotton has sustained a serious elbow injury and he will not be able to pitch for the HarbourCats this summer.
  • The current 28-man roster can be found on our 2014 HarbourCats Roster page.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner - March 16th edition

This is our latest installment of HarbourCanucks Corner, our weekly update on the Canadians signed to full-season contracts by the Victoria HarbourCats for the summer of 2014.

Brandon Feldman made his first two appearances on the mound for the Otero Junior College Rattlers over the last week and the Victoria Eagles product threw a scoreless inning of relief in each outing. He gave up two hits and two walks, while striking out two batters. Feldman has also played some right field this season and he’s batting .125 with a .364 on-base percentage in 16 at-bats.

Cuesta College’s Nick Rutckyj went two-for-six with a walk and a run scored this week. The left fielder has appeared in 18 of his team’s 19 games and he’s hitting .167 with two homers and seven RBI on the season.

Kelly Norris-Jones started one of the University of Ilinois’ three games this week. Unfortunately, he went zero-for-four to lower his batting average to .200 in 15 at-bats this year. His on-base percentage is still a respectable .333.

Seattle U was scheduled to play a road series against Chicago State this weekend, but a snowstorm forced the postponement of all three games. Griffin Andreychuk started one of the two midweek games for the Redhawks, but he went zero-for-three at the plate to lower his batting average to the .160 mark. However, he did play errorless defense at second base, so hopefully his recent fielding issues are behind him.

HarbourCatNip
  • Hunter Mercado-Hood went 5-for-12 this week with two RBI for the University of San Diego Toreros and the freshman right fielder is now hitting .381 with no homers and 8 RBI in 42 at-bats. Mercado-Hood will likely be one of the starting outfielders for the HarbourCats this summer.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Five former MLB stars coming to Victoria

The Shaker
The HarbourCats announced today that five former MLB stars, including Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar, will be leading instructional camps for local youth players on July 2nd and 3rd at Royal Athletic Park. HarbourCats players and coaches will be providing instructional support for the camps, which are a partnership between the Toronto Blue Jays, the Greater Victoria Baseball Association (GVBA) and the ‘Cats.

Aside from Alomar, other lead instructors scheduled to attend include Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby (The Shaker!!), Duane Ward and Brian McRae. Barfield is probably best known as having the best outfield arm in Blue Jays history. He also had two phenomenal seasons in his career, especially the 1986 campaign in which he hit 40 homers and had 108 RBI. Moseby, perhaps one of the most underrated players in Blue Jays history, possessed a dynamic combination of speed and power and (in the first half of his career) was outstanding defensively. He also had a fun-loving personality that made him a favourite with many Jays fans in the mid-80’s. Ward notched a franchise-record 45 saves for the Jays on their way to the 1993 World Series title, but unfortunately injuries ended his career and he never saved another game in the big leagues after that championship run. McRae had some very good years with the Cubs and Mets before finishing his career with the Jays in 1999. The five players who will be lead instructors at the camp were named MLB All Stars a combined total of 15 times (Alomar was named 12 times, while Moseby, Barfield and Ward were each named once).
Two-thirds of the best outfield in Blue Jays history is coming to Victoria

These instructional camps are an incredibly good idea. Not only will Victoria youngsters benefit from learning new skills, but having five former big-league stars come to town will generate a significant media buzz that can only increase local interest in baseball. There’s no doubt that the extra attention will help boost attendance at HarbourCats games as well.

The ’Cats play a three-game series against the Kitsap BlueJackets at Royal Athletic Park from June 30th to July 2nd, highlighted by a much-anticipated Canada Day matinee. With the instructional camps scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd, it looks like the baseball season in Victoria will really take off in the first week of July. By the end of the Kitsap series, 13 of the remaining 15 home games will be on the weekend, so we should be in for a great second half of the season.

The full press release from the HarbourCats can be found on their official site. The Blue Jays press release can be found on their site. It's worth noting that the Jays will be running similar camps in Nanaimo (July 4th-5th) and Vancouver (July 7th-9th).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Complete 2014 HarbourCats Stats - we do the work, so you don't have to!

With the college season officially through its first quarter, it's worth a look at how our future HarbourCats are fairing as a collective group. The following stats have been compiled through a scour of the college stat packages produced for each team to create a "what if" look at our boys as if they played as a single team.

Batting:
Pitching:
N/S = No Stats available

Oregon Beaver Gabe Clark, hitting .464
So far, looks like hitting isn't an issue, with 5 players hitting over .300, 3 of them over .400! That's a team .259 batting average, and a .346 On base percentage. Good speed on the base paths as well, with 14 steals.

