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Knights Daily Update

Knights Daily Update

T-minus 126 days, and counting

January 27, 2012

We're back, after a Thursday spent over at OSU baseball media day compiling some interviews for stories on our 2012 Beavers/Knights that have already started to appear on the news portion of our website.

While we were away, the countdown to our June 1 opener at Walla Walla against the Sweets dropped down to 126 days. And that means it's just 130 days until Home Opener VI, set for June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems at Goss Stadium.

Season tickets and 10-game punch cards are still available online and at the Knights' world-wide headquarters in the Madison Plaza building in beautiful downtown Corvallis. So stop in and see us, and pick up some Knights team merchandise so you're loking stylish for opening night!


Speaking of those news stories, the first one appeared today, on catcher Nate Esposito and infielder Zach Green, both of whom come highly recommended by the OSU coaches. Click right here to read it.

We'll have another one on OSU freshmen pitchers Carlos Rodriguez, Mitchell Tripp and Michael McCall sometime next week.


Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks have signed Conner Eppard, Josh Chapman and Jackson Goulder of the University of Utah for the 2012 season. Here are the complete details from the Elks' website; the story is the second item on the menu.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed Cal Poly freshmen pitchers Colton Haynes and Matt Imhof for the upcoming season. Read all about it on the Sweets' website.

Hart helps Redlands to No. 20 preseason ranking

January 25, 2012

Junior ace Kyle Hart, a key cog on our 2011 WCL championship team and a 2012 returnee, is a big reason the University of Redlands is No. 20 in the preseason Top 25 rankings.

Hart was 9-3 with a 3.97 ERA for the Bulldogs in 2011 and was a Southern California Intercollegiate Conference all-star. He was was 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA in 14 regular season/playpff games for us in 2011, with 45 strikeouts in 44.1 innings.

Take away a horrible two innings in a 16-1 loss at Bellingham on July 18, when he gave up eight earned runs, and Hart had a 1.28 ERA and never gave up more than one run in any appearance. He had 10 strikeouts and held Klamath Falls to one hit over seven innings in an 11-0 win on Aug. 3, and also was the winner in Game 1 of the WCL Championship Series on Aug. 16, when we thumped host Walla Walla 14-3.

Redlands senior pitcher Mike Massari is also on the Knights this year, as a 10-day signee.


One of our superstar 2011 interns, Oregon State senior gymnast Leslie Mak, was honored again by the Pacific-12 Conference on Tuesday for her performance in a dual win at Arizona this past Friday. Congrats to another great member of the Knights team.


We've got four partner schools in the Big West Conference and one of them, UC Irvine, is ranked No. 2 behind Cal State Fullerton in the league's preseason coaches poll. Cal Poly is No. 4, UC Riverside is No. 5 and new 2012 partner UC Santa Barbara is No. 6.

Here are the complete rankings from the BWC website.


Some news from around the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: The Gems have signed RHP/C Josh Graham and LHP Brandon Brown of Oregon and infielders Brandon Trinkwon of UC Santa Barbara and Mike Umscheid of Western Nevada JC for the upcoming season.

Umscheid is from Sunset High School in Beaverton. He played in the Knights-organized Reser's All-Star Series at Goss Stadium last June (Incidentally, this year's series is set for June 16-17, again at Goss Stadium).

They also added three staff members and announced the resignation of pitching coach Mitch Karraker, who will instead coach for USA Baseball under Ducks' head coch George Horton.

Here are the complete details from Our Sports Central, a great source for WCL information.

Lots of Knights on No. 23 Beavers

January 24, 2012

The Oregon State baseball team is ranked No. 23 in Baseball America magazine's preseason Top 25, and many former Corvallis Knights play a role in that high evaluation.

Three ex-Knights are in the magazine's projected starting lineup: Senior catcher Ryan Gorton (2011), one of the stars of our West Coast League Championship Series sweep of Walla Walla; junior first baseman/DH Danny Hayes (2010), and sophomore second baseman/catcher Jake Rodriguez (2010).

Two other members of our 2011 champions are in the projected starting rotation: Sophomore lefty Ben Wetzler and freshman lefty Jace Fry. Fry was the WCL's No. 1 pro prospect and Wetzler was No. 4 in 2011.

Other former or future Knights on the Beavers are pitchers Matt Boyd (2010), Scott Schultz (2011), Adam Duke (2011), Taylor Starr (2008), Carlos Rodriguez (2012), Mitchell Tripp (2012) and Michael McCall (2012) and catcher Nate Esposito (2012).

