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Summer Collegiate

WCL Adds Springfield Drifters as Newest Member Team

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April 22, 2021

Thursday, the West Coast League announced the addition of the expansion Springfield Drifters as the league’s 16th member team. The Drifters will join the Bend Elks, Corvallis Knights, and Portland Pickles as the league’s fourth Oregon-based team.

“When you look at a map,” said WCL Commissioner Rob Neyer, “adding another team in the Willamette Valley is an easy call for us. We were simply waiting for the perfect situation, and with the Springfield Baseball Project, that’s now exactly what we’ve got.”

The Drifters, Bushnell University, and Huddle Up Foundation comprise the Springfield Baseball Project, which is partnering with Springfield Public Schools to renovate the Hamlin Sports Complex baseball field, located at Hamlin Middle School. Beginning in 2022, both the Drifters and the Bushnell Beacons will call the Hamlin Sports Complex home in their inaugural seasons.

“Bringing the high-level play of the West Coast League to Springfield is a baseball dream come true,” said Drifters General Manager Jamie Christopher. “Through the Springfield Baseball Project and Springfield Public Schools’ partnership, we are not only building a first-class baseball facility; we’re also bringing a community facility to an under-served youth population.”

The Drifters join the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and Nanaimo NightOwls as the four expansion teams set to begin play in 2022. Edmonton, Kamloops and Nanaimo, along with the Victoria HarbourCats and Kelowna Falcons, are gearing up for the 2022 campaign after withdrawing from the 2021 season due to continuing pandemic-related border and gathering limitations.

Springfield’s ownership team of Ike Olsson, from Olsson Industrial Electric; and Kelly Richardson of Richardson Sports, have been planning this venture for a year. “In partnership with the school district,” said Olsson, “we are honored to present our community with another phenomenal baseball complex that builds upon Huddle Up Foundation’s success with Rich Schwab Field at Maple Elementary School. This new project will continue Huddle Up’s mission of providing mentorship and after-school programs to underserved local youth.”

“The Springfield School District has been an ideal partner. Without their cooperation and shared vision, the Drifters Baseball Club and this new facility would not be possible,” said Richardson. “We are excited to bring collegiate baseball to the Springfield community and provide a first-class facility for local kids to use and be proud of.”

To find more information about the Springfield Drifters Baseball Club, visit www.driftersbaseball.com. Fans can follow the team on social media: @driftersbball on Facebook and Twitter.

About the West Coast League: The West Coast League is the West’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Encompassing Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and now Alberta, the WCL showcases pro prospects from major collegiate conferences around the nation. Every summer, the league features unparalleled fan and player experiences, with North America’s best baseball weather. The 2019 MLB amateur draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected with the overall No. 1 pick by the Baltimore Orioles. Also in 2019, 317 WCL alums were active in affiliated professional baseball, including 45 in the major leagues, while overall attendance in the West Coast League increased to nearly half a million fans.

Summer Collegiate

Stability and more support the story for NightOwls coaching staff

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Greg Frady, Gorman Heimueller, Sean FitzGerald are the only coaches the Nanaimo NightOwls have ever known.

With the West Coast League team entering its third season at historic Serauxmen Stadium, that trio will have some help for 2024 — and the local kind.

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Frady, the Head Coach and veteran of college and international baseball, is proud to add two local coaches to the staff — First Base Coach Tyler Moretti, and Mental Skills/Bullpen Coach Jordan Herbison.

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Pitching Coach Heimueller, amazingly, is approaching his 50th year in the game, a career that includes two World Series rings, while FitzGerald, who runs the offense from the third base box, brings a wealth of junior college experience from Skagit Valley College.

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Moretti is well known locally as a former Pirates player who went south to play at Jamestown College, also seeing time at then-named VIBI. He has coached at the PBL and collegiate level.

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Herbison, originally from Ontario, played at UBC and the former RHP is now an instructor at Vancouver Island University, and was the mental performance coach for the NightOwls in 2023.

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Herbison and Moretti will give NightOwls players more opportunities for development.

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Summer Collegiate

Arm injuries in pro and college baseball — NightOwls make organizational statement

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Heimueller has served as a minor league pitching coach and coordinator for many MLB organizations, most recently with the Padres. He has World Series rings for his work with the Twins and Phillies.

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With the NightOwls, Gorm has enjoyed working with them all — but especially strong-command pitchers such as Nathan Buchan, Garrett Goodall, Jake Fleury and Josh Laukkanen.

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“Gorm loves to say he’s never seen a ground ball leave the park,” said Swanson.

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“We see athletes on our team and others using max effort rather than prioritizing strikes — that makes for longer games, too, another focus in baseball. If someone can throw 97, with healthy actions and commanding the baseball, that’s great — but few can and let’s stop turning our backs on pitchers who can get people out with pitch location as the priority.

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“There is too much focus on radar gun ratings, on spin rate readouts, and Gorm and our coaching staff will be developing and rewarding pitchers who locate pitches and get batters out.”

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The NightOwls are excited about the player roster for the coming season, and the mix of pitchers on the roster — different styles, to create different looks and get the 27 outs required to win games.

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Summer Collegiate

Victoria HarbourCats – 2024 Season Ticket Pick-up Event

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WE ARE BACK! 2024 Season Tickets Available for Pick-Up

May 17, 2024

We are inviting all season ticket holders, host families, and fans to join us for our annual “MAX MIXER” Season Ticket Holder Pick Up Event on Tuesday, May 28th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at MAX FURNITURE at 3460 Quadra St. in Victoria.

WHAT: Season Ticket Pick-Up and Pre-Season Mixer
WHERE: MAX FURNITURE – 3460 Quadra St.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 28th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Come meet your fellow fans, grab your season tickets, and mingle with HarbourCats staff and Harvey the HarbourCat as we kickoff the 2024 season.

There will be ticket and merchandise deals offered exclusively at the event.

NO RSVP required but if you have any questions, please contact the HarbourCats office at 778-265-0327.

If you can’t make the event, you can pick up your tickets at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street. Open M-F 9AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

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