Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 18, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Upon arriving to Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park on Friday, one just knew, with the wind blowing briskly out to left field the way that it was, that it could be a long and high scoring evening at the old ball yard. And long and high scoring it was, as the Victoria HarbourCats used a three home run and six RBI night from slugger Gabe Clark to defeat the Klamath Falls Gems 14-8 in a 3:33 minute affair played in front of 1,709 chilly fans.
Victoria’s Gabe Clark watches the first of his three home runs sail over the left field fence during the first inning against Klamath on Friday evening. Clark would finish the night with six RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The game started somewhat ominously for the HarbourCats as starter Logan Lombana gave up a triple, double and a walk in the top half of the first frame and found himself down 1-0 very quickly to a Gems team that seemed determined to make up for their 7-1 loss Thursday.
Victoria left fielder Wyler Smith makes an excellent diving attempt on this fly ball off the bat of the Gems Steven Packard during the first inning Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That turned around very quickly as Victoria responded in the bottom of the frame with four runs of their own off Klamath starter Kyle Detwiler , two of which came on an Alex DeGoti home run, scoring Griffin Andreychuk who had singled, and two more that came home on Clark’s first home run of the game, an absolute bomb that would have gone out of any park, wind or not.
Ironically both DeGoti and Clark would have an opportunity in the second inning to each bid for their second two-run homer of the night, but in both cases, they each launched deep fly balls to centre field that were caught above the fence by Gems centre fielder John Williams. That seemed to spark the Gems and in the top of the third, they responded with another run to make it 4-2.
Logan Lombana would throw five complete innings, giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits to get the win Friday against the Gems (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
After Lombana held the Gems scoreless in the top of the fifth, the HarbourCats would break the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the frame, the first of which came about when Kelly Norris-Jones singled and eventually scored on an error, three more that came on Clark’s second home run of the night, and three more courtesy of three bases-loaded walks issued by Gems reliever Michael Silva.
Fans along the first base side were treated to a colourful sunset on Friday evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The onslaught would continue in the fifth, as the HarbourCats put up three more, one on Clarks third home run, a solo shot and his team leading sixth of the year and two more on the strength of an Alan Baldwin double that scored Hunter Mercado-Hood and an RBI single from Norris-Jones, his second hit of the evening.
The normally stoic Gabe Clark could only smile after his third home run, as all his teammates retreated to the dugout to give him the “silent treatment” after he crossed the plate (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That score would hold until the ninth as the HarbourCats Alex Fagalde would hold the Gems hitless and scoreless over the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, while Klamath Falls reliever Michael Brinska would do the same to the HarbourCats, striking out five in the process.
Things got a bit interesting in the top of the ninth however as Victoria reliever Mark Marinch would struggle, surrendering four walks, two hit batters and three wild pitches to first six batters he faced, giving up three runs in the process.
Alex Fagalde would throw three scoreless and hitless innings of relief for the HarbourCats on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Marinch, was relieved, strangely, by normal starter Andrew Nelson, who would then give up an RBI-ground out and an RBI single to make the game 14-7. An error by Nelson allowed yet another run to cross the plate and the remaining fans started to get a bit edgy. Fortunately however, Nelson would settle down to retire the next two batters and close out a suddenly much closer 14-8 win.
Clark ended the night 3-4 with six runs driven in, while DeGoti drove in three runs. Nathan Lukes and Kelly Norris-Jones were both 2-4 and the HarbourCats hammered out fourteen hits overall.
Noah Cummings would make his first appearance since July 8th and would fare nicely, with a hit, a walk, a run scored and an RBI against Klamath on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
For the Gems, Carson Brashears led the offence with a triple, single, three walks, a run scored and an RBI, while Steven Packard and Thomas Walker had a pair of RBIs each.
Logan Lombana gets the win, allowing four hits, four walks and two runs in five innings. Lombana is now 2-2 on the season with a 2.57 ERA. Detwiler took the loss for the Gems.
Victoria native Kelly Norris-Jones would make his first appearance behind the plate at RAP since June 21st on Friday and would notch a pair of singles, a walk and 2 RBIs to help the ‘Cats to a 14-8 win over Klamath Falls (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win was the HarbourCats third victory in a row, moving them to 16-19 on the season and keeping their wild card hopes alive with nineteen games to play. The HarbourCats are four games back of the Bend Elks, who hold that final playoff berth with a 20-15 record. In the West Division, the HarbourCats and Cowlitz Black Bears are deadlocked in second place, 10.5 games back of the Bellingham Bells (26-8).
The HarbourCats and Gems will meet again on Saturday night at Sports Traders Diamond, a 7:11pm start on Bottle Depot Game Night. Dylan Stowell will make his first start of the season for the HarbourCats while Ryan Stromborn goes for the Gems.
KOOL-FM’s Danny the Intern goes for a spill during the Dizzy Bat Race (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: It was Harvey the HarbourCat bobble head night and the first 1,500 fans into the stadium received a likeness of the loveable creature. Sadly however, during the Dizzy Bat Race promotion later in the game, an over-exuberant Danny the Intern from Kool FM, a local Victoria radio station, blind-side tackled Harvey, knocking him to the ground and knocking him out of the game with an “upper body injury.” There was no further word on Harvey’s condition at press time.
Find more Victoria HarbourCats game action imagery from Christian J. Stewart at www.christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats
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