Thursday, February 27, 2014

Future 'Cats take that right turn at Albuquerque

As you have been reading here on the blog, the US College Baseball season is underway!
Yes that’s crickets you hear...
One thing you find out quickly when researching college ball, is that it ain’t football. Or basketball. The college baseball machine – the one that turns out almost 50% of all major league ball players – lives in relative obscurity in the US college sports landscape. While the Sweet 16 basketball tourney is the most watched amateur sporting event on the planet, and NCAA football games are often played in front of audiences in excess of 80,000, the majority of college baseball games are played in venues older and smaller than Royal Athletic Park, in front of hundreds of fans, not thousands.
Take for instance, my focus team this week, 2013 HarbourCats slugger Alex Real’s University of New Mexico Lobos... Remember those cold mid-week games at RAP last year when he looked up and saw no more than 1000 Victoria fans spread around the stadium? Well that’s a sellout at Lobo Field in sunny Albuquerque New Mexico... 
Lobo Field - lots of parking available!

It's small, but it's no hole-in-the-ground... Built in 1960, Lobo Field has undergone some significant renovations in the past couple of years and is a jewel on the UNM campus. New dugouts, playing surface, and lights (which allowed for the first ever night game to be played this season) are just some of the key upgrades that make this a beautiful, if not quaint stadium.
Alex Real is back with the Lobos this season as a junior (meaning veteran), on a team where 13 seniors from last year have graduated and moved on. Our big man has been elevated to a full-time catcher, where he has started every game so far. Last year he caught only 8 games all season, spending the majority of his time as a DH or first baseman. In his first 8 games this year, Real is hitting a respectable .323 with 10 hits (all singles), and 4 steals. He is one of only four upper-classmen on a very young Lobos team this year, and will be expected to lead both on and off the field – which as we remember, he seems more than capable of doing.
If the Lobos are to return to their regional championship for a fifth year in a row, they will need to rely on some new and upcoming young talent. This includes two players who will make Victoria and the HarbourCats their summer home this year – LHP Carson Schneider, and OF Danny Collier. The two Froshes are just beginning their NCAA careers and are no doubt adjusting to college life on a campus  of almost 30,000.
Danny Collier (L) and Carson Schneider (R)

Collier has left the bench only once so far, going 0-1 in his only pinch-hit plate appearance. Schneider has seen a bit more action, coming out of the bullpen three times for a total of 2.2 innings. He’s given up a hit each time, plunked a dude, but still has his virginal 0.00 ERA intact.
We’ll continue to report on our Lobo boys as the season progresses and they see more action!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cats to play Sr. Blaze in Duncan exhibition game

On Wednesday the HarbourCats announced that they’ll be playing an exhibition game in Duncan on Sunday June 22nd against the Langley Sr. Blaze, a team of former college players and ex-professionals. The Blaze will provide tough competition for the young HarbourCats, as the Langley squad is considered the favourite to win the Baseball Canada Senior Championship this year after finishing second in nationals in 2013.

The game has been smartly scheduled to help break up the four consecutive off-days between the three-game sets at RAP against the Bellingham Bells and the Bend Elks and it will hopefully help keep the team focused and in playing shape. The HarbourCats have more plans for the June 21-22 weekend, so stay tuned to the blog for additional information. Last season the team had five consecutive off days in late June with no exhibition games scheduled and the layoff ended up becoming the obvious turning point of the season. Victoria was the only team in the West Coast League that did not play a single exhibition game in 2013.

The game in Duncan will also give the Victoria team some added exposure to mid-island baseball fans. A significant number of fans from Duncan and Mill Bay already make the trek into Victoria for HarbourCats games, but perhaps the June 22nd game will help create some new fans from even further up Vancouver Island.

