VICTORIA, B.C. – The Victoria HarbourCats are excited to announce that special guests will – literally – be dropping in for our Season Opening game.
For our DRIVE FOR 5,000 on Friday, June 5, the Home Opener against our Canadian rivals, the Kelowna Rockets, members of the Victoria Skydivers will be jumping out of a perfectly good airplane (why would they do that?) to give the festivities a glorious start.
“Our fans remember the Victoria Skydivers joining us last year, for our July 1 game, and it was spectacular – this is definitely something we’ve brought back by popular demand,” said Jim Swanson, General Manager and Vice-President of the HarbourCats.
“What a way to start the season, working with Peter Vos and his group. Tickets are going well for the game – we promised that if we had great pre-sales we would look at some additional events, and this is one of them. If pre-sales keep going the way they are, we’ll be adding fireworks that night as well, and those are very popular with our fans.”
Opening Night in 2014 drew a true crowd of 3,038 – and already, the team has more than 2,400 tickets sold for this year’s first game.
Performing the anthems that night will be Josh Boudreau, a local guitarist who will do his best Hendrix/Slash imitation in getting the game off to a glorious start.
PLAYER MOVES, LOCALS SIGNED
The HarbourCats have been advised that two pitchers will not be able to play in the West Coast League this summer – RHP George Alamillo of East LA College, due to an arm injury, and LHP Ryan Wilson of Pepperdine, due to a heavy workload this spring. Wilson, a freshman, became a go-to guy for the Waves and will be at 80-plus innings with playoffs set to start.
The Victoria HarbourCats are pleased to announce the signing of a Pepperdine left-handed pitcher, along with six local players who have been added on 10-day contracts.
n LHP Nick Wojtysiak, Pepperdine University
n C Evan Willow, Victoria
n IF Justin Clarkson, Nanaimo
n IF Morgan Varley, Victoria
n OF Zach Diewert, Chemainus
n IF Brady Rogers, Nanaimo
n RHP Kenton Schroter, Nanaimo
Wojtysiak is a 5-11/170 lefty who is a product of a Fountain Hills High School in Scottsdale, AZ, where he showcased swing-and-miss stuff with 302 strikeouts in his prep career. He was named first-team all-state as both a sophomore and junior, and all-section as a senior, and posted a 16-strikeout game. The freshman has been overcoming an arm issue and was limited to three outings this spring for Pepperdine.
Clarkson played at Midland Junior College who swings from the left side, and played in the Canada Cup as a junior. The infielder, a product of the Nanaimo Pirates, comes with good power and stands 6-0/190. He hit .335 with six home runs and 39 driven in over 55 games.
Willow, a 19-year-old right-handed hitter, was named Top Freshman for the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. He played in 47 games, including 44 starts as either catcher or designated hitter, for McPherson College, where he hit .293 and led his team in doubles (11), home runs (3) and walks (15). He drove in 18 runs. Willow, 6-1/200, can also play first base. He’s a graduate of Lambrick Baseball Academy and the Victoria Mariners of the PBL.
Varley, 5-8/160, is a right-handed hitting infielder who completed his freshman season with the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack. The graduate of the Lambrick Baseball Academy and the Victoria Mariners hit .317 with two doubles and 10 RBIs while earning a starting role.
Rogers, the twin brother of returning HarbourCats right-handed pitcher Alex Rogers, played this past spring with his brother at Trinidad State in Colorado. He hit .292 in 38 games with a home run, six stolen bases and 18 RBIs. Rogers, 6-0/165, is a product of the Nanaimo Pirates of the PBL and Nanaimo Secondary School.
Schroter, 5-11/190, is a Nanaimo Pirates product who has been resting his arm to prepare for a return to US collegiate baseball in the fall. The 21-year-old formerly attended Cochise, and was one of the Premier League pitchers a few years go.
Diewert is currently playing PBL with the Nanaimo Pirates, where he is having an outstanding season in advance of heading to Polk State in Florida. The outfielder, a physical specimen who covers a lot of ground at 6-0/220, is batting .411 with two home runs and 26 runs driven in for the Pirates.
“These are quality Vancouver Island players who have started to make their mark in the college baseball world, and are showing that this area continues to produce good baseball players,” said Jim Swanson, General Manager and Vice-President of the HarbourCats.
“It’s a good fit for us, to give these players a chance to play at the highest level on Vancouver Island, where they call home. All five of these players had strong seasons, and this opportunity for them is recognition of their hard work and development. They are excited, and they know it only gets more challenging from here. They will all get a chance to show what they can do during our exhibition games, and earn their opportunity from there.”
CURRENT ROSTER (39)
C (5) – Jackson Thoreson, St. Mary’s; Dane Fujinaka, Sacramento State; Zach Bonneau, University of Washington; Nick Meyer, Cal Poly-SLO; Evan Willow, McPherson College
IF (11) – Gabe Clark, Oregon State; Michael Gretler, Oregon State; Jamie Umbinetti, Edmonds CC; Griffin Andreychuk, Seattle University; PJ Floyd, Sacramento State; Carl Stajduhar, New Mexico; Chase Lambert, Pepperdine; Scott Jarvis, UCLA; Brady Rogers, Trinidad State; Morgan Varley, Thompson Rivers; Justin Clarkson, Midland JC
OF (9) – Kevin Collard, San Diego; Reno Rankin, LA Mission CC; Kevin Amezquita, East LA CC; Jake Pries, UCLA; Austin Guibor, Fresno State; Ben Polshuk, Cal Poly-SLO; Brendan Somers, SW Oregon CC; Chris Fougner, Salt Lake CC; Zach Diewert, Nanaimo Pirates/Polk State
P (14) – Alex Rogers, Trinidad State/North Dakota State; Austin Dondanville, Cal Poly-SLO; Dominic Topoozian, Fresno State; Henry Omana, Cal State Fullerton; Mikey Wright, Consumnes River CC; Shawn Kennedy II, Georgetown-NAIA; Matt Blais, UC-Davis; Kyle Francis, Everett CC; Sean O’Toole, St. Mary’s;Preston Ryan, New Mexico; Josh Mitchell, Pittsburgh; RHP Josh Walker, Grand Canyon; Nick Wojtysiak, Pepperdine; Kenton Schroter, Cochise.
Head coach – Graig Merritt
Assistant coaches – Alec Adame, Jerry Pena, Joe Meggs
Trainers – Curtis Hawkins, Tanner McGaw
General Manager – Jim Swanson
*Somers, Fougner, Alex Rogers, Andreychuk, Willow, Varley, Schroter, Clarkson and Brady Rogers are from Vancouver Island.
**Clark, Andreychuk, Ryan, Alex Rogers and Wright are returning players.
***Varley, Willow, Schroter, Diewert, Clarkson and Brady Rogers are on 10-day contracts to start.
Want to secure your seats for our exhibition games? Home Opener? Fireworks? The first day game? Father’s Day? Or, how about the MacGregor Sock Toss for Anawim House on June 20(details to come!)? Come to the office, 1814 Vancouver Street, or buy on-line atwww.harbourcats.com/tickets. Season tickets and 10-packs are available.