HarbourCats Roll to Exhibition Win Over Mavericks

Victoria shortstop Noah Prewett turns the double play early in Monday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

July 3, 2017, Victoria, BC – The Victoria HarbourCats used a six-run seventh inning that included home runs from Kevin Collard and Tucker Johnson, to break open a close game and cruise on to a 15-4 win over the Victoria Mavericks in a non-league exhibition game Monday evening at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

The HarbourCats Ethan Skuija got the start and went 4 innings against the Mavericks, giving up three runs on a pair of hits (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

LHP Claire Eccles was to start the game on the mound, but a foot injury suffered in her last outing led to a late pre-game decision to hold her out and give another day for treatment. She was struck by a line drive while earning her first WCL win on Thursday.

Duncan Blades got things going for the Mavericks on Monday, stroking a first inning home run well over the fence in left centre (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mavericks looked to have an edge early in this one as Duncan Blades rocked ‘Cats starter Ethan Skuija for a solo home run in the very first inning and then added runs in each of the third and fourth to hold a 3-1 lead over the HarbourCats heading to the bottom of the the fourth.

HarbourCats baserunner Noah Prewett slides home safely ahead of the throw to the Mavericks Tyson Abbott in the fourth inning on Monday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

In the home fourth, Victoria would edge ahead 4-3, scoring three thanks in part to RBI singles from Noah Prewett and Johnson that scored Riley Guntrip (walk) and Po-Hao Huang (single). Prewett would later score on a close play at the plate.

Noah Prewett would have a RBI single and score a run in the fourth inning Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The teams would remain scoreless after that until the HarbourCats blew things open with the big sixth inning, highlighted by the three-run shot from Collard and a two-run blast from Johnson.

Three more HarbourCats runs in the bottom of the eighth, put the game away for the home side and they closed out the regulation nine-inning win 13-3.

Victoria got their first look at Andrew Shaps on the mound Monday and he impressed, topping 90 MPH on the radar gun and breaking off a nasty curve ball to Maverick hitters (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Tucker Johnson would have a three-hit evening, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The teams did play an extra three innings of exhibition ball in order to get a few more players involved in the game, with the Mavericks scoring a run in the 10th to make it 13-4 and the HarbourCats’ Bryce Bonner crushing one over the left field netting and on to Pembroke Street in the bottom of the 10th – his third hit of the day – to get that back and up the lead to 14-4.  Tanner Rempel then did the same in the bottom of the 11th to up that to 15-4.

Bryce Bonner would have three hits for the HarbourCats on Monday, including a monster home run over the left field mesh and on to Pembroke Street (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The HarbourCats used a number of pitchers on the evening including right-hander Connor Whitney (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The Mavericks would score two more in the 12th off Victoria’s final pitcher of the night, Ethan Lopez, to close out the scoring at 15-6.

The Mavericks Brendan Turcotte would slide safely into second base on this play as HarbourCats second baseman Nick Moroney would not corral the throw (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

On the mound Skuija went four full innings, giving up the three Maverick runs on two hits.  He was relieved by a bevy of pitchers including Matt Kent, Andrew Shaps – making his first pitching appearance of the season – Connor Whitney, Blake Hannah, Jack Tagget and in a rare mound appearance, Ethan Lopez.

HarbourCats outfielder Ethan Lopez would talk his way into pitching the final inning of the game Monday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The HarbourCats now hit the road Tuesday to begin a three game series with their Canadian rivals, the Kelowna Falcons and then return Friday to RAP for a series with the Bend Elks.  The ‘Cats are riding a five-game West Coast League win streak and are currently 1-0 to begin the second half of the split season.

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