GM Jim Swanson has made incredible strides in working with the local community since he took over in late November and his “Baseball Day in Duncan” is just the latest example. The game is being put on in association with the Duncan Junior Baseball Association and a full day of festivities are planned. These include:
  • 9 AM - Youth wood-bat games between Peewee and Mosquito teams.
  • 10 AM to 12:30 PM - Fun Fair games and food. 
  • 11 AM - Presentation of youth team awards.
  • 11:30 AM - HarbourCats/Blaze warm up and batting practice.
  • 1:05 PM - Victoria HarbourCats vs. Langley Sr. Blaze.
  • Post-game - Autograph session with HarbourCats and Blaze.
The game will be played at cozy Evans Park in Duncan, the complex that hosted the Midget AA provincial championship in 2013. The ballpark dimensions are a tad on the small side, so you can expect to see plenty of offense when the HarbourCats and Blaze take to the field that day. Of course, a few extra souvenir home run balls for the fans are never a bad idea.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gaucho Marks - Feb 25th edition

The US college season is now underway so it is time to start spying on the future HarbourCats to see how they fare in the NCAA world. Hopefully, the odd post here and there will give you a view into a few of the players that will show up at the RAP this summer.

The University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos gave us a fistful of players last year - David Schuknecht, Robby Nesovic, Cameron Cuneo and Joe Record - and the relationship looks to continue with medical-redshirt freshman outfielder Andrew Calica (pronounced cah-LEE-ca) who is headed our way this summer.

The Gauchos have played 4 games so far and sport a 3-1 record, dropping only a single game to San Jose State last weekend. Returning from a back injury last year, Calica is off to a nice start and despite going hitless in his first game, is now batting .400 after stringing together three multi-hit (all singles) games. He has struck out once and been plunked once in his 17 plate appearances while flawlessly (no errors) patrolling centre field and picking up two assists.

Calica seems to be hitting seventh right now but if he keeps up the consistent performance and can mix in some extra base hits, look for him to move up in the order.

The Cleveland Indians selected Calica in the 17th round back in 2012, the year he graduated from Eastlake High School in San Diego. In his junior and senior years there, he hit a combined .450 while also playing football and running some cross country. This well-rounded athlete is just now filling out his six foot two frame so while he will probably never put up Ruth-like power numbers, look for a little more pop to creep into his stat-line over the coming months. Hopefully, he will get through an full injury-free season with the Gauchos before bring his game to Vic-town.

Looking forward, UCSB will certainly have their hands full tonight when they take on the thirteenth ranked UCLA Bruins, before returning home this weekend for a four game set with Princeton. As the season progresses, we will continue to give you updates on how your future 'Cats are doing down south, as the snow (what, in Victoria??) melts away to thoughts of spring...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner - February 23rd edition

This is our second installment of HarbourCanucks Corner, a weekly update on the Canadians who will play on the 2014 Victoria HarbourCats.

A young Nick Rutckyj (#3) representing Canada in the 2007 Little League World Series
Nick Rutckyj went 3-for-13 with two doubles and a run scored for the Cuesta College Cougars this week. Although Rutckyj started the first 12 games of the season for the Cougars, his 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Friday was probably the reason why he spent most of Saturday's game on the bench. The right-handed power hitter is batting .159 with two homers and seven RBI in 44 at-bats this season. The Cougars (4-9) have had their share of difficulties at the plate this year, as shown by their .193 team batting average. In spite of his tepid start, Rutckyj still leads Cuesta in homers and slugging percentage and he is tied for the team lead in RBI. The Cougars have a light week ahead, with just one game scheduled against West Valley College.

The University of Illinois Fighting Illini dropped two of their three games at the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach Tournament this weekend. Kelly Norris-Jones got his second start of the season behind the plate on Sunday and he picked up a pair of walks in three plate appearances. He’s one-for-six on the season with a .444 on-base percentage. The Fighting Illini (2-4) are in Gainesville, Florida next weekend to play a pair of games against both the Florida Gators and Florida Gulf Coast University. The Gators are the 23rd-ranked Division I baseball team according to Baseball America.

