HabourCats load up on pitching in preparation for 2024 season

Preston Kelly in CCAA action for the Cal State-San Marcos Cougars (Photo: Greg Siller, Cal State-San Marcos)

May 13, 2024

For immediate release

VICTORIA, B.C. — Local pitcher Jacob Thompson joins the HarbourCats for the 2024 season, along with four other college arms.

The HarbourCats are excited to announce the addition of five pitchers to their 2024 pitching staff, all joining the club for the first time.

Announced today:

  • RHP Jacob Thompson, Minot State University, 6-0/180, North Saanich, BC
  • RHP Preston Kelly, Cal State-San Marcos, 5-10/190, Eastvale, CA
  • RHP Jason Krakoski, Cal State-Fullerton, 6-3/180, Livermore, CA
  • LHP Payton Hawkinson, Cal State-Fullerton, 6-7/230, Turlock, CA
  • LHP Brandon Bertsch, University of Texas, 6-0/170, Dallas, TX

Thompson, a graduate of Lambrick Park Secondary, is a freshman at Minot State University. He has appeared in nine games for the Beavers in 2024, primarily as a reliever, and has given up one or less earned runs in seven of those appearances.

Kelly has posted a 3.96 ERA over 38.2 innings for Cal State-San Marcos during the 2024 season. The California native started the season on a tear as he did not allow an earned run until his 10th appearance. He has struck out 33 batters while limiting the walks to just eight over the course of the season so far. In 2023, Kelly finished with nine saves which was the second most in school history.

Krakoski is the first of two pitchers joining Victoria from Cal State-Fullerton. He has struck out 20 batters over 21.2 innings in 2024 and has limited the long ball by only giving up one home run all season. In high school, he captained his team to the NCS playoff semi-finals in back-to-back years. The freshman comes from a family of athletes as both his grandfather and uncle played professional football – his grandfather played for the Oakland Raiders from 1963-1966 and his uncle was a linebacker in the NFL for Washington in 1986.

Hawkinson (pictured right), another California native, is a big lefty standing at 6-7/230. The freshman has pitched in seven games this year for the Titans and has given up one or less earned runs in six of those appearances. In his junior year of high school he earned first-team all-conference and conference pitcher-of-the-year awards as he led his team to conference championship.

Bertsch is a freshman right-hander from Dallas. He starred in high school becoming just the second player in school history with more than 100 strikeouts in a season. He will add a lot of swing and miss potential to an already formidable HarbourCats pitching staff.

The HarbourCats are looking forward to seeing these young arms in action against West Coast League batters.

The HarbourCats open on the road May 31 in Kamloops, the start of back-to-back series in Kamloops and Kelowna, before returning for the June 7 home opener against Wenatchee. The HarbourCats will be on the road this summer in Kamloops, Kelowna, Edmonton, Wenatchee, Ridgefield, Port Angeles, Bellingham, and six games in Nanaimo against the Island-rival NightOwls at Serauxmen Stadium. Teams visiting Victoria this year are Wenatchee, Nanaimo, Bellingham, Port Angeles, Kelowna, Edmonton (two series), Kamloops and Corvallis, along with non-league games against the Redmond Dudes, Dub Sea Fish Sticks, the SIBL All-Stars, and Victoria Mavericks All-Stars.

The regular season runs until August 7, with WCL playoffs running from August 10 to August 16.

Single game tickets are now available for the HarbourCats 2024 season including the home opener on Friday, June 7, 2024 at 6:35pm against the Kamloops NorthPaws. These can be purchased online through our one and only ticketing partner, Select Your Tickets, at www.harbourcats.com/tickets or at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street.

Season tickets and 10-game flex packs are also now on sale via the HarbourCats office or by calling 778-265-0327.


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