Cat’s win! The HarbourCats celebrate their 13-1 victory over the Highline Bears Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
Story by Josh Kozelj
Photos by Christian J. Stewart
July 6, 2018 – For the second game in a row, the Victoria HarbourCats battled back from a first inning deficit to collect their fifth consecutive win, with a 13-1 victory over the Highline Bears at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
A Blake Wagenseller two-run homer and 7-run fifth inning was good enough for the HarbourCats to secure their second straight series sweep, and build momentum towards securing a third straight postseason appearance and Second Half North Division Pennant.
After jumping out to one run lead in last night’s game, the Pacific International League Highline Bears drew first blood again in the opening inning with a Ben Wadowski RBI sac-fly off ‘Cats starter Aidan Goicovich.
The first inning blunder would prove to be the only blemish on Goicovich’s outing, as the Cal Poly native would go three innings of one-run ball on the evening.
On the opposing mound, Cole Connolly got the start for the visiting Bears, and found early success against a HarbourCats lineup that was trying to solve the right hander.
Connolly no-hit the HarbourCats until the fourth, but was chased in the fourth as Victoria put the game out of reach with 10 runs in the middle two innings.
Silas Grinstead got the fourth inning started with a single, and after Jedd Fagg reached first from being hit by a pitch, Grinstead stole third and was able to come home from an error by the Bears catcher to tie the game at 1.
Wagenseller chased Connolly in the next at-bat with a two-run shot over the left field fence to give Victoria a 3-1 lead, and the HarbourCats put the game out of reach in the next frame.
AJ Lewis continued the scoring in the fifth with a two-run homer, and Jaxxon Fagg scored two batters later on a wild pitch, as the HarbourCats would send 13 batters to the plate in the seven run inning.
Harrison Spohn and Adam Imwalle each recorded RBI singles to give Victoria a seven run lead, and Nick Plaia smacked a two-out RBI single of his own to make it a 10-1 HarbourCat advantage.
Victoria added two runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh and showed great discipline at the plate finishing with more walks (11) than total base hits (10) on the evening.
Behind six different members out of the bullpen, the HarbourCats held Highline to three hits and no runs over the final eight innings.
The loss dropped Highline to 0-6 in games played against WCL teams this season and Victoria will now look forward to a date with back-to-back WCL champion Corvallis Knights this weekend in Oregon.
The Knights defeated Victoria two games to one in the best-of-three WCL finals last season, and will be looking to clinch a Second Half South division title of their own to reach the postseason and defend their title after they finished two games behind the Portland Pickles in the First Half race.
The HarbourCats will go for six in a row tomorrow night with Landon Anderson getting the call on the mound, while the Knights will counter with Aaron Shoup. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30pm at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.