HarbourCats Earn First Sweep of Season Over Kitsap

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

July 8, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Jake Pries got things started with a two-run home run in the first inning and Matt Blais had a fantastic start on the mound, as the Victoria HarbourCats cruised to an 8-2 win over the visiting Kitsap BlueJackets in West Coast League (WCL) action Wednesday night at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Jake Pries “kissed” a ball over the leftfield fence in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday to give the HrbourCats an early 2-0 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win, in front of 1,398 fans, gives the HarbourCats their first sweep of the 2015 season and their second series win, both coming over Kitsap. More imortantly, the HarbourCats move into a tie for second place in the West Division standings with the Cowlitz Black Bears. Both teams are now 7.5 games behind Bellingham, who lost to the Bears Wednesday 4-2.

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Starter Matt Blais was in total control Wednesday, allowing one unearned run on one hit through his 5.2 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Pries’s home run, his second of the season, came in the bottom of the first, cashing in Chase Lambert who had led things off with a single and giving starter Matt Blais all the runs he would need, as he had a beauty of a start, allowing just one hit over his 5.2 innings of work, while striking out six and walking three. The BlueJackets did get a run off of him in the third, but it was unearned thanks to a catcher’s interference call on Brett Bautista with the bases loaded.

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Kitsap baserunner Alex Junior prepares to dive into third base on this play in the third inning. He would later score Kitsap’s first run of the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats would add to their lead with a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh, before giving up a single run to the BlueJackets in the eighth. Another two spot in the bottom of the eighth closed out the 8-2 scoring and put the game away for Victoria.

Pries would finish the night with another hit and three RBIs total to lead the Victoria offence, while Nanaimo native Griffin Andreychuk, making the most of a rare playing opportunity, went three for four with a run scored and an RBI. Alex DeGoti, Ben Polshuk and Scott Jarvis also had two hit evenings.

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With eight hits in his last six games, including two Wednesday, Scott Jarvis has quietly taken over the lead in team batting with a .323 average (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Blais, with his solid start, gets the win. Henry Omana, Nick Wojtysiak, Shawn Kennedy and Tei Vanderford, making his HarbourCats debut, cleaned up the remaining innings, with Wojtysiak giving up the second Kitsap run in the eighth.

Kitsap starter Colton Barnes, who went five innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, gets the loss and sees his record fall to 2-1 on the season.

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Kitsap’s Kyle Noblach would slide safely into third base with this 8th inning triple on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The BlueJackets have now lost seven in a row and the frustration began to show for Head Coach Matt Cartwright, as he was ejected late in Wednesday’s game for arguing a call at third base with umpire Chet Masse. This was the second time this season Cartwright was ejected from a game here in Victoria.

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Making the most of a rare start, Griffin Andreychuk had three hits, a run scored and an RBI Wednesday and now sits second in team batting at .318 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats now hit the road Friday for a long, six-game road trip to the deep south of Oregon where they will take on the Klamath Falls Gems on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, before moving a little bit west to meet the Medford Rogues on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They will then book it home for a key match-up with the West Division leading Bellingham Bells starting July 16th, the highly anticipated Black Press Baseball Card giveaway night, featuring photographs by photographer Christian J. Stewart.

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HarbourCats superfan Jack Gamble had the broom out Wednesday as the ‘Cats dusted off Kitsap 8-2 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: Prior to tonight’s game the HarbourCats announced the release of two players including RHP/OF Kyle Francis, who suffered an elbow injury, and OF Kevin Amezquita. From East LA College, Amezquita was 6-33 (.182) with a home run, two doubles, four runs driven in, and two stolen bases. Francis was .222 at the plate (10-45) with a double and seven RBIs, and on the mound he was 0-0 with a 3.72 ERA, 11 walks and 10 strikeouts in nine appearances covering 9.2 innings. Although batting only .176, coming into tonight’s game, infielder Torin Goldstein, who did not play Wednesday, has hit safely in five of his last six games. Scott Jarvis seems to be heating up with eight hits and six RBIs in his last six games. Kitsap’s leading hitter Brett Bautista (.340 average) has hit safely in all but five of the 27 games he has appeared in for the BlueJackets this this season, and ironically three of those no-hit games have come against Victoria…tonight, Monday night and another in the HarbourCats 7-2 win on June 7.

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