HarbourCats Make Statement With Opening Day VictoryBy Thomas Wilke May 31, 2022 10:43pm
Above Image: Joseph Redfield (Temple College) makes an unbelievable diving catch in center field to save a run (Photo: Christian J Stewart)
Victoria, BC – Waiting seemed to be a common theme on Tuesday night at Royal Athletic Park as the Victoria HarbourCats made a triumphant return home to Wilson’s Group Stadium with a resounding 6-2 victory over the Port Angeles Lefties.
It ended up being a wild ride for everybody, and I mean quite literally for some, on a perfect weekday evening. Spectators were treated to some sensational defensive plays, an unholy number of stolen bases and skydivers landing in center field during a 35 minute pause after the top half of the fifth inning.
The game started on a high note for the Lefties as they were able to put three hits up on the board in the first inning. They did however, only manage to push one of those hits across home to score against HarbourCats opening day starter, Jace Walker. After giving up that one run, Walker was rock solid finishing the night having gone four innings of four hit one run ball while striking out four.
The HarbourCats weren’t going to allow that lead to stand for long. Grady Morgan was the first batter to come to the plate in a Victoria uniform in 1, 017 days and belted a 2-2 fastball into the deepest part of the ballpark for a leadoff double. Morgan would come around to score and tie the game later that inning against Lefties starter Ian Winterhalder. Winterhalder went on give up three earned runs over four innings and surrender just two hits but issuing five walks.
The nail in the coffin for the Lefties was a five-run bottom of the fifth inning for the HarbourCats that saw nine batters come to the plate with only one of those registering a hit. Two walks and two hit batters were the killer blows.
Victoria was able to prey on the finer details to earn the victory which was perfectly displayed by the eight base on balls they worked. More evident was the big story of the day. The HarbourCats swiped 10 bags on the Lefties. Yes you read that correctly. 10. Not only were those stolen bags costly, but the three errors that they led to were certainly a contributing factor in the Victoria victory. Two of those errors were credited to the catcher Alex Zang who clearly struggled to deal with the aggressive nature of the HarbourCats base running. The running game will certainly be a strength that manager Todd Haney will look to exploit this season.
After missing two years of play the result could not have been better for a rocking opening day crowd of 2, 016 rowdy attendees that were presented with a little bit of everything.
Performers of the Night
- Grady Morgan looked right at home at Wilson’s Group Stadium, finishing the day three for four with two runs scored and a walk batting in the lead off spot. Grady will certainly be a bat to take note of this summer.
- Luke Cheng was a treat to behold. He made one of the best diving catches you will see at shortstop off a broken bat linedrive, before throwing to first from the seat of his pants to double the runner up. He would also end up stealing three bags and picking up his first WCL hit. Exciting seems to be his middle name so circle his number on the line up sheet this season
- Riley Parker, the Lefties starting shortstop, picked up two hits in three plate appearances as well as a walk while looking dangerous at the plate.
The HarbourCats will continue to play hosts to the Lefties for the next two days on Wednesday, June 1st, starting at 6:35 pm and ending the Starlight Investments Opening Series on Thursday afternoon at 11 am.