Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
August 3, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – In the opening game of a series with huge West Coast League (WCL) playoff implications, the Victoria HarbourCats used a five-run eighth inning to draw first blood with an 11-5 win over the Yakima Valley Pippins Monday night in front of 4,307 fans at Sports Traders Diamond at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
The HarbourCats Kevin Collard (right) is congratulated after scoring one of the HarbourCats 11 runs Monday. Collard would have a hit and 3 RBIs to aid the offence (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win vaults the 26-22 HarbourCats over the 26-23 Pippins by a half game in the race for the final wild card playoff position and puts them two games behind the Corvallis Knights, who also won Monday and who presently hold that wild card spot. The ‘Cats also move to within four games of West Division leading Bellingham.
In front of a full house of 4,307 fans, Victoria’s Austin Guibor (right) stretches to beat out the throw to Yakima first baseman Jake Manson (left) on this infield single early in Monday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Needless to say, Monday’s win was big for the HarbourCats, marking their fifth in a row, after coming off the road and a sweep of the Wenatchee AppleSox over the weekend. It was also the team’s 18th win in the last 24 games, a .750 winning percentage over that time frame.
He gets on base, he scores. Victoria’s Griffin Andreychuk had a hit and two walks and scored twice against Yakima Monday. On Sunday in Wenatchee, the WCL Co-Player of the Week had two hits, four walks and scored five times (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Like they did over the weekend, especially in a 21-10 win over Wenatchee Sunday, the HarbourCats received offensive contributions from up and down their line-up to power to the win. That included RBI doubles from Austin Guibor and PJ Floyd in the first inning that staked Victoria to a 2-0 lead, an RBI single from Alex DeGoti and two sacrifice flies from Kevin Collard and Zach Bonneau in a game turning, three-run sixth that vaulted the ‘Cats into the lead, and a pair of two-RBI singles from Collard and AJ Alcantara in a five-run eighth that put the game away.
Mr. HarbourCat, Alex DeGoti, had three hits, an RBI and two runs scored in the win against Yakima Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
In total, six different HarbourCats had RBIs on the evening while eight different players crossed the plate to score the 11 runs. DeGoti, with three hits, an RBI and a run scored led the offence, with Floyd contributing a pair of hits and two RBIs. Guibor also had a two-hit evening with two runs scored and an RBI, Collard had a key hit and three RBIs and Griffin Andreychuk continued to show why he was named a WCL Co-Player of the week, with a hit, two walks and a pair of runs scored.
PJ Floyd gets congratulations from his teammates after scoring Monday. Floyd had two hits, a walk, was hit by a pitch and had two RBIs to get the Victoria offence rolling early (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Austin Dondanville got the start for the HarbourCats and was effective, going a full seven innings to get the win, allowing Yakima runs in the second, fourth and two in the fifth on six hits, while walking one and striking out six. Shawn Kennedy pitched a perfect eighth and Mikey Wright closed the game, giving up a run on a pair of hits and a walk in the top of the ninth before shutting the Pippins down to finish off the win.
Austin Dondanville pitched a solid seven innings to get the win Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Offensively for Yakima, second baseman Freddie Smith had a big night with three hits, inclduing a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while first baseman Jake Manson chipped in with a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Yakima’s Freddie Smith was the offensive highlight for the Pippins, with three hits, including a double and an RBI (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
On the mound for Yakima, Matt Campbell started and takes the loss, going five innings and allowing five runs on five hits, while walking and striking out three. Connor Lau and Kelley Fitzpatrick pitched in the sixth and seventh, while Jordan Gonzalez had a forgettable eighth, allowing five runs on three hits and three walks and a pair of wild pitches without registering an out before being relieved by Alhanon Miller who came in and retired the three batters he faced to end the disastrous innng.
Zach Bonneau (right) gets a high five from Tei Vanderford (left) after a crucial sixth-inning sacrifice fly that vaulted Victoria into a 5-4 lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The two teams meet again Tuesday night with playoff aspirations remaining on the line.
Tuesday’s game is Harvey’s Birthday and Monk Office Game Night with CFAX and Bell Media taking over a major section of the park with family-pass radio giveaways. It’s a 6:35pm start with gates opening at 5:30pm.
In a highlight defensive play for the Pippins, thid baseman Mitch Skaggs puts the tag on a sliding Michael Gretler during this steal attempt in the sixth inning Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
On Wednesday, the final regular season home game of the 2015 campaign, it’s Fan Appreciation Night with Ocean 98.5-FM and Flight Centres, with big news about a HarbourCats/Flight Centres Spring Training trip for March of 2016.
Victoria shortstop Alex DeGoti turns a key double-play in the eighth innng of Monday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: The Yakima loss marks just the second time in nine games that they have lost the first road game of a series. It was also the first time the HarbourCats have defeated the Pippins, having lost all three games they played last year. Fans were treated to the final fireworks display of the season Monday night, in what was apparently the first ever fireworks on BC Day in Victoria. Despite a .388 batting average heading into Monday that would be tops in the WCL, Griffin Andreychuk will not be eilgible to win the batting title as he has not had the required amount of plate appearances to qualify. There is an interesting discussion of this in the latest HarbourCats blog at http://vicharbourcatsblog.com/2015/08/03/wenatchee-series-recap-yakima-valley-series-preview-and-an-andreychuk-batting-title/