Dean Powers HarbourCats to Come-Back Win Over Wenatchee

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

June 9, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Dakota Dean had three hits, including two doubles and four RBIs to help the Victoria HarbourCats overcome a 3-0 deficit and go on to a 6-4 win over the Wenatchee AppleSox in West Coast League (WCL) action Thursday night at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Dakota Dean had a pair of doubles, a single and 4 RBIs to lead the HarbourCats to a 6-4 win over Wenatchee on Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win keeps the HarbourCats a perfect 3-0 at home and improves their league record to 3-3 on the season, while the AppleSox are having a season start that they would like to forget, falling to 0-6.

The game started in Wenatchee’s favour Thursday, as the HarbourCats James Kannenberg, making his second start of the season, looked uncomfortable in every inning, putting runners on base and then watching as his defence made two critical two-out errors, one by Wyatt Young in the first that allowed the first run score and another by Matt Warkentin in the second that allowed a pair to cross the plate, giving the AppleSox an early 3-0 lead.

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James Kannenberg made his second start of the season Thursday and toughed his way through five innings, working out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth to keep the HarbourCats in the game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Warkentin atoned in part for his error by crushing a solo home-run over the left-centre fence in the bottom of the second inning to cut the lead to 3-1 and then made a nice defensive play in top of third, using all of his 6’5″ frame to dive to the first base line and take a double away from Wenatchee’s Kolby DeHaas, saving at least one, if not two runs in the process.

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Matt Warkentin does not get cheated on any of his swings and he would connect in the second inning Thursday for a solo home run to deep left field (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That defensive play seemed to spark the HarbourCats and in the bottom of the fourth they would tie the game on the strength of hits from Jarron Silva (single) and Joe Prior (double) and then a two-RBI double from Dean, his first hit of the game.

In the top of the fifth, Kannenberg once again found himself in trouble, walking leadoff hitter Steve Machtolf and then giving up singles to Jordan McGowan and Ryan Murkle to load the bases. Kannenberg would then muster up his best stuff of the night, striking out the next two batters and then getting a nice play from second baseman Justin Brown on a ground ball to get out of the inning without any damage.

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While he had a couple of hits Thursday, the 16-year old Wyatt Young is impressing the RAP crowds with his smooth fielding and defensive skills at the short-stop position (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats then went to Victoria native Ethan Skuija in the top of the sixth and while he would give up a run to put Wenatchee up 4-3, the HarbourCats would respond with two of their own to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to Dean’s second two-RBI double that scored PJ Floyd (single) and Matt Warkentin (walk).

An insurance run in the eighth on a Riley Guntrip single and three stellar innings of one-hit relief from pitcher Holden Lyons sealed the deal for the HarbourCats and sent the AppleSox packing for what will seem like a long bus ride home tomorrow.

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In addition to a nice day at the plate, Dakota Dean played some solid defence Thursday, making a nice catch here on a Wenatchee fly ball (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Kannenberg would give up six hits and no earned runs in his five innings of work, walking four and striking out five. Skuija, who picks up his first ever WCL victory in relief, gave up one run on one hit with a walk, while Lyons picks up the save giving up a hit and a walk while striking out one.

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Victoria native Ethan Skuija pitched an inning of relief Thursday and picked up the win as the HarbourCats rallied back from 3-0 and 4-3 deficits to win 6-4 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For Wenatchee, starter Luke Mattson went six full innings, giving up five runs on eight hits while striking out five. Ross Clevenger gets tagged with the loss in relief, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out three.

Joining Dean on the offensive side of the ball for the HarbourCats were Jarron Silva, PJ Floyd and Wyatt Young, who all enjoyed two-hit evenings.

For Wenatchee, Jeremy Ydens had a three-hit night, while Haydan Hastings and Ryan Murkle had a pair each in the losing effort.

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With three stellar innings of relief, the 6’1″ Holden Lyons picked up the save for the HarbourCats on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The HarbourCats now hit the road for a key early season series against the North Division leading Kelowna Falcons, who defeated Walla Walla 5-4 Thursday to move to 5-1 on the season. They will play Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Victoria then enjoys a day off before returning home Tuesday to host the Gresham Grey Wolves, the WCL’s newest team.

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After an 0-3 start, the always moving, always cheering, always talking Graig Merritt has his HarbourCats on a 3-game winning streak as they get ready to face Kelowna on the weekend (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: With back-to-back two hit games, Jarron Silva now leads the HarbourCats with a .385 average. With eight strikeouts Thursday night, the HarbourCats now have 66 on the season, the most in the WCL.