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Riverhawks Take Flight to Start 2024 Season


A brand new roster starts the year off on the road

By Cody F. Schmidt

Summer sun is back and the third season for the Edmonton Riverhawks is about to unfold as the squad begins with a pair of road series to start the 2024 West Coast League season. Tomorrow the Hawks hit the road heading to Bellingham, Washington as they will play the first series of the year against the Bells.

This year’s roster features a number of new faces as well as a group of returning Riverhawks. Back for their third season with Edmonton are a quartet of pitchers: Riley Barrett, Tylor Jans, Brendan Loeppky, and Brady Kobitowich, all of whom have been with the team since the 2022 season of play and have become foundational members of the rotation and bullpen.

The mound isn’t the only place to find fan favourites as sluggers Tommy Takayoshi and Jonny McGill are back for another summer in Edmonton. Playing in the outfield, McGill held on to a .329 average last year aided by nine doubles and a team-leading 56 hits. Takayoshi appeared in 42 of last season’s games as both catcher and DH, and held a 14-game on base streak through the month of July. The hot corner will be serviced again by Jakob Poturnak, who also led the team in extra-base hits in ’23 and looks to keep the momentum into ’24.

Returning for his second season with the Hawks is reigning WCL Pitcher of the Year, Halen Knoll. Leading the rotation into the ’24 campaign, Knoll finished off last season ranked in the top slots of the league for ERA, strikeouts, and wins. Starting ten games for Edmonton in 2023, Knoll will aim to build on his outstanding rookie season with the team, especially after working with Head Coach Jake Lanferman over the spring.

Lanferman returns for his second season managing the Riverhawks, and his third as part of the coaching staff. Guiding a team that fell just short of the postseason for the second year in a row, the skipper has his sights set on making the playoffs this season:

“I think we’ve done a really good job of recruiting to put us in a position to (make playoffs) … we’ve got some really good vets coming back who are going to lead the way”

New faces fill the roster this season, too, as the dugout sees 16 new fielders join the Riverhawks including Albertans Kaden Zarowny and Ryan Kucy. The pitching staff is also chock-full of first-year Hawks, like the towering 6’ 9” Brandon Brunette, and the twin threats of Andrew and Michael Yusypchuk. The Yusypchuks are just two of the local talents that will grace RE/MAX Field this season; over half of the roster is stacked with Canadian players including 12 Albertans, nine of which hail from the Edmonton area.

Here's tonight's starting lineup:

While the Riverhawks start their season in Bellingham, it won’t be their only chance to play at Joe Martin Field this year. The WCL All-Star Game is there July 17, which will be Edmonton’s first chance to send Riverhawks to the showcase game.

After facing the Bells in a three game weekend set, the Edmonton Riverhawks will play their first inter division matchup of the year. A trio of games in Ridgefield, Washington, against the Raptors will wrap up their first road trip and see the Hawks head home to RE/MAX Field.

The all-important home opener is only a week away! Kick off the first home stand with the Riverhawks on June 7th, as the team welcomes the Nanaimo NightOwls for the first of nine straight home games. It will be a thrilling home opener including a spectacular Indigenous Peoples performances and a dazzling display by Uncle John’s Fireworks after the game. That’s just the start of a packed promo schedule, which includes tons of fun theme nights and wacky promotions. Swifties, wrestlers, fire breathing dragons, dogs and more - you never know what you might see! Check out the full promotion schedule here. Get your tickets now for the home opener and every other game this season at tickets.gohawks.ca