Busy Week for Jackfish General Manager McKay

Welland, Ontario - As the Intercounty Baseball League season heats up, the Welland Jackfish are beefing up the roster with an infusion of accomplished minor pro and collegiate talent.

The Jackfish, off to a 2-3 start this season, has added six-foot-three right-hander Jake Polancic to the pitching staff. A 2016 11th-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Polancic has appeared in 59 games over three seasons of rookie and A-ball, racking up 101 strikeouts in 99 career innings. Most recently, the 23-year-old from Langley, B.C., had a 0.92 ERA in 20 games in the 2019 season for the Hillsboro Hops, a High-A affiliate of the Diamondbacks. He gave up just 10 hits in 19 innings pitched. 

“We are looking forward to seeing what Jake can do in the IBL,” said Jackfish GM Jason McKay, noting “Polancic has a significant amount of pro experience in which we are hoping translates well in the IBL”   

The Jackfish lineup should get a jolt with the addition of outfielder Griffin Keller, a Saskatchewan native fresh off leading his Georgia-based college to the 2021 NAIA World Series championship. 

Keller capped his senior year with the Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies by setting a school record with 18 home runs while hitting .469 with 89 RBIs and a .855 slugging percentage in 228 at-bats. He was named MVP of the NAIA playoffs and named an NAIA All-American. 

“His numbers were ridiculous in 2021 and we are optimistic he can carry that momentum right into the IBL , Griffin brings pop from the left-side that plays well in most IBL parks,” McKay said. 

Fellow Saskatchewan native Cole Warken also joins the Jackfish lineup with a wealth of NCAA Division 1 experience. The 24-year-old catcher/first baseman spent the 2019 season with Erskine College in South Carolina, hitting .363 with six home runs and a .976 OPS in 193 at-bats. 

“This is where it all begins, behind the dish, if somebody mentions that there is a more vital role on a successful team they are probably new ” McKay said.  “Cole is a workhorse on and off the field, he’s extremely tough-minded with the skill-set and desire to match, which is what you want in all your players but you come to expect from your catcher”.  

Combined with the addition of pitcher Brett Lawson a strike zone pounding six-year pro and five-time IBL champion, and the return of the IBL’s 2019 Rookie of the Year Brendon Dadson, the Jackfish will have loads of talent looking to contribute as they embark on four games in four days, beginning with Thursday night’s home game against the Kitchener Panthers (1-1) at The Pond.