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Duran Becomes 100th WCL Alumni to Reach the Major Leagues

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Saturday night, the West Coast League reached a huge milestone when Jarren Duran batted sixth and started in center field for the first-place Boston Red Sox, becoming the 100th alumnus of a current or past West Coast League team to make his MLB debut.

 

Chronologically, the list of 100 begins with Mike Thurman, who pitched briefly in 1993 for the Aloha Knights, an amateur (and independent) team based in the Portland area. The Knights would later join the summer collegiate Pacific International League, and in 2005 a few PIL teams broke away to form today’s West Coast League.

Among the early WCLers were future MLB stars Chris Davis, Mark Rzepczynski, and Tommy Hanson. Just last year, former Cowlitz Black Bears ace Shane Bieber captured American League Cy Young honors, and he recently earned his second American League All-Star nod. The long list of other notable WCL alumni includes Seattle Mariners stars Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzalez; Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins; and 2021 rotation mainstays James Kaprielian (Oakland) and Nick Pivetta (Boston)

“I look forward to being around for the next 100,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer, “and at the rate we’re going, I don’t think it’ll take long to get there. We’ll set another single-season record later this summer, and with our expansion to 16 teams next year, we’ve never had more opportunities for young top-tier talent.”

In 2016, the speedy Duran batted .278 with the Walla Walla Sweets, ranking among the league leaders in triples and stolen bases. This season with Boston’s Triple-A Worcester farm club, Duran blasted 15 home runs in only 46 games.

A complete list of WCL alumni with MLB experience can be found here.

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Summer Collegiate

NorthPaws Single-Game Tickets Available for 2022 Season

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Tickets for the Kamloops NorthPaws 2022 regular season are now available. The inaugural season schedule features nine three-game series from the end of May through the beginning of August. Highlighted […]

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Victoria HarbourCats – HarbourCats start 2022 signings with local talent

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Nine from Victoria, including Golden Tide standouts, lined up for WCL season

January 6, 2022

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. –– There’s a lot of baseball talent in the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce the first nine signings — yep, a full lineup, from Victoria — for the 2022 West Coast League season, and all have strong Victoria roots.

The players range from NCAA Division-1 players to those who showed their skills and work ethic with the Victoria Golden Tide, the new Canadian College Baseball Conference (CCBC) team that plays out of Wilson’s Group Stadium at RAP.

Tide pitcher Haldon Craig will join the HarbourCats in 2022 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

“Developing local talent from the ground up has been my goal since I came on board with the HarbourCats in 2018,” said Curtis Pelletier, the team GM who was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for four years with the HarbourCats and is also the Head Coach of the Golden Tide. “The kids in the stands all hope to wear the HC one day and we’re making that a reality now. We have put together a phenomenal group of coaches to train the Golden Tide and Players Club athletes with the goal of signing them to the HarbourCats. Get used to seeing local players on the field here in the summer as there is some serious talent coming through our programs.”

Golden Tide’s Daniel Sawchyn, will bring speed to the HarbourCats outfield and base paths in 2022 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The nine players are:

• RHP Noah Takacs, Sacramento State, 6-3/200
• OF Josh Walker, Sacramento State, 6-1/175
• LHP/1B Eric Luchies, Lower Columbia College, 6-3/200
• RHP Owen Luchies, Lower Columbia College, 6-2/195
• RHP Dawson Hurford, Western Nebraska College, 6-3/195
• RHP Haldon Craig, Victoria Golden Tide, 6-3/215
• LHP Jacob Popadynec, Victoria Golden Tide, 5-11/175
• IF Jordan Bond, Victoria Golden Tide, 6-0/185
• OF Daniel Sawchyn, Victoria Golden Tide, 6-0/170

Takacs, a product of the Victoria Eagles of the BC Premier Baseball League (PBL), had a 4.82 ERA and made four starts for the Hornets in 2021. Sacramento State teammate Walker, a lefty hitter who came through the Victoria Mariners PBL program, has appeared in 13 games over two spring seasons.