This was a weekend to forget for Nanaimo’s Griffin Andreychuk. The freshman shortstop with the University of Seattle Redhawks went 0-for-3 with three errors in the team's first couple of games against Cal State Northridge and he spent the remainder of the four-game series riding the pine. Andreychuk has five errors on the young season to give him an .800 fielding percentage. Combine that with a 1-for-12 at the plate for the year and it’s not surprising that he has at least temporarily lost his starting shortstop job. On the plus side, the Redhawks (5-3) are unbeaten in the four games that Andreychuk has started. Seattle U is off to St. George, Utah this week to play a three-game series against Brigham Young University.

We don't have a lot to report on Brandon Feldman's week. We do know that he didn't play in Otero Junior College’s win over Western Nebraska Community College on Monday. Unfortunately, the box scores from the four games played against Trinidad State Junior College this weekend aren't yet available online.

HarbourCatNip
  • Will Dennis continued his dominant sophomore season with the University of Seattle. In two appearances this weekend, the southpaw picked up a save and did not allow a hit in 2 ⅔ innings pitched. Dennis has a 1.59 ERA and a 0.71 WHIP in four appearances this season.
  • Bret Helton got his first start of the season for the University of Utah Utes on Monday, picking up the win in a 5-4 victory over Sacramento State. Helton limited the Hornets to a pair of earned runs on three hits and a walk in his six innings on the mound. He also pitched four scoreless innings of relief to pick up the save against the University of Nebraska this afternoon. Helton sports a nifty 1.80 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in his two outings.
  • Freshman Aaron Barnett continued his hot hitting this week, going 5-for-18 with five RBI and two runs scored. He also registered his first extra-base hit of the season, a double against Long Beach State on Tuesday. Barnett, who has started all seven Pepperdine games at catcher this season, leads the Waves with a .467 batting average.
  • Gabe Clark got a start at first base and another at DH in the four games played by the second-ranked Oregon State Beavers this week. Clark went one-for-three with three walks to give him a .429 batting average and a .667 on-base percentage for the year. Clark, with three walks and no strikeouts on the season, has shown great plate discipline so far, but the slugger is still in search of his first extra-base hit of 2014. 
  • Pepperdine sophomore Devin Carter got a couple of starts at DH this week and went 3-for-8 with a stolen base and a run scored. Carter is 3-for-10 at the dish this season.
  • Bob Miller and his Cuesta College Cougars beat Riverside City College 4-3 on Thursday to salvage one of their three games against Dennis Rogers’ team this season.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Appetizer

Well, it doesn't feel too much like baseball weather out there, but things are starting to happen; whether you know it or not. As Gus has pointed out, the NCAA college baseball season has fired up, MLB spring training's first games are about a week away, and the front office of your beloved HarbourCats is hard at work assembling a winner on and off the field.

This brief article is meant to pull you out of your Sochi chair for just a few minutes and get you to ponder some of the "off the field" things that you can start looking forward to as the rain gets bullied away by the summer sun. Hopefully, this will whet your appetite for that little white sphere with 108 magical stitches (and no, I'm not talking about Kevin Youkilis' head).

While you have been watching the Canucks lose, an outrageous NBA All Star Game and the final season of Breaking Bad, the 'Cats have been working Jon Gruden-like days to make your ballpark experience this year a great one. This is not the whole enchilada, but it should be big enough piece to get you excited:

