Photos by: Christian J. Stewart
Story by: Micah Collins
Victoria, BC – The Victoria HarbourCats defeated the Nanaimo NightOwls 9-5 in front of a packed house Wednesday night at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
With the victory, the ‘Cats now sit half a game behind the Wenatchee AppleSox for the second seed in the North Division, inching closer to home field advantage in the first round of the 2023 West Coast League playoffs.
Victoria also improves their home record to 24-2, claiming the most regular season home wins in West Coast League history.
The HarbourCats were in familiar territory early on as Nanaimo got off to a hot start in the top of the second as Bryce Johnson hit an RBI double, sending outfielder Brandon Hupe to home plate. The NightOwls would then add two more runs in the top of the third, including a sac-fly from Hupe.
The ‘Cats, as like the previous game, would start their comeback in the middle of the game, including a three run bottom of the fourth inning, thanks to some timely at bats from outfielder Lane Brewster and infielder Marco Pirruccello.
Victoria would then pack on three more runs within the next two innings, including a two run shot to left-centre field from Angelo State University prospect, Tripp Clark. The NightOwls could not begin a comeback and ultimately being eliminated from playoff contention.
UC Santa Barbara prospect Jed Decooman was on the mound for Victoria; pitching two innings, striking out four batters. Relief pitchers Logan MacNiel, Jack Finn, Cody Howard, Jake Finkelstein, and Davis Franklin shut down Nanaimo’s bats, allowing only two runs in the next seven innings.
Despite the loss, Nanaimo’s designated hitter Wylie Waters continues to swing that bat well, going 2 for 4 and bumping his batting average up to .302, top 25 in the West Coast League.
The NightOwls will try to avoid the series sweep Thursday night, a 6:35PM start at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. The HarbourCats will be hosting their annual Fan Appreciation Night presented by Passion Sports, with lots of contests and giveaways to celebrate their last home game of the regular season.
The ‘Cats will then hit the road Friday to face the Edmonton RiverHawks for a three-game series before preparing for the 2023 West Coast League playoffs either hosting a game Tuesday August 8th, or Wednesday August 9th.
Playoff tickets are now available and tickets for all remaining HarbourCats games can be bought as always at harbourcats.com/tickets or at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street.
VOUCHERS: Reminder that all ticket vouchers must be exchanged for Thursday night’s game only. They are NOT eligible for playoffs and may not be carried over to 2024.