Texas was ranked No. 13; sophomore Alex Silver (2012) is the projected starting DH. The Longhorns also feature pitchers/2012 Knights Justin Peters and Trevor Tykel.

Stanford is ranked No. 2. The Cardinal feature junior pitcher Dean McArdle (2010).


Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have signed incoming Washington freshman Will Ballowe and incoming Stanford freshman Jonny Locher for the 2012 season, according to this story in The Bellingham Herald newspaper.

And former Bells pitcher Jacob Clem is having a solid season for the Brooke Knight-coached Perth Heat in the Australian Baseball League, according to this story on the Bells' website. The defending champion, Perth is the No. 1 seed for the upcoming ABL playoffs.

BEND: The Elks have signed junior lefty David Birosak of Cal State Fullerton and freshman right-hander Brent Jones of Cornell for the 2012 season. Just click the second menu item on the Elks' website for more details.

WENATCHEE: Two former AppleSox pitchers were recently involved in big MLB trades. Right-hander Clay Mortenson went from Colorado to Boston as part of the Marco Scutaro to Colorado trade. Lefty Tommy Milone went from Washington to Oakland as part of the Gio Gonzalez to the Nats' deal.

The countdown to opening day hits 130

January 23, 2012

First things first: The countdown.

It's now only 130 more days until our June 1 season-opener at Walla Walla against the Sweets, who we vanquished 2-0 in the West Coast League's Championship Series this past August.

And it's a mere 134 more days until Opening Night VI, our June 5 home debut against the Klamath Falls Gems. That seems like a long ways off, but it isn't.

So don't forget to get your 2012 season tickets, 10-game punchcards and Knights team merchandise. They're all available online, or at our world-wide headquarters in the Madison Plaza building, corner 4th Street and Madison Avenue in beautiful downtown Corvallis.


We search far and wide for news about past, present and future Corvallis Knights. Today we struck paydirt at a place I'd never seen before, College Sports Madness.

Seven Knights were named first- or second-team preseason all-stars in their respective conferences by CSM. Here's the rundown:

BIG 12: Catcher Bo Altobelli, Texas Tech (2010), first team.

BIG WEST: Pitcher Evan Brock, UC Irvine (2010), first team; shortstop Matt Duffy, Long Beach State (2010), first team; outfielder David Andriese, UC Riverside (2010, 2011), first team.

HORIZON: Catcher Corey Davis,Wright State (2010, 2011), first team.

WEST COAST: Pitcher Kyle Kraus, (2009, 2010), first team.

INDEPENDENTS: Shortstop Trent Oleszczuk, Seattle, second team.

Congrats to everyone, and have a great season!


The defending Australian Baseball League champion Perth Heat finished 34-11, won the regular-season championship by 13 games, and clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs.

Coach Brooke Knight and the Heat will begin their quest for a second straight ABL title on Jan. 26-29 with a best-of-5 series against No. 2 seed Melbourne. No. 3 Sydney and No. 4 Adelaide play a loser-out series at the same time.

The winner of the Perth-Melbourne series will automatically advance to the best-of-3 championship finals, set for Feb. 10-12. The loser will play a best-of-3 series against either Sydney or Adalaide on Feb. 2-5; the winner of that series joins either Perth or Melbourne in the finals.

Former Knights catcher Alex Burg, the MVP of our 2008 WCL champions, hit. 277 in 34 games for the Heat, with 10 homers and 23 RBIs. Ex-Knight pitcher/first baseman/outfielder Dylan Jones (2009-10) was 1-0 in four games with a 4.91 ERA and four strikeouts in 11 innings over four games.


Some news from around the West Coast League:

KLAMATH FALLS: Congrats to the Klamath Falls Gems for being honored as the city's business of the year by the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce.

Susac invited to Giants MLB camp

January 20, 2012

At our Hot Stove Night on Wednesday, Knights' president Dan Segel predicted that catcher Andrew Susdac (2009) or pitcher Matt Andriese (2009) will be the next Corvallis Knight to join Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel in the major leagues.

Well, Susac took a step in that direction this week when the San Francisco Giants invited the former Oregon State star to their major-league training camp, which opens on Feb. 23 on Scottsdale, Ariz., for pitchers and catchers.

Susac was the Giants' second-round draft choice in 2011. He'll join former Aloha Knights star Chris Stewart in the big-league camp. Stewart spent most of last season with the Giants after Buster Posey suffered a season-ending injury in May.