  1. The 'Cats welcome back a number of returning sponsors (see related press release) including Spinnaker's beer, a personal favourite of all of us here at the blog. Side note - return sponsors are good. This is an indication of the stability of our beloved team.
  2. New seats (with backs) will be installed in RAP by the end of March so seat selection can actually take on the meaning it was meant to have vs. "uncomfortable butt-numbing bench space" selection.
  3. There will be at least 2 fireworks nights this year and if they are anything like last year's, there will be many oooo's and ahhh's in the cool Vic-town evenings.
  4. Our military will be specifically recognized in a couple of games this year, and there will also be a season long theme as we give our continued thanks to these well-deserving men and women. This will make Don Cherry very happy too.
  5. The 'Cats will play a couple of roaming exhibition games on the island this year, most likely in the June 21-22 time-frame as that fits in well with the current schedule. Most other WCL league teams play these in-season exhibition games, so we're just getting with the program now. Where will they be?? Stay tuned...this is just a part of the overall package of extras that is being put together for the fans and the baseball community.
  6. I'm sure some of the "old favourites" will be back, so Harvey better have a good off-season fitness program going if he is ever going to beat a kid around the bases. Heck, based on last year, I bet Bubba could even beat him. Come on Harv'...Eye of the Tiger!
  7. The HarbourCats will also introduce a VERY cool new promotion called "Getaway Day". In the eighth inning of every game, a random draw will be held and some lucky fan will be whisked away by LA Limo to some mystery locale for a veritable potpourri of such things as coffee, dessert, dinner or appies for 2, a night a hotel or many others. Really though, what do we care, we get a free limo ride somewhere in the city! And, to make it even sweeter, at the end of the year, all previous winners who are interested, go into a final draw for a Grand Prize. They will have to show up "bags packed" so to speak, as this prize may or may not require a passport for a trip south.
So hopefully that gets you thinking about fungos and infield flies for at least a little while. It won't be long before you're sitting in your new high-back chair, sipping a frosty Tour de Victoria Kolsch and watching the 'Cats rip up the new West Division as they start their march towards the playoffs.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

HarbourCanucks Corner

Nick Rutckyj
This is our first installment of HarbourCanucks Corner, a weekly update on the Canadians who will play on the 2014 version of the Victoria HarbourCats.

Base hits haven’t come easy for Nick Rutckyj in the early going, but when he gets one he sure makes it count. Rutckyj went 2-for-15 in four games for Cuesta College this week, but his hits were a 12th-inning walk-off homer on Friday and a solo blast on Saturday. The freshman from Surrey, who has started all nine games in the Cougars outfield, is now batting.125 with two homers and seven RBI in 32 at-bats. Cuesta (3-6) will play their first four road games of the season this week against Hartnell College, Riverside City College (RCC) and Saddleback College. The Thursday game against RCC is a makeup date for the February 2nd rainout between the teams coached by Dennis Rogers and Bob Miller.

The University of Seattle Redhawks took three of four games from UC Davis this weekend, with Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, BC) starting at shortstop for all three wins. Andreychuk went 1-for-9 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored in the three games. Seattle U plays a four-game series against Cal State Northridge next weekend.

The University of Illinois dropped two of three games to the Georgia State Panthers to open their season. Victoria native Kelly Norris-Jones was the starting catcher in the only game won by the Fighting Illini in the series and he went one-for-five at the plate with an RBI ground out. Norris-Jones, who’s never been averse to taking one for the team, also got his first hit-by-pitch of the season and he has now been hit once in every 12.9 at-bats in his college career -- that’s a ratio that would make Ron Hunt or Craig Biggio proud. The University of Illinois squad is off to Myrtle Beach, SC next weekend to play in the Caravelle Resort’s Baseball at the Beach Tournament.

Brandon Feldman of the Otero Junior College Rattlers started two of the four games against the New Mexico Military Institute in right field this weekend, but he went 0-for-5 with a walk and three strikeouts. He's now hitting .222 on the young season. The Rattlers play a single game tomorrow against Western Nebraska CC and a pair of doubleheaders next weekend against Trinidad State Junior College.

