Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
July 19, 2015, Nanaimo BC (ISN) – PJ Floyd put on a hitting clinic with three home runs, a triple, five RBIs and three runs scored, while Jake Pries added a first-inning grand slam as the Victoria HarbourCats defeated the Nanimo Pirates 10-9 in a fun-filled West Coast League exhibition game Sunday afternoon at Serauxmen Stadium in Nanaimo.
PJ Floyd gets congratulated by his teammates after his second home run on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The Pries slam and Floyd’s first dinger of the day both came in the first inning to put the ‘Cats up 5-0 on Nanaimo and their starting pitcher Kenton Schroter, a Pirate alumni who now plays for Vancouver Island University.
Jake Pries got the HarbourCats started Sunday by smashing this grand slam to deep right centre field (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Floyd’s second of the game in the second inning – a two run shot well over the green monster in right field – put Victoria up 7-0 before the Pirates finally responded with a Zach Diewert two-RBI single in the third and a Garrett Goodall RBI in the fourth to make it 7-3.
Mikey Wright, Vitoria’s starting pitcher, found himself in the rare position of batter Sunday and made good use of his opportunity by hitting a double to right here (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Matt Skingle would then pull the Pirates to within one with a bases loaded, three RBI double to left-centre in the fifth and then get another to tie it 7-7 when Skingle also came in to score on an error later in the inning.
Matt Skingle had a big three RBI double Sunday to get the Pirates back into the game in the fifth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The ‘Cats would retake the lead in the top of the sixth on a Reno Rankin RBI single, but give that right back in the bottom of the inning on a North Rainey RBI single.
Floyd would continue his heroic day with his third homer of the day in the top of the seventh, another two run shot – this time off Canadian National Junior Team pitcher Josh Burgmann – to put the Cats back up 10-8.
Reno Rankin would join PJ Floyd and Jake Pries on the RBI sheet with an RBI single in the sixth inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
After that, reliever Tei Vanderford in the seventh and eighth and Nanaimo native Alex Rogers in the ninth, would close things out for the win.
In a nice game ending story though, Rogers would face, in order in the ninth, one of his best friends , Jordan Romine – who took Rogers over the left field wall for the Pirates ninth run – and then brothers Jordan and Brady Rogers, who he retired, for the final outs of the game.
Jordan Romine (no helmet) is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a home run off his good friend Alex Rogers in the ninth inning Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Of his monster performance, Floyd was a little taken aback himself by it, “I really don’t know what to say…I’ve never had a three home run season, let alone a three home run game. I was just seeing the ball well and put good swings on all of them and had some nice success today.” With the three home runs he has in league play, Floyd now has six home runs in total while playing for the HarbourCats, the most of any player on the team.
When PJ Floyd was not hitting bombs over the green monster, he hit a triple down the line instead to add to his highlight reel day (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In other offensive news Sunday and in keeping with the light-hearted and fun nature of the game, a number of HarbourCats pitchers who don’t normally get a chance to bat, did so today, with Mikey Wright stroking a double and Matt Blais, Josh Walker, Sean O’Toole and Austin Dondanville drawing walks. Nick Wojtysiak, Jonathan Buckley, Dominic Topoozian, Tei Vanderford and Henry Omana also took their first hacks of the season.
Offensively for Nanaimo, Diewert had a three hit day, with a pair of RBIs, while Skingle had the big three-RBI double in the fifth.
Some unfamiliar faces were present in the batter’s box Sunday for Victoria, with mixed results, including Nick Wojtysiak (top left), Tei Vanderford (top right), Josh Walker (bottom left) and Jonathan Buckley (bottom right)(Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Mikey Wright started on the hill for Victoria and went four innings, giving up one earned run on four hits. O’Toole, who gets credit for the win, Vanderford and Rogers appeared in relief. Nanaimo threw starter Schroter for five innings and he gave up seven earned runs on five hits, while Burgmann threw the final four innings, surrendering three runs on three hits, while striking out six.
Game Notes: Head Coach Graig Merritt and his assistants Jerry Pena, Alec Adame and Joe Meggs were at the game, but left all coaching duties to some of the regular players who were not in today’s lineup. Torin Goldstein and Kevin Collard had most of the base coaching duties, with Ausin Guibor pitching in later in the game. Josh Walker was the designated pitching coach. Team Student Athletic Therapist Michael Greshman was in the lineup and played third base. Also in was Jovan Ewusie who played left field. Both Greshman and Ewusie played in exhibition games earlier in the season.