The Nanaimo NightOwls will make their debut in the West Coast League baseball circuit this summer and feature four former Parksville Royals players.
Joining head coach Greg Frady’s NightOwls, who open their WCL season with a road series in Portland from May 31 to June 2, are pitchers Josh Laukkanen, Seth Gurr, Anson McGorman and prolific hitter Tim Holyk.
“These are players I know and have followed for years and I know most of them very well — I know their families,” said GM Jim Swanson in a press release. “These are quality additions, on and off the field, and will help (Frady) establish a culture of winning and development from the very first pitch.
“I’m especially happy to add a pitching staff leader like Laukkanen, who got WCL season and playoff experience with the Victoria HarbourCats in 2019 before he moved up to D-1 baseball in New Mexico State. He will tell you, the late season games he pitched in helped him prepare to be impactful for the Aggies. Holyk helped us late that season, too, and got a sense of what the WCL is, and it helped him at Miles.”
Laukkanen, a former Royals standout, starred in the BC Premier Baseball League as a high school player, then moved on to a strong showing at the junior college level where he posted 31 strikeouts in 34 innings in 2021 at New Mexico State.
Gurr was another prominent Royals pitcher who had 59 strikeouts in 33 innings against 11 walks. Originally from Lethbridge, he joined Bossier Parrish junior college in Lousiana for the spring semester.
McGorman has been attracting the interest of scouts and spent two years at the Vauxhall Academy of Baseball. He pitched at Fenway Park in 2020 as part of the Future Stars series. He was slated to join the NCAA Div. 1 Sacramento State Hornets last fall but decided to wait for another year. He will now join the University of Utah Utes this fall.
Holyk is a corner infielder who played for the Royals in 2019 and went on to play for Miles Community College Pioneers in Montana in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II. In his second year, he was hitting .319 and slugging .536 in 25 games. He suffered a hand injury but prior to that slammed eight home runs and drove in 42 runs in 53 games.
The NightOwls play their first home game at the historic Serauxmen Stadium on Friday, June 3.
The West Coast League is a premier summer league that features teams from Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and now Alberta. The Canadian teams include the Victoria HarbourCats, the Edmonton Riverhawks, Kamloops NorthPaws and the NightOwls.
— NEWS Staff, submitted