HarbourCats Drop Marathon Extra-Inning Affair to Cowlitz

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 19, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Cowlitz Black Bears scored three runs in the top of the tenth inning to come away with a 11-8 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in a back and forth, marathon, four-hour West Coast League (WCL) affair at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria on Friday night.

Cowlitz baserunner Hank LoForte (4) would score the Bears’ third run on this play in the fourth inning as the ball would escape the grasp of HarbourCats catcher Nick Meyer (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Black Bears, who trailed the HarbourCats 2-1 after two innings, would score three runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to jump into a 7-4 lead, only to see the ‘Cats score four in the bottom of the sixth to retake the lead 8-7. The Bears would get one of those back in the top of the seventh and that would be enough to force the game into extra frames.

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Cowlitz’s Mitch Bevacqua has eyes for third base, as the HarbourCats Michael Gretler awaits the throw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the tenth, after Ryan Aguilar lead off with a double and then scored, the big blow for the Bears came off the bat of Casey Henderson, who doubled in a pair of runs to move the lead to 11-8.

The HarbourCats would not go away however and in the bottom of the tenth, Michael Gretler, who earlier made his HarbourCats debut with a second inning, two-run home run, would reach on an error. Torin Goldstein and pinch hitter Ben Polshuk would then single to load the bases, bringing up Alex DeGoti.

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Things looked good for the HarbourCats early as this second inning home run by Michael Gretler gave the HarbourCats a 2-1 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

DeGoti, a three-year HarbourCat who was making his home debut this season, had earlier sparked Victoria’s four-run sixth with an RBI single, but would not be so lucky this time, flying out to left. Pinch hitter Reno Rankin would then fly out to centre and Austin Gabor would strike out looking to leave the bases loaded and give the Bears the 11-8 win.

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Alex DeGoti, a third year HarbourCat, made his 2015 home debut, with a hit, walk, run scored and an RBI on Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Victoria’s Shawn Kennedy would get the start Friday and he would go a full four innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, while walking three and striking out a pair. Josh Mitchell would take the loss, pitching the final two innings and giving up three runs on three hits. Matt Blais, Nick Wojtysiak and Austin Dondanville would also see work in relief of Kennedy, with Dondanville going three innings and allowing a run but striking out four.

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Victoria’s Austin Dondanville would have a decent debut in relief for Victoria Friday, throwing three innings and giving up a run, while striking out four (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

On the hill for Cowlitz, Emilio Foden, an Abbotsford, BC native, would start, going five innings and giving up four runs on four hits while striking out two. Jake Hawken would get the win in relief, throwing 3.1 innings of scoreless ball, giving up six hits and striking out six. Lars Rider would pitch the bottom of the tenth to get the save. Ryan Wood would also see relief action, replacing Foden and giving up the other four Victoria runs in just two-thirds of an inning of work.

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Cowlitz reliever Jake Hawken would get the win Friday, holding the HarbourCats scoreless for 3.1 innings (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Offensively, the Black Bears were led by leadoff hitter Ryan Aguilar who had three hits, including a pair of doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Slate Miller, MItch Bevaqua, Lorin Archibald and AJ Graffanino also had a pair of hits each to pace the 15 hit Cowlitz attack.

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With a pair of hits, including a home-run and a number of fine plays like this one in the field, Victoria third baseman Michael Gretler earned player of the game honours for the HarbourCats (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For the HarbourCats, Gretler led the way with a pair of hits including his home run, a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. He also made a number of fine plays at third to earn player of the game honours for the HarbourCats. Jackson Thoreson and PJ Floyd also had two-hit evenings, including a double from Thoreson. AJ Alcantara and Griffin Andreychuk would also double.

With the loss, the HarbourCats fall to 5-8 on the season and into the basement of the WCL West Division, a half game behind Cowlitz. The Bears improve to 4-6. Both teams will look to improve on those records when they go back at it on Saturday evening here at RAP. Josh Johnson is the expected starter for the Black Bears while newly-signed pitcher Luke Manuel, a former Team Canada junior, is scheduled to make his HarbourCats debut. Game time is 6:35PM.

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Victoria Head Coach Graig Merritt (right) lets base ump Rob Allan know he was not happy with a call late in Friday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Friday’s lineup for the HarbourCats featured pretty much the entire expected 2015 roster and they were well used. 17 position players and five different pitchers all saw action. 2014 fan favourite Gabe Clark has signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and will not make his return to the HarbourCats this season. Preston Ryan has been released from the team. Henry Omana, Chase Lambert and Jonathan Buckley are the remaining players on the roster not yet with the club. They will apparently hook up with the team during the next road trip. Leading hitter Kevin Collard was not in the lineup Friday due to illness.

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