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New Look Hawks Ready to Soar!


Revamped Recruitment Drive Creates Diverse Lineup

Jake Lanferman has a spring in his step as he prepares to take to the field with the new-look Edmonton Riverhawks. The head coach employed a new recruiting strategy this past off-season which resulted in a lot of new faces getting to pack their bags to come north this spring.

Lanferman targeted talent in a variety of programs and collegiate divisions across North America this past winter. He went beyond the traditional schools in the national associations (NCAA & NAIA) and took a swing at the talent in junior colleges. The result: 40 new players from a diverse range of schools, who will join 11 returning players in the Riverhawks dugout.

“Instead of relying entirely on four-year programs, we reached out to recruit more NJCAA (Junior College) D1 products. Many of these players will commit to playing for D1 baseball programs during their sophomore year and play their upperclassman years at those programs,” he explains.

The players coming to Edmonton are armed with some college experience as opposed to players who leave high school to join schools in the national conferences. The added bonus is the opportunity for the Riverhawks to retain those players for more seasons to come.

One key “Ju-Co” program Lanferman set his sights on was Cloud Community College in Kansas. The five incoming players from CCC include returning third baseman Jakob Poturnak and standout newcomer Noah Konings. Konings, who hails from Brampton, Ontario, boasts an impressive track record, ranking among the leading hitters on his collegiate squad with an outstanding .404 batting average and 23 runs scored.

“Noah is great at the plate and an amazing defensive outfielder,” says Lanferman. “He’s going to bring a lot to the table for us this summer.”

The coach also put his alma mater in his recruitment sights. Six University of British Columbia players will swap their Thunderbirds blue and gold for Riverhawks blue and gold this summer. Notable among them is infielder Trent Lenihan, a towering 6’5” Canadian who is making waves in the NAIA. He boasts an impressive batting average of .411 and has already racked up an impressive 8 home runs and 32 RBIs in his first 31 games of the season. “Trent is going to be a pivotal player for us this summer,” adds Lanferman. “He’s a big, strong first baseman who can put up some power numbers and hit the ball at an elite level. I’m looking forward to having him compete for us.”

Lanferman also tapped into the NCAA to bolster the roster. “Over the past couple of years, we’ve developed some really solid relationships with some top-tier schools in North America,” explains Lanferman. The bench boss stacked up recruits from 10 major baseball programs, including the University of San Diego and Niagara University - home to returning fan favourites Tommy Takayoshi and Brady Kobitowich!

Kobitowich is symbolic of the growing presence of Canadians on the club. Homegrown talent makes up for half of the roster: 26 out of 51 players are from north of the 49th.

Lanferman is looking forward to seeing how his new group will perform in a stacked West Coast League this summer. “A personal goal I have for the program is to make the playoffs for the first time. We want to establish ourselves in the WCL as a competitive program, and I think this is the year that we have the right group of players to do so. It will be exciting when the guys report in May and we can get to work.”

Lanferman’s new-look Riverhawks kick off the season on May 31 in Bellingham, Washington, before returning to RE/MAX Field for the highly anticipated Home Opener on Friday, June 7. No doubt the fans share the coach’s excitement at watching this new squad play on the diamond in the river valley.

Click here to view the entire ‘24 Riverhawks roster

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