HarbourCats Show Falcons How It’s Done

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HarbourCats HeadOnly

Story by HarbourCats Media – Photos by David Bukach (ISN)

June 6, 2013, Victoria BC (ISN) – After weeks of waiting, the HarbourCats finally set foot on Royal Athletic Park and left victorious, with an 8-6 win over the Kelowna Falcons.

Kelowna struck for two early runs on starter Nick Pivetta, as Chandler Tracy blasted an opposite field home run to right. Pivetta, a Victoria native pitching in front of family and friends, admitted to some nerves over the first few innings, which contributed to a 3-0 deficit after 3 innings.

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Victoria HarbourCats pitcher Nick Pivetta throws a pitch with men on base during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park – Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

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Victoria HarbourCats second baseman Zach Storm makes sure he is safe on third base during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park – Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

After being retired in order the first time through the order, the HarbourCats exploded on Kelowna starter Marc-Andre Habeck in the bottom of the 4th. Chris Lewis and Austin Russell each recorded 2-run base hits in the inning, as the HarbourCats batted around to take a 4-3 lead.

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Victoria HarbourCats pitcher Nick Pivetta attempts to pick off Kelowna Falcons on first base during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

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Victoria HarbourCats infielder Chris Lewis catches a pick off attempt during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park – Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

From there, Pivetta settled in pretty well, the only blip on the radar coming on a game-tying 2-run home run by Grayson Porter in the seventh.

“Nerves can sometimes get the better of you and you can overcome them and keep working hard in the game and get past them,” said Pivetta on his early struggles.

As was the theme all night long, the HarbourCats would bounce back in the bottom of the frame, with the help of an error. With runners at the corners, David Schuknecht stole second and AJ Young’s throw sailed into right field to plate Nick Rutckyj with what proved to be the go-ahead run.

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Victoria HarbourCats players prepare to bat while dusty catchers gear rest on the bench during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic ParkPhoto by David Bukach (ISN).

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Kelowna Falcons players await their releif pitcher on the mound during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

With the plethora of run support, Pivetta lasted 8 innings, surrendering 8 hits, 6 runs, 1 walk and 6 strikeouts before Ty Provencher came in to record the save.

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Victoria HarbourCats infielder Chris Lewis watches an errant throw pass him by during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic ParkPhoto by David Bukach (ISN).

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Kelowna Falcons infielder Robert Grilli throws to first base as HarbourCats short stop Jack Graham slides past during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic ParkPhoto by David Bukach (ISN).

The HarbourCats became the second expansion team in WCL history to win their first game in team history, doing so in front of a raucous 3,026 fans at Royal Athletic Park.

“The crowd was fantastic. I was amazed. I’ve played in front of a lot of large crowds before, but I’ve never had fans that were so into the game, care about the team so much, ” said Schuknecht.

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Kelowna Falcons and Victoria HarbourCats pitchers warm up on the sidelines during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic ParkPhoto by David Bukach (ISN).

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Victoria HarbourCats relief pitcher Ty Provencher releases the ball with a man on first during the Victoria HarbourCats West Coast League home opener against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park Photo by David Bukach (ISN).

Highlighting the box score for Victoria were David Schuknecht (3-4, HR, 2 RBI), and Rutckyj (2-4, 3 runs) to go along with Pivetta’s solid start.

The HarbourCats return to action tomorrow night at 7:05. Connor Russell will likely get the start for Victoria, as the HarbourCats look to build on their first ever win with their first ever series win as a franchise.

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