Friday Night Mayhem Ends with Cats Just Falling ShortBy Thomas Wilke August 05, 2022 10:57pm
Above Photo: Edmonton players celebrate Clayton Loranger’s second inning home run on Friday night (Photo: Christian J Stewart)
Victoria, BC ~ A two run top of the ninth inning helped Edmonton thwart a seven run comeback from the Victoria HarbourCats, and win the opener of an all on the line weekend series 9-8 on Friday night in WCL action at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.
No one was ready when they first stepped into Wilson’s Group Stadium on Friday night for the bizarre and wacky next three and a half hours of baseball that would take place. The game had everything from home runs to crazy defensive miscues to even a 25 minute umpire stoppage after the game was placed under protest.
Edmonton came to the Island with nothing but aggression at the plate on their minds as they successfully scored in all four opening innings. They scored two in the first, one in the second, three in the third and promptly one in the fourth. Clayton Loranger was the big blast for the Riverhawks as he took Victoria starter Owen Luchies deep for that singular run in the second. Owen would go four innings while giving up six runs on nine hits.
Victoria trailed 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth and things were looking bleak with KJ Ward cruising on the bump for Edmonton. The Cats would break the goose egg on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fourth however after Nick Lee’s flyball to the warning track in left field seemed to clatter off of Cody Loranger’s glove and over the wall for a two run home run.
Then down 7-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Victoria would score five runs to tie things up. The inning was highlighted by a bizarre play in center field where Edmonton’s Aaron Stinnett seemed to lose a pop fly in the Victoria night sky. The ball would then land behind him and allow the sixth and seventh Victorian runs to score and at the time tie the game.
Then came a mystifying moment. As Victoria took to the field for the top of the eighth, Brett Harvey, who had pitched the fourth to sixth innings, threw out a few warm up pitches. Sam Walbridge was then brought into the game for the Cats in what just seemed to be a late decision pitching change to allow Walbridge extra time to warm up.
The umpires then made the ruling that Walbridge was unable to join the game due to Harvey having thrown warm up pitches, therefore Harvey must face one batter. Victoria coach Todd Haney then was not too pleased and voiced his concerns, which led to the umpires leaving the field to check the rule books for over 25 minutes before returning to the field to leave the call on the field for what it was originally. Harvey would walk the first batter before Walbridge struck out the side in a dominant inning.
After Victoria went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth the Riverhawks managed to score two runs in the top of the ninth after a lead off hit by pitch proved to be the killer for the Cats.
Victoria refused to go away and scored a run in the bottom of the ninth after Hudson Shupe’s infield hit brought Russell Young around to score. That was as close as they would come however as Jesse Brown was picked off at second to bring the game to an unceremonious end and strand the tying runner on first to close things.
Victoria needs to win these final two games of their season tomorrow and Sunday afternoon in order to guarantee a playoff berth. If they only win one that would then mean Kamloops would need to be swept by Bellingham in order for the Cats to play post season ball. Tempers also seemed to flare a little with tensions rising and hit batters so the next two days will be one crazy ride. Friday night was one of the most entertaining and unpredictable ball games in recent memory and Saturday and Sunday promise to be similar so get your tickets now at harbourcats.com/tickets.