By Jonathan Hodgson
The Okotoks Dawgs roster received a major boost with the signings of right-handed pitchers Kenny Knudsen and Brad Lindsley for the upcoming 2015 season. Both pitchers are highly regarded veteran leaders for their respective college teams, and are expected to bring the same qualities to Okotoks.
Knudsen is a 6-foot-2, 180 pound right-hander from Bryan College, a top flight NAIA program in Dayton, Tenn. A native of Sugar Hill, Ga; Knudsen has been simply spectacular this spring as the Lions ace in his senior year. After five starts so far in 2015, the right-hander is 5-0 with a stellar 0.56 ERA, having given up two earned runs on the season. In 32 innings, he has allowed only 10 hits and 9 walks, compiling an impressive 46 strikeouts. Knudsen’s 46 strikeouts lead all of NAIA baseball, and his five wins has him tied for top spot.
Of his first five starts, Knudsen has pitched complete games in three of them, with two shutouts. On Feb. 20, he pitched a seven-inning no-hitter, striking out 14. Knudsen’s remarkable start has helped propel Bryan to a quick 15-4 start to the season.
The 2015 season continues what has been a fantastic career at Bryan. Knudsen enjoyed a very strong junior year in 2014, posted a 2.95 ERA over 24 appearances and ranked sixth in NAIA baseball with his 11 saves as the team’s closer, and in 2012, was named freshman of the year in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, for his 1.66 ERA in 43.1 innings.
Dawgs head coach Brett Thomas says that Knudsen figures to aid the Dawgs rotation.
“Kenny Knudsen comes very highly recommended.” Thomas begins. “Kenny is an ace. He will be an arm that we will look to pitch at the top of our rotation, and is a guy who will bring a great deal of character to our team.”
“Look for Kenny to pitch a lot, and also take a huge leadership role on the clubhouse.”
Coach Thomas has also secured another highly regarded and experienced pitcher, in Lindsley, from another top NAIA program in York College.
Lindsley is a 6-foot-7, 230 pound right-hander out of Bakersfield, Calif. Lindsley is a senior at York College in York, Neb., and is the ace of the Panthers pitching staff. The imposing right-hander has been spotless thus far this spring with two wins and carries a 0.00 ERA, having not allowed an earned run in 24 1/3 innings in four starts. He possesses a strong strikeout to walk ratio, recording 14 strikeouts against just three walks.
Previously Lindsley was 5-3 in 14 appearances, 10 starts, with 50 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings for York as a junior in 2014, after pitching two years at Bakersfield CC.
Thomas says Lindsley was recommended to him by multiple sources.
“Lindsley is an ace at a top notch NAIA program,” Thomas said. “Besides strong recommendation from York assistant coach, Dylan Connolly; Lindsley previously played for former Dawgs coach Trevor Varley, who had tremendous things to say about him.”
Lindsley was a teammate of 2013 Dawgs pitcher Aaron Conyers a year ago during Conyers’ senior year at York. Conyers says Lindsley was equal parts a great teammate, and competitor.
“First off, he likes to be called Bradford,” said Conyers. “He will definately bring some fun and lighten the mood of the staff and the whole team. That said, he is a great competitor and will give you his all, every day.”
“You will like him in Okotoks,” said the former Dawgs southpaw. “He is a great guy to have on the mound and in the clubhouse. Good luck to the Dawgs this season!”
Coach Thomas also notes on Lindsley, “He hails from California and we always love having some Golden State content on our roster!”
Thomas, a former catcher at UC Berkeley, is a native of Berkeley, Calif., and Lindsley is one of now four players from the Golden State with the Dawgs for this summer. The team’s pitching staff already includes Joseph Carvalho (Lancaster, CA) of Mesa CC, and Keone Cabinian (Clayton, CA) from the College of San Mateo.
Carvalho is off to his own flying start for Dawgs assistant coach David Robb at Mesa CC, pitching to a perfect 5-0 record with a phenomenal 0.29 ERA in 31 innings so far this spring. Carvalho and fellow rookie Dawg, Evan Fresquez are a combined 10-0, leading Mesa CC to a 17-4 start.
Marcus Mastrobuoni is a highly regarded catcher who comes to the Dawgs from Livermore, CA by way of Cal State Stanislaus (NCAA Div. 2), where he is currently hitting .375 with a homerun and seven RBI’s in 11 games.
The Dawgs are very optimistic with the roster continuing to come into shape, along with the early reports from the spring season.