Pitching is lighter, with most of the HarbourCats pitchers seeing spot duty only. Bret Helton is throwing some serious heat with 16 Ks in 22.2 innings pitched though - and he's hitting .333 in 15 at bats. With those kind of stats, perhaps the HarbourCats decline the DH...

Keep in mind, this is not a full roster. There are still more players to be signed as we move toward opening day. Expect more pitching help and depth players to be added...

HarbourCatnip
  • As the stats show, UNM's Danny Collier has had a standout week. Described by coach Ray Birmingham as one of the biggest surprises out of fall camp, Collier has started 6 straight games and is lighting it up, hitting .385 against some tough conference pitching. Fellow Lobo Carson Schneider earned his first save this past week, and has not allowed an earned run in 7 appearances.
  • And while we are on the Lobos, Last year's fan favourite Alex Real has been honoured as a player to watch for the 2014 Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top college catcher. It's the Heisman trophy for catchers, the top award given at that position. Alex can thank his time in Victoria for giving him some great experience behind the plate!
  • Pepperdine catcher Aaron Barnett will look to fill Real's shoes in Victoria this summer, and he's showing he's up to the task. Starting all 15 games for the Waves this year, he's leading the team in batting average and hits while holding a .988 fielding percentage
Pepperdine's Aaron Barnett




Sunday, March 9, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner - March 9th edition

Kelly Norris-Jones
This is our fourth installment of HarbourCanucks Corner, a weekly update on the Canadians who will play on the 2014 Victoria HarbourCats.

The University of Illinois baseball team came crashing back to earth this weekend, losing all three games to Western Kentucky University. Kelly Norris-Jones started behind the plate in Saturday’s game and went two-for-four with a double and a run scored. He’s hitting .273 with one RBI in 11 at-bats this season, but his most impressive statistic is his .429 on-base percentage, which is the second-best mark on the team. The Fighting Illini (6-7) are scheduled to play three games next weekend against Southern Illinois University.

Although he only had a pinch-hit appearance in the two midweek games against the Oregon Ducks, Seattle U’s Griffin Andreychuk played second base in two of the three weekend games against #11 Cal Poly. For the week, the Nanaimo native went two-for-seven at the plate, knocked in a pair of runs, scored a run and even chipped in with a stolen base. Unfortunately, he also committed his seventh error of the season to give him an .837 fielding percentage on the year. The Redhawks (6-10) play a pair of midweek games against the University of Portland and a three-game series against Chicago State next weekend.

Nick Rutckyj continues to play regularly in left field for the Cuesta College Cougars. He picked up a double in nine at-bats this week, as the Cougars dropped all three games and saw their record drop to 4-12. Rutckyj is hitting .148 with two homers and seven RBI in 54 at-bats on the season. Cuesta College plays three games this week, including a pair against Santa Barbara City College.

Once again we have no Brandon Feldman news to share this week, because the boxscores from this weekend’s four-game set against Northeastern Junior College aren't yet available. In Otero Junior College’s first 15 games, Feldman is hitting .133 (15 AB). Although Feldman is expected to pitch for the HarbourCats this summer, he has not made any appearances on the mound for the Rattlers.

HarbourCatNip
  • Gabe Clark had a monster week for the 5th-ranked Oregon State Beavers. In five games, Clark went 9-for-21 with 9 RBI and five extra-base hits and he appears to have established himself as the team’s cleanup hitter. He now is hitting an incredible .464 with a .595 on-base percentage and a team-leading .750 slugging percentage. Keep in mind that he only has 28 at-bats under his belt so far in 2014, but we may be witnessing the beginning of a major breakout campaign for Gabe Clark.  
  • Bret Helton raised his record to 2-0 with the University of Utah by pitching a gem against Missouri State on Sunday. Helton threw six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out eight batters. He now sports a 1.59 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in his 22 ⅔ innings pitched this year.
  • Newly signed HarbourCats infielder Bryce Greager hit his first homer for the University of Nevada on Friday, a two-run shot to help lead the Wolf Pack to their only victory on the weekend. He has a .167 batting average and a .375 on-base percentage in 12 at-bats this season.
  • Will Dennis ran into some difficulties this week after starting the season in a dominant fashion. The lefty sidearmer gave up a run in 1 ⅔ innings pitched and took the loss against the University of Oregon on Tuesday. In Saturday’s wild 15-14 win over Cal Poly, he gave up four earned runs on four hits, a walk and three consecutive hit batsmen in 2 ⅔ innings on the hill. In spite of getting knocked around, he still picked up the win thanks to four timely Seattle U runs in the bottom of the seventh. Dennis is now 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and two saves in seven appearances.