The Luchies brothers, Eric and Owen, are both from the Eagles PBL program and are making the big jump, one year apart, to the Lower Columbia program, a junior college in the NWAC. Both bring a power game and tremendous potential. Hurford, from Victoria but a product of the PBL’s Langley Blaze, has made 18 appearances, including 11 starts for the WNC Cougars.

Pitcher Owen Luchies throwing for the Golden Tide in exhibition play last fall (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Bond, Sawchyn, Craig and Popadynec are all local products (Bond and Popadynec from the Eagles, Craig from the AAA Capitals, and Sawchyn from the Mariners) who got their first college action this last fall with the Golden Tide, and will provide valuable depth — Bond and Sawchyn for their bat and defence, Popadynec and Craig off the mound.

Jordan Bond had a strong fall season with the Golden Tide (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Takacs is thrilled to have the chance to play summer collegiate baseball in his hometown. “It means the world to me… I wanted to play HarbourCats baseball all my life and finally, through all the pandemic problems, myself and a few others will get that opportunity. Victoria is a small baseball town but at the heart of it has some of the most dedicated individuals you’ll ever meet. Whenever I come home to train I know that I will have the right dudes around me to push me to get better every day. Without the people I met in Victoria I wouldn’t be the player or person I am today.”

The HarbourCats will begin their 2022 West Coast League campaign with their Home Opener on Tuesday May 31, 2022 at 6:35 pm against the Port Angeles Lefties, the first of 34 home games that will be played at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.

Golden Tide pitcher Jacob Popadynec will be a nice left-handed option for the HarbourCats in 2022 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Season Tickets, 2022 single-game tickets, 10-game flex packs, gift cards and HarbourCats merchandise are now on sale at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or by calling 778-265-0327. Single-game tickets may also be purchased directly on-line at www.harbourcats.com/tickets.

Fans holding unused tickets or flex-pack vouchers from the cancelled 2020 and 2021 seasons may also now exchange these for tickets for any 2022 regular season game. This can be done at the HarbourCats office.

For more details and to keep up with the latest news on the 2022 season, please visit the HarbourCats website at www.harbourcats.com.

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Seven New NightOwls Have Been Signed

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It’s a good thing the new uniform sets have some bigger sizes, with the seven players the Nanaimo NightOwls are pleased to announce today.

With the three pitchers coming from California Baptist University (CBU), and four position players from the University of Hawaii (UH), the expansion NightOwls will have plenty of size on the field when the team starts play in the West Coast League.

The hallmarks of the players signed — power arms, power bats, and athleticism.

LHP Mason McGarvey, CBU, 6-4/235

RHP Carson Olsen, CBU, 6-5/225

RHP Will St. Marseille, CBU, 6-0/205

1B/3B Grant MacArthur, UH, 6-4/240

OF Tobey Jackson, UH, 5-11/165

IF Xander Sielken, UH, 5-10/175

OF Logan Gibson, UH, 5-10/160

“I’m excited to see these guys at historic Serauxmen Stadium — there’s a lot of talent in the smaller guys, and big-body power in the monsters on the hill,” said Jim Swanson, GM of the NightOwls, who will open at home on June 3 after the team debuts on the road at Portland on May 31.

“We really like the network we have with top schools, and those programs are excited to have their players with our coaches, Head Coach Greg Frady and Pitching Coach Gorm Heimueller. It’s a big piece of the puzzle. Scouts we talked to for references had strong words about their college and pro potential.”

CBU is one of the true emerging programs in NCAA-D1 baseball, becoming a perennial power under highly-respected coach Gary Adcock. The UH Bows are now led by former University of San Diego Head Coach Rich Hill, a 1,000-game winner intent on turning Hawaii into a program that rolls toward the College World Series every year.

The schedule for the 2022 Nanaimo NightOwls (and Bars!) season is posted at nanaimonightowls.com — where fans can also find team merchandise, and get information on tickets and season memberships, which are moving fast.

“It’s exciting to see all the work being done at Serauxmen Stadium, getting ready for all the user groups, we think fans are going to enjoy the enhancements and the atmosphere of the West Coast League, and how it all ties into the community,” said Swanson.

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