Falcons walk off HarbourCats in extra inning thriller

Nick Plaia does a jig after doubling in a game last season against Kelowna. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story by Josh Kozelj 


KELOWNA — Tyler Grissom’s RBI double in the 11th proved to be the difference maker in Kelowna, as the Falcons (2-7) avoided a series sweep and walked off the Victoria HarbourCats (6-5) in a 4-3 victory at Elks Stadium.

The loss was only Victoria’s second in the past six games, and ends a three game win streak. The ‘Cats went 3-2 on the five game road trip, after splitting a two-game set in Yakima last week.

Starter Cade Smith was solid through five innings, giving up three runs, and collecting two strikeouts in a losing effort. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The action tonight started in the home half of the second, as the Falcons used a Brandon Hupe double to grab an early one run lead and tried to rattle HarbourCats starter Cade Smith. Following a dazzling eight strikeout performance in his last outing, Smith would go five strong with two K’s tonight but was hampered by two rocky frames.

After a quiet third, Kelowna plated two more runs in the fourth, and the Victoria offence struggled to muster any  offence against Blake Tritch on the mound for the Falcons. Tritch pitched five clean frames, allowing only two hits, before the ‘Cats finally got to him in the sixth. Matt Clayton got the inning started with a leadoff walk, and Nate Pecota scored him two batters later to make it a 3-1 game.

One inning later, Victoria scored twice to tie the game, highlighted by an Emilio Nogales RBI single.

Emilio Nogales helped lead the HarbourCats comeback big with an RBI double tonight in Kelowna. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In a game where the HarbourCats never held the lead, Victoria came within striking distance of the lead on multiple occasions. The HarbourCats had a man in scoring position with two outs in the ninth but failed to take the lead, and had the bases loaded also with two outs in the 10th and also went down quietly.

Matt Amrhein came in for relief in the ninth and pitched through the 10th to keep the Falcons at bay, but ran into some trouble in the 11th.

Tanner Barnes advanced to first to start the frame after being hit by a pitch, and in their only scoring chance in extras, Kelowna capitalized. Grissom launched a double to the outfield, spoiled Amrhein’s solid performance in relief, and gave the Falcons their second win on the season.

With the loss, Victoria fell back into a three way tie for second in the North division, one and a half games behind the division-leading Bellingham Bells. The HarbourCats will look to climb back up the standings, and start a new win streak tomorrow night in the first of a three game series at home against the Bend Elks. First pitch is slated for 6:35p.m. at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.



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