The time is now for the Victoria HarbourCats to put together a win streak to get in position to make the post-season. Thursday they did just that, taking out the South Division’s second place Corvallis Knights by the score of 11-5.
With the win, they evened their season record to 19-19.
The Knights finished the first half of the season in second place with a 16-11 record and are currently in second during the second half at 6-3.
It was game two of their three-game set at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletics Park, the HarbourCats lost game one, the rubber match goes Friday night ending with fireworks.
The HarbourCats got off to a fast start scoring four runs during the first two innings to take a 4-1 lead and made it 6-2 after five innings.
Portland State University (just an hour drive from Corvallis) athlete Ryan Ober went 4/5 at bat for Victoria, earning four RBI’s, and scoring four times, he also hit two solo home runs, one in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the HarbourCats up 11-5.
Asked if the cool even air and tailwind helped he said, “Yeah, I think it definitely helped the second one.”
In regards to the level of play compared to college, he called it competitive, but more relaxed, “we still want to win though; it’s good ball and it helps with development.”
Mason Shaw got the start on the mound.
Nick Plaia lead off with a single, and two outs later would score on an RBI double from Hunter Vansau — his sixth RBI in six games this season.
Victoria would continue to find success off Knights’ starter Cameron Haskell in the second, starting the inning with consecutive singles from Ober and Cade Brown. Haydon Jaco then collected the third hit of the inning with an RBI double to score Ober. Rowdey Jordan grounded into the first out of the inning in the next at-bat, but not before scoring Brown on the RBI fielders choice.
Victoria then increased their lead to 4-1 when the Corvallis catcher sailed a pickoff throw well into centre field, allowing to Jaco to score easily from third.
Shaw would settle into a groove after the rocky first, retiring five of the six batters he faced in the second and third frames, before the Knights cut the HarbourCats lead in half with a one-run RBI double in the fourth.
One inning later, the HarbourCats would open up their lead and chase Haskell with a two-out rally aided by an error from the Corvallis second baseman. Blake Wagenseller hit a routine grounder directly to Chad Stevens at second, but he bobbled the ball to keep the inning going for the HarbourCats. Ober capitalized on the error with a single in the next at-bat, and Brown made it a 6-2 game with an RBI double.
Back on the mound, Shaw stretched into the sixth for his longest outing of the season, and exited after the Knights scored to cut the Victoria lead in half for the second time on the night The righty out of Yakima Valley College finished with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 inning, falling one out short of qualifying for his first quality start of the season.
After the Knights climbed to within two with an RBI single in the sixth, the deadly combination of Ober and Brown batting back-to-back at the bottom of the order responded for Victoria in the seventh.
Ober hit a solo shot to make it a three-run lead again, while Brown followed that up with a single for his third hit of the game. The duo combined for seven hits and six RBI on the evening.
After Victoria and Corvallis both traded runs to make it an 8-5 game, Ober continued his hot night at the plate with a three-run shot over the right-field fence for his second homer of the night. Tyler Yoshihara would retire the Knights in the ninth to preserve Victoria’s fifth victory of the Second Half.
Landon Anderson will get the call for the start tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m., as the HarbourCats will look to take the series in the rubber-game finale. That game could be played in front of a new record crowd, as the scheduled fireworks display following the game has resulted in all but 4 reserved seats being sold out and general admission tickets selling briskly.