You can never have enough pitching, and you can never have enough positional flexibility.
Greg Frady, the Head Coach of the Nanaimo NightOwls, prepping for their second season in the WCL, has added four more power arms and three key position pieces for the 2023 season, including three from NAIA powerhouse Arizona Christian — lefty Bear Pinedo, righty Payton Robertson, and pro-speed outfielder Justin Ramirez.
Also signed are two hard throwers from University of the Pacific in Owen McWilliam and Caden Casagrande, and versatile offensive-minded catchers Ethan Rivera (San Marcos) and Michael Easter (ELAC).
“There’s a lot of excitement for our coaches and staff watching players like Ramirez and Rivera get off to strong starts, and seeing the pitchers working hard to get good hitters out,” said Frady. “That’s what we’re seeing, and that’s what we project from these guys this summer at Serauxmen Stadium.”
LHP Andrew ‘Bear’ Pinedo, Arizona Christian, 6-0/200, Palm Springs, CA
OF Justin Ramirez, Arizona Christian, 5-9/160, Eastvale, CA
RHP Payton Robertson, Arizona Christian, 6-2/195, Lynden, WA
C/1B Ethan Rivera, Cal State San Marcos, 6-1/210, Chino Hills, CA
C/Utility Michael Easter, East LA College, 6-1/205, Arcadia, CA
RHP Owen McWilliam, Pacific, 5-11/185, Bainbridge Island, WA
RHP Caden Casagrande, Pacific, 5-11/180, Eagle, ID
Pinedo, from Palm Springs, is a bulldog lefty who wants the ball every single game. Ramirez is a classic leadoff hitter with blazing speed but also has 10 extra-base hits already this season. Robertson, from Lynden, WA and formerly at Skagit Valley College, is sorting out class tranfers but has WCL experience from Bellingham and Yakima in past seasons.
Easter, a lefty hitter, is committed to Azusa Pacific for the fall, jumping to the D1 level. He’s a low-strikeout extra-base bat with seven runs batted in already in 11 games, hitting .349, and he can take off the catching gear to play just about any corner infield or outfield position.
Rivera is batting cleanup with regularity at D1 San Marcos, splitting time between catcher and first base. He’s at .342 with a team-high nine runs driven in while starting all 10 games. Only twice has he failed to register a hit.
McWilliam and Casagrande, both Pacific Northwest guys, can also swing it, but are projected as high-K arms who can be effective out of Pitching Coach Gorm Heimueller’s bullpen.