The Kelowna Falcons battled from behind, forcing the game into extra innings but fell by a 5-4 score in 10 innings to the Victoria HarbourCats on Canada Day at Royal Athletic Park.
Starting pitching was a key start for both teams in the beginning of the ballgame as both Nick Nygard for Kelowna and Aaron Celestine for Victoria were terrific in the early frames.
Kelowna got their first bit of pressure in the 2nd inning with Jake Fischer on at third before being stranded there while the Falcons had a big opportunity to score in the 3rd, loading the bases with one out before James Shimashita and Brandon Hupe striking out back-to-back to conclude the frame.
The missed chance would prove to be costly as Victoria came back in the home half and grabbed the first lead of the game in the 4th inning of play as Griffin Paxton worked a double down the right field line that plated Jason Willow from 3rd base to give the HarbourCats a 1-0 lead.
Victoria loaded the bases in that 4th inning with one out as well but Tucker Grote worked his way into the game and stranded the bases juiced by inducing a pair of fly outs to keep the game at a one-run margin.
The HarbourCats added to their lead in the 5th inning as they jumped ahead by a pair of runs after a lead-off single from Harrison Spohn. After stealing second base and getting to third on an error, Spohn was able to come home on a wild pitch from Grote that got to the backstop and gave Victoria a 2-0 lead in the 5th inning.
Celestino finished up a terrific outing after 5 innings of work, surrendering no runs in 5 hits and striking out 10 Falcons in his start as the bullpen took over and the Falcons offence took a bit to get going but found a way to bring the game closer into the later innings.
Brandon Hupe delivered the big hit in the top half of the 7th inning, sending a solo home run over the wall in left center field for his second homer in as many games and broke the goose egg for the Falcons and cut the deficit in half to 2-1.
The Falcons were able to get the game tied up in the 8th inning after a lead-off double from Austen Butler to get him into scoring position. Cole Cummings brought him home with an RBI single to left field and evened the game up at 2-2 in the top half of the 8th inning.
Victoria came back in the bottom of the 8th and took the lead back after a walk to Nick Plaia began the inning. Plaia stoke second base and came around to score on a double off the left field wall from Nate Pecota to give the HarbourCats the lead again at 3-2 heading into the 9th inning.
After an opening out to Hupe, Jake Fischer came to the plate and sent a ball deep over the wall in left center field for his first home run of the season and the second homer of the game for Kelowna came in a big spot to tie the game 3-3 in the 9th inning and force extra frames.
The Falcons would get their first lead of the game, scoring for the fourth consecutive inning in the 10th with Brandon Hupe coming through with another clutch hit, finding the wall on an RBI double to left field that scored a run and out Kelowna ahead by a 4-3 score.
Kristian Scott remained on in the game to try and close things out for the Falcons and got an out away from holding onto a win, but Victoria put runners on the corners with two outs with a pinch hitter in Chase Wessaner at the plate. He sliced a double to the wall in right field that brought home a pair of runs and resulted as the game winning hit as the HarbourCats walked off the Falcons by a 5-4 score.
The Falcons (6-14) will head south for the start of a three-game series against the Wenatchee AppleSox (9-12) at Paul Thomas Field, beginning Tuesday night at 7:05 PM.