Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 27, 2014, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Quite often when teams play a game like the HarbourCats and Corvallis Knights did on Saturday night, with three bench clearing incidents, a day game the following day is rather anti-climactic and often ends in a low scoring snooze fest. Not on Sunday. The Knights and HarbourCats combined for 29 runs and 30 hits as the HarbourCats used a 10-run seventh inning to propel themselves to a 19-10 win over the Knights in front of 1,257 sun-worshiping fans at Sports Traders Diamond.
HarbourCats catcher Jake Lesinski shows home plate umpire Scott Eckhardt the ball after tagging out Corvallis baserunner Jackson Soto in the 4th inning of Sunday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Andrew Nelson got the start for the HarbourCats and while he would have his longest outing since a five inning performance on -June 29th, it looked like he would be in a position to take a loss, as the Knights knocked him out of the game in the middle of the fifth inning, overcoming a 3-0 HarbourCats lead to take a 5-3 lead in the process.
Cue the offense.
Corvallis second baseman Alec Smith puts the tag on a stealing Hunter Mercado-Hood of the HarbourCats (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
After sitting quietly for three scoreless innings following their three run and five hit outburst in the second inning, the HarbourCats would score one in the sixth and then explode for ten runs in the seventh, sending 14 batters to the plate in the process, to take a 14-5 lead.
The Knights got some good defence early as shortstop Michael Lucarelli turns a double play on Victoria runner Jake Lesinski (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While the Knights would get four of those back in the top of the eighth on one swing of the bat – a grand slam home run by Kevin Kline – the ‘Cats would add five more runs in the bottom of the inning to push the lead to 19-9. The Knights would push a single run across in the ninth but that would be it, as Victoria avoided the sweep with the big 19-10 win.
Victoria baserunner Alan Baldwin would slide in safely, beating the throw to Knight’s second baseman Alec Smith on this steal attempt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats, who had hits (21 in total) from every batter in the lineup and multi-hit games from seven different players, were led by third baseman Bryce Greager who had a monster day, going 4 for 6 with a double, five RBIs and three runs scored.
Victoria’s Bryce Greager would have a monster day at the plate, with 4 hits, including a double, 5 RBIs and 3 runs scored in the HarbourCats 19-10 win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Griffin Andreychuk, Hunter Mercado-Hood and Alan Baldwin had three-hit days with Mercado-Hood knocking in three RBIs (to push his league leading total to 39) and scoring four times, while catcher Jake Lesinski chipped in with a pair of hits and three RBIs. Alex DeGoti also added a 2-RBI triple and Gabe Clark, while he did not hit a home run, was 2 for 5 with three runs scored. Danny Collier was also on base four times with a pair of hits and a pair of walks, scoring twice.
The HarbourCats hit parade was led by Griffin Andreychuk (top left), Alan Baldwin (top right), and Hunter Mercado-Hood (bottom left), all with three hits each, and Jake Lesinski (bottom right) with a pair of hits and 3 RBIs. Mercado-Hood also had 3 RBIs to push his league leading total to 39 (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Tim Peabody was the winning pitcher, in relief, benefitting from the HarbourCats 10 run explosion, despite giving up four runs in 1.1 innings of work. Jason Snodgrass was the loser thanks to surrendering five hits and six runs in one-third of an inning in the disastrous seventh.
Victoria’s Danny Collier looks to beat out a bunt to first. Collier would finish the day with a pair of walks, two hits and two runs scored (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win ups Victoria’s record to 19-23 and more importantly for four players at least, sends them home on winning notes, as Sean Watkins, Quintin Torres-Costa, Mark Marinch and Angel Delgado are all heading home on Monday to take care of various schooling and family issues prior to their upcoming school year.
Victoria’s Griffin Andreychuk rounds third to score one of his two, and one of the HarbourCats 19 runs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Watkins was not in the lineup Sunday as he was serving a suspension for his part in the hit batter incidents on Saturday night. He is definitely a player that will be missed down the stretch, as the versatile two-way player was third in team batting (.339) behind Lukes and Gabe Clark and he was on the tops of the pitching leaderboard with a .81 ERA in 11 innings of work.
While he would not add to his team leading 8 home runs, Gabe Clark would have a pair of hits and score three runs on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Delgado, Torres-Costa and Marinch will also be three more arms no longer available to what is quickly becoming a rather depleted HarbourCats bullpen. Delgado had pitched well in his six relief appearances, allowing just 2 earned runs and compiling a 1.63 ERA, while Torres-Costa made two decent starts in his last two outings.
There is no word yet on whether the HarbourCats will bring anyone in to fill in the pitching roster for the final stretch, or if the ten remaining pitchers will simply have to shoulder the workload the rest of the way.
HarbourCat players (L to R) Sean Watkins, Quintin Torres-Costa, Angel Delgado and Mark Marinch will be departing Monday to head back home to take care of school and family issues prior to their fall academic seasons (Photos: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats will take Monday off and then begin a three-game road series starting Tuesday in Wenatchee. The HarbourCats are next home on Friday, opening a three-game set with the league-leading Bellingham Bells.
Game Notes: Catcher Kelly Norris-Jones was on the bench Sunday and seems no worse for wear after taking a foul ball off the jaw on Saturday. Nathan Lukes missed his second game in a row and was observed icing his arm in the dugout. No word on the extent of any injury, or if that was just precautionary. Harvey-the HarbourCat looked like he won his first mascot race of his career Sunday, as video replay showed he was a toe ahead of the young fan he was racing, however he was disqualified for failing a post-race drug test that found enhanced catnip in his system.