Victoria loses first series since opening weekend in Walla Walla
GRESHAM, OR— It started well, but didn’t end the same.
The Victoria HarbourCats dropped a 9-6 score on Thursday in Gresham, a suburb of Portland, wasting an early home run from catcher Joe Prior and seeing their normally spotless defense contribute to a setback that gave the HarbourCats their first series loss since a season-opening sweep on the road in Walla Walla.
One night after posting a 12-4 victory, Prior’s home run contributed to a 3-0 lead, staking all-star starter Will McAffer to an early advantage.
But McAffer was unable to keep up his end of the deal, failing to reach the fifth inning, giving up five hits, six runs/five earned and walking three batters in what fell short of a quality start.
A triple in the second led to one run for the GreyWolves, then Gresham scored five in the fourth, two more in the fifth, and got a solo home run in the sixth. The HarbourCats scored two in the sixth on an odd sacrifice fly play with Ryan Anderson driving a ball deep to centrefield.
The HarbourCats scored once and had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but a string of pinch-hitters couldn’t complete the comeback.
The HarbourCats had won nine straight series — seven of those were sweeps. The HarbourCats are 26-7 on the season, losing games to Walla Walla (3), Kelowna (1), Bend (1) and Gresham (2). The team has already secured a playoff spot thanks to running away with the North Division’s first-half standings (playoff ticket information below). In the second half standings, the HarbourCats are 3-3 and are battling with Bellingham, Walla Walla and Kelowna in a tight race for the best record in the North.
Gresham, a first-year team in the WCL, leads the South Division’s second-half standings at 7-2.
The HarbourCats will be in Bend, OR, on Friday, to start a three-game series against the Elks, a team who was in Victoria last weekend. The HarbourCats won two of three games in that series. LHP Josh Mitchell will start on the mound for Victoria. Games will also be played Saturday and Sunday, and then the team will take a two-day break for the West Coast League all-star game in Longview, WA, home of the Cowlitz Black Bears. McAffer, Mitchell, Austin Dondanville, Griffin Andreychuk, Jarron Silva and Ben Polshuk will represent the HarbourCats in the game — a team-record six participants.