First players a quartet from D-1 Illinois State, including three Canadians
NANAIMO, B.C. — Let the history records show the first four players signed in the history of the Nanaimo NightOwls (and Bars!) hail from the outstanding college baseball program at Illinois State.
And three of the four proudly carry Canadian passports.
Greg Frady, the Head Coach of the expansion team set to debut at Serauxmen Stadium in June of 2021, is proud to introduce three hitters and a pitcher as the start of the team’s West Coast League roster.
Infielders Aidan Huggins and Nick Gile, outfielder Dayton Peters and right-hander Chase Florendine will go down in the records as the first NightOwls, placed with Nanaimo by Illinois State Head Coach Steve Holm, who knows the WCL well.
Huggins, a junior shortstop, is from Edmonton (sorry, Riverhawks!). Peters is a product of Abbotsford who transferred from Mineral Area CC, while Florendine hails from Lethbridge by way of Vauxhall’s baseball program. Gile, the lone American in the first group of signees, previously played at Creighton and Madison College, and was named the top defensive player in JUCO and was first-team All-American.
“It’s very exciting to start filling out our roster, and telling the people of Nanaimo about the talented players who will represent the city,” said Frady, who has agreed to a five-year term as the first Head Coach of the NightOwls. “To begin by getting the starting middle infield combo at a school like Illinois State is a very good start, and we’ll expect leadership and production from Huggins and Gile.
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“Peters is a scrappy, all-hustle outfielder with a big bat, and Florendine will have every chance to play a key role for us getting outs. This is an exciting day to be a NightOwl.”
Huggins, 6-0/185, is a defensive wizard with pop from the right side of the plate. He started 14 games in the covid-shortened 2020 spring season, hitting .327 and tied for the team lead in runs and hits. The previous year, he hit three home runs and drove in 27 runs.
Gile, 5-11/210, from Menomee Falls, WI, set Madison College records for RBIs (111) and doubles (34) in his two years there, hitting .391. He then transferred to Creighton and is now a junior at Illinois State, where his bat is expected to bolster an explosive lineup.
Florendine, 6-2/215, twice participated in the T12 event in Toronto, making the all-tournament team. The 20-year-old is an honors-student and pops the gun at 90mph.
Peters, 6-0/195, is a 19-year-old who also went to Vauxhall, and hits from the right side. At Mineral Area CC in the shortened 2020 spring, he tore the cover off the ball and hit .415 with four home runs, 19 RBIs, three doubles, and a triple among 17 hits in just 11 games, earning the D1 offer from the Redbirds. He also stole two bases.
“The offers we have out, we’re excited with how this is coming together for 2021, and we think NightOwls fans will enjoy this talent at Serauxmen Stadium,” said Frady.
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Nanaimo NightOwls Baseball Club