Three Mariners Sign to Play at US Colleges in Fall 2014

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

February 11, 2014, Saanich, BC (ISN) – The Victoria Mariners of the BC Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) are pleased to announce that three players – Colton Wood, Chris Fougner and Evan Willow – have signed letters of intent and will receive full scholarships to play for U.S. colleges in the fall of 2014.

The announcement was made today by Premier Mariners Head Coach Mike Chewpoy during a press conference at Lambrick Park Secondary School. “Colton, Chris and Evan are all quality players from the BCPBL who we believe will be successful in the classroom and on the field,” said Chewpoy. “These guys will make a real impact on the college scene and our coaching staff has no doubt that these colleges are getting three of British Columbia’s finest players.”

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Victoria Mariners veteran players Chris Fougner (left), Evan Willow (centre) and Colton Wood (right) have all received scholarships to play for U.S. colleges in the fall of 2014 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Wood, at 6’0 and 190 pounds is a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who has been the ace of the Mariners staff for the past three years. He will be a force to reckon with in the fall at Cochise College in Arizona. Cochise is currently ranked #3 in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and took part in the Junior College World Series last fall. Wood is a dominant force on the mound, with a fastball in the low 90’s (mph) and is a member of Canada’s Junior National Team.

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Colton Wood will put his arm to the test at Cochise College in Arizona in the fall of 2014 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Fougner, at 6’3″ and 185 pounds has been a regular in the Mariners infield over the past two years and will see more time as a right fielder in 2014. He was also a regular on the mound for the M’s last season. He has signed to play for Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) in Utah, a team that has been ranked as high as #1 in the NJCAA this past year. Fougner has the rare combination of speed and power, making him one of the top offensive players in the BCPBL. In 2013, Fougner hit nine doubles, two triples, a home run and stole 24 bases for the Mariners. On the hill in 2013, Fougner was 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA.

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A regular in the infield for the Mariners, Chris Fougner will likely see more time in the outfield and on the hill for Salt Lake Community College in Utah in the fall of 2014 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Also a three-year player for the M’s, Willow, at 6’2″ and 195 pounds, has excelled as the number one catcher for the team the past two seasons. He will be joining former teammate Austin Russell at McPherson College in Kansas, part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

All three players are getting ready for the 2014 BCPBL season and their final year with the Mariners. They will headline a good crop of returning veterans that should give the Mariners a shot at the 2014 BCPBL title. The Mariners full 2014 roster was also announced today and in addition to Wood, Fougner and Willow, includes: Nick Seginowich, Matt Wellington, Chris Lata, Jeremy Patterson, Mike Varley, Morgan Varley, Tanner Hess, Jake Bosence, Mitch Bryan, Brett Irvine, Lucas Piechnik, Jesse Mycock, Nick Dawson, Dan Phillips, Liam Catto, Angus Catto, Jake Barnard, Kieran Russell and Broeden Wood.

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Catcher Evan Willow hopes to see many innings behind the plate at McPherson College in Kansas in the fall of 2014 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Victoria Mariners are the longest running BCPBL organization in Victoria and one of the original teams in the league. The signing of Wood, Fougner and Willow continues the tradition of the Mariners sending players – now numbering more than 80 – on to the college or professional ranks. This includes players such as Michael Saunders (Seattle Mariners), Kelly Norris-Jones (University of Illinois, Victoria HarbourCats), and more recently, infielder Jesse Hodges, who is in the Cubs Minor League system.

The Mariners will begin their quest for the 2014 title with pre-season play in early March. The 2014 BCPBL regular season will then begin in mid-April, with all Mariner home games being played at Henderson Park. For further details, stay tuned to the Mariners web site at http://ballcharts.com/teams/index.php?team=VictoriaMariners#.UvrI6PldWSo

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