Team Pivetta knocked off Team DeGoti 15-14 in an entertaining offensive affair, as the Victoria HarbourCats staged their second annual Alumni Classic game Sunday afternoon.
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
May 25, 2020
Victoria, BC – It was a virtual “Who’s Who” of Victoria HarbourCats greats on both sides of the line-up cards this past Sunday afternoon, as the “Pivetta Phillies” defeated “Alex’s Astros” 15-14 in the second annual Victoria HarbourCats Alumni Classic played in Victoria.
The teams, named in honour of 2013 HarbourCat and Philadelphia Phillies major leaguer Nick Pivetta and 2013-2015 HarbourCat Alex DeGoti, now a step away from MLB in the Houston Astros AAA system, featured a wealth of past HarbourCats greats, many of who have been Players or Pitchers of the Year, and who have generally made a lasting impression with fans over the seven plus years of HarbourCats baseball.
Played at a virtually empty Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park – thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic – the game started out with an offensive bang, as 23 of the total 29 runs in the game were scored in the first four innings.
As he did in 2013 for the very first ever HarbourCats game, Nick Pivetta got the start for the visiting Phillies and did not receive the respect that should be forthcoming to a player with nearly 90 MLB games to his credit, getting knocked around for nine runs in the first two innings, including surrendering home runs to 2019 All-Star Parker Bramlett, 2014 Player of the Year Nathan Lukes (now in Rays AAA system) and 2017 Player of the Year Shane McGuire.
Pivetta’s teammates would not let that phase them however, as once the Astro’s Quintin Torres-Costa (now in Brewers AAA system) breezed through a 1-2-3 first, they would get to him for three runs in the top of the second, thanks in part to back-to-back doubles from Victoria’s own Jason Willow and Nanaimo’s Griffin Andreychuk.
The Phillies would then tie it up in the third, getting to reliever and 2016 Co-Pitcher of the Year Josh Mitchell for six runs, the big blast there being a three-run home-run off the bat of 2016 teammate and HarbourCats Wall of Fame honoree AJ Alcantara. An RBI triple from Kevin Collard, an RBI double by Harry Shipley and an RBI single from Hunter Vansau also contributed to that third inning damage.
DeGoti’s home squad would chip ahead with a run off reliever Dominic Topoozian in the bottom of the third, but a two-RBI triple from Vansau in the top of the fourth, off 2019 Pitcher of the Year Dakota Hawkins would cap off a three-run inning, putting the Phillies up 12-10. Topoozian would give up a solo home-run to 2014 HarbourCat Hunter Mercado-Hood in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to 12-11.
Pitching would take over from there for a few innings, as 2017 Pitcher of the Year Adam McKillican was perfect over two innings, retiring the six Phillies batters he faced, while fellow Canadian and another HarbourCat Pitcher of the Year Alex Rogers did the same to the Phillies in the top of the seventh.
On the other side of the field, a pair of Jacks who came to the HarborCats straight out of high school were doing much the same to the Astros. In the fifth, 2017 West Coast League ERA leader Jack Owen gave up only a walk in his scoreless inning, while 2019 All-Star Game starter Jack Hyde gave up only a Nathan Lukes triple in a scoreless sixth.
The same could not be said for 2018 Pitcher of the Year Garrett Goodall however, as in the bottom of the seventh, the Astros would grab the lead after Goodall gave up back-to-back walks to Ethan Lopez (who earlier had come into the game for 2018-2019 fan favourite Nick Plaia) and Bramlett and then gave-up a three run home run to 2015-2016 HarbourCat Ben Polshuk, in Polshuk’s first at bat since replacing former HarbourCats home run leader Gabe Clark at first base.
The Astros 14-12 lead would not last long however, as in the top of the eighth, reliever Logan Lombana would be greeted with a lead-off home run from 2016 HarbourCat PJ Floyd and later an RBI single from Kekai Rios that scored Harry Shipley (walk) to tie the game 14-14. A Kevin Collard sacrifice fly then scored Michael Gretler (who had earlier doubled) and the Phillies had the lead 15-14.
Astro’s reliever Travis Kuhn would come in to stop the eighth inning damage and keep the Phillies scoreless in the top of the ninth, but on the other side of the field, after Philles reliever Austin Dondanville put a pair of runners on with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, 2019 HarbourCat closer Matt Amrhein came in to get the last out, and then struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth, including Nathan Lukes with the tying run on third, to earn the save and secure the exciting 15-14 win.
Austin Dondanville gets the win, while Amrhein earns the save for the Phillies, while Lombana takes the loss for the Astros.
Offensively, the Phillies were led by Hunter Vansau with a pair of hits, including a triple, three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Andreychuk, Collard and Floyd had a pair of hits each, including the home run from Floyd, while AJ Alcantara had a home run, four RBI and a pair of runs scored.
For the Astros, Parker Bramlett led the charge with two hits (including a home run), two walks, four RBI and three runs scored. Nathan Lukes and Shane McGuire each had two-hit, two RBI games, with a home-run each, while Ben Polshuk had two hits and three RBI, all coming on his seventh inning home run. Griffin Paxton and Ryan Ober also added two hits each in the losing effort.
Sunday’s game was the first of hopefully many games this season that will be simulated (if you hadn’t guessed by now) on a new HarbourCats branded, wooden, table-top baseball game that the HarbourCats will be selling soon through “The Cat Shop” for $55 plus shipping and taxes as applicable. The game, designed locally by DB Woodcraft and available in limited quantities, uses the roll of a pair of dice to simulate player at bats, with each possible roll represented by an at bat result (e.g. home run, single, double, etc.). Players can track their progress with colour-coded pegs on the laser-cut, high quality wooden peg board that has the replica of a ball field and a scoreboard on it.
The game is very easy to use and a great way to learn the game, or just have some basic fun, or like shown here, users can get creative, make detailed fantasy line-ups, add in some of their own “house rules” and take things to the next level.
Victoria HarbourCats Baseball – WE WILL BE BACK!
Despite cancellation of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Victoria HarbourCats are gearing up for what will be a celebratory season and a return to West Coast League baseball in 2021. Season tickets, 10-game flex packs and merchandise are now on sale through the HarbourCats offices at 101-1814 Vancouver Street, or by calling 778-265-0327. Merchandise and 10-game packs may also purchased on-line through “The Cat Shop” at https://victoria-harbourcats-official.myshopify.com/.
Help support the best summertime sports entertainment in the City and lock in your 2021 tickets today! Offices open 10-5 Tuesday to Friday.
Note: Thanks to all our fans who purchased 2020 game tickets or flex-pack vouchers! Please keep them in a safe place and we will happily exchange them for tickets or vouchers to any regular season game in 2021 once the schedule has been released.