FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 20, 2017
The Victoria HarbourCats (22-17, 8-4 second half) slugged their way to a second straight road victory over the Bellingham Bells (20-18, 4-7) by a final score of 9-7 on Thursday night.
The tone was set immediately when the first five men to step to the plate in the top of the first inning for Victoria all recorded base hits against Bells starting right-hander Merle Rowan-Kennedy (Puget Sound), resulting in a five-run inning.
Right-fielder Hunter Vansau (Mississippi State) stroked one of three Victoria doubles in the frame, driving in his team-leading 22nd run of the season.
The second inning looked like it was going to bring more of the same for the HarbourCats, who loaded the bases with nobody out. However, Rowan-Kennedy was able to minimize the damage to just a sacrifice fly by second baseman Tucker Johnson (Baylor) bringing the score to 6-0 as Victoria posted eight hits in the first two innings.
Bellingham held the HarbourCats scoreless in the top of the third and then stormed back with five runs of their own to bring the score to 6-5. Right fielder Colby Barrick (Cal Poly) led off the inning with his first home run of the season before the Bells rattled off six consecutive hits to end the night for Prokopis.
Right-hander Kyle Stubbins (UBC) made his HarbourCats debut out the bullpen, recording all three outs in the inning, preventing any further scoring and keeping Victoria in front by a run.
The Bells completed the comeback in the fourth inning when all-star Chase Illig (West Virginia) took Stubbins deep for a two-run shot, his seventh home run of the season putting Bellingham in front for the first time by a score of 7-6.
The HarbourCats answered back with runs in the fifth and sixth inning to retake an 8-7 lead. Left fielder Riley Zayicek (UNC Wilmington) tied the game with an RBI single in the fifth and third baseman Cole Weiss (UNC Wilmington) scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the sixth ining. Weiss reached base on his team-high third hit of the game.
Rowan Kennedy departed after 4.1 innings for the Bells, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts
The bullpens took over in the late stages. Right-hander Matt Kent (Xavier) delivered two scoreless innings for Victoria and lefty Andrew Shaps (Chico State) worked a scoreless eighth inning, sending the game to the ninth with the HarbourCats still ahead, 8-7.
A solo home run by catcher Shane McGuire (San Diego) in the top of the ninth, his first of the season, put Victoria up a pair heading to the bottom of the ninth.
Shaps returned for the bottom of the inning and closed it out, working two scoreless innings with two strikeouts for his first save of the season.
Stubbins picks up the win (1-0) for the HarbourCats, pitching three innings in relief, allowing two earned runs on three hits and a walk with one strikeout.
Right-hander Chandler Greenfield (Dixie State) takes the loss (0-1) for Bellingham, allowing one run on one hit and a walk in one inning of work.
With the win, the HarbourCats lead atop the West Coast League’s North Division second half standings grows to 1.5 games over the Wenatchee AppleSox. The playoff push has arrived for the HarbourCats, who must win the second half division pennant to qualify for the playoffs.
Victoria will go for the sweep of the Bells on Friday at 6:35pm at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham. Right-hander Adam McKillican (UBC) will take his 4-0 record to the mound for the HarbourCats.
The next home series for the HarbourCats takes place Tuesday, July 25 through Thursday, July 27 against the Kelowna Falcons at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
Only six regular season home games remain on the 2017 schedule. Tickets for all games are available in person at the team office or online through Ticket Rocket: http://www.ticketrocket.co/search/events?searchText=HarbourCats
2018 SEASON TICKETS
2018 season tickets will go on sale in July including the highly popular Campbell Real Estate Club. Tentative plans are in the works to expand the new home plate seating section from two to four rows of padded seating.
Waiting lists will be taken for season tickets in the Diamond Club seats.
Visit the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street or call (778)-265-0327 to purchase season tickets or for more information. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details, or go to the team website at harbourcats.com.
The HarbourCats office (1814 Vancouver Street, 778-265-0327) is open 9:00 – 5:00pm daily on non-home game days. On home game days, the office is open at 9:00am until one hour prior to game time, when the ballpark gates and box office open.