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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 12, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria HarbourCats used a seven inning, 4-hit, shut-out performance from right-hander Mikey Wright to defeat the Cowlitz Black Bears 3-0 in the rubber match of their three game West Coast League series Thursday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Victoria starter Mikey Wright reaches back to fire a pitch during his excellent performance Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Wright, seeing his second action of the season, picked up right where he left off last Friday in Kelowna (where he got the win), cruising through the Cowlitz lineup and facing only two batters over the minimum in first seven innings of the game.

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Over the first 7 innings, Victoria pitcher Mikey Wright faced just two batters over the minimum, before he was lifted in the 8th (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The only damage Wright incurred was a single from Jonathan Severn in the third that was quickly erased on an inning ending double play, and a double to Austin Baker in the fourth.

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Victoria shortstop Alex DeGoti turns a double play (top) and then uses the head of Cowlitz baserunner Jonathan Serven for some leverage, as he leaps out of the way of the sliding player (bottom left and right)(Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Along the way, he fanned three batters and received some excellent help from his defence, who went errorless on the night for the first time this season. In particular, third basemen Ted Boeke had a busy night and made two fine barehanded fielding plays to take infield hits away from the Cowlitz batters.

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Victoria third baseman Ted Boeke made a number of fine fielding plays Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Wright would falter in the top of the eighth, surrendering leadoff singles to Daniel Orr and Brian Poupore before being pulled in favour of reliever Preston Ryan, making his second appearance in two nights.

Ryan did what he is supposed to do in that situation, inducing a line drive double play on the next batter and then a fly out to get out of the inning unscathed. He then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn the save and preserve to 3-0 win.

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These young Beacon Hill Little League players – Soren Wishart (left), Luke Anderson (centre) and Jasper Rye (right) – kept a keen eye on warm-ups prior to Thursday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Offensively, the ‘Cats scored the only run they would need in the very first inning when Sean Watkins would stroke a one-out double, advance to third on a wild pitch and then come home on a passed ball.

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Despite being tagged with the loss, Cowlitz starting pitcher Jake Corn had a pretty decent seven inning outing Thursday, giving up the 3 Victoria runs on 6 hits, while striking out 6 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

They would add another run in the bottom of the third courtesy of a leadoff double from Boeke, who then stole third, and an RBI single from the speedy Danny Collier.

In the fourth, Bryce Greager, who had three hits Wednesday, continued to swing a hot bat and launched a solo home run over the leftfield fence to put the ‘Cats up 3-0 and complete the scoring for the night.

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Victoria’s Bryce Greager flips the bat away as he watches his 4th inning home run head toward the left field fence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Other HarbourCat hits on the night went to Alex DeGoti, John Grimsley and Wyler Smith. Smith also swiped his league leading eight base of the season.

With the win, Wright moves to 2-0 on the season and drops his ERA to 2.25 over 12 innings of work. Impressively, he has only walked one batter in that span. Taking the loss for the Bears was left-hander Jake Corn who falls to 0-2.

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HarbourCats Marketing Director Brad Norris-Jones (right) visits with Sooke’s Kurt Horne (left). Horne, a local boy who pitches for the Langley Blaze (PBL) and the Canadian Junior National team, was drafted last week by the New York Mets in the MLB Entry Draft (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats now hit the road for a three game series in Bend, Oregon where they face the 2-5 Elks, who currently sit in third in the South. The series continues through Sunday and the ‘Cats return home Monday for a three game set with their neighbours to the South, the Bellingham Bells.

Monday night is “Kick Em In The Bells” night with The Finishing Store sponsoring Cowbell Night on Monday, while Tuesday sees the first bobblehead game in HarbourCats history with a likeness of catcher and local product Kelly Norris-Jones (Illinois), on Fisherworks Irrigation Bobblehead Night, presented by yours truly, Island Sports News. Game time Monday at RAP is 7:11 PM.

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ISN is pleased to present the Fisherworks Irrigation Bobblehead Night next Tuesday when the ‘Cats take on the Bellingham Bells. First 1000 fans in the gate get this cool Kelly Norris-Jones bobblehead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Attendance Thursday was 1,198 on Military Appreciation Night. After Tuesday’s opening night 4 hour marathon, today’s game was a 100 yard dash, beng completed in 2 hours and 16 minutes!  Darren Honeysett, who broke a bone in his hand in warm-ups Wednesday had surgery today and is out for the season. He has headed back home to Coquitlam to recover.  In other roster moves, the team announced that Victoria natives Nick Kearley and Brett Hull were released.  Additional roster moves are anticipated now that the remaining announced players are making their way back to Victoria.

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