© Copyright – 2016 – Victoria Sports News
After a dream season where so many things went right on so many nights, the Victoria HarbourCats finally ran into trouble on the field and got walloped.
During their second game of the post-season – the first post-season for baseball in Victoria in 64 years – the HarbourCats lost to the Bellingham Bells by the score of 12-1.
The Bells also happen to be playing their best ball when it counts most. To end the regular season they went on an 8-2 run and 17-10 for the second half, keeping pace with the incredible HarbourCats who had the identical second-half record, but won the league standings overall after a record-breaking first half, which included a league record 19-game win streak.
They were also the first team to win 40 games in WCL history.
The Bells got off to a quick start getting a solo home run during the top of the first as well as single to open the scoring 2-0, as it turned out, that’s all that they would need.
“It is the best group of guys that I have worked with in my life,” said Head Coach Graig Merritt. “Just too bad that it had to end like it did.”
Nearly 3,000 fans stuck to their seats right until the bottom of the ninth inning, demonstrating great loyalty and appreciation to the organisation that brought exciting ball to the city. The HarbourCats became the first team to eclipse the 50,000 benchmark for spectators in a season; they did one better and went over 60,000, not including the approximate 4,500 fans that showed up for the two playoff games.
Victoria starter Josh Mitchell, who has had a great season going 7-0 wanted to start tonight, “I wanted the ball. It sounds selfish, but I wanted it,” he said. But he is injured. Suspicion is that it is an oblique muscle strain.
“I will be back next season.”
Mitchell was replaced in the second inning by Will McAffer. McAffer is a very strong pitcher who can mix it up with a variety of junk and pure speed, but to no avail tonight.
“But the records — 40 wins and 19-game win streak — will [be remembered] a lot longer than the 2016 championship,” said A.J. Alcantara.
The Bells will now face the Corvallis Knights, who won 2-0 over the Yakima Valley Pippins in the South Division playoffs.