Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 29, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Despite a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Victoria HarbourCats dropped a 6-5 decision to the Corvallis Knights in West Coast League action Monday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
The win gave the Knights a three game series sweep of the HarbourCats, who have now lost five in a row, with their last victory coming against Kitsap on July 24th.
Tyler Rowe would get the start on the mound for the HarbourCats and he looked solid through his six innings of work, giving up a single earned run and just four Knight hits.
Victoria starter Tyler Rowe would leave the game with a 3-1 lead after six strong innings of work, allowing just four Knight hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
His counterpart on the mound, the Knights Andrew Naderer, was also strong and held the HarbourCats scoreless through the first four innings.
The Knights only run off Rowe came in the top of the second inning, when Kevin Kline would reach on a lead-off walk and eventually score on a sacrifice fly from Chris Rabago.
Corvallis basrunner Stephen Nogosek would steal second base successfully in the 5th inning Monday, ahead of the throw to Victoria shortstop Tim Richards (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The HarbourCats would respond and take the lead in the bottom of the fifth, as David Schuknecht (with a fielders choice) and Brandon Smith (with a double) would reach base and then be knocked in on back-to-back RBI singles by Brett Urabe and Timmy Richards.
Brandon Smith’s double was a key hit in the HarbourCats 2-run fifth inning on Monday night against Corvallis (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
On Richard’s single, Urabe, who had stolen second, was cut down at the plate when trying to score Victoria’s third run of the inning.
The HarbourCats Davis Schuknecht rounds second on his way to third after a double by Brandon Smith in fifth inning action Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The HarbourCats would get that third run an inning later when Alex DeGoti and Chris Lewis would single and then DeGoti would score on an RBI single from David Schuknecht.
Despite the best urging of Victoria’s Brandon Smith (background) who had just scored, Victoria’s Brett Urabe (22) was tagged out on this play at the plate by Corvallis catcher Chris Rabago (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The HarbourCats would then turn that 3-1 lead over to the bullpen, as Rowe was pulled in favour of Joe Record. Unfortunately that move did not go well, as the Knights got to Record for three of the four runs they would score in the top of the seventh to move into a 5-3 lead.
David Schuknecht’s RBI single in the sixth inning would give the HarbourCats a 3-1 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Two of those runs came on a clutch two-out, two-RBI single from the Knights Cody Lenahan.
After a scoreless eighth, the Knights would manufacture another run in the top of the ninth inning, this time off of the HarbourCats Ryan Keller, the fourth Victoria pitcher of the evening.
Alex DeGoti, who would have a pair of hits in the game, heads to third base after a base hit by teammate Chris Lewis in the sixth inning Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Trailing 6-3, the HarbourCats would not go quietly in the ninth. Brandon Smith would get things going with a single up the middle off Knights reliever Colin Feldtman.
A two-RBI single from the Knights Cody Lenahan would propel Corvallis into a 5-3 lead in the seventh inning Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After a strikeout to pinch hitter Jordan Ellis, Richards would draw a walk. That prompted a pitching change as Corvallis brought in Brandon Choate to face Dylan LaVelle, with Choate winning the battle and striking out LaVelle for out number two.
That brought up slugger Alex Real who blooped a 2-0 pitch into right field for a single that scored Smith and moved Richards to third. DeGoti would then follow with his second hit of the night, scoring Richards and putting the tying run in scoring position with Chris Lewis coming to the plate.
Victoria’s Alex Real, here batting earlier in the game, would have a pair of hits Monday, including a ninth inning RBI single that scored the HarbourCats fifth run of the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Unfortunately however, Choate was able to induce Lewis into a controversial ground out to the shortstop and the Knights would escape with the 6-5 win and the series sweep. On the play, the throw appeared to pull Knights first baseman Kevin Kline’s foot well off the base, but much to the chagrin of the 1,103 fans in attendance, first base umpire Fabian Poulin ruled Lewis was out and the game was over. A tough way for a ninth inning rally to end.
With the loss, the HarbourCats move to 18-23 on the season and they sit in fourth place in the North Division 4.5 games back of Walla Walla and Bellingham.
The South Division leading Knights improve their record to 27-15 and they sit a full game ahead of the Bend Elks for the Division lead.
The HarbourCats are right back at it on Tuesday night as they host the Klamath Falls Gems in the first game of a three game series at Royal Athletic Park. Game time is 7:05 pm.