Story by Josh Kozelj
WENATCHEE, WA — Not even the Cardiac ‘Cats could overcome an seven run deficit in the third inning, as the Wenatchee AppleSox used a trio of home runs in the third to defeat the Victoria HarbourCats 7-3 at Paul Thomas Field.
After game winning frantic ninth inning rallies in their past two contests against Yakima Valley, the HarbourCats fell behind early and struggled to find that late game magic tonight.
Mason Shaw got the call on the mound, and had a nice rhythm going until the third when Wenatchee opened the floodgates. The righty out of Ferndale, WA retired five of the first eight batters, but ran into some trouble with his command in the third when he allowed a leadoff walk.
Shaw then quickly got the first out of the inning, but proceeded to walk two straight batters to load the bases for Connor McCord who hit a grand slam homer over the fence to give Wenatchee a 4-0 lead. Immediately up next in the order, Jacob Prater made it back to back home runs with a solo shot of his own to increase the lead to five.
Rattled by the back to back homers, Shaw gave up the third straight long ball as Dawson Day went deep to make it a 6-0 game. Shaw would walk two more in the inning, and Wenatchee added one more off a Victoria error to cap off the seven-run frame.
Head Coach Brian McRae pulled his starter to begin the fourth, and Shaw finished with six walks and seven earned runs in three innings pitched.
The HarbourCats would cut into the lead in the fourth courtesy of a Nicky Gibbs two-run single, and Jaxxon Fagg’s RBI single in the fifth made it 7-3 ballgame with still half the game remaining.
Meanwhile, back on the hill, Hayden Jaco came in for relief and racked up a season high in strikeouts while holding the AppleSox scoreless after the third.
Jaco would strike out nine in five innings of three-hit ball, but the offence couldn’t provide any support for their reliever.
AppleSox starter Hunter Boyd exited in the fifth, being charged for six hits and an earned run in five full innings, and Grady Miller was stellar for Wenatchee in relief.
Miller held the HarbourCats to just a single hit in the games final four innings, striking out six in the process, as he preserved the four run AppleSox lead and collected the save.
With the win, Wenatchee (12-11) jumped ahead of Victoria (11-11) in the Second Half North division standings, and with a Yakima Valley loss climbed to within 2.5 games of the Pippins for first place.
Victoria meanwhile fell into a tie for fourth place, three games back of the Pippins with five games remaining in the season. The HarbourCats will look to even the series tomorrow night, and collect a much needed late season victory. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.