HarbourCatNip
  • Catcher Aaron Barnett of Pepperdine University got his collegiate career off to a great start this weekend, going three-for-four in all three games played against St. John's University. Barnett registered nine singles in his 12 at-bats, knocked in three runs and scored three times. To top it all off, he even stole a base.
  • Sophomore outfielder Devin Carter only appeared in one game for Pepperdine this weekend and he failed to reach base in his two at-bats.
  • Southpaw Will Dennis made two appearances for the University of Seattle on the weekend and he picked up a win and a save. Dennis gave up an earned run on two hits in three innings pitched, struck out two and did not walk a batter.
  • Gabe Clark went two-for-four with two RBI and three runs scored in Oregon State’s 15-7 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday. No HarbourCanucks Corner would be complete without checking up on our Beavers...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Play Ball !!

The NCAA Division I baseball season gets underway on Friday, and we're excited to be able to finally follow the progress of the majority of our Victoria HarbourCats. The future 'Cats will be suiting up for the following games this weekend (all rankings according to the NCBWA):
  • The third-ranked Oregon State Beavers (Gabe Clark) are taking part in the Husker Classic in Tempe, Arizona and they will face Nebraska, Gonzaga and the University of the Pacific (twice).
  • The 29th-ranked Cal Poly Mustangs (Cameron Cotton) host the 18th-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in a three-game series in San Luis Obispo.
  • The 33rd-ranked University of Arizona Wildcats (Jacob McAdams) play a three-game series in Tucson against Kent State.
  • The University of Seattle Redhawks (Griffin Andreychuk and Will Dennis) are in California to take on UC Davis in a four-game set.
  • Bret Helton and the University of Utah Utes are in Sacramento to play four games against the Sacramento State Hornets.
  • The University of New Mexico Lobos (Carson Schneider and Danny Collier) are in San Diego to take on the USD Toreros in a three-game set.
  • Matt Susac and the University of Nevada Wolfpack are in Santa Clara, California to play a pair of games against both Boston College and Santa Clara University.
  • The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, minus the rehabbing Quintin Torres-Costa, will host the 11th-ranked Oregon Ducks for a four-game series.
  • Pepperdine University (Aaron Barnett and Devin Carter) will host St. John's in a three-game set in Malibu, California.
  • Kelly Norris-Jones and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini are in Atlanta to take on the Georgia State Panthers in a three-game series.
  • Oral Roberts University (Noah Cummings) hosts Southeast Missouri State for a three-game set.
  • Andrew Calica and the UCSB Gauchos were supposed to play North Carolina State this weekend, but inclement weather prevented the Wolfpack from flying to California. The Gauchos are making arrangements to find an alternate opponent for the weekend.
Let the fun begin!

HarbourCatNip
  • The Victoria Mariners announced this week that three of their players have signed letters of intent to play on U.S. colleges (with full scholarships) starting in the fall. Congratulations to Evan Willow, Colton Wood and Chris Fougner on their achievement. It's worth noting that Willow actually dressed for the Victoria HarbourCats in the last three games of the 2013 WCL season, but he did not appear in any games. Don't be surprised to see one or more of these players signed by the H-Cats in the future.
  • The HarbourCats announced earlier today that they have renewed partnerships with Wilson's Transportation, Accent Inns, Kirby's Source for Sports, Spinnakers Brewpub, Coca Cola and the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence for the 2014 season.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Brandon Feldman comes out swinging

Brandon Feldman
Victoria Eagles product Brandon Feldman got his college baseball career off to a great start this weekend in spite of the fact that his Otero Junior College Rattlers dropped both ends of a double-header against Lamar Community College in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Feldman started both games and went two-for-four with a double, a run scored and three walks. It's still an awfully small sample size, but he now sports a .714 on-base percentage and a .750 slugging percentage on the young season. Feldman, who pitches in addition to playing both corner infield positions and some outfield, did not make an appearance on the mound against Lamar CC. The Rattlers will play a doubleheader against Luna Community College on Tuesday and then a pair of twin bills against New Mexico Military Institute on the weekend.

