Edmonton Prospects Ink Four
By Spencer Love
Win Column Sports
EDMONTON, AB – The Edmonton Prospects made their first moves of the Jordan Blundell era this week, announcing the signings of Pierce Blohowiak (OF), Jake Gehri (C), Matthew Erickson (LHP), and Jackson Bandow (RHP) from the Yale Bulldogs of the NCAA Div. I program.
“We want to be a team that’s exciting to watch and add some elements to our game that’s exciting for the fans,” said Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell at the time of the signings. “All four guys fit that mould, and all four are going to contribute for us and be big parts of what we’re doing. We’re excited we were able to get them done so early and develop a relationship that we feel will be long-term (with Yale).”
Blohowiak, 18, comes to the Prospects after a stellar high school career. In his four years at Xavier High School, he earned three All-Conference Team selections (2016, 2017, 2018) and was a six-position player. In addition, Blohowiak was selected as a PG Underclass All-American in 2016 and 2017, as well as being named a Perfect Game All-American last season. A native of Neenah, WI, Blohowiak was a dual-sport athlete in his time at Xavier, participating in both track and baseball simultaneously. His success on the baseball field extended to his stint on the track, as he broke a 24-year-old record in the 100-metre dash at Xavier.
“There won’t be a faster player in the league,” commented Blundell of the signing. “I mean, I’m not going to put that on him, but his running is elite. It’s a huge feature to his game that excited us, and you can’t just find that every day. He’s a young guy; he’s at Yale, and he’ll go through a full year of training at that level. He won’t be splitting time with other sports (such as track), so his development really isn’t linear anymore. The extra time committed to improving his baseball rather than other things will bode well for his baseball development, and that excites us, too. With our ballpark as big as it is, and with the quick infield we have, we feel like he can help us on both sides of the ball and make some plays in the outfield.”
Gehri, also 18, was previously selected to participate in the MLB Prospect Development Program. The 6’1 catcher was selected as this year’s USA Today All-Washington 1st team catcher, adding to a number of accolades that include earning the 2018 SPSL League MVP award, as well as being selected as an All-State 1st team catcher.
“He’s as good as a freshman as you can get,” said Blundell. “He’s an all-state Washington player, and the video and reports we’ve gotten on him are solid. You never know with a young guy what his capabilities are, but there’s a ton of potential there. He comes highly recommended; he’s been successful his whole life, and I don’t expect that to change. He’s got all the tools to be a guy we can rely on, and he’s been with the pitching staff which is interesting for us.”
Erickson and Bandow are the two pitchers signed by the Prospects.
“(Matt and Jackson) are really interesting for us,” said Blundell of the recently-acquired pitchers. “We think we’re a good fit (for them), as we can provide them with the workload that they’re looking for.
Erickson, from Boulder, Colorado, led the state in strikeouts as a junior last season. The southpaw played in the Colorado All-Stars Futures game last season and earned an honourable mention for the Perfect Game All-Region team. Additionally, Erickson was ranked the #2 LHP in Colorado in 2017 according to perfectgame.org.
(Matt’s) a guy that’s improved since he’s been (at Yale). He’s shown improvement and all the signs that they look for in becoming an important part of their pitching staff, which really excites us.”
Bandow, from Sammamish, Washington, was awarded the Male Student-Athlete of the Year from Eastside Catholic High School in his 2017 senior year. The 6’2 RHP was a two-time selection to the All-League team during his time in high school, leading his team to back-to-back league championships. In addition, Bandow captained his team during his senior year.
“He’s got some decent stuff; he’s competitive, and we really like his upside. He needs some more opportunity to pitch, and he’s someone we expect will be healthy enough to throw a bunch of innings for us. He’s a good fit in the sense that he’ll have a lot of bullets left, and he’s got a ton of talent on top of that.”
Prospects fans can expect to catch their first glimpse of both newly-signed and returning players at the onset of the WCBL season. While the official league schedule hasn’t been released as of press time, the team expects to begin their season in late May.
- The most recent Prospects recruits may be the team’s biggest addition from Yale but isn’t the only player the organization has recruited from the Ivy League school. Drew Scott, a reliever for the organization last season, was also recruited from Yale midway through last season.
- The annual Edmonton Prospects Gala is confirmed to take place on Saturday, February 16th at Fort Edmonton Park. Buck Martinez, John Short and Kent Morrisson are all confirmed to attend this year’s event.
- For those looking to purchase season tickets for the Edmonton Prospects, the organization is currently in the midst of their season ticket drive. Information can be found on the Prospects official website.