The Coyotes will head into their 7th season with one goal, a Championship. In 2014 the Coyotes were bounced out of the CCBC Championships in the first playoff round after squandering a 6-2 lead to eventual champions the Prairie Baseball Academy. Fast forward to September and the Coyotes have regrouped and reloaded. With the season starting February 5th the Coyotes are putting the final touches on preparations for a successful playoff run.
The pitching staff will be a major piece of the 2015 puzzle. For the Coyotes to return and make a push in playoffs they will rely on some key arms. Marcus Drewry (Pictured below) (RHP, Senior, Parksville,BC) emerged in 2014 as the staff ace, posting a perfect 5-0 conference record and first team All Conference selection. “Marcus has grown significantly in our program, from his freshman year to now he has become one of the best pitchers in our conference. He commands four pitches well which makes him tough. We will look to him to lead the staff in his final year,” say Head Coach Geoff White. Zach Burlon (LHP, Junior, Etobicoke, ON) and Austin Orsted (RHP, Sophomore, Calgary, AB) will also be in the starting rotation mix. Burlon is coming off of a up and down season that saw him post a 1-3 record and 5.45 ERA while Orsted was 1-1 with a 2.42 ERA. “Burlon had a couple of tough starts that inflated his numbers last year, he will be looking for a bounce back year,”adds White, “Orsted put up some impressive numbers for a freshman, he has put in his time this offseason and looks to emerge as one of the pitching staff leaders, both of these guys will be looked upon as mainstays in the rotation,” finishes White
The fourth spot in the rotation looks to be solidified over the course of the preseason. There are some notable returners that are up for the job but also some new faces that are making a bid for it. Joel Lamont (RHP, Junior, White Rock, BC), Brandon Becking (RHP, Sophomore, Coquitlam, BC), Zac Yandeau (RHP, Sophomore, Plumas, MB) are three returners that could fill the last spot in the rotation. “Lamont is a two way player that might see some time in the backend of the bullpen, or possibly in a starting role, he gained some valuable experience over the summer and has continued to get stronger and add velocity,” says Coach White. “Becking and Yandeau each had strong summer and fall campaigns. Becking worked in more of closing role in 2014 and had some success as a freshman, he might be ready for a larger load of innings. With Yandeau he has potential be a big part of the staff, he has always thrown allot of strikes which is crucial.”
New faces that will also make a strong case for the last rotation spot will be Jason Merz (RHP, Freshman, North Vancouver, BC), Will Russell, (RHP, Freshman, Kelowna, B.C.), and Bo Meikljohn,(LHP, Freshman, Edmonton, A.B). Merz is coming of a BCPBL 2nd place finish in 2014 with the North Shore Twins and has shown some promise in the fall. “Merz should be interesting to watch develop, he has some arm strength and just starting to scratch the surface, there is a ton of potential with a 6’3 frame and loose arm action.” says Coach White.
Russell is a year out of playing for the local Okanagan Athletics, (BCPBL) where he pitched a team leading 58 innings in 2013. “Russell had a strong fall and has the ability to throw on short rest, so we will see how the early spring plays out in a variety of roles.” adds White.
Meikljohn comes to the Coyotes from the FX Baseball Academy in Edmonton where he excelled as a two way player. “Bo has been a pleasant surprise this fall, he doesn’t over power teams but he can throw multiple pitches for strikes which led to a solid fall.” adds White,”he also had some of our better hitting statistics this fall, which might lead to some time on the mound and with a bat.”
Other players rounding out the pitching staff are Mitchell St Laurent(RHP, Junior, Edmonton, A.B), Joey Fraser(RHP, Freshman, West Kelowna, B.C.), Wyatt Hummel(RHP, Freshman, West Kelowna, B.C.), Tyler Lemke (RHP, Freshman, Penticton, B.C.), Brett Fleming(RHP, Freshman, Penticton, B.C.), Braden McCready(RHP, Freshman, Richmond, B.C.), Jake Gaetz (RHP, Freshman, Okotoks, A.B.) Cole Parusinni(RHP, Sophomore, Coquitlam, B.C.). McCready and Gaetz each saw limited action in the fall due to some nagging injuries that they have over come during offseason workouts.
“It should be fairly competitive for innings this spring with a deep pitching staff. St Laurent transferred in from Alan Hancock College in California where he was a two year All Conference performer in a tough division of Junior College baseball, he will add some experience at the back end of the bullpen.” says White. “Flemming,Lemke, Hummel, and Parusinni each shown promise over the fall as well and could fall into any role.”
The Coyotes begin the 2015 campaign on the road February 5th in San Marcos, California against St Katherine’s College, a program that will be entering the NAIA in 2016. Stay tuned for the position players preview.
Season tickets are on sale now visit: www.okanagancollegebaseball.ca
*Coyotes are proud host of the 2016 and 2017 CCBC National Championships*