The defending NCAA Champions will be sending three of their highly touted high school recruits to Wenatchee this summer. Joining the AppleSox from UCLA will be infielder Nick Valaika, right-handed pitcher Griffin Canning, and right-handed pitcher Nathan Hadley.
“Watching their run in the College World Series last year was really neat, especially to see a number of former AppleSox players contribute in a big way to their championship,” said AppleSox head coach Ed Knaggs. “We have received many very talented players from them over the years and this season is no different.”
Valaika is the younger brother of former AppleSox player and UCLA standout Pat Valaika. The Valencia, CA, native is the last of four brothers who have played shortstop at Hart High School. Each of his older brothers has gone on to play professional baseball. He is ranked No. 234 on Perfect Game USA’s list of Top 500 High School prospects for 2014
“It is always fun to have players with family ties with guys who have previously been here,” said Knaggs. “Much like the rest of his family he is a good all around player, but is incredibly impressive defensively with his glove.”
Canning, a Coto de Caza, CA, product was one of 40 players selected to attend the USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials last summer. The righty out of Santa Margarita Catholic High School was named a 2013 third-team Perfect Game Underclass All-American and is ranked No. 202 on Perfect Game USA’s list of Top 500 High School prospects for 2014.
A fellow California native, Hadley is from Encino and attends Loyola High School. Last season as a junior he compiled a 5-3 record with three saves and a 2.62 ERA. He is ranked No. 312 on Perfect Game USA’s list of Top 500 High School prospects for 2014
“Both of these guys are pretty similar, which is a good thing because they are talented guys with very bright futures ahead of them,” said Knaggs. “UCLA is known for their pitching and they recruit and develop some high quality arms. We will do everything we can to get these guys prepared so they can make an immediate impact as freshmen next year for the Bruins.”
The 2014 season will begin at home on June 4th with a two-game series against the San Francisco Seals. The AppleSox will play a 59-game schedule this summer that includes 32 homes games.
Single game tickets start at just $6 for adults and $5 for kids. Season tickets are available now and can be purchased by contacting the AppleSox office at (509) 665-6900.