The final piece of the WCL playoff puzzle was put in place this past Saturday night as the Corvallis Knights captured the league’s wild card spot with a 7-4 home win over Medford.
West Coast League president Dennis Koho announced the league’s postseason first-round pairings this morning.
Corvallis will play the Bend Elks with game one being hosted by the Knights at Goss Stadium on Tuesday, August 11th. Game two of the series is scheduled at Vince Genna Stadium in Bend on Wednesday, August 12th. If a third game is necessary, it will be played at Vince Genna on Thursday, August 13th. The South Division champion Elks own the league’s top winning percentage at .680.
Bellingham is set to play the Kelowna Falcons with game one being hosted by the West Division champion Bells on Tuesday, August 11th at Joe Martin Field. The East Division champion Falcons are scheduled to host game two at Elks Stadium in Kelowna on Wednesday, August 12th. If a third game is necessary, it will be played at Elks Stadium on Thursday, August 13th.
Bend is led by Elks’ infielders and league MVP candidates Tyler Davis of Northwest Nazarene, West Tunnell of Baylor and future Oregon State Beaver Cadyn Grenier. Davis finished the regular season as the league-leader in hits with 70, doubles with 25 and RBIs with 50; and hit .352 with 40 runs scored and 7 home runs. Tunnel hit .356 with 36 runs, 14 doubles, 5 homers and 39 RBIs. Grenier, a 23rd-round draft pick of St. Louis in the 2015 MLB June draft and incoming frosh at OSU, led the WCL in runs scored with 45 while hitting .329 with 13 doubles, 11 stolen bases, 3 home runs and 27 RBIs.
There is thunder in the Elks’ lineup from top to bottom. Bend led the league in runs scored with 360, batting average at .306, doubles with 117 and total bases with 811.
Corvallis (32-22) is led by incoming frosh Nick Madrigal of Oregon State and closer Harrison McGhee of Concordia. Madrigal, who played outfield, second and shortstop this summer, hit .303 with 35 runs and set a new WCL single-season steals mark with a league-high 40 stolen bases. McGhee led the Knights in saves with 8 and struck out 23 over 18.1 innings pitched while posting a 0.98 ERA.
The Knights led the league in fielding percentage at .970 and in stolen bases with 146.
Kelowna (34-19) features the league’s top two hitters for average and on base percentage in Hunter Villanueva of Fresno Pacific and Justin Flores of Cal State Monterey. Villanueva captured the league’s batting crown hitting at a .378 clip and Flores was second in the WCL in hitting with a .358 average. Both had lofty on base percentages of .488. Flores set a new Falcons’ single-season HR mark with 8 eight home runs this summer. Villanueva and Flores tied for the Kelowna team lead in doubles with 12 with Flores leading the Falcons in RBI with 39.
The Falcons also feature honorable mention NAIA All-America pitcher Curtis Taylor of University of British Columbia (3-3, 3.37) and six-game winner Brady Miller of Western Oregon (6-0, 2.18).
The defending champion Bellingham Bells (33-21) were led by its strong pitching, as the Bells’ hurlers posted a league-low 3.26 ERA.
The ace was WCL All-Star Andrew Kemmerer of Central Arkansas who went 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA over 9 starts. Closer Brian Way of Edmonds CC made a strong case for all-WCL recognition by registering 7 saves, going 4-0, posting a 1.56 ERA and striking out 21 while walking only 2 over 23 innings pitched and 17 appearances.
Bellingham’s offense is led by sparkplug Aaron Stroosma of Liberty who stole 37 bases this summer while hitting .288 and walking 28 times.