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Highly Touted Zaborowski Brings Unique Quality to NorthPaws

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The Kamloops NorthPaws may have added the most uniquely talented player in the West Coast League.

Ryland Zaborowski is a 6’5” freshman corner infielder at NCAA Division I Grand Canyon University (GCU), and his connection to head coach Cole Armstrong will bring him north for the summer to suit up for the Kamloops NorthPaws.

Zaborowski played under Armstrong’s tutelage last summer in the Arizona Collegiate Wood Bat League, alongside a handful of his future NorthPaws teammates.

“Right away we both just clicked. We talked about hitting non-stop, before and after the game, what we need to work on, what can we improve on, and I just got really close with him,” Zaborowski said. “That’s one of the big reasons I want to play in Canada. Cole is going to be there, and I really trust him as a coach that he’s going to make me a better player and he’s going to make it the best experience for me.”

Zaborowski will bring a highly touted skillset to Norbrock Stadium.

He was ranked by Perfect Game as the top freshman ahead of the NCAA’s Western Athletic Conference 2021 season, and he was also listed as one of the top prospects to watch for the 2023 MLB Draft.

“He hits the ball a country mile and won’t have high strikeouts either. He has a rare combo of power and plate discipline which everybody looks for in a player,” Armstrong said. “He has a tireless work ethic. He will bust as hard on a ground ball to short as on a double to the gap. His ability and desire to be a good player will serve him really well and people in Kamloops will really love to watch him play.”

In addition to his high ranking heading into his collegiate debut, Zaborowski posted impressive numbers in high school. He had a .444 average throughout his high school career, including putting up a 16-for-22 streak for a .727 batting average with four doubles and four home runs to open the shortened 2020 season.

“My goal is just to go out and have fun. Winning or losing, my goal is just to go out and put a smile on your face and enjoy that I’m playing out there with my friends,” Zaborowski said. “I try to represent my game after Mike Trout, staying humble, having a lot of fun, going out there playing hard, hustling everywhere I go, hitting the ball hard, running down balls and just making all the plays consistently.”

 

Photo Credit: GCU Athletics

Zaborowski is also a very unique player. He was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder as a child.

Upon signing his letter of intent to play at GCU, he became one of the first high school seniors diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder to sign a Division I letter of intent for a team sport, possibly the first player to do so in baseball.

He will also likely become the first player living with Autism Spectrum Disorder to suit up in the West Coast League.

“Being one of the only ones with Autism playing Division I baseball, it’s a real cool feeling because it’s another way for parents that have children that have Autism that there is hope for their future and just to never give up on their kids,” he said. “It hasn’t affected me at all on the field. Once I’m on the field, people will even say I had no clue you had Autism or a learning disability. When I’m on the baseball field, it’s hard to notice it, but in social interactions there will be times when I can’t process what others are explaining but that’s okay.”

The NorthPaws have also signed left-handed pitcher Connor Markl from GCU. Markl and Zaborowski will join teammates Ty Siffermann and Tyler Wilson as the quartet of GCU players on the NorthPaws inaugural roster.

“GCU is an emerging program on the west coast and I’m very excited for our fans in Kamloops to see the type of players that program is recruiting and developing,” Armstrong said.

Markl features a nasty low to mid-90s sinker, a change-up and a swing and miss type breaking ball.

“His movement creates a really uncomfortable at bat, especially on left-handed hitters,” Armstrong said. “He’s the type of guy who can go out there a no-hit a team when his command is clicking. Depending on his workload at GCU, I hope to see him in the front of our rotation this summer.”

 

Photo Credit: GCU Athletics

The Kamloops NorthPaws are an expansion West Coast League franchise bringing the highest calibre baseball Canada’s Tournament Capital has ever seen. The West Coast League, founded in 2005, has 15 teams across Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Alberta featuring some of the top collegiate players during a 54-game summer season. Find the NorthPaws online at www.northpawsbaseball.ca, @northpawsbaseball on Instagram and Facebook, or @northpawsbb on Twitter.

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Summer Collegiate

Veteran outfielder returning for 2023 season

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For Brandon Hupe, it felt like unfinished business — and he has a chance to fix that.

 

The outfielder from Vancouver and the UBC Thunderbirds saw his 2022 summer season cut short following a collision during a game in Port Angeles. But the 6-2/200 pounder, a junior at UBC, will get one last shot to star for Head Coach Greg Frady as the Nanaimo NightOwls are excited to announce his return to the WCL.

