Emilio Nogales celebrates with his teammates in the dugout after helping spark the HarbourCats 13-12 victory over the Wenatchee AppleSox Thursday evening. Nogales finished with three hits and four RBI. (Photo by Christian J. Stewart)
Story by Josh Kozelj
Photos by Christian J. Stewart
VICTORIA — The Victoria HarbourCats (14-7) needed extra innings again, but walked off the Wenatchee AppleSox for the second consecutive night and moved into sole possession of first place in the WCL North division with a dramatic 13-12 victory at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
One day after Matt Turner’s 10th inning RBI double gave Victoria the walk off win, the ‘Cats capitalized with a furious 11th inning rally that was capped off when Jason Willow crossed home courtesy of a wild pitch from the AppleSox.
The win moved the HarbourCats a half game above the Bellingham Bells in the North Division standings. The two teams will square off in a crucial three-game series, that will likely determine the division champion, to close out the 27-game First Half schedule on July 5 at Wilson’s Group Stadium.
Early on it looked like Wenatchee would cruise to an easy victory and avoid a series sweep.
After HarbourCats starter DJ Peters quickly got the first out of the game, Johnny Sage reached with a single and Cole McKenzie was plunked by a pitch to put two men on.
The AppleSox got another single to load the bases, and yet another single—this time of the RBI variety—to make it a 2-0 game. Blake Klassen would stroke Wenatchee’s fourth single of the inning one batter late to score another, and then Jason Harayda smacked a three-run homer to put the exclamation point on the six-run first inning.
One inning later, the HarbourCats began to claw back.
Tyler Pettit and last night’s hero Matt Turner led off the home half of the second with a pair of walks, and Nate Pecota smacked a single to load the bases. Emilio Nogales’ RBI single cut the lead to five, and Tanner Haney walked in a run one batter later to make it a 6-2 game.
Parker Bramlett cut the lead in half before the inning was over with a sacrifice fly, which chased AppleSox starter Trent Sellers from the game. Dalton Harum did restore Wenatchee’s four run lead with a solo shot to lead off the third, but Victoria fought back again in the fourth.
The HarbourCats brought 10 batters to the plate in the inning, scoring six times, highlighted by an Emilio Nogales bases clearing three-RBI double to propel Victoria back out in front by a run.
One inning later, Frankie Niemann extended his hit streak to 11 with an RBI single to the outfield.
Nate Pecota added an RBI triple in the sixth, but Wenatchee would respond two innings later—using a late rally of their own to put the HarbourCats on notice. Johnny Sage’s bases clearing double in the eighth brought the ‘Sox within a run, and after he advanced to third on a wild pitch, Sage scored off a shallow sac-fly to left that levelled the game at 12.
With the top of the order due up in the 11th, Jason Willow legged out an infield single to get on base, and Tyson Hays perfectly executed a hit and run play to get Willow to third. After ‘Sox reliever Alex Jemal got two outs on the board, the righty let loose a wild pitch that scored Willow from third to give the HarbourCats the win.
Victoria hasn’t lost a game at Wilson’s Group Stadium since June 8, and have scored 10 or more runs in four of their past six home games. They’ll begin a three-game Canada Day weekend series against the Kelowna Falcons Saturday night at Wilson’s Group Stadium, first pitch is scheduled for 6:35p.m.