Nick Rutckyj hasn't had quite as much success in the early parts of his season, but on the plus side he has started in left field for all five games played by the Cuesta College Cougars. Rutckyj went 1-for-10 this past weekend and knocked in the first two runs of his college career, as the Cougars (1-4) dropped two of three games to Orange Coast College. He might only be hitting .118 on the season, but Rutckyj isn't the only Cougar who is struggling at the plate -- the team batting average sits at an anemic .190. Bob Miller's squad will have ample opportunity to turn things around this week, however, with the Cougars playing a total of four games against College of the Sequoias, Porterville College and CaƱada College.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

On your mark, get set...

A week from Friday, the NCAA Division I baseball season kicks off and the scribes at the Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Blog are getting ready to spring into action. You can look forward to regular updates on a couple of the HarbourCats' key partner schools, UC Santa Barbara and the University of New Mexico, in addition to in-depth coverage of all four Canadian players on the team's roster as we creep closer to our Opening Day on June 6th.

HarbourCatNip
  • It was previously reported that Brandon Feldman’s season with the Otero Junior College Rattlers was to start on Wednesday, but it appears that it will in fact begin with a doubleheader against Lamar Community College in Albuquerque on Sunday. The Rattlers will then play a twin bill against Luna Community College in Las Vegas on Tuesday February 11th.
  • Nick Rutckyj and the Cuesta College Cougars (0-2) host Orange Coast College (2-0) in a four-game set from February 6th to 8th.
  • Bruce Baskin has written an interesting article on the attendance struggles of the Kitsap BlueJackets in Our Sports Central. The BlueJackets and HarbourCats, now West Division rivals, will face each other nine times this summer. 
  • ESPN recently unveiled its plan to broadcast the most NCAA baseball games in their history -- more than 200 regular season and conference championship games. That's great news for college baseball fans south of the border, but don't expect to see any of those games picked up by TSN. We'll likely get to see at least a couple of University of Illinois games on the Big Ten Network in the next few months, featuring Kelly Norris-Jones of the HarbourCats. I would expect BTN to announce their baseball broadcast schedule fairly soon.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Four schools open ‘Cats talent pipeline

Bret Helton
The Victoria HarbourCats announced five more signings today and all five come from an NCAA school that didn't supply any players to the ‘Cats in their inaugural season. The roster additions give the team a total of 19 players, 15 of whom are playing for a Division I school this spring.

Hardcore Victoria baseball fans will remember the name Bret Helton -- he was the North Division starter in the West Coast League All Star Game at Royal Athletic Park last July. Helton gave up an earned run on three hits in his one inning of work that night, including a double off the bat of none other than Alex Real of the HarbourCats. On the summer, he went 2-1 with 2.49 ERA in 39 ⅔ innings pitched for the Walla Walla Sweets, striking out 38 and walking 19 batters. A closer inspection of the stats shows that Helton’s WHIP was a worrisome 1.67, but we’re pretty confident that he’ll improve on that mark with another year of experience under his belt and that he'll find his way back onto the WCL All-Star team.

Noah Cummings
Helton is a 6-3, 215 lb. sophomore at the University of Utah (Salt Lake City). He can also play some outfield, and in his freshman season with the Utes he hit .231 with no homers and three RBI in 26 at-bats, while posting a 10.57 ERA with eight strikeouts and four walks in 7 ⅔ innings on the hill. In high school, Helton was named All-State twice and he helped lead Cheyenne Mountain High School to a 4A state title in 2011. In his senior year of high school he had a 2.17 ERA and 1.24 WHIP (70 strikeouts and 20 walks in 61 ⅓ innings) to go along with a .348 batting average, seven homers and 26 RBI in only 69 at-bats. On top of being a baseball star in high school, he was also a very accomplished football and basketball player. His father, Barry Helton, was a punter who spent four years in the NFL and won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers.

