Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 27, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – A solo home run from Wenatchee’s Evan Douglas, his league leading fifth of the season, proved to be the only run of the game, as the AppleSox defeated the Victoria HarbourCats 1-0 in a classic pitching duel in West Coast League baseball action Saturday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Victoria’s Dominic Topoozian had his best outing of the season Saturday, going 8 innings and allowing just three hits, one a solo home run, in a tough luck loss to the AppleSox (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
If the Victoria HarbourCats could send pitcher Dominic Topoozian to the mound every day, it is likley they would. The six foot right-hander from Fresno State has been outstanding so far this season and on Saturday, things were no different, as he provided Victoria with his third quality start out of four – and best of the season so far – going eight full innings and allowing just a single run on three hits, while striking out nine and walking none.
Victoria’s Dominic Topoozian (left) and Wenatchee’s Hunter Wells (right) would match each other pitch for pitch for six innings in the first true pitching duel at RAP this season (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Unfortunately though for Topoozian, one of those hits was a second inning solo home run to Wenatchee’s Douglas, which stood up as the only run of the game. Douglas now has five on the season to lead the WCL in that category.
Also unfortunately for Topoozian and his HarbourCats teammates, the AppleSox started their own ace in Hunter Wells. Wells has also been nothing short of brilliant this year and came into the game with a 2-0 record and sporting a 1.96 ERA. Wells would lower that considerably Saturday, going six full innings, giving up just three hits, walking one and striking out nine. He would also be helped by reliever Brian Gadsby who spun three innings of one-hit relief to get the save.
The Apple Sox used some stellar defence on Saturday, turning a pair of double plays and almost getting a third earlier in the game on this play by second baseman Jake Hirabayashi (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The AppleSox also used some stellar defence to stymie the HarbourCats offence, turning a pair of crucial double plays late in the game, most notably in the bottom of the eighth inning when catcher Ryan Crowe fielded a no-out bunt attempt and started a rare 2-6-3 double play to squelch a possible HarbourCats rally. Following that, Alex DeGoti, who had reached on a pinch-hit walk, was picked off first by Gadsby to end the inning.
Victoria first baseman Torin Goldstein waits for the throw at first while Wenatchee’s Sheldon Liikala dives back in on this pick-off attempt (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
They then got their second double play to end the game in the ninth, after Torin Goldstein had walked with one out to give the 1,475 HarbourCat hopefuls in attendance some hope. Also in that inning, third baseman Nick Nyquist made a great diving play for the first out, robbing Victoria’s PJ Floyd of his second hit of the game.
Under the watchful eye of first baseman Torin Goldstein (12), Victoria second baeman Pikai Winchester would make a great sprawling catch on this blooper on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In addition to Floyd, other HarbourCats hits came from Ben Polshuk, Goldstein and Scott Jarvis. For Wenatchee, in addition to Douglas’s home run, hits came from Keston Hiura and Mitchell Holland.
PJ Floyd had one of the four HarbourCats hits on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Wells takes the win for the AppleSox to move to 3-0 on the season. Gadsby, with three innings of one-hit relief gets the save. Topoozian gets the tough loss. Sean O’Toole pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the HarbourCats.
Wenatchee catcher Ryan Crowe would have a good game Saturday, here reacting quickly to tag out Victoria’s Nick Meyer on a dropped third strike and later starting a key eighth inning double play to squash a HarbourCats threat (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With the loss, the HarbourCats fall to 7-13 on the season, and 4-7 at home. It also guarantees a loss of their sixth straight three-game series, after winning the season opening series against Kitsap. The AppleSox improve to 7-10 and have climbed to within a half game of Walla Walla for third in the East Division.
Wenatchee reliever Brian Gadsby would throw three innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to get the save Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The HarbourCats and AppleSox will close out their series with a 1:05 pm start on Sunday. CJ Gettman (1-1, three appearances, 3.05 ERA) will get the start for Wenatchee, while the HarbourCats will counter with Austin Dondanville (0-0, two appearances, 3.52 ERA).
Victoria then has a four day break from league play, but will entertain the Langley Blaze for exhibition games on Tuesday night June 30th (6:35 start with fireworks to follow) and again on Wednesday July 1st for a Canada Day matinee starting at 1:05 pm.
Game Notes: With his performance, Topoozian lowers his ERA to 1.50 on the season tops among the regular HarbourCats starters. Former Junior National Team member Luke Manuel has been released by the team. Manuel made one start on June 20th vs Cowlitz, giving up three earned runs (five total) on six hits in just two innings of work. He may return to pitch for the team in the exhibition games next week against Langley, but will not see any further league action with the club. Game time was 2:49.
More photos from this game will be available soon at http://christianjstewart.zenfolio.com/harbourcats
Follow Christian J. Stewart on Twitter at @cjs_photography and ISN at @islandsports1