Bad Apples Spoil HarbourCats Home Opener

Wenatchee’s Adrian Vela (left) was the ‘Cats killer Monday, launching two, two-run home runs to finish with a 4-RBI evening (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

June 5, 2017, Victoria, BC – They say that turnabout is fair play.  After the Victoria HarbourCats spoiled the home openers of the Port Angeles Lefties and Yakima Valley Pippins on their 3-1 road trip to open the season, the visiting Wenatchee AppleSox did the same to the HarbourCats at their home opener Monday night, banging out 13 hits, including three home runs, en route to a 9-4 win in front of 2,676 fans at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

The HarbourCats honoured their 2016 accomplishments prior to Monday’s game with 2016 players (L to R) Ethan Skuija, Indigo Diaz, Colin Ashworth, Greg Casper and James Kannenberg (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Both the AppleSox and HarbourCats waited until the fourth inning to start the scoring, as HarbourCats starter Ethan Fox and Wenatchee Colin Maier battled effectively through a 0-0 tie after three.

Connor Whitney greets his HarbourCats teammates during pre-game introductions Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the fourth, Wenatchee scored three on the strength of a two-run homer by Cody Simmons to begin their attack.  The HarbourCats would get two of those back in the bottom of the inning when Ethan Lopez would stroke a single to score Kekai Rios and Po-Hao Huang.

Head Coach Brian McRae (right) and his charges stand at attention during the National Anthems prior to Monday’s game. McRae has the club off to a 3-2 start (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the fifth, the AppleSox would score four more, highlighted by a two-run blast from Adrian Vela off HarbourCats reliever Indigo Diaz.  Vela would strike again in the ninth, launching a second two-run home run that went so high and so far over the screen in left field, that no one in the park actually saw where it landed.

The 2017 Victoria HarbourCats take the field for their home opener Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The HarbourCats did score a pair in the bottom of the seventh to give the fans some hope, with Rios and Lopez each contributing RBI singles, but that would be all the offence the ‘Cats could muster on this night.

The HarbourCats used some early defence, here a double play turned by shortstop Kyle McComb in the first inning, to keep things at 0-0 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Vela, with his two home-runs and four RBIs, and Simmons, with his two-run shot, led the AppleSox offensively, while Joel Condreay (3 hits, 1 RBI), Jalen Garcia (2 hits, 2 runs scored) and Tanner Williams (2 hits) also had good nights at the plate.

Ethan Fox got the start for Victoria and cruised through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth and the fifth (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For Victoria, Lopez led the way with his two hits and three RBIs, while Rios had two hits and an RBI.  Joel Orton also chipped in with a three hit evening.

Wenatchee starter Colin Maier was effective, going going 5.2 innings and giving up two runs on three hits, while walking six and striking out three (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Maier gets the win for the AppleSox, their first of the season, going 5.2 innings and giving up two runs on three hits, while walking six and striking out three.  Matthew Young finished in relief with 3.1 innings of work, giving up two runs on five hits, walking one and striking out one.

Victoria’s Ethan Lopez (25) had the best night offensively for the ‘Cats, with a pair of hits and three RBIs (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Fox takes the loss for the HarbourCats, going 4 innings and giving up four earned runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out 3.  Diaz and Chavez Fernander saw action in relief.

Wenatchee’s Dugan Shirer (right) is tagged out at third by VIctoria’s Cole Weiss (left) as he tried to turn a double into a triple Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The win was the AppleSox’s first of the year after they dropped a three game set in Walla Walla. With the loss, the HarbourCats fall to 3-2 on the season and are a game behind the 3-0 Walla Walla Sweets in the North Division.

Victoria’s Harry Shipley heads to first after hitting a ball down the right field line for a double in Monday’s game against Wenatchee (Photo: Christian J. Stewart).

The teams are right back at it on Tuesday night, a 6:35pm start, with the HarbourCats scheduled to start AJ Block, while the probable starter for Wenatchee is Hugh Smith.  Tuesday will also mark the debut of Victoria’s Claire Eccles, the first female in West Coast League history, who will be available out of the bullpen.

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