Elks Bend but Don’t Break in Win Over HarbourCats

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 23, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Bend Elks jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then held on for a 4-3 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League baseball action Monday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

After missing the two exhibition games on the weekend, Alex DeGoti returned to the HarbourCats line-up and stroked a pair of hits and turned a pair of double-plays in the field (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats loss extends their current skid to 5 games and comes on the heels of an exhibition loss Sunday to the Langley Blaze on Sunday and a 5-0 win over the Blaze on Saturday.

Andrew Nelson got the start on the hill for the HarbourCats and he looked good early, retiring the side in the 1st and getting inning ending double plays in both the 2nd and 3rd innings to keep the Elks off the board.

The Elks would finally break through on Nelson in the 4th for a single run, thanks to one-out back-to-back singles from Billy King and Grant Newton and then an RBI fielder’s choice by Nick Lopez.

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Bend’s Grant Newton would have a solid night with 3 hits and 2 RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Elks would grab two more off of Nelson in the top of the 6th, when Jake Peeveyhouse would draw a one-out walk, Billy King would advance him to third with a single and Newton would double them both home with his second hit of the game, upping the Elks lead to 3-0.

Meanwhile, Bend starting pitcher J.T. Kaul would give up hits in each of the first three innings, and allowed the leadoff batter to reach on error in the 4th, but managed to buckle down enough to keep the HarbourCats off the board.

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Bend starting pitcher J.T. Kaul would give up 2 runs on 6 hits over 6 innings of work to get the win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After a 1-2-3 5th, the HarbourCats finally got to Kaul in the bottom of the 6th as slugger Gabe Clark did what he was brought to Victoria to do, smacking a 2-run home run well over the left field fence. The blast brought in Aaron Barnett, who had earlier singled and made the score 3-2 for the Elks.

After that, the respective bullpens took over and after Victoria’s Quintin Torres-Costa and Bend’s Jordan Wilcox pitched a scoreless 7th inning, the Elks would add an insurance run in the top of the 8th.

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Victoria’s Gabe Clark would get the HarbourCats on the board with this 2-run home run in the bottom of the 6th (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Billy King would reach on a fielder’s choice, be moved around to third on a single by Newton, his third hit of the game, and then score from third base on a double steal after the HarbourCats botched the throw to second to try and get Newton.

That run turned out to be a big one, as the HarbourCats would respond in the bottom of the inning off Bend closer Kevin Sheets. Nathan Lukes would lead the inning off with a single and then later come in to score on a two-out single down the third base line by Hunter Mercado-Hood.

The HarbourCats would generate some excitement in the bottom of the ninth when pinch-hitter Danny Collier would lead-off with an 11 pitch at bat, fouling off a number of excellent pitches before ultimately striking out. That would be it though, as Sheets would then retire the next two batters to close out the 4-3 win and earn his second save of the season.

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Bend centre fielder Jake Peeveyhouse makes a nice catch in the game against Victoria Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

With the win, the Elks move to 7-10 on the year and they sit in third place in the South Division. The HarbourCats fall to 5-8 and they sit in fouth in the West.

Both teams are right back at it on Tuesday night. The HarbourCats will send Logan Lombana to the mound to try and break the five game skid. Game time is 7:11 pm at Royal Athletic Park.

Game Notes: Monday’s game was played almost entirely under a light drizzle which kept Dave Westgeest and his ground crew hopping. A fan had a medical emergency in the grandstand late in the game and had to be removed by ambulance. No word on her condition was available. A brave 882 souls ventured to the park and the HarbourCats were kind enough to allow as many as wanted to sit under the covered grandstand.

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