Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
June 19, 2016, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Starting pitcher Will McAffer threw a two-hitter over six full innings to lead the Victoria HarbourCats to a 6-0 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears in West Coast League action on a sunny and warm Sunday afternoon at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Victoria’s Will McAffer threw a 2-hitter through six innings, striking out 10 to get the 6-0 win against Cowlitz on Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win, in front of a Father’s Day matinee crowd of 2,584, ran the team record and West Coast League leading win streak to 11 games and was the team’s fourth straight series sweep, following an 0-3 start on the road in Walla Walla.
McAffer made his second strong outing in a row and had a no-hitter and perfect game going through four full innings, striking out the side in the first and adding four more “K’s” to that total over that time. He was so dominant, that the only two hits the Black Bears would get off of him never actually made it out of the infield. The first in the top of the fifth, on a ground ball up the middle that second baseman Griffin Andreychuk almost made a great play on and the second in the sixth that looked to be a sure ground out to third baseman Brad Pluschkell, but instead hit something on the ground and took a high bounce over Pluschkell and landed deep at short, barely making it into left field.
It was a solid day at the plate for the HarbourCats’ Jake Stone who had three hits, an RBI and two runs scored in the 6-0 win over the Black Bears (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Neither hit fazed McAffer and he got out of both innings without any damage, finishing the day with ten strikeouts and just a pair of walks to go with the two Cowlitz hits. Ryan Steindorf and Greg Capser would come on to pitch in relief with Steindorf allowing a hit over two innings and Casper retiring the side in the ninth to close out the win.
Third baseman Brad Pluschkell had another hit Sunday and has now hit safely in all four games he has played in 2016 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Offensively, the HarbourCats got all the runs they would need in a three-run first inning, all three runs coming thanks to a couple of Cowlitz two-out errors, the biggest on a Joe Prior grounder to second that allowed Andreychuk (walk) and Austin Guibor (single) to score. Pluschkell then laced an RBI-single to score Jake Stone (who had walked) and the ‘Cats were up 3-0.
Cowlitz starter Kevin Baker, who came into Sunday’s game sporting a 2-0 record, would then tame the ‘Cats for the next few innings, giving way to reliever Akaash Agarwal to start the sixth. Victoria would then get to Agarwal with three insurance runs in the seventh that came on the strength of a Stone single that scored Guibor (walk) and a two-RBI single from pinch hitter Dakota Dean that scored Polshuk (walk) and Stone.
Pitcher Will McAffer is congratulated by his team as he comes off the field following his six innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Stone finished his impressive day at the plate with three hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Guibor, Dean, Pluschkell and Cameron Cannon had a hit each, with Guibor scoring twice.
The win moves the HarbourCats record to 11-3 on the season and 2.5 games up on Bellingham for the division lead.
The HarbourCats now have a couple of days off before hosting the Victoria Selects in an exhibition game Wednesday evening and then are idle again for a night, before hosting the Kitsap Blue Jackets on Friday night in game one of a three-game weekend set.
After a slow start, Victoria’s Austin Guibor has hits in each of his last two games, along with four walks and four runs scored (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: The WCL record for consecutive wins is 14 and the ‘Cats will go for that in the series with Kitsap. The HarbourCats team ERA is an impressive 2.70 with 13 pitchers who have made an appearance sporting ERA’s of 0.00, notably Skyler Henderson (4 innings of work) and Ryan Steindorf (6 innings of work). Four HarbourCats are hitting .400 or better including Andreychuk (.458), Stone (.429), Polshuk (.417) and Pluschkell (.400).