Lefty starter Josh Mitchell improves to 5-0 on the season
BEND, OR— The Bend in the road was smooth on Friday for the Victoria HarbourCats.
The HarbourCats, ranked No. 5 in North America by Collegiate Summer Baseball, improved to 10-6 in road games with a 7-3 victory over the host Elks, the start of a three-game series.
It didn’t start overly well, but it ended just fine for the boys with “VICTORIA” across their chests.
Bend took a 2-0 lead off Victoria starter Josh Mitchell in the bottom of the first, and added another run in the bottom of the fifth.
The HarbourCats put up single runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings, then used a collection of hits, a bunt single, and Bend errors and walks to put up a five-run inning in the seventh, taking the 7-3 lead that would stand through the final out.
Joe Prior had three hits, while PJ Floyd and Dakota Dean had two hits each, to pace the offense. Dean also scored two runs. Mitchell, an all-star, improved to 5-0 on the season, scattering nine hits, walking none, and striking out seven in going the distance, a much-needed outing to give the bullpen a rest. Mitchell gave up five hits through two innings, then settled in from there and gave up just an unearned run.
The HarbourCats are now 27-7 (.794) overall on the season, and 4-3 in the second half., just back of the second-half leading Walla Walla Sweets (6-4). The team secured a playoff berth with a 23-4 record in the first half, taking the North Division spot and meaning playoff baseball will be at RAP for the first time since 1954.
The HarbourCats are 3-1 against the Elks this season. The hard-hitting Elks slipped to 5-5 in the second half and 16-21 overall.
The HarbourCats and Elks play again at at Vince Genna Stadium, with Blake Hannah due to start for Victoria. No starter has been posted for Bend.
The final game of the series is evening, a start with Cameron Schneider taking the ball. That’s the last game before the teams take a two-day all-star break, with the league’s annual summer classic due for in Longview, WA, home of the Cowlitz Black Bears.
The HarbourCats open a home series against the Bellingham Bells at RAP.
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