Story by Josh Kozelj
YAKIMA, WA — For the second straight game the Victoria HarbourCats used a dramatic ninth inning rally to defeat the Yakima Valley Pippins 6-5 in the series rubber match at Yakima County Stadium.
With the victory the HarbourCats pulled to within three games of the North Division leading Pippins, and coupled with losses by both the Wenatchee AppleSox and Kelowna Falcons, moved into third place in the division.
Victoria also clinched the season series against the Pippins by taking a total four of six games on the year, which could help in tie-breaking procedures should the teams remain tied at the end of the schedule.
As for tonights game, unlike the first two, Yakima scored first with a Cody Jefferis RBI single in the top half of the second.
The HarbourCats pulled even in the fourth with a RBI groundout from Caleb Ricketts, however the Pippins would respond right back in the home half of the frame.
Cam Campbell perfectly executed a suicide squeeze bunt to bring the Pippin runner in from third to make it a 2-1 game, and one inning later Campbell’s bases loaded walk extended the Yakima lead to two.
Victoria loaded the bases in the sixth, and Jaxxon Fagg’s RBI single brought the HarbourCats to within one. In the next at-bat Dustin Demeter hit into a RBI fielder’s choice to tie the game at three. Victoria then scored for the third time in the inning off a wild pitch from the Pippins reliever, and took their first lead of the night.
The score would hold until the bottom of the eighth when Kyle Dean smacked a two-run single up the middle to propel the Pippins back ahead by a score of 5-4.
However, the Cardiac ‘Cats wouldn’t be done yet, as Jedd Fagg came through in the clutch in the ninth.
Drew Hurst pitching out of the Yakima bullpen loaded the bases with two walks and an error, and Fagg hit a two-run double to pull the HarbourCats ahead for good. Trey Bigford pitched a clean inning in the ninth to preserve the one run lead, and earn the win.
With six games left in the regular season, the HarbourCats trail first place Yakima Valley by three games for first place, and will look to continue their late postseason push tonight in Wenatchee. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 at Paul Thomas Field in southern Washington State.