Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 1, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Someone forgot to tell the Victoria HarbourCats that the fireworks at Royal Athletic Park were supposed to have been completed on Monday night following the game. Instead the HarbourCats kept them going on Tuesday afternoon, pounding out 19 hits en route to a 19-2 thumping of the Kitsap Blue Jackets in West Coast League action in front of a sun-drenched Canada Day crowd of 2,389 fans. Yes you read that correct, a 19-2 win.
Victoria’s Hunter Mercado-Hood would be a triple short of the cycle Tuesday finishing the day 4 for 4 with 2 doubles, a single, a 3-run home-run and 6 RBIs to lead the HarbourCats offence against Kitsap (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Blame it on the holiday, blame it on the new red caps, blame it on the parachutists that fell from the sky to deliver the game ball, or maybe on the fact that all the U.S. born players on the team became, at least in ceremony only, Canadian citizens by taking the Canadian Citizenship Oath before the game, but whatever the case, the HarbourCats finally broke out the bats and the offence that many had said this team would be capable of showing.
It was a special Canada Day pre-game Tuesday with parachutists dropping in to deliver the game ball (left) and Judge Gerry Pash (right) and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin leading the crowd in the Oath of Canadian Citizenship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The ‘Cats jumped all over Kitsap starting pitcher Zev Egli for seven first inning runs, powered mainly by a three-run home run from Hunter Mercado-Hood, a two-RBI double from Wyler Smith and another two-RBI double from Griffin Andreychuk.
Both Wyler Smith (left) and Griffin Andreychuk (right) contributed 2-RBI doubles in the HarbourCats 7-run first inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
They would keep the offensive attack going, scoring another three runs in each of the second and third innings, four more in the fourth and two more in the seventh – thanks in part to FOUR hit batters by Kitsap pitcher Max Winkelhake – to round out the impressive total.
Mercado-Hood was the offensive monster of the day and in addition to his first inning home run, he added two doubles and a single to finish 4 for 4 on the day with 4 runs scored and 6 RBIs, giving him a league leading 20 RBIs thus far on the season.
Kitsap catcher Ryan Matranga has the ball slip through his legs on this play at the plate Tuesday, allowing Victoria’s Sean Watkins to score one of the HarbourCats 19 runs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Sean Watkins also picked up right where he left off after Monday night’s heroics, going 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and an RBI, while Wyler Smith and Alex DeGoti also had 3-hit days, with Smith knocking in 4 runs and DeGoti knocking in 2 and scoring 3 times. Andreychuk also finished with a pair of hits and 3 runs scored.
Victoria’s Wyler Smith makes a nice catch in the outfield (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While the HarbourCats offensive outburst was great to see, they really only needed a few of those runs to win today thanks to an outstanding pitching performance from right-hander Mikey Wright. Wright, who hails from Elk Grove, California, had a no-hitter going through the first 3 and 2/3 innings before the BlueJackets Xavier Palmer messed things up in the fourth with a 2-out triple.
Victoria’s Mikey Wright was eagle-eye sharp on the day, allowing no runs and just a single hit in his 6 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Prior to that, Wright’s only damage was a one-out walk and hit batter in the first inning, both of which were quickly negated by an inning ending 6-4-3 double play. He would pitch through the sixth inning, allowing just one other Kitsap batter on base, courtesy of an error, before being relieved by Carson Schneider in the seventh.
Victoria second baseman Griffin Andreychuk turns an inning-ending double play in the first inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Schneider was responsible for both of the BlueJacket runs, giving up three straight hits, including an RBI single to Daniel Patzlaff in the seventh, and a single to Alex Bush in the eighth, who would eventually come in to score on a groundout by Palmer.
Dylan Stowell, seeing his first action since an exhibition game against Langley on June 22nd, would come in to finish the game off by pitching a scoreless ninth.
In pretty much a synopsis of how the BlueJacket’s day went Tuesday, batter Nick Choruby was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Rogers for arguing balls and strikes after being rung up in the 5th inning Tuesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With the win, the HarbourCats improve to 8-12 on the season and now sit just 1.5 games back of the now 8-11 BlueJackets for third in the West and 6 games behind Division and League leading Bellingham (13-5). The clubs wrap up their three-game series Wednesday night at Royal Athletic Park, with an Elvis themed night. Game time is 7:11 PM.
Game Notes: The 19 runs scored by the HarbourCats is a single-game team record and is one run short of the highest run output by a WCL team this season, as the Bend Elks put up 20 against Walla Walla last Saturday. The HarbourCats have signed Angel Delgado, a 6’1″ pitcher out of Riverside Community College and he will be arriving shortly. Delgado saw action in 11 innings (2 starts) this past spring and sported an ERA of 0.79 while striking out 11. Looks like he could be another starting arm in the HarbourCats rotation. At the top of the 5th inning the ‘Cats substituted at every defensive position except second base and catcher and of course Wright on the mound.
Find more Victoria HarbourCats game action imagery from Christian J. Stewart at www.christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats
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