Bramlett redeems himself to become hero in ‘Cats comebackBy Josh Kozelj June 30, 2019 09:21pm
Parker Bramlett’s error in the first cost Victoria three runs, but the shortstop made up for it with a bases clearing double in the sixth that ignited a comeback victory for Victoria. (Photo by Christian J. Stewart)
Story by Josh Kozelj
Photos by Christian J. Stewart
VICTORIA — Following a costly error in the first inning, Parker Bramlett redeemed himself with a bases clearing double that sparked a 10-5 comeback victory for the Victoria HarbourCats (16-7) over the Kelowna Falcons in the middle game of a Canada Day weekend series at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
The win not only extended the ‘Cats six-game win streak — their longest streak since the summer of 2017 when they won eight consecutive games from June 27 to July 26 —but maintained a one game lead over the Bellingham Bells for first place in the WCL North division.
Bellingham (14-7) trailed by a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth in a game earlier in the day against Portland, but scored two and walked off the Pickles with a two-run homer to momentarily bring themselves within a half game of the division lead.
Roughly 100km across the strait of Georgia, however, the HarbourCats found themselves in a battle with the cellar-dwelling Falcons to restore the one game division lead.
Starting pitcher Cade Smith would collect five strikeouts over 4 1/3 on the night, but had troubles closing out innings.
After Smith got two outs in the first three batters to start the first, Conagher Sands reached on a liner that bounced off Parker Bramlett’s glove to put two men on. Following a wild pitch that advanced both runners into scoring position, Cole Cummings notched his fourth and fifth RBI of the season with a triple into the right field corner.
Ezra Samperi capped off Kelowna’s three-run first one batter later with an RBI single to score Cummings.
Two innings later, Kyle Sherick recorded his first hit as a HarbourCat with a single, and Victoria loaded the bases for the WCL league leader in batting average, Frankie Niemann.
Niemann, who entered tonight’s game with a .500 batting average and eleven game hit streak, got Victoria on the board with a sac-fly to make it a 3-1 game. Niemann extended his hit streak to 12 with a hit in the first inning.
The two teams traded runs again in the fourth and fifth, but Victoria jumped ahead for good in a five-run sixth inning.
Nick Plaia started the frame with a leadoff single, while Tyler Pettit reached on a walk, and Sherick’s second single of the night loaded the bases.
Bramlett then took centre stage, and smacked a double over Brayden Merritt’s head in right field. One batter later, Jason Willow put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run homer to propel Victoria ahead by three.
In the seventh, Sherick provided Victoria with some insurance with a sacrifice fly that made it a 8-4 game.
Kelowna climbed within three in the eighth, but the HarbourCats responded with a pair of runs in the home half of the inning to give closer Ryan Watson a five run lead in the ninth. Watson then recorded a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth that clinched Victoria’s sixth straight win.
The HarbourCats will go for their seventh straight win tomorrow afternoon in a Canada Day matinee, first pitch is scheduled for 1:00.