Noah Cummings is a 6-0, 182 lb. freshman at Oral Roberts University (ORU) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The middle infielder hit .438 with four homers and 32 RBI in his senior year at Granite Hills High School in El Cajon, California. Cummings is a right-handed hitter who might see a fair bit of action at third base for the HarbourCats. It's not that surprising to see Victoria sign a player out of ORU, as HarbourCats coach Bob Miller spent six years there (1996-2001) as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

Devin Carter
The H-Cats have signed a couple of players from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. The first is outfielder Devin Carter, a 6-0, 190 lb. sophomore who can also play some first base. Carter struggled in his freshman season, hitting .118 with no homers and a pair of RBI in only 34 at-bats sprinkled across 20 games played. He played for the North Shore Navigators (Lynn, Ma.) in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League (FCBL) last summer and he performed well enough to be named to that league's All-Star team. Carter hit .295 with two homers and 12 RBI in 112 at-bats with the Navigators; he also stole 9 bases in 10 attempts. The Pepperdine Waves have four freshman outfielders on their current roster, so Carter should get significantly more playing time this season. The right-handed batter has some real power potential and he could break out in a big way this spring or summer.
Aaron Barnett

Aaron Barnett should have no trouble adjusting to living in Canada, since he lists hockey as his favourite sport (other than baseball). Barnett, a freshman at Pepperdine, is a left-handed hitting catcher who can also play some first base and outfield. The 6-0, 185 lb. native of Mission Viejo, California hit .337 with two homers and 13 RBI in 101 at-bats in his senior year of high school. We’re sure that Aaron will have a great time during his summer in Victoria, but here’s a tip for him to make his stay even more enjoyable: If you’re a Ducks or Kings fan then you might want to downplay that here in Canucks country.

Cole Kreuter
Cole Kreuter, a senior at Westminster Christian High School in Miami, is the second player signed by the HarbourCats who's the son of a former big-leaguer (John Grimsley, son of Jason Grimsley, was signed three weeks ago). Cole’s Dad, Chad Kreuter, was a catcher who had his best season with the 1993 Detroit Tigers, but also played for the Rangers, Dodgers, White Sox, Angels, Royals and Mariners in a Major League Baseball career that spanned 16 seasons. Cole plays shortstop at Westminster Christian (A-Rod's old high school) and he can also hold down the second sack, but he might be used primarily at third base this summer. The 6-1, 180 lb. switch hitter will attend UC Irvine in the fall and play for his maternal grandfather, Mike Gillespie, who’s the head coach of the Anteaters.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rogers tops Miller in battle of ‘Cats coaches

Miller (R) and Rogers (L) photo by Bubba
Dennis Rogers and Bob Miller, co-head coaches of the Victoria HarbourCats, led their respective college teams against one another in San Luis Obispo this weekend, with Rogers claiming bragging rights once again this year. His Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers swept a pair of games from Miller’s Cuesta College Cougars by scores of 5-1 and 4-1. The match-up was supposed to be a three-game set, but Sunday’s game was rained out. The Tigers’ record is now 2-1 in the young season, while the Cougars fell to 0-2.

Nick Rutckyj is the lone member of the Cougars who is currently on the Victoria HarbourCats 2014 roster. The former Langley Blaze star was in left field for both RCC games and he went 1-for-7 with a double and a run scored on the weekend. The freshman, who batted in the fifth and sixth spots in the order, should see a lot of playing time this spring on a very young Cougars crew.

The HarbourCats roster doesn't include any of Dennis Rogers’ players from RCC right now, but I wouldn't be surprised if a Tiger or two suited up for Victoria this summer.

HarbourCatNip
  • RCC and Cuesta College weren't scheduled to meet again in 2014. No word yet on a possible make-up game for Sunday’s rain-out.
  • Rogers’ squad took the only game between the two clubs in the 2013 season.
  • Brandon Feldman’s season with the Otero Junior College Rattlers starts on Wednesday with a game against Luna Community College in Las Vegas.
  • The HarbourCats players currently attending NCAA schools will kick off their seasons on February 14th.