HarbourCats dramatic comeback steals win away from Black Bears in extrasBy Chris June 29, 2022 11:17pm
Above: Victoria’s Joseph Redfield is mobbed after stroking the game-winning hit against Corvallis in the 11th inning (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
June 29, 2022
Victoria, BC – A Jake Skipworth grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, plus a Joe Redfield RBI-single in the bottom of the 11th inning, both their third hits of the game, helped the Victoria HarbourCats overcome 6-0 deficit and go on to defeat the Cowlitz Black Bears 7-6 in West Coast League action Wednesday evening at Wilson’s Group Stadium in Victoria.
Redfield’s game-winning hit came on the heels of back-to-back singles from Jesse Brown and Roberto Gonzalez to start the 11th inning, and easily plated Brown with the winning run and sent the HarbourCats on the field to mob Redfield.
Speaking of Brown, he played a huge role defensively in the top of the 10th inning, throwing a laser beam from left field to catcher Tyler Pettit, to nail the Black Bear’s Evan Stacy who was trying to score on a single by Aaron Parker.
The HarbourCats win negated a strong starting pitching performance from the Black Bear’s Zachary Ernisse who pitched five innings of scoreless baseball, giving up just six scattered hits, striking out five and walking just one, out-duelling at the time HarbourCats starter Levi Abbott, who also went five innings, but gave up two runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out five.
Those two Black Bear runs came in the top of the fourth inning, thanks in part to an RBI single from Parker, who finished with three hits on the day, as well as a sacrifice fly from Nick Hovland.
Cowlitz would add to their lead with four more runs in the top of the sixth inning, all coming off Victoria reliever Dawson Hurford, who gave up three walks and three hits in the inning, the biggest blow being a three-RBI double off the bat of the Black Bears Matthew Schwarz.
The HarbourCats would start their comeback by scoring two in bottom of the sixth thanks to a bases loaded walk to Tyler Pettit and a sacrifice fly from Luke Cheng, and then would rally again in the seventh as Cowlitz reliever Andrew Del Biaggio would surrender a pair of walks and a single to Brown, setting the stage for Skipworth’s game tying blast.
After that it was left up to the bullpens to decide the game and for Victoria, Nick Lee rebounded nicely from his last outing against Wenatchee, throwing 2.2 scoreless innings before giving way to Walker Bordovsky in the 10th, after giving up a lead-off walk and a single.
Bordovsky made things interesting, by giving up a single and a walk, but Brown’s solid defensive play, plus a strikeout to end the inning, killed the Cowlitz rally. Bordovsky then rebounded in the 11th to retire the side with no damage, earning the win after Redfield’s heroics.
For Cowlitz, Bailey Roberson was lights out in the ninth and 10th innings, but then took the loss when the HarbourCats got to him for the three straight hits in the 11th.
The win, the HarbourCats third in a row, improves their record to 11-11 and puts them in third place in the North, now just 5.5 games back of division leading Bellingham. For Cowlitz, they fall to 10-13 and while they are in sixth place in the South, they are only six games behind division leading Corvallis.
The Black Bears and HarbourCats will wrap up their three-game series on Thursday night with a 6:35 pm start. That game will be followed by the HarbourCats annual Canada Day fireworks display, with fireworks starting as soon as it is dark enough following game completion. Tickets are still available for that game and can be purchased on-line at https://harbourcats.com/tickets.