Story by Josh Kozelj
June 21, 2018 – The Victoria HarbourCats (8-7) rallied in the ninth to force the series finale into extras, but were’t able to fend off the Bend Elks (4-14) who avoided the sweep behind a RBI single in the 10th for a 7-6 win at Vince Genna Stadium.
Mason Shaw (Yakima Valley College) made his first start of the season for the HarbourCats, and had some command trouble in the early stages of the game.
Despite retiring three of the first four batters to escape the first inning, the Ferndale, WA native walked three Elks and gave up two hits in the second to give Bend a 2-0 advantage after two. When Shaw returned for the third, and yielded a lead-off walk and single, Manager Brain McRae decided that was all he needed to see, and opted to go to his bullpen early.
Ethan Fox came on in relief for Shaw, who finished with four walks, one strikeout, and two earned runs given up in 2 innings pitched.
Behind Fox pitching on the mound, the HarbourCats were able to rally in the middle innings to take the lead away from the home team, as they looked for their first series sweep of the season.
Dustin Miller cut the Bend lead in half with a RBI double in the fourth, and Caleb Ricketts drew a bases-loaded walk to draw the game even.
In the visitors half of the fifth, Miller came up with the bases-loaded again and produced a sac-fly to score Jack Smith and give the HarbourCats a 3-2 lead. Victoria would score two more in the inning to increase their lead to 5-2, behind a wild pitch from Elks reliever Daniel Naughton and error from their catcher.
Fox would go onto pitch 3 2/3 quality innings with three strikeouts and only two walks, and holding the Elks to three hits with no runs.
The HarbourCats lead would be short lived, and with Jacob Potter pitching with a two run lead in the seventh, Bend started to muster a rally of their own.
The Elks put two men on off the Allen County Community College product, and they were brought home behind a three-run shot from Chris Diehl. Potter managed to escape the rest of the inning unscathed, but with Po-Jui Huang on the bump in the eighth the Elks got an insurance run from a Jake Holton solo home run.
Trailing by one, and down to their final three outs, the ‘Cats showed their resiliency in the top of the ninth when Jeddediah Fagg smacked a 2-1 pitch over the right field fence for his second homer of the season, to tie the game heading into extras.
Harrison Spohn started the top of the 10th with a lead-off double, but Elks reliever Brady Gonzales escaped the jam by inducing a fielders choice and two consecutive fly outs.
In the home half of the 10th, new HarborCat pitcher Ping-Chun Ho got two quick outs, but proceeded to yield a double and RBI walk-off single to give the Elks their fourth victory of the season.
The HarbourCats fell three games behind WCL North division leaders Bellingham Bells, and after an off-day Thursday will open a crucial three game weekend series against the Bells at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.