Big Inning Propels Elks Over HarbourCats

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 24, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Trailing 7-6 in the top of the 7th inning, the Bend Elks used a 6-run outburst, the highlight of which was a 3-run home run by Nick Osuna, to move on to a 13-7 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League baseball action Tuesday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Bend Elks batter Nick Osuna (21) is greeted by his teammates at home plate after stroking a 3-run home run in the top of the 7th inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Osuna’s big blow came at the expense of Victoria reliever Ryan Keller, who struggled after coming in for Carson Schneider, who began the inning by hitting Bend’s Grant Newton. Keller followed by hitting Josh Cushing and then giving up an RBI-double to Sam Finfer before the big blow by Osuna. After a walk to Zach Close, Keller’s brief night was done and Mark Marinch took to the hill and fared no better, surrendering three more hits and three more runs (one of which was charged to Keller) before finally getting out of the nightmare inning.

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Bend Elks baserunner Billy King would slide across the plate before the tag by HarbourCats catcher Jake Lesinski during this first inning play Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The disastrous inning spoiled a night where three different HarbourCats stroked home runs, with Griffin Andreychuk and Alex DeGoti going back-to-back in the 2nd inning and Gabe Clark adding a solo shot to lead off the third. It also marked yet another time when a Victoria starting pitcher had left the game with a lead, only to see it disappear in the later innings.

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The HarbourCats enjoyed a 3 home run evening Tuesday, with solo shots from Griffin Andreychuk (top left), Alex DeGoti (top right) and Gabe Clark (bottom) with his second home run in two nights (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In this case, Victoria starter Logan Lombana departed after five innings with the HarbourCats holding a 6-4 lead, thanks to runs in each of the first four innings, including 2 in both the 2nd and 4th. Bend would score a pair in the top of the 6th to briefly tie the game before an RBI single from Aaron Barnett scored Andreychuk in the bottom of the inning to give the ‘Cats the 7-6 lead.

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Bend first baseman Johnathan Brooks snags this throw just in time to get Victoria baserunner Ted Boeke (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After their six-spot in the 7th, the Elks added another in the 8th to close out the scoring and finish the night having scored 9 runs and pounding out 11 hits off five different Victoria relievers including Alex Fagalde, Schneider, Keller, Marinch and Don Sullivan. Add to that the 7 hits off starter Lombana and the Elks finished with 18 hits on the night.

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Bend baserunner Josh Cushing dives back to first safely on this pick off throw to Victoria first baseman Gabe Clark (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Despite Osuna’s big hit, he was not the offensive story of the night for the Elks. Instead that honour goes to Johnathan Brooks who went 4 for 6 including a double and 2 RBIs. Zach Close and Billy King also had 3-hit evenings, while Nick Lopez added a pair of hits and three RBIs.

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Bend’s Johnathan Brooks had a big night Tuesday, going 4 for 6 with a double and a pair of RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats did virtually all their damage off Bend starter Luke Schnieder who gave up 6 runs on 9 hits before leaving the game after 4 innings of work. He was replaced by Cory Mack, who pitched 1 and 1/3 of scoreless relief and then Jeff Albrecht who finished the 6th and by virtue of the Elks rally in the 7th, became the pitcher of record and was credited with the win. Jesse Pratt closed out the final three innings surrendering just a single hit to the ‘Cats while striking out six.

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Victoria’s Aaron Barnett would have a 3 hit and 2 RBI night in the 13-7 loss to Bend (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Offensively for Victoria, Clark and Barnett showed why they will probably occupy spots in the middle of the lineup for the bulk of the season, contributing 3 hits and 2 RBIs each. Andreychuk and Hunter Mercado-Hood had a pair of hits and RBI each, with DeGoti’s home run rounding out the 11 HarbourCats hits for the evening. Andreychuk also continues to be a sparkplug at the leadoff spot in the order, reaching base all five times he appeared (2 hits, 2 walks and hit by pitch) and scoring 4 of Victoria’s 7 runs.

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Victoria’s Griffin Andreychuk has been a pleasant surprise at second base and on Tuesday, he also contributed nicely at the plate, reaching base 5 times, including 2 hits, and scoring 4 of Victoria’s 7 runs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Unfortunately for the HarbourCats, while the top 5 in the order went a combined 11-21, they got no production out of the bottom four spots in the order, who went a combined 0 for 18 on the night. Bend’s bottom four on the other hand contributed 7 runs, 5 hits and 4 RBIs.

The loss pushes the HarbourCats losing streak to six games and drops their record to 5-9. The Elks improve to 8-10. Both teams complete their three game set Wednesday night with the ‘Cats expected to send Mikey Wright to the mound, while the Elks will respond with Jake Thompson. Game time at RAP is 7:11 pm.

Find more Victoria HarbourCats game action imagery from Christian J. Stewart at www.christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats 
Follow Christian J. Stewart on Twitter @cjs_photography and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/christianjstewartphotography

 

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