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Knights Drop One Spot in National Poll.

July 29, 2009

Corvallis Ranked #4 by Perfect Game Crosschecker

Knights Drop One Spot in National Poll.

Despite winning 5 of 7 games last week in front of the home fans (Friday, July 24 crowd of 1,158 pictured) and taking the opener of their road series at Bellingham, the Corvallis Knights dropped one spot in the Perfect Game Crosschecker national rankings released on Wednesday, July 29.

The 39-8 Corvallis Knights are now ranked #4 as the Santa Barbara Foresters of the California Collegiate League passed the Knights even with a worse overall mark at 34-9.

The California Collegiate League (CCL) is made up of only five teams; Santa Barbara, the Cornejo Oaks, San Luis Obispo Rattlers, Santa Maria Packers and Urban Youth Academy.

The Foresters dominate the CCL year-in and year-out as the Santa Barbara club has won the league every season since 1993 with the exception of one year (2002).

Santa Barbara won last year's NBC World Series and is a fixture in Wichita also winning the national tournament in 2006.

The Knights won the 2004 NBC World Series and nearly repeated in 2005 making the sweet six.

At the 71st NBC World Series, the Knights were one inning away from earning a spot in the title game, but were not able to hold a 1-0 lead in the ninth vs. the semi-pro Seattle Studs.

In that game, Tommy Hanson, currently a rookie with the Atlanta Braves, was pulled after eight innings with a 1-0 lead. Hanson shutout the Studs on one hit and struck out 12, but the Studs rallied in the ninth to score six runs off the Knights' bullpen to beat the defending NBC champs 6-1.

Following the loss to Seattle, the Knights were eliminated by Santa Barbara, who the Knights beat in the 2004 NBC World Series, in a game that started at 1:30 am and that featured future big leaguer Bud Norris (Houston Astros) on the mound for the Knights. Norris pitched a complete game, but the Portland-based club lost 3-1 and finished in fourth place.

"It's exciting to be ranked, and ranked so high," said team president Dan Segel. "We play in a very competitive league top-to-bottom and it's tough to lose a spot in the rankings after going 6-2 in the West Coast League."

"Santa Barbara is a quality program and they attract high caliber players, but I'm not convinced they play in a tougher league than the WCL.

"They should repeat at Wichita as the tournament unfortunately isn't bringing in the best summer collegiate teams.

"After watching the 2005 series with my brother Joe, we both agreed that we faced tougher competition during the season in our own league, which was the first year of the West Coast League.

"You are tested every night in the WCL and going 30-8 in this league is a great accomplishment. Our coaches and kids should be proud. They are grinding and playing exceptional baseball," said Segel.