Unfortunately, we have some sad news to report today. Corvallos businessman/philanthropist Mario Pastega, a supporter of the Knights since our move here in 2007, passed away today at 95 years of age.

Here are some early details from the Corvallis Gazette-Times. I'm sure the story will be unpdated throughout the day.

Mario's Pepsi-Cola Bottling Works (which he sold last year) and the Mario Pastega House have sponsored our annual Cap Night every year we've been in Corvallis.

Our condolences to the family on the loss of a Corvallis legend, great community benefactor, and supporter of local sports organizations.


Some news from around the West Coast League:

KITSAP: According to The Kitsap Sun newspaper, the BlueJackets have signed sophomore pitcher/first baseman Mitch Bluman of San Diego State, a returnee from the 2011 season. He played designated hitter for much of the season because of an arm injury.

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed left-handed pitcher Hunter Virant, a 6-foot 3-inch, 175-pound southpaw from Camarillo High School. He is a UCLA signee and prior to attending UCLA as a freshman. Baseball America, Perfect Game and all project Virant to be among the first 30 players selected in the 2012 Major League Baseball amateur draft.

Hot Stove Night a big hit

January 19, 2012

Thanks to all who attended our first Hot Stove Night function at the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium on Wednesday night. Was that a fun evening, or what?

Special guests Brent Morel of the Chicago White Sox, Gabe Sandy of the Miami Marlins and Knights president Dan Segel each gave the crowd some insights into their respective aspects of the baseball world and probably added to everyone's understanding of the game at the higher levels.

Here's a story on Brent, and on the Hot Stove Night in general, from reporter Brad Fuqua of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

Again, thanks to all who attended, and right now the plan is for a Hot Stove Night II in 2013!


Just heard through the Corvallis Knights grapevine that alum Jake Roy (2007) will be the new strength and conditioning coach for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes this summer. Congrats to Jake, who had been working at Southern Illinois University.

The Volcanoes are the San Francisco Giants' affiliate in the short-season Class A Northwest League. Their ballpark (Volcanoes Stadium) is just west of I-5 at exit 260 so Jake will be close to home this summer.

A graduate of Dakota Wesleyan University and the University of Memphis, he worked for the Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs, the St. Louis Cardinals' affiliate in the short-season Class A New York-Penn League, in 2011.


Some news from around the West Coast League:

BEND: The Elks have added infielder Stephen Halcomb , a 2011 returnee, and pitchers Derek Peterson, Sean-Luke Briga and Andrew Sopko of Gonzaga and pitchers JR Bunda, Travis Radke and Brandon Snyder of Portland for the 2012 season.

Complete details can be found on the Elks' website by clicking the first two items on the menu.

We are ready for Hot Stove Night

January 18, 2012

Just got back from Goss Stadium, where a crew of Corvallis Knights employees prepared the Omaha Room for tonight's Hot Stove Night. The heat's been turned on, it should be nice and cozy, and we're excited to welcome you to what we hope will become an annual function.

Remember, our very special guests are Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel, the first Corvallis Knight to play in the major leagues, and former Knights coach Gabe Sandy, now the Northwest regional scout for the Miami Marlins. They'll provide some unique insight into their very different jobs in professional baseball.

Knights' president Dan Segel will also give a short preview of the upcoming season and address a few other West Coast League topics. The fun starts at 7 p.m.; doors will open at about 6:30 p.m.

We'll have some prize giveaways, some free stuff to hand out,merchandise and 10-game punchcards for sale, and some light snacks. Brent will be available afterwards for autographs.

We expect the program will last for about 60-90 minutes. Then we'll head down to the Stadium Grill at the Hilton Garden Inn for a no-host post-function.

It should be a great night of talking baseball. See you there!


Oregon State senior Leslie Mak, one of our 2011 superstar interns, was named the Pacific-12 Conference Gymnast of the Week for her performance last Friday night in an upset of No. 4 Oklahoma. Congrats to the reigning conference Gymnast of the Year!


Knights' fans will notice two improvements at Goss Stadium this summer.

We already wrote about the new auxiliary scoreboard on the stadium facade down the left-field line. That's more for the fans in the temporary bleachers OSU installs behind the right-field fence in the spring than for Knights fans, as those seats are removed after the Beavers complete their season.

But today was the first time we saw the new synthetic turf that has replaced the dirt around home plate. It looks sharp, and now there's just one area of dirt (the mound) that must be tarped during rainstorms or attended to before and after the games.


