Pippins Top HarbourCats in Pitching Duel to Take Series

Yakima starting pitcher Taylor Dollard would give up 3 runs on 6 hits over 6.1 innings of work to earn his 4th win of the season against Victoria on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart

July 13, 2017, Victoria, BC – On the night after both teams scored 23 runs in a crazy HarbourCats win, the Victoria HarbourCats and Yakima Valley Pippins sent a pair of 3-0 pitchers to the mound Thursday night and they locked themselves into a bit of a pitcher’s duel, with Yakima’s Taylor Dollard prevailing over the HarbourCats Jack Owen 6-3, in front of 1,451 fans at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria.

Victoria All-Star pitcher Jack Owen would give up four runs over six innings of work and take his first loss of the season, 6-3 to Yakima on Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Dollard was pretty solid in his 6.1 innings of work, giving up three runs on six scattered hits, while walking two and striking out three. The HarbourCats got to him for runs in the fourth on an RBI single from Tucker Johnson that scored Andrew Shaps (triple), and two more in the sixth, thanks to a two-run home run from Hunter Vansau. That was it however, as the Yakima bullpen including Liam Herlihy, Pete Minella and Connor White shut the HarbourCats down the rest of the night.

Victoria third baseman Cole Weiss puts the tag on Yakima’s Nick Plaia during a rundown between third and home in the third inning of Thursday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Owen also looked good early, cruising through the first two innings, but then the Pippins got to him for a run in the third, another in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, with the biggest blow in that span being an RBI triple from Jonny DeLuca in the fifth.
Indigo Diaz and HarbourCats newcomer Wyatt Boone kept the Pippins scoreless in the seventh and eighth, but in the ninth, Jack Tagget would give up two more big insurance runs to the Yakima squad, putting the game out of reach for Victoria.

Victoria shortstop Harry Shipley is all focus as he fields aground ball in Thursday’s game (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Doing the damage in that ninth for Yakima was Tora Otsuka with a 2-RBI single, his fourth hit of the evening and eighth hit of the three game series with Victoria. DeLuca also had a good night with a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored.

Andrew Shaps would put together his third consecutive 3-hit game for Victoria and is now hitting .529 in 10 games with the club (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

For Victoria, Shaps put together his third three-hit night in a row, including a triple, while Vansau, with a homer and two-RBIs and Shipley with a hit, a walk and run scored also contributed in the losing effort.

Victoria shortstop Harry Shipley tries his best to turn a double play over the tough slide of Yakima’s Jonny DeLuca (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

Owen takes the loss for Victoria, his first of the season, while Dollard improves to 4-0 for Yakima. White gets the save, his fifth of the season for Yakima.

As Yakima baserunner Tora Otsuka grimaces, HarbourCats second baseman Noah Prewett turns the double play in Thursday’s action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

With the win, the Pippins improve to 3-3 in the second half (16-17 overall), while the HarbourCats fall to 6-4 (20-17), but stay in first place in the North, a game up on Wenatchee, who lost to Cowlitz 4-3 on Thursday night.

Yakima base runner Brad Beesley tries in vain to reach second base, as he is tagged out by Victoria shortstop Harry Shipley on this steal attempt in the 7th inning Thursday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

The HarbourCats now have a day off before they play a pair of weekend exhibition games against the Burnaby Bulldogs (Saturday at 6:35 pm and Sunday at 1:05). Then it is the All-Star break Monday and Tuesday with the HarbourCats resuming league play next Wednesday when they travel to Bellingham to face the Bells at Joe Martin Field.

It was not a good day for Andrew Shaps (17) on the bases, as he was caught stealing twice, including this tag out by Yakima second baseman Tyler Bosetti (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)

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