The Peninsula Oilers have completed their coaching staff for the 2001 season with the signing of pitching coach Andrew Cheketts. Cheketts presently is the pitching coach at Riverside Community College and served in the same position last summer for the Aloha Knights of the Pacific International League. The former pitcher was the 1998 Pac-10 North Player of the Year from Oregon State and was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Collegiate Baseball's 1999 All-America teams.
After his college career, Cheketts was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. Cheketts, who visited Kenai and Alaska as a member of the PIL's Tacoma Timbers, will bring his wife Stacy for her first visit to the Kenai Peninsula.
The latest issue of Baseball America has announced their top 100 college draft picks for 2001. Seven of those picks have Oilers connections.
Baseball America has 1998 Oilers pitcher Kenny Baugh slated 33rd, 1999 pitcher and infielder Jon Skaggs at No. 44, 1998 catcher Trent Pratt at 51st, 1999-2000 infielder and outfielder Danny Garcia at 54th and 1999-2001 infielder and outfielder Randall Shelley in 84th position.
Shelley has signed to play for the Oilers in 2001 but there is a definite risk the team will lose him to professional baseball, along with prospective 2001 Oilers Mike Rouse, a shortstop ranked 75th by Baseball America, and Vince Serafini, a pitcher and infielder rated 95th.
With the 2001 college season well under way, the Oilers duo of Jamie D'Antona and Josh Hansen of Wake Forest University are leading the prospective Oilers hitters. D'Antona is batting .417 with two home runs while Hansen follows up with a .368 average.
Neal Cotts is leading the Oilers 2001 pitching staff with two wins in as many starts, an earned run average of 1.50 and a minuscule opponents' batting average of .103 for Illinois State University.
Representatives from the Oilers organization will be contacting local businesses to describe ways to participate in one of the top programs in amateur baseball. For more information, stop by the Oilers office at the corner of Cook Avenue and Main Street in Kenai or call 283-7133.
Oilers Corner is submitted weekly during the offseason by Mike Baxter, Baseball Operations Manager for the Peninsula Oilers Alaska Baseball League team.
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