Building a Bomb Squad
The Brooks Bombers are putting the pieces in place for an explosive, baseball-bashing Bomb Squad.
Since naming Nick White as the club’s head coach for the 2021 Western Canadian Baseball League (WCBL) season, the team has been busy signing college players for the upcoming campaign.
Infielder McCoy Pearce will return to build on his stellar 2019 campaign with Brooks. In 54 games for the Bombers that year, the Kamloops, B.C. native produced 10 home runs, 47 runs batted in (RBI) and a .312 batting average. He performed well enough to earn a place in the WCBL All-Star Game and Home Run Derby in Edmonton. Pearce will be counted on for middle-of-the-order service yet again.
The majority of the players added to the roster so far call California home, and a pair of recruits were scouted out of Willamette University in Oregon.
On the mound, baseball fans in Brooks can watch for right-handed pitcher Saxon Andross to flummox batters. The senior from Victorville, California was the ace for the Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles in 2020, going 2-2 through five starts and striking out 38 would-be hitters in 30.2 innings. The California Collegiate Athletic Association All-Star also posted a 2.35 earned run average (ERA) and has led the Golden Eagles in innings pitched over the last two seasons.
Joining Bomber Nation by way of Kobe, Japan is 5-foot-8 hurler Mitsuki Shimonishi. The right-handed pitcher logged 40 innings and made 10 appearances for Monterey Peninsula College last year. In that time, he posted a 5-1 record, 40 Ks and a 3.15 ERA.
A number of players inked to the Bombers are dual threats who can help the team at the plate and on the bump. Tyler Attal, 20, played a pair of games for the Bates College Bobcats and in the Northwoods League last year. He is listed as a right-handed relief pitcher and an outfielder.
The Willamette University additions are also multi-talented. Economics major Eric Waldichuk, from San Diego, is another right-handed option out of the bullpen who brings experience as a first baseman with the Bearcats. Through 31 total games in the Northwest Conference – in Division III of the NCAA – the 6-foot-4 slugger recorded eight home runs, 20 runs and 21 RBI. Waldichuk’s teammate, Layton Wagner, batted .344 and stole three bases during 16 games and 61 at bats last season. The golden-haired third baseman also made three appearances in relief, surrendering no earned runs and striking out six batters in 7.1 innings of work for the Bearcats.
Carson Seeman has the potential to serve as an effective utility player and help out throughout the infield. He picked baseballs out of the middle infield at Placer High School in Auburn, California, where his head coach Dave Thompson said: “Carson is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached in my program.” Seeman signed with the University of California (UC) Davis Aggies in 2020 and is expected to suit up as a corner infielder with middle-of-the-order batting potential. Seeman also has experience as a catcher.
Michael Carnazzo, who is entering his sophomore campaign with San Jose State University, has signed on to play at Elks Field, as well, and is expected to find playing time as an infielder.
BEHIND THE PLATE
Dillon McNeil will make his way to southern Alberta from the NCAA Division I University of San Francisco program. The 5-foot-10 catcher appeared in three games as a substitute and defensive replacement for the Dons during his redshirt freshman season in the West Coast Conference in 2020.
Expected to gear up with McNeil behind the dish is Kade Hunter, a junior college backstop out of Texas. During 51 games and 140 at bats in two seasons at Hill College, Hunter batted .336 with a .406 on-base percentage, eight homers, 35 RBI and nine stolen bases. “I think Kade has the potential to win the league’s triple crown. He’s that good,” said Jason Wandler, the vice-president and director of baseball operations for the Bombers.
The outfield will be patrolled by centre fielder Jaylon Lee, a Virginia product who has collected 13 homers, 60 RBI, 61 runs and 22 stolen bases during 81 games and three seasons at Eastern Mennonite University. Joining Lee in the outfield is Ben Parker, from Washington’s Whitman College, and Hawaiian Louis Holt, of Fort Scott Community College.