Former Jayhawks Afenir, Blankenship Win New York-Penn League Title

Sept. 16, 2010

TROY, N.Y. –

Two former Jayhawks, catcher Buck Afenir and relief pitcher Travis Blankenship, helped the Tri-City Valley Cats to the New York-Penn League championship Tuesday night as the Valley Cats defeated the Brooklyn Cyclones, 5-1 to sweep the best-of-three championship series.

Afenir, a second-year catcher from Escondido, Calif., played at Kansas from 2006-09. He played in 28 games for Tri-City this summer, batting .247 with four doubles and 10 RBIs, serving as the team’s backup catcher. He made one pinch hitting appearance in the championship series against Brooklyn. Afenir was originally signed as a free agent by the New York Yankees, but was released near the end of spring training and was picked up by the Valley Cats – an affiliate of the Houston Astros – in June.

Blankenship, a rookie left-handed pitcher from Lawrence, Kan., played at KU during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He finished second in the New York-Penn League in holds this year, with nine. The left-handed reliever went 2-1 in 24 appearances for the Valley Cats with a 2.35 ERA, while allowing 24 hits in 30 2/3 innings. He made one appearance during the postseason, pitching a scoreless seventh inning in first game of the first-round series against Batavia. Blankenship was selected by the Houston Astros’ organization in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft.

Other Jayhawks who played in the New York-Penn League this year include: Brian Heere (Mahoning Valley), Robby Price (Hudson Valley) and Cameron Selik (Vermont Lake).