Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)
On a beautiful day that saw the Victoria HarbourCats honoured by the support of the community for a successful minor league baseball record chase, the home team thoroughly entertained its fans to the bitter end before falling in heart-breaking fashion.
Alex Rogers started by game and went 8 innings with seven hits and four runs allowed in game one vs the Medford Rougues – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The HarbourCats, now 12-16 on the season and on a four-game losing streak, had runners all over the bases in the bottom of the ninth inning when catcher Jake Lesinksi struck out to end the suspense in a 5-4 setback to the HarbourCats’ expansion cousins, the Medford Rogues.
The day was a magical one in Victoria baseball history as a minor-league baseball record 5,253 participated in a day-long fan event — setting the mark for the most ceremonial first pitches thrown prior to a game. The event started at 8:30 am and went right to gametime, and fans streamed through Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park all day long to break the previous record of 4,218 held by the Brevard County Manatees.
Fans were revved up and ready to “PLAY BALL” after the HarbourCats set a minor league baseball record with 5,253 pitches in a day long event – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The final two pitches of the new record were thrown by Cooper, the mascot for event sponsor Peninsula Co-op, and by former Major League pitcher Jason Grimsley, the father of John Grimsley, an outfielder with the HarbourCats. Jason Grimsley won two World Series titles with the New York Yankees.
Cooper through out the second to last first pitch Thursday night – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Former Major League pitcher Jason Grimbsy, father of HarbourCat John Grimsby, throws out the last “first pitch” Thursday night – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The HarbourCats outhit the Rogues and matched the starting pitching effort of the visitors but still came up short on the scoreboard. Nanaimo native Alex Rogers was masterful again for the HarbourCats with seven hits and four runs allowed in 8.2 innings, falling one out shy of a complete game. His replacement, left-hander Carson Schneider, gave up a hit, a run, and a straight steal of home that proved very costly. Rogers is now 2-2 on the season after being tagged with the loss, despite throwing just 99 pitches through nearly nine completed innings.
Alex Rogers fell one shy of a complete game giving up seven hits on 8.2 innings – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Medford starter David Peterson (University of Oregon), a lefty, was outstanding through 6.1 innings, allowing no runs and four hits, while walking four and striking out four.
Medford starter David Peterson went 6.1 innings with no runs and only four hits – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Nathan Lukes and Alex DeGoti were both 3-5 for the HarbourCats, and Gabe Clark was 2-4 — most of the hits in a 12-hit attack. Of the team’s seven strikeouts, two came in the final inning when it appeared the HarbourCats might send the high-energy crowd of 1,606 home happy.
DeGoti was reliable, as usual, on the bag and on the bats going 3-5 at the plate – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Nathan Lukes of the HarbourCats adds to his hit total on the night going 3-5 at bats – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
A base-running error and a poor throw decision in the first inning, along with the steal of home, played a role in the Victoria defeat. No errors were charged to the HarbourCats.
The HarbourCats are now 10 games back of Bellingham in the loss column, just past the half-way point in the season.
First baseman Gabe Clark just about catches a Medford Rogues straying too far from the bag – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The HarbourCats face Medford again on Friday night, 7:11pm on a night sponsored by Mike’s Hard Lemonade and U-Pak Storage. It’s the firstFriday night game of the season, and will mark the start of the PISE Fitness Friday promotion, presented by 103.1 Jack-FM and 98.5 Ocean FM.
On Saturday, it’s Bike to the Park Day with Buzz Victoria, a 1pm weekend game.
Tickets are available at the office, online (harbourcats.com/tickets), or at the gate.