Riverhawks Open 2023 On The Road
Hawks send Halen Knoll against the WCL runner-up Bells in season opener
By Cody Schmidt
It’s opening day across the West Coast League, and the Edmonton Riverhawks have made their way to Bellingham, Washington for the first series of the 2023 season. Looking to continue the momentum set in their inaugural season where the Hawks ended 25-28 and just barely missed out on the postseason, this year the team has their sights fully set on the WCL crown.
It will be a great opportunity to open the year up, as the Riverhawks’ first three-game series is on the road against the Bellingham Bells. The Bells held the best record in the North Division last year, punching their playoff ticket early by winning the first half of the season with a dominant 19-7 record. It came down to the final game of the year, but the Bells were bested by the Corvallis Knights in a shutout final.
While the Riverhawks’ 2022 didn’t go quite as deep as the Bells’, the Hawks are back in 2023 and ready to compete. New Skipper Jake Lanferman feels good about how the team has shaped up heading into the season.
“I'm excited about the on-field product we will have this summer, our team has tremendous speed, and our defence will be one of our greatest strengths. We have more pitching depth at this point in the season compared to last summer, which will help us give an excellent opportunity to win games early in the season. The guys are very excited to represent this great organization, and we're all looking forward to completing this first extended road trip to come home and play in front of our amazing fans.”
Lanferman is sending out Edmonton native Halen Knoll out as the Riverhawks’ opening day starter. The 6’ righty pitched 49.0 innings across 12 games for the University of Mary Marauders during the school year. Amassing 36 strikeouts, the second most on the team, Knoll was able to hold a 1.37 WHIP against opponents and even notched a complete game during the school season.
Backing up Knoll is a squad of Riverhawks full of both new and returning faces. Here's how the team lines up for the first game of the year:
1 - #4 Ren Yokoyama - 2B
2 - #2 Jack Wheatley - SS
3 - #28 Mark Ossanna - 1B
4 - #43 Heath Hachkowski - DH
5 - #10 Jonny McGill - RF
6 - #36 Jakob Poturnak - 3B
7 - #19 Will Gardner - LF
8 - #12 Eddie Saucedo - C
9 - #6 Brett Ott - CF
P - #33 Halen Knoll
New this year in the WCL is a pace of play enhancing ‘action clock’ this puts a 20 second limit between moments of action on the field, and will be time kept by the umpires. There will also be a two minute limit between innings, keeping things rolling on the field. We'll see how this impacts the Hawks, and if the timers can keep up with their speed on the field.
While the Riverhawks are on the road, you can still follow along! Check back here at riverhawksbaseball.com for previews and recaps before and after every game. Keep up with all games by following @RiverhawksGames on Twitter, and check out what else is happening on @EdmRiverhawks on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
See the latest happenings at RE/MAX Field and a broadcast of every home game on our YouTube channel.
Ready to come to the park and cheer on the Riverhawks? Tickets for the 2023 season are on sale now, including the home opener on June 13 against the Kamloops NorthPaws. Get your tickets now!