Monday, May 18, 2015

HarbourCats player updates - final WAC / NWAC edition

We’re less than two weeks away from the first game of the HarbourCats’ pre-season, so we’re running out of time to publish player updates. In this edition, we’ll give you the latest on the three HarbourCats who play for schools in the Western Athletic Conference (NCAA Division I) and the trio of ‘Cats who play for community colleges in the Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC).

The WAC regular season wrapped up this weekend and all three HarbourCats (Griffin Andreychuk, PJ Floyd and Dane Fujinaka) will move on to the WAC Tournament from May 20th-24th at Hohokam Stadium in Arizona, the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics. The winner of this tournament gets an automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament that begins on May 29th.

A good sign: Both Griffin Andreychuk
and the weather are heating up
Griffin Andreychuk was one of the big reasons why Seattle University won six of their last eight games in the regular season to snag the top seed in the WAC Tournament. Since our last update on the Nanaimo native, Andreychuk has been tearing the cover off the ball, going 16-for-40 with three homers and 12 RBI. His white-hot finish to the regular season gives him a stellar .318 / .417 / .443 slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) in 201 at-bats this year. Andreychuk ended the regular season as the team leader in batting average, on-base percentage and RBI (41), and he finished tied for the team lead in hits (64) and home runs (4). Oh, and he has reached base safely in 25 consecutive games, the second-longest streak since Seattle U returned to NCAA Division I competition in 2010. The Redhawks’ first game in the WAC Tournament will be on Thursday at 7 p.m. (opponent TBA).

The Sacramento State Hornets were picked as the preseason favourite to win the WAC, but they enter this week’s WAC Tournament as the fourth seed based on their 16-11 record in conference play. Unfortunately, the two HarbourCats who play for Sacramento State have been used sparingly of late. Junior catcher Dane Fujinaka has only appeared in a pair of games in the last two weeks and he went two-for-six to finish his disappointing regular season hitting .258 with no homers and 13 RBI in 89 at-bats. In the last seven games, PJ Floyd has only seen action as a pinch runner twice and as a pinch hitter once (he struck out). His frustrating regular season comes to an end with the freshman posting an anemic .205 / .278 / .250 slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) in 88 at-bats. Floyd is expected to be used by the HarbourCats at shortstop this summer, although he has yet to appear at that position at the collegiate level and he struggled with an .867 fielding percentage for the Hornets while splitting time between second and third base. Sacramento State play their first game in the WAC Tournament on Wednesday at 3 p.m. against #5 Utah Valley University.

Meanwhile, the NWAC Super Regionals were played this weekend in various locations in Washington and Oregon and two of our HarbourCats have advanced to take part in the championship tournament from May 21st-25th at Story Field, home of the Cowlitz Black Bears.

Sophomore Jamie Umbinetti of Edmonds Community College went into a rare hitting funk during the last four games of the regular season. The normally reliable Umbinetti went 0-for-10 with a walk, but he still finished the regular season hitting .312 with two homers and 18 RBI in 109 at-bats. That performance earned him 1st Team All-NWAC North honours and the NWAC North gold glove at third base. The Tritons finished in first place in the NWAC North Region for the second year in row, bypassing the Super Regionals and earning a spot in the NWAC Championship tournament. Edmonds CC (18-6), the defending NWAC champions, play Tacoma Community College (20-5) on Thursday morning in the first game of the double-elimination tournament.

Everett Community College won their Super Regional tournament this weekend with victories over Linn-Benton Community College and Pierce College to advance to the NWAC Championship tournament. The sole HarbourCat on the Trojans, freshman pitcher/outfielder Kyle Francis, did not appear in the Super Regional. He pitched one scoreless inning on the final weekend of the regular season to give him a flattering 2.89 ERA that camouflages an ugly 1.61 WHIP in 28 innings on the hill this spring. Francis hasn't made a plate appearance since May 3rd, so he is still hitting .236 with no homers and five RBI in 55 at-bats. Everett (17-7) plays Lower Columbia (24-1) on Thursday night in their tournament opener.

Victoria native Brendan Somers went 1-for-7 at the plate for Southwestern Oregon Community College in the Tacoma Super Regional this weekend, but they were eliminated from postseason play. Somers, a sophomore DH and right fielder, finished the season with a .209 batting average with no homers and 10 RBI in 110 at-bats.

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