Finally, just 135 more days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla against the Sweets. The 31-date, 32-game home season opens June 5 against the Klamath Falls Gems; season tickets, 10-game punch cards and merchandise are all available online or at the WWHQ, the Knights world-wide headquarters in the Madison Plaza building in downtown Corvallis.

That's all for today; see you tonight!

Knights win award; Doug Blair to handle PA

January 17, 2012

A couple news items relating to the Knights:

* The Knights won the Northwest Baseball Coaches 2011 Achievment Award last weekend at the 2012 Northwest Baseball Coaches Convention in Portland. The award generally goes to the West Coast League champion.

* Veteran Corvallis radio/public address announcer Doug Blair will be our PA announcer this summer. He succeeds Brian Brooks, who decided not to return this season after handling PA duties since our move to Corvallis for the 2007 season.

Doug doubles as our Director of Sales, and was the Knights' 2010 Employee of the Year. He also works for BiCoastal Media as their local sales manager for sports.

A native of Corvallis, Doug graduated from Corvallis High in 1969 and from Oregon State in 1973. He worked briefly in La Grande and Medford before moving back to Corvallis in 1976 to accept a job with KFLY (now KEJO) radio.

He was the radio voice of Crescent Valley High football and boys basketball for 23 years before retiring from that aspect of broadcasting in 1999. He also was the longtime PA voice of Oregon State women's basketball, and is a frequent co-host on KEJO's popular Joe Beaver Show.

"It will be fun to be more involved with the game-day aspects of Knights baseball," Blair said. "I'm really looking forward to spending many of my summer Knights at Goss Stadium."


Some news from around the West Coast League:

BELLINGHAM: The Bells have signed freshman infielder Andrew Ely and sophomore pitcher Keith Zuniga of the University of Washington for the 2012 season. They now have three Huskies for 2012, as they join pitcher Jacob Coats.

Here are the details from The Bellingham Herald newspaper; here's the scoop from the Bells website.

BEND: The Elks have signed junior Shawn O'Brien, a returnee from 2011; junior right-handed pitcher Patrick Keane, and freshman infielder Darian Ramage of St. Mary's College for the upcoming season.

They've also signed four players from Seattle University: Infielder Cullen Hendrickson, a returnee from 2011; pitchers Grant Gunning and Kyle Doyle, and utility player Grant Newton, a graduate of Bend High School.

More details are available on the Elks website by clicking the first two items on the homepage menu.

Knights sign MHCC pitcher Kendall Motes to 10-day contract

January 16, 2012

Yes, the snow on the ground and icy roads may give the impression that baseball season is a million miles away, but it's not, of course. It's only 137 days until our June 1 opener at Walla Walla, and just 141 until our June 5 home opener against Klamath Falls.

And, since we'll be shorthanded in piching at that point, we've added another 10-day signee, Mount Hood CC freshman right-hander Kendall Motes of Idaho Falla, Idaho.

Kendall and our other 10-day pitching signees (Eric Weir of Concordia, Brad Dittrick of Pacific, Chris Bishop of PLU, Alex Keenan of George Fox and Mike Massari of Redlands) will give us plenty of pitching depth early in the season. We play 15 games in the first 17 days of June, before our full-time signees from Oregon State and other West Coast schools join the team.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Motes played at Hillcrest High in Idaho Falls and was 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 12 innings, with 18 strikeouts. He also hit .435 (10-23) with five RBIs, but is expected to concentrate on pitching at MHCC.

Kendall has also played for the Hillcrest Royals American Legion team, and for the Idaho Cubs and Utah Bucks prospect teams. Welcome aboard!


Former Knights manager Matt Dorey (2007) has been hired as a national cross-checker scout by the Chicago Cubs. He had been a regional scout for the Boston Red Sox since 2008, but when general manager Theo Epstein left the Red Sox for a similar job with the Cubs he brought Dorey along with him.

Matt directed the Knights to the West Division regular-season and playoff titles in 2007. We then lost two one-run games to Moses Lake 2-0 in the West Coast League Championship Series.

Here are the details from WEEI radio, and here's a story from the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper. Dorey coached the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League in 2006 before joining the Knights.

We'll try to contact Dorey this week and have a story for the news section of our homepage. Congrats, Matt!


Don't forget, Hot Stove Night I is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium. Chicago White Sox third baseman Brent Morel and Miami Marlins Northwest regional scout Gabe Sandy, both former Knights, and Knights president Dan Segel are the guest speakers.