 

The NightOwls are announcing the additions of four players today, the others being infielder Jimmy Legg of Pomona Pitzer, and pitchers Tyson Willis and Ethan Hubbell from Everett CC (NWAC) for Pitching Coach Gorm Heimueller to work with.

 

Hupe (pronounced who-PAY) was a veteran influence on a young NightOwls team, hitting .283 with two home runs and nine runs driven in over 17 games — coming off a UBC season that yielded 12 home runs and 48 RBIs in 49 games at the NAIA level.

 

“We missed Brandon when he got hurt, there was a change in our team,” said Frady. “Brandon was one of our key leaders, he knew the caliber and nuances of the league (previously played in the WCL with Kelowna), and he helped us as coaches, along with leading our younger players.”

 

In Legg, the NightOwls are getting a 5-11/185 scrappy, switch-hitting shortstop who can also move to second or third — known as a guy who always seems to be on base, comes through in the clutch and runs well. At Pomona Pitzer, he is a glue guy because of how much he loves to play the game.

 

The two Everett CC arms include Willis, a Snohomish, WA product who pitched in the WCL for Springfield in 2022. The right-hander is touching 90 with a true hard curveball and developing changeup from a 6-4/220 frame. Hubbell, from Camas, WA, is even bigger at 6-5, another righty with upper-80s velocity and command of four pitches and a workhorse mentality.

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Victoria HarbourCats – ‘Cats sign four, bring back Seward and Luchies

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December 7, 2022

For Immediate Release

VICTORIA, B.C. — It’s the old baseball adage — you can never have enough arms.

The Victoria HarbourCats have added three arms, two of them returning and one a local product, as part of four more players who have signed on for the 2023 West Coast League season. The fourth player on the roster comes from a dependable source of quality players — Cal Baptist.

Pitchers Jack Seward and Owen Luchies, both parts of the 2022 HarbourCats team that reached the WCL post-season, and Victoria Golden Tide ace Brady Wilson lead the latest signings, with versatile outfielder/second baseman Nick Dumesnil, a right-handed hitter from Huntington Beach, CA, a bat the team will look to for key offensive production. Dumesnil is 6-2/205 freshman and is known for a mix of speed and power that will be welcomed by Head Coach Todd Haney.

“We’ve spent even more time on pitching this year, it’s always a premium but it’s never easy to get that right mix for the staff — it’s the one area we are constantly looking to get better,” said Haney. “We’ve been known as a strong offensive team since even before I got here, and we know the best arms make all the difference.”

Vancouver product Jack Seward, now at Central Arizona, was 1-0 with three saves and a 1.15 ERA in 14 outings last summer, giving up earned runs in only two outings. He surrendered just 10 hits in 23 innings. Luchies, from Victoria, is a 6-2/195 pound freshman at Lower Columbia (NWAC) who started five games and threw 36 innings for the HarbourCats in 2022. He had 25 strikeouts, notched one save, was 2-2 with a 6.44 ERA and earned road wins in Port Angeles and Nanaimo.

Wilson, 6-1/175 from Calgary, was the workhorse for the Victoria collegiate Golden Tide in the spring of 2022, going a combined 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA in nine starts. He then spent the summer in the Western Canada Baseball League with the Fort McMurray Giants, where he was 5-5/4.94.

The HarbourCats celebrate their 10th Anniversary in 2023 and the season kicks off with the home opener against the Kamloops NorthPaws on Friday June 2, 2023.  Single game tickets for that game and all 31 HarbourCats home games in 2023 are now on sale and can be purchased on-line through our one-and-only ticketing partner, Select Your Tickets, at harbourcats.com/tickets.  They can also be purchased at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or at the Select Your Tickets box office at Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.  Fans can also call 778-265-0327 to order over the phone.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are also now on sale.  For details on all ticketing options, including our special $10.00 Tuesdays, Forces Fridays and Save-on-Food Vouchers, please visit harbourcats.com/ticketinfo

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Victoria HarbourCats – You’re Invited!

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Please join us at the office on Thursday, December 1, 2022 from 12 Noon to 7:00 pm for our annual Christmas Open House!

Join us for some Christmas cheer and to grab Christmas gifts for all the HarbourCats fans on your Christmas list!  Renew or purchase 2023 season tickets, grab some 10-game flex packs, or purchase single-game tickets for 2023 which also go on sale that day too!  Plus ALL MERCHANDISE on sale for 40% off – ONE DAY ONLY!

2023 Single-Game Tickets Also on Sale!

 

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