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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 25, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Bend Elks scored single runs in each of the final three innings to emerge with a 4-1 win and a three game series sweep over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League baseball action Wednesday evening at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park.

HarbourCats baserunner Hunter Mercado-Hood would beat the throw to Bend second baeman Nick Osuna during this steal attempt, but would be sent back to first due to batter obstruction on the Elks catcher (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The good news for the HarbourCats Wednesday, was that after the bottom four spots in their line-up went 0 for 18 on Tuesday night, the HarbourCats finally got some production in those spots Wednesday, as they accounted for 5 of the ‘Cats 9 hits on the night and their only run. The bad news however, was that the top five in the line-up, responsible for 11 hits and 7 runs on Tuesday, only managed a scattered 4 hits, no runs and a lone RBI.

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Hunter Mercado-Hood would be one of three HarbourCats with 2-hit evenings on Wednesday. It was his second 2-hit game in a row (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Fans should take optimism in the fact that whenever the ‘Cats can put both halves of those respective line-ups together on the same night, they will enjoy an outcome much better than the 4-1 loss that befell them on Wednesday, one that will hopefully help snap their now, seven game losing streak.

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Victoria’s Alan Baldwin would have a pair of hits and score the HrbourCats lone run on Wednesday in the 4-1 loss to Bend (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Wednesday’s game moved along at a quick pace, thanks to outstanding pitching from both the HarbourCats Mikey Wright and Bend’s Jake Thompson. Wright cruised through the first three innings, allowing just a single to Jake Peeveyhouse, while Thompson retired the first seven batters he faced, before allowing a 1-out double to the HarbourCats Alan Baldwin in the bottom of the third. Catcher Gunner Pollman would follow with a single, moving Baldwin to third, and then a sacrifice bunt from Griffin Andreychuk would score Baldwin and give the HarbourCats and Wright a 1-0 lead.

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Victoria pitcher Mikey Wright (left) and Bend pitcher Jake Thompson (right) were locked in a 1-1 pitching duel through the first six innings on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Elks would get that run back in the top of the fourth inning, thanks to a 1-out walk to Peeveyhouse, a single by Billy King that moved Peeveyhouse to third and then a sacrifice fly from Nick Lopez that scored Peeveyhouse.

Both Wright and Thompson would continue their pitching duel through both a scoreless fifth and sixth inning until the Elks broke through with another run off Wright in the top of the seventh. King would lead off with a double and move to third on a single from Lopez. After a walk to Austin Kelly to load the bases, King would then score on a sacrifice fly from Grant Newton.

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Bend’s Jake Peeveyhouse (right), here being greeted after scoring the Elks first run of the game, would have a 2-hit evening and score a pair of runs in the 4-1 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Wright would get out of the inning without further damage, but that would be the end of his night, finishing with 2 runs allowed on 4 hits, while striking out 6 and walking 2.

The ‘Cats looked like they might rally to get that run back in the bottom of the inning off Bend reliever Jordan Wilcox, after 1-out singles from Pollman – his second of the game – and Andreychuk put runners on first and second. Wilcox however would get a big out when he struck out Alex DeGoti and then reliever Kevin Sheets would come in from the bullpen and retire Aaron Barnett to end the threat.

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Victoria shortstop Alex DeGoti would make a nice fielding play on a short ground ball Wednesday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Elks would add insurance runs in both the top of the eighth and top of the ninth innings, both off Victoria reliever Preston Ryan. In the eighth, Ryan would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a double to Peeveyhouse and an RBI single to King, his third hit of the night. In the ninth, catcher Newton greeted Ryan with a first pitch bomb over the right field fence, making the score 4-1.

In the bottom of the ninth, Baldwin would leadoff with his second hit of the game, but Sheets would shut the door after that, retiring the next three batters to close out the 4-1 win.

With the win, the Elks move to 9-10 while the HarbourCats fall to 5-10. Victoria will now take a day to lick their wounds before they travel Friday to Cowlitz to begin a three-game weekend series with the Black Bears. The HarbourCats return home on Monday June 30 to face division rivals the Kitsap Blue Jackets. Game time Monday – which is also the first fireworks evening of the season – is 7:11 pm at Royal Athletic Park.

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Victoria GM Jim Swanson gets his head shaved during a charity promotion for LUV Salon and Santa’s Anonymous on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Attendance Wednesday was 1,073. Hunter Mercado-Hood had his second 2-hit game in a row and his 5th hit in the last 3 games. Pollman’s 2 hits were his first of the season. As part of a fund raising promotion for CFAX’s Santa’s Anonymous and in cooperation with LUV Salon, HarbourCats GM Jim Swanson had his head shaved during a between inning promotion. Catcher Kelly Norris-Jones was seen wearing a splint on the thumb of his catching hand. Nathan Lukes was show in the starting line-up earlier in the day, but was replaced by Baldwin at game time.

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