December 18, 2012, Victoria, BC – The Victoria HarbourCats announced the franchise’s first player signings Tuesday, including those of Victoria natives Austin Russell, Nick Pivetta and Connor Russell who will join the team for the inaugural 2013 season.
HarbourCats General manager Holly Jones was on hand Tuesday at Lambrick Park Secondary School in Saanich to introduce the three local players to the media and baseball community.
Austin Russell (left), Nick Pivetta (centre) and Connor Russell (right) are the Victoria HarbourCats first player signings for the 2013 season. All three players are Victoria natives (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
“It is a pleasure to welcome Austin, Nick and Connor to our team,” noted Jones. “We are thrilled to sign players with a strong connection to the baseball community in the region, most notably the Victoria Eagles and Victoria Mariners of the BC Premier Baseball League. We hope this is just the start of a long line of graduates from those teams that come back to play for the HarbourCats in summers to come.”
Austin Russell (left), Nick Pivetta (centre) and Connor Russell (right) sign their initial contracts at a signing event at Lambrick Park High School Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
The HarbourCats also announced the signing of three additional players, all who were previously drafted by MLB teams, including catchers Casey Schroeder (University of Kentucky) and David Schuknecht (Riverside City College) and pitcher Connor Baits (University of California Santa Barbara). Brief player bios are provided below. Photos of the three local players and detailed bios of all are attached.
A 6’3″ 200 lb. outfielder, Russell attends Southern Polytechnical State University in Georgia. He played for the Victoria Mariners premier team from 2007 to 2010 where he won a BCPBL championship. Russell is looking forward to being part of the HarbourCats in 2013. “I’ve grown up watching different levels of baseball come through Royal Athletic Park and have witnessed and been a part of the great fan base here, so to come back home to play in front of them and be part of this inaugural season of HarbourCats baseball is something special.”
A 6’5″, 215 lb. right-handed pitcher, Pivetta is a Senior at New Mexico Junior College and has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of New Mexico in September 2013. Pivetta played for the Victoria Eagles in 2010 and 2011 and was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team from 2009-2011. He is currently ranked 11th by the Canadian Baseball Network among 2013 MLB draft prospects from Canada. “I am extremely excited to be playing for my hometown team,” notes Pivetta. “The West Coast League has a great reputation for its caliber of play and I am looking forward to continuing my development with the HarbourCats in 2013.”
A 6’4″ 200 lb. right-handed pitcher, Connor Russell is in his third year at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in Nanaimo. Russell played his minor baseball at Allenby Park in Victoria and then for the Victoria Mariners. At VIU, Russell has broken school records in a number of categories and for the past two summers, has pitched for the Okotoks Dawgs in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL). “I am excited to play for the Harbour Cats this summer because I’m a hometown boy who has always enjoyed baseball in Victoria while growing up,” notes Russell. “I think the fans will be great and it will be an awesome atmosphere at the ballpark every time we take the field.”
A 6’2″ 190 lb. catcher hailing from Glandorf, Ohio, Schroeder is a freshman at the University of Kentucky and was a 22nd round draft pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012.
A 6’1″ 195 lb catcher from Palm Desert, California, Schuknecht was a 12th round draft pick of the Colorado Rockies in 2011. He presently attends Riverside City College, in California where he is under the guidance of HarbourCats head coach Dennis Rogers.
From San Diego, California, the 6’6″ 220 lb Baits is one of the top ranked pitchers in the state and is currently attending the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). He was a 23rd round draft pick of the New York Mets in 2012.
About the Victoria HarbourCats
The Victoria HarbourCats are Victoria’s entry in the West Coast League. The WCL is a college-level, wood-bat baseball league with 11 teams from the Pacific Northwest that feature elite level college players from across North America. The HarbourCats open their inaugural season at home on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria. Season tickets, 10-Game Flex Packs and team merchandise are now on sale. Drop by our office at 103-1814 Vancouver Street to order in person, or call the office at 778-265-0327. Office hours are 10-3 Monday thru Saturday. Visit www.harbourcats.com/tickets for details.