Story by Josh Kozelj
July 28, 2018 — In a game which served as the de facto opening act to the post-game Chilliwack concert, the Victoria HarbourCats took down their crosstown rival Victoria Mavericks 5-4 in eight innings at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
The game, which had a cutoff of 3:00 p.m., ended after eight innings to get the stadium prepared for the following concert.
In the first of a two-game exhibition set the Mavericks, a men’s league team from Victoria that will represent Team BC with the Coquitlam Angels at Canadian Nationals later in August, dominated the HarbourCats early.
Starting pitcher Connor Russell took a perfect game into the fifth, while his Mavericks offence provided the righty with a lead.
The Mavericks started the game with a single and double off ‘Cats starting pitcher Adriel Quesada Pena, and would send seven batters to the plate in a three-run inning highlighted by Lyle Orr’s two-run double. Chris Fougner also notched in an RBI fielder’s choice to make it a 3-0 Maverick lead after half an inning.
Russell would then pitch four consecutive 1-2-3 innings on the mound, before the HarbourCats bats finally found some success in the fifth.
Caleb Rickets started the innings with a double for the first HarbourCats hit of the game, and Hunter Vansau plated him for first run for the home team one batter later with an RBI double.
Two batters later, AJ Lewis smacked a two-run shot over the left field fence to tie the game, while Hayden Jaco and Harrison Spohn followed Lewis’ homer with back to back singles to continue the frame.
Mike Malinchak then knocked in Jaco with an RBI single to take the lead for the HarbourCats, and chase Russell. The righty would finish the afternoon with four strikeouts to five hits, in 4 1/3 strong innings of four-run ball.
After the Mavericks tied the game behind Orr’s second RBI hit in the sixth, Vansau gave the HarbourCats the lead with a sharp hit ball that forced the third baseman to make an overthrow at first base which scored Demeter at third.
With Chilliwack waiting in the wings, HarbourCat Garrett Goodall’s brother, Aidan, pitched in what would shape up to be the final two innings to preserve the one-run victory for the HarbourCats.
Aidan Goodall, a Nanaimo native like his brother Garrett, was tagged for only three hits and finished with the win in two strong innings of relief on the mound.
The two teams will square off again tomorrow afternoon, in a full nine inning game, at 3:00 p.m. The HarbourCats will return to WCL play on July 31, in a crucial three-game series against North division leading Yakima Valley Pippins.