HarbourCats Let Victory Slip Away Against AppleSox

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 26, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Wenatchee AppleSox scored four runs in the final two innings of the game to overcome an 8-7 deficit and defeat the Victoria HarbourCats 11-8 in West Coast League baseball action Friday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Victoria second baseman Pikai Winchester (left) and first baseman Torin Goldstein (right) make a valiant effort but can not come up with this Wenatchee bloop single in Friday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After losing their last two games in Kitsap and having dropped five of their first six three-games series to start the year, the West Division cellar dwelling 7-11 Victoria HarbourCats were looking for something on Friday that could spark them to victory over the equally slow starting 5-10 Wenatchee AppleSox, last in the East.

They would get that spark with a combined eight runs in the second and third innngs to take an early 8-5 lead, but then watch as the Apple Sox chipped their way back with a pair of runs in the fifth, one in the eighth and three more in the ninth, including the go-ahead and eventual winning run that was scored on a bases loaded balk, to escape with the 11-8 win.

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Victoria’s Nick Meyer would have a 2-RBI single and score later in the third to help the HarbourCats to an early 8-5 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Shawn Kennedy got the start for the HarbourCats, but he would not make it through the top of the third, surrendering a single run in the first inning and then four more in that third without retiring anyone, with the biggest blow coming from Wenatchee’s Evan Douglas who launched a three-run bomb over the right field fence.

Kennedy was replaced by Henry Omana, making his second appearance as a HarbourCat, and he would get out of the inning without any further damage, but with the cats trailing 5-2.

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Victoria’s Henry Omana would see his first action at home and he was effective, giving up two hits, both home runs, while striking out six in five innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

After scoring a pair of runs in the second, thanks to a two-RBI single from Nick Meyer, the HarbourCats big six-run third inning was highlghted by a two-RBI triple from AJ Alcantara and an RBI triple from Alex DeGoti. Alcantara would turn his into a Little League home run, when an errant throw to third went out of play allowing him to score. Jackson Thoreson would also have an RBI double in the inning and come in to score on Alcantara’s hit.

Omana surrenderd back-to-back homeruns to Wenatchee’s Mitchell Holland and Douglas to start the top of the fifth, but would escape the rest of the inning without further incident and with an 8-7 lead, eventually turning the ball over to Josh Mitchell in the eighth.

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Wenatchee’s Mitch Holland would have a solid night at the plate, going 3 or 5 with a home run and two RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In that eighth, after an out, an error by Victoria shortstop Alex DeGoti would allow Wenatchee’s Ryan Crow to reach and that would come back to hurt the ‘Cats, as singles from Sheldon Liikala and Danny Amaral brough Crowe around to tie the game 8-8.

Mitchell’s trouble continued in the ninth, as he would give up base hits to Holland and Nick Nyquist and then walk Jake Hirabayashi to load the bases with one out. Mitchell would then make the biggest mental error of the night, balking home the go-ahead run. A pair of misplayed bunts would then push two more runs across the plate, making the score 11-8 and giving the AppleSox all the runs they would need.

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Victoria shortstop Alex DeGoti would come just short of turning this double play in the eighth inning Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That was because Wenatchee reliever Micael Taylor, who came on to releive starter Kyle Blankenship midway through that disastorous third, was brilliant in relief, giving up the triple to DeGoti, and then retiring 17 of the next 18 batters he faced, giving up just a walk, before allowing two meaningless singles in the ninth that were left stranded when Thoreson flied out to left to end the game.

For the AppleSox, Shortstop Douglas hit his two home runs and drove in four runs, while Holland was 3-5 with three runs and two driven in. Liikala was also 3-5 for Wenatchee. For the HarbourCats, Meyer and Alcantara had two RBIs each and Austin Guibor was 2-5, the only HarbourCat with multiple hits. Taylor, with his stellar relief appearance, gets the win, while Mitchell takes the loss.

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Wenatchee reliever Micael Taylor would get the win in relief Friday, tossing a stellar 6.1 innings of three-hit relief and at one point retiring 14 HarbourCat batters in a row (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The two teams meet again Saturday (5:30pm gates, 6:35pm first pitch) on Times Colonist game night, with a special pre-game first pitch recognizing a local hero. On Sunday, it’s Read Society’s 50-50 game with the first-ever Barclay’s Fine Custom Jewelry Diamond Dig taking place after the game. Sunday’s game is at 1pm.

Game Notes: This was Wenatchee’s first visit to Victoria since 2013. Victoria’s leading hitter Kevin Collard (.328) has now gone three games without a hit. After seven hits in his first five games, Michael Gretler has gone two games without, but has scored runs in both of those. In his four starts this season Shawn Kennedy has given up 15 earned runs on 34 hits, in 17 innings of work. Attendance: 1,393. Time of game: 3:22.

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