Story by Josh Kozelj
WENATCHEE, WA — Cade Smith’s quality start in his season debut wouldn’t be enough as the Victoria HarbourCats (0-1) dropped the 2019 WCL regular season opener 7-4 to the Wenatchee AppleSox (1-0) at Paul Thomas Sr. Field.
The Abbotsford B.C. native, and former Canadian Junior National team member, got the opening day nod from HarbourCats first year Head Coach Todd Haney and didn’t disappoint in his debut.
After a leadoff triple from Wenatchee’s Ryan Altenberger in the bottom of the first, and sacrifice fly from Jonny Sage in the next at bat that evened the score at one, Smith settled in and retired the next six consecutive batters before running into some trouble in the fourth.
The HarbourCats found themselves against a resilient AppleSox team, however, who responded each half inning after Victoria put a run on the board.
Nick Adams put the ‘Cats up again in the top half of fourth when he scored on an error, but Wenatchee immediately responded off Smith in the home half of the inning—bringing six batters up to the plate, and racking up a pair of RBI base hits to jump ahead 3-2.
Smith found his groove again after the fourth, pitching two more scoreless frames before exiting in the seventh with three strikeouts and four hits.
The HarbourCats clawed back in the seventh, taking the lead off Griffin Paxton’s RBI single which gave the visitors a 4-3 lead. However, the lead wouldn’t last long, as Wenatchee would score twice in the bottom half of the inning to retake the lead, and knock in two more one more inning later to grab a three run advantage.
Logan Schirer was summoned out of the bullpen from Manager Kyle Krustangel in the top of the eighth, and collected two strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit in the final two innings—earning a six out save to give Wenatchee the regular season opening victory.
Victoria was stymied all night by AppleSox pitching, as Wenatchee starter Ryan Long earned a quality start of his own on the mound. The righty out of Pomona-Pitzer held the HarbourCats to just two hits over six innings pitched, and allowed just a single earned run in his season debut.
Victoria was held to four hits on the night in the defeat, while Wenatchee’s Altenberger two RBI’s and Brett Gillis’ two hits led the way for the home team.
The loss marked the fifth straight game the HarbourCats have dropped to Wenatchee dating back to last year, and Victoria will look to end the streak tomorrow night in the middle game of the series against the AppleSox. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35pm in southern Washington State.