HarbourCats HeadOnly

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

August 1, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – It was the Victoria HarbourCats’ Fan Appreciation Night on Thursday, but that did not seem to matter to the visiting Klamath Falls Gems, who defeated the HarbourCats 11-6 in West Coast League baseball action at Royal Athletic Park.

Using a 14 hit effort to their advantage, the Gems sprang out to an 11-1 lead after 7 and 1/2 innings of play, leaving very little for the 1,179 fans in attendance to be very appreciative of to that point.

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HarbourCat superfan Jack Gamble would throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Fan Appreciation Night Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Unless of course they were fans of offensive baseball, as the Gems certainly provided plenty of that, scoring a run in the 2nd, four more in the 4th, a run in the 6th, three in the 7th and two more in the top of the 8th en route to the win.

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The Gems Cameron Newell would bunt his way on board and then come in to score in the 4th inning Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Highlighting the attack was a 4th inning grand slam from catcher Adam Daymude (he would add a 5th RBI later in the game), as well as a 6th inning solo shot from Ryan Clark. The Gems Cameron Newell would also have a strong game, going 4 for 5 at the plate with an RBI and three runs scored.

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A grand slam from the Gems Adam Daymude would propel the Gems into a 5-0 lead in the 4th inning, en route to their 11-6 win  (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

On the hill, the Gems short-handed pitching staff received a beauty of a start from lefthander Nick Sabo, a Long Beach State product, who held the HarbourCats to just a single run through the first 7 innings, that run courtesy of a John Schuknecht home run in the bottom of the sixth, which to that point was only the HarbourCats second hit of the game.

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Gems pitcher Nick Sabo would get the win, holding the HarbourCats to just a single run through the first 7 innings of the game Thursday  (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

In fact Schuknecht was one HarborCat that the fans could be appreciative of on Thursday, as he accounted for five of the HarbourCats six runs, following his sixth inning solo shot with a two-run home run in the 8th and a two RBI single in the 9th to finish the night 3 for 3 with 5 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

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The HarbourCats John Schuknecht was a key bright spot on Thursday, banging home runs in his first and second at bats (left) and then launching a 2-RBI single in the ninth (right) to finish 3 for 3 with 5 RBIS (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Another HarbourCat who had a solid game was third baseman Dylan LaVelle, who accounted for two of the HarbourCats eight hits on the night, scored a run and made a number of key plays defensively.

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Dylan LaVelle also had a strong game for Victoria Thursday, going 2 for 4 at the plate (left) and making a number of solid defensive plays at third (right) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Alex Real would plate the sixth HarbourCat run with a solo shot in the 8th as well, as Victoria would finally come alive in that inning, scoring three runs and then another two in the ninth, but it was a case of too little too late by then.

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Victoria catcher Alex Real would stretch as far as he could go to tag out Gems baserunner Dylan Rogers in this 7th inning play Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

On the hill for the HarbourCats, Joe Navilhon started strong, but the 4th inning grand slam from Daymude opened the flood gates and Navilhon left the game after 6 and 1/3 innings of work, giving up 9 runs on 10 Gem hits while walking 4 and striking out 4.

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Victoria starter Joe Navilhon was looking good early, but ended up allowing 9 Gems runs on 10 hits over his 6 and 1/3 innings pitched Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

Navilhon was relieved by Victoria native Connor Russell, who was expected to start yesterday, and then again tonight, but did not, apparently for disciplinary reasons.

Russell was largely ineffective, pitching 1 and 2/3 of an inning and giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, before giving way to Cameron Cuneo who pitched the 9th inning without incident.

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The Gems Michael Tittle slides safely into second with an RBI double under the tag of Victoria’s Tim Richards in 8th inning action Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)

The win moves the Gems to 23-22 on the season and they sit 5 games back of Corvallis and Bend for the South Division lead. The HarbourCats fall to 19-25 and now sit 4.5 games back of Wenatchee for the North Division lead.

The HarbourCats now hit the road for a seven game road trip with games in Walla Walla Friday, Saturday and Sunday, three games in Wenatchee beginning Monday and then a make-up game in Bellingham on Thursday, before returning home to close out the season with a three-game set against Bellingham beginning Friday August 9th.