Admission is free, and we still have a few openings available. For reservations, e-mail the blog at [email protected].


Some news from around the West Coast League:

WENATCHEE: Former AppleSox broadcaster (2009-11) and Friend O'the Blog Chris King has been named the new play-by-play voice of the Tri-City Dust Devils, Arizona's franchise in the short-season Class A Northwest League.

As the story said, he'll succeed former Knights' broadcaster Jason Schwartz (2010), who is headed to Lancaster of the California League after spending 2011 with the Dust Devils. The news on Jason was supposed to be on the QT; we'll have a story on that when Lancaster makes an official announcement in late January or early February.

Some good smack about Leslie Mak

January 13, 2012

Friday, Friday ... Friday is my favorite day! Even if it's a Friday the 13th, which doesn't strike fear into the heart of the Blog, as we were born on a Friday the 13th.

It's the end 'o the week down here at the WWHQ, where we're now a mere 140 days away from the start of Season VI in Corvallis. It all begins with a June 1 game at Walla Walla in a rematch of the 2011 WCL Championship Series, which we won in two straight games.

Even our new radio broadcaster, Virginia Tech senior Kevin Burke, is ready to rock. In an e-mail earlier this week, he said can't wait to get to Corvallis, and that the new Knights gear he's been sporting around Blacksburg and in his hometown of Leesburg, Va., has been a big hit.

Way to represent.

So, rest assured we're not just goofing off waiting for the season to start. We're selling tickets and punch cards. We probably have a few more players to sign to 10-day contracts. The first of what we hope will become our annual Hot Stove Night is set for 7 p.m. next Wednesday in the Omaha Room at Goss Stadium, featuring Brent Morel, Gabe Sandy, and Knights president Dan Segel.

And just to prove I'm not a slacker, here's another edition of the Blog, with news from around the globe about Knights past, present and future.


One of our superstar 2011 Oregon State College of Business interns, OSU senior gymnastics standout Leslie Mak, is profiled this morning in the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

The reigning Pacific-12 Conference Gymnast of the Year is expecting another big season with the Beavers. Now she just needs to find a way to incorporate the second-inning Papa's Pizza giveaway into her floor exercise routine, or use the plunger from the Albin's Plumbing "hillbilly horseshoes" skit as a balancing tool while on the beam.


Speaking of the Hot Stove Night, a limited number of seats are still available by e-mailing the blog at [email protected].

Morel, an ex-Knight (2006-07) and the starting third baseman for the Chicago White Sox, and Sandy, a former Knights coach (2005-06) who is the NW area scout for the Miami Marlins, will speak about their experiences in major league baseball. Segel will speak about the Knights and the West Coast League.

Admission is free, and Morel will be available afterward for autographs. See you there!


As many of you know, Knights' coach Brooke Knight manages the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League in the winter. He led the Heat to the championship in 2010-11 in the league's first season.

And, he's got the Heat in position to repeat. They clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming playoffs by defeating the Canberra Cavalry on Thursday night, and are now guaranteed to host two playoff series.

The first series will begin on Jan. 26 against whoever finishes second in the regular season standings. A series victory would give the Heat a bye in Round 2, and would bring the Grand Finals to Perth, A series loss would give the Heat a home series in Round 2, and then if they won that, they would play away in the Grand Final.

The Heat also defeated Canberra on Friday night, behind six shutout innings from former Knights star (2009-10) Dylan Jones. Overall, Jones is 1-0 in four appearances, with a 4.91 ERA and four strikeouts in 11 innings.

Former Knights' star catcher Alex Burg, our 2008 Player of the Year, is hitting .277 in 34 games, with 10 homers and 23 RBIs. He was on the World team for the ABL All-Star Game earlier in the season.

So, congrats to Brooke, Dylan and Alex!


Former Knights' catcher Bo Altobelli (2010), a junior at Texas Tech, earned honor roll recognition for the fall semester for the third consecutive year. He's an exercise and sports science major.

Students must have a 3.0 grade-point average to earn honor roll honors. Way to go, Bo.


Here's some news from around the West Coast League:

WALLA WALLA: The Sweets have signed UC Riverside freshman infielder Nick Vilter and Linfield sophomore pitcher Zach Brandon for the upcoming season. Here are all the details from the Sweets website.


And finally, some more news from the ever-growing world of summer college baseball. Say hello to the Hall of Fame League, which will have six franchises in Texas and Louisiana and provide an alternative to the established Texas Collegiate League.