Jack Owen gave himself a good head start for his first NCAA baseball season pitching for the Auburn University Tigers.
The lanky left-hander proved virtually unstoppable for the Victoria HarbourCats in the latter half of the West Coast League summer season, going 4-1 and finishing with a microscopic 1.01 earned-run average while allowing just 29 hits in 44 innings pitched and striking out 48 batters.
Those gaudy numbers earned the Coto de Caza, Calif. native the WCL’s top pitcher honour for 2017, as announced by the league this week.
Owen was one of five Victoria players honoured for their efforts in the collegiate-level loop this season.
HarbourCats catcher and player of the year Shane McGuire, whose .451 batting average led the team but didn’t come in enough at bats to qualify him for the league title, was named to the all-WCL second team.
Joining him were pitchers Adam McKillican, whose five wins and eight starts led the team; and Travis Kuhn (nine saves, second in WCL, 41 strikeouts in 31 innings); plus slugging outfielder Hunter Vansau, who led the team in home runs (eight) and RBI (34) and was second in hits with 47 while hitting .359 (tied for fifth in the league).
“We had a tremendously skilled team, set nearly every offensive record for our franchise and rode that to the WCL final,” HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson said in a release. “These are class kids, and class players. We are proud of all the players who have been recognized and we hope they find further success in their careers.”
Over 54 games this summer, Victoria led the West Coast League in team average (.293), hits (551), home runs (45), on-base percentage (.380) and slugging percentage (.433).
HarbourCats named All-WCL Honourable Mentions were first baseman Harrison Bragg, infielder Harry Shipley, outfielder Andrew Shaps and starting pitcher A.J. Block.