Story by HarbourCats Media / Photos by Glenn Ivens – ISN
June 8, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In a week full of record breaking at Royal Athletic Park, Friday’s 7-6 win over the Kelowna Falcons added another item to the list; with the win, Victoria became the first of five expansion teams in league history to sweep their first ever series as a WCL franchise.
But it didn’t look promising in the early going. Kelowna (0-3) jumped on starter Joe Navilhon for 4 runs over the first 3 innings, including Chandler Tracy’s 2nd home run of the series. Navilhon only lasted 4 innings, allowing 4 costly walks in the process.
It was a tough outing for Harbourcats starting pitcher Joe Navilhon on Friday night allowing 4 runs in the firsts 3 innings. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
The HarbourCats (3-0) caught a bit of luck themselves in the bottom of the 2nd. Behind two Kelowna errors, Victoria scored four runs, all unearned to get on the board.
“We gotta take the opportunities that are given to us. If a guy boots a ball, we’ve gotta be able to score and cash in on that,” said left fielder Daryl Blaskovich, who hit the grounder that led to the second error of the inning.
Former Victoria Mariner Daryl Blaskovitch got the Harbourcats rolling in the 2nd inning with a hard hit ground ball that lead to an error by the Kelowna Falcons. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
Harbourcats 3rd baseman Zach Storm throws down to 1st base for the out during West Coast League action against the Kelowna Falcons on Friday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
The 2nd inning was the first of two times the HarbourCats batted around on Friday evening. They did so again in the 6th, chasing starter Caleb Olson with 3 more runs, the biggest one being a 2-run single by David Schuknecht. Schuknecht finished the weekend with a team-leading 5 RBI and the team’s only home run.
Victoria’s Jack Graham throws around Kelowna’s Grayson Porter during West Coast League action at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, BC. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
While the offense continued to produce, reliever Ty Provencher served as the defensive anchor, tossing the final five innings and surrendering just two runs to earn his first win in a HarbourCats uniform.
Harbourcats base runner Chris Lewis and umpire Chet Masse watch Kelowna Falcon’s pitcher intently during Friday night’s game at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
Kelowna had their chances late, though. In the 8th with Darren Kolk on 2nd and 2 outs, Nate Robertson grounded a ball up the middle that shortstop Alex DeGoti knocked down. Thinking it was in the outfield, Kolk came hard around 3rd and was gunned downed at the plate as the potential tying run. In the ninth, the Falcons threatened again with a 2-out double from Reed Lavallee, but Provencher shut the door and earned the HarbourCats the win and the sweep.
Fans soak up a little suds and sunshine while cheering on their Harbourcats on Friday night. (photo by Glenn Ivens – ISN)
All three wins in the series came by two runs or less, something more for the HarbourCats to build on moving forward:
“The close games definitely make you better because every little mistake counts, every pitch is important,” said Blaskovich.
Victoria, the only remaining undefeated team in the WCL, gets the weekend off before hosting Medford this Tuesday-Thursday at Royal Athletic Park in a battle of expansion teams.