Cats Use Pitching and Defence to Sweep Black Bears

Victoria second baseman Nick Moroney takes a shot at the double play during the seventh inning Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

July 1, 2017, Victoria BC – The Victoria HarbourCats used some solid pitching from starter Adam McKillican and their bullpen, as well as some timely defence, to squeak out a 2-1 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears in West Coast League (WCL) action Canada Day afternoon at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

It was a festive mood pre-game for Canada Day at the park (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The win, the HarbourCats fifth in a row, gives Victoria the sweep of the three game series, with all three wins coming by one-run margins. It also gives Victoria a 1-0 record to begin the second half of the split season format.

McKillican had another solid outing to improve to 4-0 on the year, giving up a single run on six hits, while walking two and striking out four. His only real mistake was giving up a towering solo home run to the Black Bears’ Devlin Granberg in the third inning that easily cleared the mesh in left field and probably landed on the lawn of the apartment buildings across the street.

Adam McKillican improves to 4-0 on the season with the 2-1 win over Cowlitz Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Meanwhile the Victoria offence was struggling against Cowlitz left-hander Nico Tellache, who held the ‘Cats scoreless on five hits through the first four innings.

Victoria would finally breakthrough in the fifth, when Shane McGuire would get hit by a pitch to lead things off and later come in to score on a sacrifice fly from Harry Shipley. Hunter Vansau would then cash-in Nick Moroney with a RBI-single, his second hit of the day, to put the home squad up 2-1.

Left fielder Riley Zayicek takes a home run away from Cowlitz early in Saturday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

That would be all the runs Victoria would need, as McKillican would give way to Blake Hannah with one out in the seventh and runners on first and second and Hannah would escape without any damage. Indigo Diaz then got through the eighth with no trouble, setting things up for closer Travis Kuhn who threw a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his sixth save of the year.

Vansau and McGuire led the HarbourCats seven hit day with two each, including a double from Vansau, while Shipley had a hit and an RBI. For Cowlitz, Granberg led the way with a pair of hits.

Hunter Vansau would have a double and an RBI-single to pace the Victoria offence Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Tellache (0-1) takes the loss for Cowlitz, while Nick Strange cleaned up the final two innings in relief.

The HarbourCats now enjoy Sunday off before entertaining the Victoria Mavericks on Monday night at 5:00 pm in a non-league game. They then hit the road to Kelowna for their first meeting of the year with the Falcons, before returning to Royal Athletic Park on Friday to host the Bend Elks.

Victoria closer Travis Kuhn gives thanks skyward after earning his sixth save of the season against Cowlitz on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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