Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 7, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Austin Guibor stroked an RBI-single in the bottom of seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie and give the Victoria HarbourCats a 2-1 win over the Kitsap BlueJackets in West Coast League (WCL) action Tuesday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Victoria starter Jonathan Buckley made an impressive debut Tuesday, throwing six strong innings and allowing just a single run on five hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win was the second in a row for the HarbourCats and guarantees a series win, only their second of the season and the first since the ‘Cats last hosted Kitsap in early June. The win was also the second in a row where nearly flawless HarbourCats pitching played a big role in the victory.
Victoria’s Chase Lambert slides safely into third during the first inning Tuesday. Lambert would have a pair of hits and knock in the HarbourCats first run in the fifth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Newcomer Jonathan Buckley got the start for Victoria and he looked impressive, allowing just one run on five hits in six innings of work, striking out six Kitsap batters in the process. He would be relived by Shawn Kennedy in the seventh and Josh Mitchell in the eighth and ninth, both of whom were perfect and retired in order the nine batters they faced, combining for five strikeouts in the process.
Victoria baserunner Chase Lambert appeared to have his hand well on the base (middle frame) before the tag on the shoulder by Kitsap shortstop Leo Valenti (bottom frame), but Lambert was ruled out on the play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The lone run against Buckley came in the top of the third inning when an Alex Junior base hit scored Jack Veasey, who had reached on a leadoff double. Kitsap threatened even more in the inning, eventually loading the bases, but Buckley got a key strikeout and then induced an inning ending flyout to end any further threat.
Victoria shortstop Scott Jarvis (left) caught a lucky break on this play, as he misplayed a grounder that bounced straight to Chase Lambert (right) for a force play at second base (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That would prove costly for the BlueJackets, as the HarbourCats manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game 1-1. Scott Jarvis got things going with a single and moved to third on a base hit from Chris Fougner. He then came in to score when Chase Lambert grounded into a double-play.
In the decisive seventh, Jarvis once again led off with a single to start the inning, but this time would be out at second when a Chris Fougner bunt failed to move Jarvis into scoring position. No worries though, as Chase Lambert followed with his second hit of the night, moving Fougner to third.
In perhaps the greatest action photo of the night, Masoct Race contestant “Teewhy” gives it a full effort in defeating Harvey the HarbourCat around the bases (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
That set the stage for Guibor, who redeemed himself after going 0-3 in his previous at bats, launching a line shot into centrefield to score Fougner and break the 1-1 tie.
Jarvis, Lambert and Kevin Collard led the nine hit attack by the HarbourCats with a pair each, while Fougner, Guibor and Torin Goldstein had the other three. For the BlueJackets, Aaron Ping had a two hit evening and reached on a walk.
Victoria’s Scott Jarvis heads to third after a Chris Fougner single in the fifth inning. Jarvis would then score the HarbourCats first run of the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Thanks to the timing of Guibor’s hit, Kennedy, with his scoreless seventh inning, gets credit for the win. Mitchell gets the save. Kitsap starter Jake Brewer, who also had a pretty decent outing, going six full innings and allowing one run on six hits, did not factor in the decision. Joe Siegal, who came in to pitch the seventh and part of the eighth for Kitsap, gets tagged with the loss.
Victoria closer Josh Mitchell celebrates the final out – a flyout to right – closing out the tight 2-1 win over Kitsap (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
With the win, the HarbourCats move to 10-16 on the season and they jump into a three-way tie for second in the West with both Kitsap and Cowlitz – 1-0 losers to Bellingham Tuesday – with all three 8.5 games behind the West Division leading Bells.
The teams will close out their series on Wednesday night and then the HarbourCats hit the road for an important six-game road trip to Klamath Falls and Medford, before returning home July 16th to begin a huge series with Bellingham.
Scott Jarvis high fives with a young fan following the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Tuesday’s game was played in a crisp two hours and thirty minutes, the shortest game of the season thus far at home. Attendance was announced at 1,207. With his two hits tonight, Chase Lambert has jumped into a tie with AJ Alcantara – sidelined Tuesday with a hip-flexor issue – for the team batting lead at .308. Buckley jumps to the top of the ERA leaders with his performance at 1.50. With the arrival of Buckley and Tei Vanderford, the 2015 HarbourCats roster is now complete. No additional players are expected, unless additional 10-day players are needed near the end of the season.