Victoria HarbourCats beef up the outfield

There won’t be any Angels in the outfield on Caledonia. But there will be a few HarbourCats.

The West Coast League baseball club announced the signing of four NCAA players to patrol the fences of Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. Matt Jew is from Santa Clara, Tyler Best from the University of Hawaii, Dustin Allen from the University of San Diego and Devon Hawks from UC-San Diego. Also signed was pitcher Mason Palagyi from Tacoma Community College.

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Matt Jew’s brother, Tommy Jew, is now in the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor-pro chain and was a member of the record-setting 40-win HarbourCats team in 2016.

“I am excited about adding these versatile players to our roster,” said HarbourCats head coach Todd Haney, in a statement.

“Best, Jew and Hawks are veteran gamers that excel in both the infield and outfield. Allen is a young athletic outfielder with tremendous upside and joins the already speedy Josh Walker [Sacramento State]who we announced previously. We are also excited to see what the young and hard-throwing Palagyi can do for us from the left side of the mound.”

Victoria opens on June 1 in Edmonton against the expansion RiverHawks with the first home game on June 4 at Royal Athletic Park against the Port Angeles Lefties. The HarbourCats will be joined in the WCL this season by the expansion Nanaimo NightOwls and also the new teams in Edmonton and Kamloops.

Nanaimo is due to open June 1 against the AppleSox in Wenatchee, Washington, with the first WCL home game in franchise history on June 8 against a fitting rival, the HarbourCats, at Serauxmen Stadium to commence the new Island diamond derby.

The 2021 WCL schedule, as drawn, assumes the currently closed Canada-U.S. border will reopen by June. There are five Canadian franchises if a back-up plan is needed.

“It’s six months away. We’re both confident and cautious,” Jim Swanson, GM and managing partner of both the HarbourCats and NightOwls, has said.

“The vaccine rollout will have twists and turns, much like a baseball game. We will follow the guidelines at the time.”

Five WCL alumni were selected in last June’s pandemic-abbreviated five-round MLB draft. Former WCL players have been drafted in the first round in each of the past four years. Ninety alumni or then-current WCL players were selected in the 2019 MLB draft and 73 in 2018.

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