HarbourCats sign five players from NWAC


Jim Swanson

(ISN) – VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria HarbourCats have added five more players to the 2015 roster – and all hail from Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC). A total of 23 players have now been announced for the upcoming West Coast League season.

“The Pacific Northwest area produces a lot of great players, and sometimes they can fly under the radar – our coaching staff has worked hard to identify players from our region who we believe can develop further with the HarbourCats, and help this franchise reach the playoffs,” said General Manager Jim Swanson.

“In evaluating 2014, two areas contributed to those losing streaks that kept us from playing past Game 54 and into the post-season – roster depth, and our pitching program. We think that with a greater focus on pitching instruction led by head coach Graig Merritt and pitching coach Alec Adame, and finding players who are hungry to prove they can compete with the Division 1 stars throughout our league, that we can take those steps.”

Announced today are:
John Naff – outfielder/first baseman, Everett College
Jamie Umbinetti – infielder, Edmonds Community College
Curtis Bafus – right-handed pitcher, Everett College
Matt Fish – left-handed pitcher, Pierce Community College
Kyle Francis – right-handed pitcher, Everett College
Francis and Bafus are freshmen, while Umbinetti, Fish and Naff are all completing their sophomore seasons.

Bafus is a product of Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Washington, and stands 6-7 and weighs 225 pounds. He had a 2.28 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 35 innings in his senior year of high school before moving on to Everett College. He can also swing it a bit, hitting two home runs and posting a .345 average.

Naff hit .365 with five extra-base hits for Everett CC last spring. The six-foot, 210-pounder from Marysville, WA, is a left-handed hitter who can hopefully provide balance to a lineup which has right-handed power led by returning first baseman Gabe Clark of Oregon State. Naff can play a corner outfield position, first base, or DH. Will move to a Division 1 school in the fall.

Matt Fish, a lefty pitcher from Pierce CC, was limited in action in the spring of 2014 but was 2-0 in 14 innings, putting up a ‘K’ on 24 batters in those innings. He gave up just seven hits as batters hit a meager .188 off him, and is projected as the top starter for Pierce this spring. Fish is a 6-0/185 product of Gull Lake High School.

Francis, the third Everett CC signee, is a 6-3/205 from Redmond High School in Redmond, WA. As a senior in high school, he was one of the top-ranked players in Washington thanks to going 6-1 with a 1.37 ERA on the mound, striking out 47 while logging 51 innings. Francis contributed offensively with a .383 average and three home runs. He also stole nine bases, a testament to his athleticism.

Umbinetti was part of a feared offensive attack from Edmonds College last spring, leading that program to a championship. The right-handed hitter hit three home runs, batted .250, and stole five bases. He also had six doubles. The 5-10/190 product of Everett is in his second year with the Tritons.

“We are excited to sign these players and get a chance to see them grow as players, through learning from our coaches and competing for playing time and against other teams in the West Coast League,” said Swanson. “These are important signings for us as we get ready for the 2015 season.”