HarbourCats can’t earn Sweep as Cowlitz wins in 13By Josh Kozelj July 15, 2018 10:19pm
Story by Josh Kozelj
July 15, 2018 – Seven innings into the series finale in Longview, WA it looked like the Victoria HarbourCats would notch their third straight victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears before the All-Star break, but a couple late innings rallies would send the two teams to extra innings for the second consecutive night.
After a scoreless first to start the game, the HarbourCats got on the board early and often starting in the second.
Nick Plaia started the frame a double, his first of of his three hits on the day, and would be brought home two batters later courtesy of an AJ Lewis RBI single.
The HarbourCats would send seven batters to the plate in the inning, and add two more runs from a Cade Brown RBI double and Joe Casey fielders choice.
Victoria would also amass a total of five hits in the inning off Black Bears starter Ryan Kaser, who would still go five innings on the evening.
Meanwhile, Landon Anderson started on the mound for Victoria, and proved to be effective in his longest outing of the season.
The righty out of Cal State Fullerton would only allow a single hit, a Ryan Kim single in the first, and collect five strikeouts in five full innings pitched.
In the fifth, the HarbourCats increased their lead to five with a Dustin Demeter two run shot, and it looked as if the HarbourCats would cruise to the series sweep.
Heading into the seventh Victoria still owned a 5-0 advantage, but the resistant Black Bears started a furious comeback in the final three innings.
The Black Bears would score twice in the home half to claw within three runs, and then tie the game in the eighth behind a three run homer from Dutton Elske.
After Anderson exited in the sixth, it would take three different HarbourCat pitchers to collect the final nine outs before the game entered extras once again.
Unlike last night’s game, where Dustin Miller scored an early run in the top half of the tenth, both teams remained scoreless until the 13th.
With a bullpen depleted from the extra inning game yesterday, and down to their sixth pitcher of the night, the Black Bears finally broke through with a walk-off RBI double in the 13th to give Cowlitz their fourth victory of the second half.
The loss dropped Victoria to 4-5/18-18 on the season, and will head into the WCL All-Star break three games behind North division leading Yakima Valley. With 18 games left in the Second Half, the HarbourCats will need to rattle off some wins to ensure they clinch their third straight playoff appearance with the Second Half North division crown.
The HarbourCats will look to rebound, and start a new win streak in a 2017 WCL Finals rematch against the Corvallis Knights at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park on July 18.