HarbourCats Go Quietly as Elks Take Series

Victoria base runner Nick Moroney is tagged out by Bend shortstop Jaylon McLaughlin on this play in Sunday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

July 9, 2017, Victoria, BC – The Bend Elks got a two-run home run from Jack Pauley in the very first inning and that would be all the runs they would need, as they cruised to a 6-1 win over the Victoria HarbourCats in West Coast League action Sunday afternoon at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Harvey the HarbourCat threw out the first pitch Sunday in honour of his birthday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The win gave the Elks the series win over the HarbourCats, after the teams split the first two games in the set, with the Elks winning Friday and Victoria rebounding for the win Saturday night.

The win was just the Elks fourth road win of the season and also marked the first time this season the Elks have won a series on the road.

Helping the Elks cause Sunday was their starting pitcher James Acuna who kept the HarbourCats at bay, surrendering just a single run on seven scattered hits, while striking out eight over his 7.2 innings of work. His only damage came in the bottom of the fifth, when Jake Garella got to him for a double and then came in to score on an RBI-single from Nick Moroney, his second hit of the game.

Bend Elks pitcher James Acuna kept the HarbourCats at bay Sunday, surrendering just a single run on seven scattered hits, while striking out eight over his 7.2 innings of work (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

After Pauley’s early blast, the Elks added runs in each of the fourth and the seventh innings and then put the game away for good with two more in the top of the ninth. Pauley finished with a pair of hits and three RBIs on the day, while Colton Cosner had a pair of doubles and a pair of runs scored. Derek Chapman also had a two-hit and two-run day.

Victoria’s Riley Zayicek was one of two HarbourCats with 2-hit days in the losing cause Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

On the mound for Victoria, Liam Steigerwald of UCSB made his first start for the HarbourCats and lasted 4.2 innings before leaving with an apparent arm injury, giving up three runs on six hits, while striking out four. Andrew Shaps, Connor Whitney, Travis Kuhn and Jack Tagget all saw work in relief.

Tucker Johnson would keep his four game hitting streak going with a single Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For the Elks, Acuna gets the win, with Grant Larson and Matthew Kirk holding Victoria hitless over the final 1.1 innings.

The win improves the Elks record to 2-4 in the second half and 14-19 overall, while Victoria falls to 5-2 (19-15) and sit in second place, a half game behind 2-0 Wenatchee for first in the North Division.

Liam Steigerwald made his first start of the season and looked OK through four innings before having to leave with an injury in the middle of the fifth (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The HarbourCats now enjoy Monday off in preparation for a three game set with the Yakima Valley Pippins that begins Tuesday night at Royal Athletic Park. Taylor Prokopis (2-2) is scheduled to make his second start of the season for the HarbourCats. Game time is 6:35 pm.

Cat Scratches: HarbourCats starter Liam Steigerwald left the game after 4.2 innnings with what appeared to be an arm injury. HarbourCats second baseman Nick Moroney had to leave Sunday’s game after suffering a leg injury while running out a base-hit. No word on the status of either was available at the end of the game. Infielder Nick Bellafronto, hobbled all season with an ankle injury is also rumoured to have left the team.

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