The Victoria HarbourCats played with fire Monday night when they let the Bellingham Bells take them out of the ball game during the second inning, where the visitors earned five runs - ouch. The HarbourCats ended up losing 11-9 and in so doing the Bells moved into a tie with them for the North Division lead.
A two-run loss could have been averted citing the fact that the Bells connected successfully 19 times.
Tuesday night, the tables were turned and the HarbourCats gained the 1.5 games back by defeating the visitors 10-4. Meanwhile, the second-place Wenatchee Wild, just half a game back, kept pace with a 1-0 win over the Cowlitz Black Bears, who were leaders of the South Division, but now slip half a game back of the idle Corvallis Knights.
The teams would exchange two runs each in the sixth, but Victoria would score three more in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to three consecutive RBI singles from Zayicek, Harrison Bragg and Collard to open up a 10-3 lead.
A Chase Illig home run, his 15th of the season in the eighth off HarbourCats reliever Garrison Ritter, who came into the game in the sixth inning, would move the Bells to within six, but Ritter in the seventh and eighth and then a combination of Travis Kuhn and Cole Masik in the ninth, would keep the Bells off the board the rest of the way and preserve the crucial 10-4 win for Victoria.
The 15-hit HarbourCats offence was paced by Collard who had a walk, single, double, home run, three RBIs and three runs scored. Vansau kept pace with Collard with four hits of his own, with an RBI and run scored via his home run. Riley Zayicek walked twice had a hit, RBI and a run scored and Tucker Johnson had two hits and a run scored to also add to the mix.
Taylor Prokopis started the game and earned the win going 5.2 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs with five strikeouts.
Rogelio Reyes is credited with the loss for the Bells, he started the game going 4.0 innings and also giving up seven hits, however, the HarbourCats scored five runs, two in the 3rd and three in the 4th innings.
Hunter Vansau and Kevin Collard had solo home runs during the third inning.
The rubber match is Wednesday at 6:35 pm – the final home game of the 2017 West Coast League season for the HarbourCats. They will then play two in Port Angeles against the lefties.