Photo front: Tyler Kane (MV 2011) in action for UW (courtesy Washington athletics). Above: Tyler Kane pitching for the MV DiamondDawgs in 2011. (Courtesy Little Falls Times/Jon Rathburn)
[Editors’ Note: This is the second in a series of articles highlighting the successes of former Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League players. It will run semi-weekly on the PGCBL.com web site.]
According to Google Maps, Little Falls, N.Y. and Seattle, Wash., are separated by over 2,800 miles. During the summer of 2011, pitcher Tyler Kane traveled from the shores of Lake Washington and the campus of the University of Washington to the corner of Burwell and Ray Streets in Little Falls, N.Y. to play for the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League’s Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs.
Kane began pitching in Little League though he did not take the mound for the varsity squad at Archbishop Murray High School in Mill Creek, Wash., until his junior season. Kane enjoyed a tremendous senior campaign and went 7-1 with a 0.90 earned run average en route to helping his team reach the Washington 2A state semifinals. The 6-foot-2 slinger signed with the University of Washington and went on as a freshman to be one of the Huskies most-utilized relievers. He led all UW hurlers with 25 total appearances which included 24 relief outings and one start, against conference rival Oregon State at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
The rising sophomore from UW picked up in Little Falls where he left off in Seattle. Kane was one of the top relievers for the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs and one of the top relievers in the entire PGCBL. The UW product pitched and 13 games and went 1-1 with a 1.93 earned run average. Most impressively, he struck out 33 batters in 28.0 innings and walked only one. Kane limited PGCBL opponents to a .204 batting average and he was the only Mohawk Valley regular to not allow a home run. He boasted a 0.00 ERA through his first seven appearances and his ERA never rose above 2.00.
The Mill Creek, Wash., native was selected to pitch in the 2011 PGCBL All-Star Game. He worked the second inning for the PGCBL East and retired the side in order, striking out the final two batters of the frame. Kane was just one of two PGCBL East pitchers to retire the side in order and strike out multiple batters in the same inning. Following the end of the season, the all-star hurler was named second team All-PGCBL and he earned a spot on the 2011 PGCBL Rising Stars team.
Kane continued to improve as a sophomore for the Huskies in 2012 as he pitched in a set-up role out of the UW bullpen. For the second year in a row, Tyler led all Washington pitchers in appearances (26). As a reliever, he amassed an impressive 7-2 record and tied for the team lead in victories. Six of his seven wins came against PAC-12 opponents and three of the six triumphs were against nationally-ranked teams. Overall he compiled a 7-2 record with a 2.19 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 37.0 innings pitched. He did not give up an earned run in 21 of his 26 overall games and he pitched in five UW shutout victories.
The West Coast League’s Wenatchee Apple Sox signed the Washington reliever for the 2012 summer season. Tyler, pitching close to home, turned in a record-breaking summer for the nationally-ranked Apple Sox. The UW rising junior set a WCL single-season record with 13 saves in 21 overall appearances. No other league pitcher registered more than seven saves. Kane finished the regular season 2-1 with a 1.92 earned run average and 26 strikeouts in 28.0 innings pitched. He walked just five batters. Kane also held opponents without an earned run in 19 of 24 overall games worked. The Wenatchee closer wasn’t content to finish the summer with 13 saves, he added three more during the WCL playoffs as the Apple Sox captured the league championship. Tyler was a WCL All-Star Game selection and was selected All-WCL first team. In addition, he was ranked among the top 30 professional prospects in the league by Perfect Game. The Wenatchee Apple Sox (41-19) finished the summer ranked sixth in the Perfect Game Summer Top 30 poll.
This spring, Tyler has moved from a set-up role with the Washington Huskies into the closer slot. Heading into the weekend, he was four saves for UW and 11 strikeouts in 21.1 innings. The former Mohawk Valley DiamondDawg is eligible for the 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.