HarbourCats starter Gunner Friend. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

With a win Thursday, the .500 Harbourcats would be 17-16 on the season, .500 during the second half at 3-3 and would have swept the visiting Bend Elks during their latest three-game homestand at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. Instead, the HarbourCats ran out of steam and lost by the score of 8-6.

The Elks drew first blood during the top of the third inning when Colin Runge hit a single advancing Sean Coffey from third to take a 1-0 lead. Ian Nowak and Curtis Diehl scored on a home run over the left field fence.

The HarbourCats scored during the bottom of the fourth and two more during the bottom of the sixth inning after Bend scored a single run during the top of the inning. The four-run seventh inning came off of five hits and a pitcher change. Hayden Jaco substituted for Nathan Walker, Walker, at the start of the inning had replaced hometown player Jacob Potter. The HarbourCats would use six pitchers including a regular fielder in Jaco a 6’1” catcher from Indiana State. The right-hander from Coquitlam faced two batters giving up a run and a hit.

Hunter Vansau up to bat, stares down the ball. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

“I think I pitched well, throwing strikes, but I wish I had that hit back that I gave up,” said Jaco.

Asked about pitching, he said, “We are short on arms right now being mid-season and I stepped up. As long as I keep getting the opportunities, I can see myself helping this ball club win games. ”

Jaco works with the bullpen at Indiana State and grew up pitching. He pitched during junior college as well. “I always keep my arm in shape, just in case.”

The Elks were up by just one run until they had that big seventh inning scoring four runs off five hits.

The HarbourCats came back with two runs during the bottom of the eighth inning, but Dustin Demeter swung out, stranding Jack Smith who got on base with a single and stole second off a wild pitch. The HarbourCats twice stranded three batters.

Potter, who has pitched over 16 innings so far this season is a Victoria native, who grew up playing at Layritz. The Spectrum grad currently attends Allen Community College in Lola, Kansas.

Gunner Friend started the game for Victoria going 3.0 innings giving up three hits and striking out three. He gave up just one earned run.

Elks’ starter Sam Muskat. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Bend starter Sam Muskat from Montana State got eight strikeouts, allowed just two hits and one run over five complete innings.

The last-place Elks snapped a five-game losing streak and snapped Victoria’s two-game winning streak.

The HarbourCats now head out on the road for a three-game set starting Friday in Cowlitz, WA, against the Black Bears

The HarbourCats return to Wilson’s Group Stadium on Wednesday for the first three games against the Corvallis Knights.