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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

July 25, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Victoria HarbourCats would battle hard near the end, leaving two men on base in each of the eighth and ninth innings, but would end up dropping a 5-3 decision to the visiting Corvallis Knights in West Coast League (WCL) baseball action Friday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

HarbourCats shortstop Alex DeGoti turns a double play in the 8th inning Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The ‘Cats and starting pitcher Alex Rogers fell behind early as Rogers surrendered a solo home run to the Knight’s Dalton Kelly in the top of the first however the HarbourCats would answer with a run of their own in the bottom of the third when Jake Lesinski would muscle a single to right – the first hit of the game off Corvallis starter Jackson Lockwood – and then come home on a sacrifice fly by Wyler Smith.

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Victoria starter Alex Rogers would go 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits, including 2 home runs, to take the loss Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The hard-hitting Knights would flex their muscles again in the top of the fourth when Marc Gallegos would put a solo shot into the netting in left field and then add two more in the top of the fifth, thanks in part to three straight singles off Rogers to start the inning, to go up 4-1.

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Corvallis second baseman Marc Gallegos, who had a single and a home run, would be one of 4 Knights to have a multi-hit evening Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN). 

Rogers would come out of the game after the sixth inning, ending his shortest outing of the year since a four-inning start against Kelowna back on June 8th. His replacement, Tim Peabody, would give up an RBI single to Dalton Kelly in the top of the seventh to make it 5-1 for the Knights, but then hold them scoreless in the eighth, before giving way to Ryan Keller who also pitched a scoreless ninth.

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Corvallis starter Jackson Lockwood would hold the ‘Cats to a single run and 5 scattered hits in his 7 innings of work to get credit for the win, his league-leading 7th of the season (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Meanwhile, the HarbourCats offence would finally come to life when Knight’s starter Lockwood left the game after seven complete and gave way to reliever Austin Sodders.

Alex DeGoti would get things rolling with a one-out double and he would be followed by a walk to Nathan Lukes. Another walk to Gabe Clark loaded the bases and spelled the end of Sodder’s brief relief appearance, as Merrick Patito came in to face Hunter Mercado-Hood.

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HarbourCats catcher Jake Lesinski shows pretty good wheels for a catcher, going from first to third on a single from Noah Cummings and eventually scoring a run in the third inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Patito did his job, striking out the League’s RBI leader, but then surrendered a 2-RBI single to Sean Watkins, pulling the HarbourCats within two, 5-3. He would then strike out Aaron Barnett, leaving the tying runs in scoring position, to end the inning.

The ‘Cats would make it interesting again in the bottom of the ninth. Lesinski would lead things off with a walk, but then after the Knights went to the bullpen for Joey Wise, trade places with Griffin Andreychuk who reached on a fielder’s choice. After Wyler Smith was robbed of a hit by Knights’ second baseman Gallegos, who leaped high in the air to snag a liner that was headed to the gap, DeGoti stroked a 2-out single – his third hit of the night – to move Andreychuk to third and bring Lukes up to the plate.

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Victoria’s Nathan Lukes would beat out this infield single, as Corvallis first baseman Dalton Kelly had to leave the base to field a wide throw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Lukes would foul off a couple of tough pitches but that would be all the contact he would make as Wise struck him out to end the game and saving the 5-3 win for starter Lockwood.

The win – the Knights 15th in their last 19 games – moves their record to 26-14 and keeps them a game up on the Bend Elks – who defeated Wenatchee 7-4 – for first in the South Division. The HarbourCats fall to 18-22 and with the Elks win, they fall another game back in the wild card race and now sit seven games out of that final playoff position.

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Alex DeGoti led all HarbourCats with three hits on the night, including this ninth inning single (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Both teams will be back at it on Saturday night in Victoria for Game 2 in the series. Logan Lombana is the anticipated starter for the HarbourCats, while Angel Landazuri will get the start for the Knights. Game time is 7:11 pm.

Game Notes: The Knights had four players with multi-hit games. Friday was baseball card night and the first 1,500 of the 2,411 in attendance received their set of 2014 HarbourCats baseball cards. The HarbourCats will be losing another arm in their bullpen, as pitcher Quintin Torres-Costa is reported to be leaving for home on Monday due to an illness in his family. HarbourCats Assistant Coach Charlie Strandlund was absent Friday, as he was busy pitching a complete-game, 3-hit, 1-0 shut-out for his Senior Men’s team to capture the Mavericks Men’s League RP Rithet Cup. Strandlund struck out 10 batters in getting the win.