Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 11, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In front of a large crowd of students and businessmen playing hooky from school and work respectively, Kevin Collard had thre hits including a home-run and a two-RBI single and Alex Rogers had his second quality start of the season, to lead the Victoria HarbourCats to a 4-2 victory over the Kitsap BlueJackets in a weekday afternoon West Coast League (WCL) game at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
HarbourCats outfielders Austin Guibor (left), Kevin Collard (right) and Kevin Amezquita (not visible) celebrate the ‘Cats 4-2 win over Kitsap Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win gives the HarbourCats the series victory and improves their record to 3-3 on the young season, moving them into second place in the WCL West division behind the 4-1 Bellingham Bells, who face Corvallis later tonight. The BlueJackets drop to 2-4 and fall to third in the West.
The HarbourCats rode the arm of starter Alex Rogers to his second consecutive victory, having gone a solid 6.1 innings to get the win in the HarbourCats opener against Kelowna last Friday. He pretty much matched that performance on Thursday, going a full six innings and giving up just a single run on four hits, walking two and striking out four.
Alex Rogers had his second solid start and second win of 2015, going six innings and giving up a single run on four hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Rogers was relieved nicely by middle-man Josh Walker who would come on in the seventh and pitch two innings of relief, allowing a single run on two hits, but more importantly striking out four Kitsap batters.
That set the table nicely for closer Josh Mitchell, who would walk a batter in the top of the ninth, but then retire the next three to close out the game and get the save.
HarbourCats baserunner Kevin Amezquita gets tagged out at home by Kitsap catcher Lane Paul while trying to score what would have been Victoria’s fourth run (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats received all the offence they needed early in this game, scoring a run in the first on Collard’s solo shot and then two more in the bottom of the second on Collard’s bases loaded, two-RBI single. The lead at that point could have been 4-0 but Victoria’s Kevin Amezquita was thrown out on the play at home while trying to score from first.
Collard, a recent high school grad who will be a Freshman at the University of San Diego in the fall, would cement his player of the game status when he would reach on a single in the bottom of the fifth inning and eventually come in to score the HarbourCats fourth run and his second of the game, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Jackson Thoreson.
Kevin Collard is getting it done at both the plate, with three hits, including a homerun and three RBIS, and in the field where he made two nice running catches on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“That kid is a beast,” said HarbourCats Manager Graig Merritt. “He has the potential to be a multi-millionaire in three years when he becomes eligible for the MLB draft if he keeps going the way he has.” In just three games with the HarbourCats, Collard has certainly shown why. He has eight hits in 12 at bats – a scorching .667 average – a home-run, four RBIs and four runs scored. He also made two fine catches in right field today to help his team on defence.
In addition to Collard, other offensive notables for the HarbourCats included Kyle Francis with a pair of hits, Thoreson with his RBI and another single and PJ Floyd and Brady Rogers both with a single and a run scored.
For Kitsap, Brett Bautista continued to swing a hot bat, with a pair of hits and a run scored. Caylen Clardy scored the other Kitsap run and had another of their six hits on the day.
KItsap starter Joe Siegel, who went three innings, giving up three runs (just one earned) on six hits, would take the loss. Joe Galindo was effective in relief giving up one run over four innings and John Oltman pitched a scoreless eighth.
Victoria’s PJ Floyd had one of the HarbourCats nine hits Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats now hit the road for a tough weekend series against the already (pending the outcome of tonight’s game against Cowlitz) 4-1 Bend Elks and follow that up with a trip to Cowlitz to face the Black Bears for a three game set starting Monday.
The HarbourCats return to Victoria with those same Black Bears in tow, to begin a three-game set at Royal Athletic Park on Friday June 19th. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 pm.
Victoria reliever Josh Mitchelll had a solid two innings of work on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Attendance for the first weekday afternoon game of 2015 was announced at 1,179 and was bolstered by a number of school groups in attendance. First baseman Kyle Francis left the game late with a cramp, but should be good to go for the Bend series. Today’s game was the first so far that did not feature a Victoria native in the lineup as Chris Fougner, who has started all the games thus far in right field, had the day off.
See more photos from this game and other HarbourCats games at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats