Johnathan Hodgson, Victoria HarbourCats
The Victoria HarbourCats showed why they have been the highest scoring offence in the West Coast League this season, as they played the second game of a three-game series against the Gresham GreyWolves at Oslund Field on Wednesday night.
This game featured a strong pitching matchup with Austin Dondanville (Cal Poly/4-0, 0.62 ERA) making his fifth start of the season for the HarbourCats against Gresham’s Rilyn Lewchuk (Corban College/3-0, 0.75) in his third start of the summer.
Both pitchers dealt scoreless first innings before Gresham opened the scoring with a 2-run bottom of the second coming on three hits and two walks off of Dondanville, who entered the game having allowed just nine hits and five walks in 28.2 innings on the season.
Back-to-back doubles by center fielder Ryan Smith (Southern Illinois) and Mark Cardinalli (UC Davis) led off the inning and opened the scoring, and two batters later, a one-out single by first baseman Drew Curtis (Southern Illinois) made the score 2-0 Gresham after two innings.
Victoria was able to respond in the top of the third when with the bases loaded and one out, first baseman Ben Polshuk (Cal Poly) lifted a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed right fielder Austin Guibor (Fresno State) to plate the HarbourCats first run and cut the Gresham lead in half.
A hit batter, a single and a walk all reached consecutively with two outs for Gresham in the bottom of the inning to load the bases for catcher Matt Karo (Concordia Univ.), but Dondanville caught him looking at strike three, the right-hander’s fourth strikeout of the game to strand the bases loaded at keep the score 2-1 GreyWolves through three innings.
Escaping the bottom of the third with no damage proved to be a pivotal moment for the HarbourCats. Catcher Joe Prior (Fresno State) led off the fourth with a double and was immediately driven in by a double from Cody Snider (Chico State) to tie the game at two.
After an error by Gresham second baseman Curtis Perrin (Seattle) allowed shortstop Tommy Jew (UC Santa Barbara) to reach, third baseman PJ Floyd (Sacramento State) brought him and Snider home with a triple to give the HarbourCats a 4-2 lead. Before the end of the inning, Victoria had put together a five-run inning to take a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
The HarbourCats extended their lead in the top of the fifth inning against right-handed reliever Chris Brown (UC Davis) when a sacrifice fly from Snider scored center fielder Jake Stone (Fresno State) from third to make it 7-2, after Stone had delivered a leadoff double.
Starting pitcher Rilyn Lewchuk finished his outing having allowed six runs on six hits over four innings with two walks and a strikeout.
The score remained unchanged at 7-2 until the bottom of the sixth when a Ryan Smith RBI single brought Gresham to within four, and ended the day of starter Austin Dondanville.
Right-hander Colin Ashworth (Orange Coast College) came on in relief and committed a balk that scored Gresham’s second run of the inning, charged to Dondanville who allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks over 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts.
Ashworth walked his first batter before being able to end the inning with the HarbourCats lead cut to 7-4 going to the seventh.
The HarbourCats restored the four run cushion in the seventh when Joe Prior delivered a two-out RBI single that scored Jake Stone as the HarbourCats extended their lead to 8-4.
The HarbourCats continued to pull away in the eighth inning, taking advantage of two Gresham errors and adding two timely hits to tally three more runs to open up an 11-4 lead.
Tommy Jew led off the inning with a single, scoring on an error by catcher Matt Karo that allowed Austin Guibor to reach. Another error by center fielder Ryan Smith brought home Guibor and put PJ Floyd on third. Two batters later, second baseman Griffin Andreychuk (Seattle) brought in Floyd with a groundout to conclude scoring in the frame.
Curtis Perrin led off the bottom of the eighth for Gresham with a triple, but Ashworth retired the next three hitters and was able to strand Perrin, maintaining the seven-run lead into the ninth.
Victoria added another run in the top of the ninth when pinch-hitter Brad Plushkell (UC Davis) lift a sacrifice fly to score Jarron Silva (UCLA) who was running for AJ Alcantara (UC Irvine), to make the score 12-4.
Ashworth set down the GreyWolves in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the victory. The right-hander finished with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief on just one hit and a walk.
Chris Brown pitched five innings out of the bullpen for Gresham, surrendering six runs, three earned, on seven hits and two walks with one strikeout.
The win for Victoria evens the series and improves them to 26-6, 3-2 in the second half. The loss drops Gresham to 17-18 overall and 6-2 in the second half.
Austin Dondanville improves to 5-0 with the win, and picks up his ninth career victory as a HarbourCat, becoming Victoria’s new career wins leader.
The finale of the series between the HarbourCats and GreyWolves goes Thursday night, 7:05 at Oslund Field in Gresham with right-hander Will McAffer (South Dakota St./4-1, 1.46 ERA) taking his seventh start for Victoria. Right-hander David Wallum (Linn Benton CC/2-1, 1.67 ERA) is scheduled to make his sixth start for Gresham.
HarbourCats playoff tickets are now on sale to the general public and are being sold as a two-game package.
Single-game tickets for the games, expected to be August 10 and 11 (the second game, if needed), will go on sale around July 26, but that will depend on sales volumes with the two-game packages. Sales have been brisk since season ticket holders had first shot at the tickets.
For more information, visit this link — http://sponsorimpact.com/
The HarbourCats return home to Royal Athletic Park in Victoria on Wednesday, July 20 when they begin a three-game series against the division rival Bellingham Bells.
Complete details for the series are as follows—
Wednesday, July 20: 6:35pm (Gates open at 5:30pm)
Winning Wednesday, Baseball Card Night with Black Press
Thursday, July 21: 6:35pm (Gates open at 5:30pm)
Freedom 55 Game Night, Water Bottle Giveaway from Wilson’s Transportation
Friday, July 22: 6:35pm (Gates open at 5:30pm)
Superheroes Night, Grumpy Bum Pants Night
Tickets for all games can be purchased online at www.harbourcats.com/tickets
10-PACK TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
A 10-Pack is the perfect way to enjoy HarbourCats baseball when you want and with whom you want. There are still nine regular season home games remaining this season, so get yours today!
Call the office (778-265-0327) to buy 10-Packs or stop in at 101-1814 Vancouver Street.
Assistant GM Brittany French is in the office and ready to assist fans with all ticket purchasing and can take care of any other requests and questions fans may have.
The team office at 1814 Vancouver Street (across from RAP) is operating under in-season hours:
Please Note: The office will be closed Monday, July 18 and Tuesday, July 19. Normal hours will resume on Wednesday, July 20.
Normal office hours are as follows:
MONDAY-FRIDAY – 9:00am-5:00pm
SATURDAY – 10:00am-2:00pm
SUNDAY – Closed (Except by appointment)