Tuesday, January 15, 2013

HarbourCats sign five players from big-name schools

Brandon Smith
On Monday the Victoria HarbourCats announced the signing of five players, four of whom are NCAA Division I players, while the other is a Division II player who was recently selected in the MLB draft. All five are currently in their freshman season of college baseball.

Brandon Smith is a speedy outfielder who was selected by the Washington Nationals in the 15th round of last June's First-Year Player Draft. Smith stole an impressive 21 bases in only 77 at-bats in his senior year of high school in Irvine, California. He chose not to sign with the Nats and instead plays for Grand Canyon University, a Division II school.

Brett Urabe is an infielder with the UCLA Bruins, the fifth-ranked team in the nation according to the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Top 40 Poll. Although he is a diminutive player, Urabe has a powerful hitting stroke that he used to club seven homers in only 80 at-bats in his senior year at Huntington Beach High School. He played second base last year (among other positions) and seems to be cut from the same cloth as Craig Biggio -- he's the kind of player who could become a crowd favourite at Royal Athletic Park this summer. There is a good chance that UCLA will participate in the College World Series again this year (eight teams qualify), so we might not see him in a HarbourCats uniform until the Kelowna Falcons make their second visit to RAP on July 5th.
Brett Urabe at the plate

Anthony Hermelyn is a versatile infielder from McKinnney, Texas. Hermelyn, who is now playing for the 14th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners, received first team all-state infield honours in his junior year of high school. That year he clubbed 13 homers, including this bomb that can be viewed on YouTube.

Will Ballowe is a hulking 6' 4" 237 lb. pitcher with the University of Washington Huskies. Ballowe actually pitched in the West Coast League last season straight out of high school, posting an 8.52 ERA in eight relief appearances for the Bellingham Bells. The imposing southpaw struck out seven batters and walked six in those 6 1/3 innings of work. With a season of pitching for the Huskies under his belt, he could make huge strides forward with the HarbourCats this summer.
Josh Cushing

Josh Cushing is a teammate of Ballowe's at the University of Washington. The athletic infielder has a strong throwing arm and some serious power potential. Cushing, who can play any infield position, hit .400 with five homers as a senior at Campolindo High School last season. We may see him manning the hot corner at RAP on opening day.

There are now eleven players listed on the official HarbourCats roster, four of whom have been previously drafted by MLB teams. We can expect to hear the news of additional signings in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned for more information on our new team. Go Cats Go!

For additional information on the signings, check out the official HarbourCats site.

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