Series Preview – Victoria HarbourCats vs. Corvallis Knights / Jun. 7-9By Josh Kozelj June 07, 2019 06:54am
Former Victoria catcher Shane McGuire tags out ex-Knight Zak Taylor on this play at the plate in a game in the 2017 WCL Finals (Photo: Christian J. Stewart).
WHERE: Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, Victoria, B.C.
WHEN: June 7- 6:35 p.m., June 8- 6:35 p.m., June 9- 1:00 p.m.
HISTORY: Corvallis leads all time head-to-head series 16-8 (2-1 in playoffs)
LAST SEASON: Corvallis — 36-18, Second Half South division champions, won WCL Championship.
In their first home series of the 2019 season, the Victoria HarbourCats will play host to the six-time WCL champion Corvallis Knights at Wilson’s Group Stadium.
The Knights have established themselves as one of the premier clubs in the West Coast League, capturing four league championships in the past seven seasons, including the last three convectively, and recently had Adley Rutschman (2016 alum) selected with the number one overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the MLB draft earlier this week.
Although the two teams reside in separate divisions, the HarbourCats and Knights have established a fierce rivalry outside of their regular season interleague play.
Victoria met Corvallis in the 2017 WCL Finals, after going on a playoff run for the ages which saw them initially sneak into the playoffs with a Second Half Pennant on the last day of the regular season. The HarbourCats stunned the Kelowna Falcons with a first round sweep, and upset Corvallis in game one of the Finals, before dropping the final two contests in the best-of-three series to the Knights.
The HarbourCats exacted some revenge last season when Corvallis made their first trip back to Vancouver Island since the 2017 Finals, taking two of three games from the Knights in July.
The Home Team:
The HarbourCats come into the weekend set with a recent stretch of dominant pitching on the mound, and a two-game win streak. Opening Day starter Cade Smith powered the HarbourCats on Tuesday night with a quality start that included three strikeouts in a losing effort, but Aaron Celestino grabbed a win one day later with a quality start of his own—pitching six strong innings of one run ball—and Frankie Niemann’s five hits last night lifted the ‘Cats to a series clinching 8-5 victory in Wenatchee.
Singing joining the WCL in its inception in 2005, the Knights have distinguished themselves from their competition—recording at least 30 victories in each of their 14 seasons in the WCL, including a 49-13 regular season record in 2009.
Corvallis was founded in in 1990 in Beaverton, but relocated to Corvallis in 2007 and began play at Oregon State University’s Goss Stadium. The team also boasts notable stars in the MLB, including Seattle’s Mitch Hanigar, the Rays’ Matt Duffy, and St. Louis Cardinals right handed pitcher Bud Norris.
Despite all their past success, Corvallis has gotten off to a slow start in 2019. The Knights will come to Victoria as losers of three straight, after being swept by the Walla Walla Sweets in their first series of the year.
Players to Watch:
Andy Atwood (IF) — The Senior from Texas Rio Grande Valley has collected four hits and two triples in his first three games for Corvallis, providing a spark at the plate for the slow-starting Knights.
Colton Meyer (RHP) – This reliever out of the bullpen has proven to be a reliable option for the Knights early in the season, retiring six of seven batters in two and 2/3 innings pitched in the opening series against Walla Walla.