Series Preview — Victoria HarbourCats vs. Kelowna Falcons / June 29-July 1By Josh Kozelj June 29, 2019 08:38am
The HarbourCats’ Nicky Gibbs hat a hit, a walk, three RBI and a run scored in the HarbourCats 8-4 loss to the Falcons last season. (Photo: Christian J. Stewart)
WHERE: Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, Victoria, B.C.
WHEN: June 29- 6:35 p.m., June 30- 6:35 p.m., July 1- 1:05 p.m.
HISTORY: Victoria leads all-time series 21-12
Victoria (14-7), first in WCL North.
Kelowna (6-11), last in WCL North, six games behind first.
Victoria: W4 // Last 10: 8-2
Wenatchee: W1 // Last 10: 5-5
LAST MEETING: Victoria defeated Kelowna in two of three games earlier in the month at Elks Stadium in a three-game set June 14-16.
Canadian counterparts, the Victoria HarbourCats and Kelowna Falcons, will clash in a three-game Canada Day weekend series on the shores of Vancouver Island—as the ‘Cats look to widen their lead atop the WCL North division.
With six games remaining in the First Half season, the HarbourCats find themselves a game up on the second place Bellingham Bells (12-7), who lost last night to Portland.
The two teams will meet to close out the First Half next week, July 5, to open a crucial series that will likely determine the division pennant and postseason berth.
After reaching the WCL final last year, the Falcons stumbled out of the gate — losing seven of their first eight games — to fall into the basement of the North division in 2019. Following a series loss to Victoria a couple weeks ago, Kelowna has picked it up a bit, winning four of their past eight games to stay five games under .500.
The Home Team:
After a .500 road trip, the HarbourCats returned home to kick off a 12-game home stand against the Wenatchee AppleSox.
Victoria exploded for 14 runs in a series opening victory, but opted for some late inning dramatics in the final two games of the set. Trailing by a couple runs heading into the eighth in game two, the HarbourCats used a furious rally to tie the game in the ninth and walk off the AppleSox in the 10th—as Matt Turner plated the role of hero with a RBI double.
One day later, in the finale, it was the HarbourCats had a lead with two innings to play, but squandered it in the eighth. However, the ‘Cats showed some resilience again, as Jason Willow legged out an infield single, and scored later in the frame off a wild pitch to give Victoria their second straight walk off win.
The Falcons come into this series fresh off taking two of three from the Portland Pickles at home. Coupled with a series victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears earlier in the week, the Falcons have won their past two series and are winners of four of their past six overall.
Players to Watch:
Austen Butler (OF) — The infielder from Port Coquitlam, BC has collected a team high eight RBI at the dish, and has hits in six of his past eight games coming into tonight.
Connor Hurley (RHP) – This righty has racked up over a strikeout per inning, collecting 19 total K’s in just 15 2/3 on the mound. His 2.34 ERA also has him near the top of his team lead.