Kyle Harper had five hits in nine at-bats in Victoria’s 19-inning marathon victory over the Walla Walla Sweets. With the victory, the HarbourCats finished the season high seven-game road trip with a 6-1 record. (Photo by Christian J. Stewart)
Story by Josh Kozelj
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The Victoria HarbourCats (7-3/25-12) don’t seem to like ending extended road trips or home stands.
Exactly one week after a 14-inning game against the Ridgefield Raptors capped off a 12-game home stand, it took the ‘Cats 19 innings to knock off the Walla Walla Sweets 4-3 and end a seven-game road trip with a 6-1 record.
In the 5 hour 44 minute game, HarbourCats relief pitching combined for nearly 16 innings of scoreless ball.
After pitching four scoreless innings on July 12 against the Bend Elks, Reagan MacDonald got the start in the rubber match in Walla Walla but had trouble containing the Sweets early on.
Patrick Caulfield led off the game with a double, and two batters later was brought home courtesy of a Cesar Lopez single that drew first blood for the Sweets. Walla Walla then doubled their lead in the second when MacDonald loaded the bases and hit Caulfield with a pitch that scored Jordan Stubbings from third.
Victoria got a run back in the top half of the third, however, when Chase Wehsener started a two out rally with a walk. Kyle Harper followed his Baylor teammate in the order with a single, and an error by the Walla Walla shortstop allowed Harrison Spohn to reach first and Wehsener to score from third to cut the Sweets lead in half.
Harper finished the night with five hits in nine at-bats.
One inning later, Ben Farriss’ solo home run restored Walla Walla’s three run lead and chased MacDonald from the game.
Out of the bullpen Hunter Hennigh and Matt Amrhein combined to hold the Sweets to only two hits over the final 5 2/3, as the HarbourCats used a frantic ninth inning rally to send the game into extras.
Down to their final three outs, Tanner Haney led off the ninth with a walk, and 2018 HarbourCats Player of the Year Nick Plaia launched his fourth home run of the summer to level the game at three.
Over the ensuing nine innings, another full game, the Sweets and HarbourCats remained tied at three while the trifecta of Branson Wilson, Luka Green, and Derek Salata kept Walla Walla off the board.
In the 19th, after the game passed midnight and into the wee hours of Thursday morning, the HarbourCats loaded the bases off Charles Wood—and Chase Meidroth pulled Victoria ahead by a run with sacrifice fly.
Salata, who came into the game in the 16th, pitched his fourth scoreless inning of relief to earn the victory and seal the HarbourCats sixth victory in seven games on the road swing.
With the win the HarbourCats kept pace with the Wenatchee AppleSox (6-2/18-17), who defeated Kelowna much earlier in the night, to stay tied atop the WCL Second Half North division standings. The HarbourCats have already clinched a postseason berth, however, by winning the First Half North division crown two weeks ago.
Victoria will take a much needed off day Thursday, before returning to Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park for a weekend series against the Yakima Valley Pippins. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35p.m. Friday night.