Victoria’s Ryan Ober would lead the HarbourCats offence with two home runs, two singles, four runs scored and four RBIs Thursday night (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
Story by Josh Kozelj
Photos by Christian J. Stewart
July 19, 2018 — It took five games, but the Victoria HarbourCats used the hot bats of Ryan Ober and Cade Brown to finally earn their first victory over the reigning back to back WCL league champion Corvallis Knights with a 11-5 win Thursday night at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
After posting back-to-back five inning shutouts in his past two starts, Mason Shaw would look to replicate those performances on the night.
However, both Shaw and Corvallis stater Cameron Haskell would struggle to find a rhythm early on.
Shaw started the game by giving up a lead-off single to Chad Stevens, and despite getting Briley Knight to strikeout in the next at-bat, Corvallis would strike first after Stevens stole second, advanced to third on an error, and crossed home courtesy of a Chandler Anderson sac-fly to deep centre field.
The HarbourCats responded immediately in the bottom half of the first, with a couple hits off Haskell, who had difficulties of his own to replicate a six inning one-run start in his last outing against Bellingham.
Nick Plaia lead off with a single, and two outs later would score on an RBI double from Hunter Vansau — his sixth RBI in six games this season.
Victoria would continue to find success off Haskell in the second, starting the inning with consecutive singles from Ober and Brown. Haydon Jaco then collected the third hit of the inning with an RBI double to score Ober. Rowdey Jordan grounded into the first out of the inning in the next at-bat, but not before scoring Brown on the RBI fielders choice.
Victoria then increased their lead to 4-1 when the Corvallis catcher sailed a pickoff throw well into centre field, allowing to Jaco to score easily from third.
Shaw would settle into a grove after the rocky first, retiring five of the six batters he faced in the second and third frames, before the Knights cut the HarbourCats lead in half with a one-run RBI double in the fourth.
One inning later, the HarbourCats would open up their lead and chase Haskell with a two-out rally aided by an error from the Corvallis second baseman. Blake Wagenseller hit a routine grounder directly to Chad Stevens at second, but he bobbled the ball to keep the inning going for the HarbourCats. Ober capitalized on the error with a single in the next at-bat, and Brown made it a 6-2 game with an RBI double.
Back on the mound, Shaw stretched into the sixth for his longest outing of the season, and exited after the Knights scored to cut the Victoria lead in half for the second time on the night The righty out of Yakima Valley College finished with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 inning, falling one out short of qualifying for his first quality start of the season.
After the Knights climbed to within two with an RBI single in the sixth, the deadly combination of Ober and Brown batting back-to-back at the bottom of the order responded for Victoria in the seventh.
Ober hit a solo shot to make it a three-run lead again, while Brown followed that up with a single for his third hit of the game. The duo combined for seven hits and six RBI on the evening.
After Victoria and Corvallis both traded runs to make it a 8-5 game, Ober continued his hot night at the plate with a three-run shot over the right field fence for his second homer of the night. Tyler Yoshihara would retire the Knights in the ninth to preserve Victoria’s fifth victory of the Second Half.
Landon Anderson will get the call for the start tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m., as the HarbourCats will look to take the series in the rubber-game finale. That game could be played in front of a new record crowd, as the scheduled fireworks display following the game has resulted in all but 4 reserved seats being sold out and general admission tickets selling briskly. Fans are warned to get to the game early (gates open at 5:00 PM) for ease of access and for general admission ticket holders to get their choice of the best seats. As additional reserved seats may become available Friday, fans are urged to call the office at 778-265-0327 to check on availability.