Christian J. Stewart/Christopher Kelsall
On the night after the Harbourcats and Yakima Valley Pippins combined for 23 runs in a crazy HarbourCats win, the teams sent a pair of 3-0 pitchers to the mound Thursday night and they locked themselves into a bit of a pitcher’s duel. It was Yakima’s Taylor Dollard prevailing over Jack Owen 6-3, in front of 1,451 fans at Royal Athletic Park.
Dollard was solid in his 6.1 innings of work, giving up three runs on six scattered hits while walking two and striking out three. The HarbourCats got to him for runs in the fourth on an RBI single from Tucker Johnson that scored Andrew Shaps (triple), and two more in the sixth, thanks to a two-run home run from Hunter Vansau. That was it however, as the Yakima bullpen including Liam Herlihy, Pete Minella and Connor White shut the HarbourCats down the rest of the night.
Owen also looked good early, cruising through the first two innings, but then the Pippins got to him for a run in the third, another in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, with the biggest blow in that span was an RBI triple from Jonny DeLuca in the fifth.
Indigo Diaz and HarbourCats newcomer Wyatt Boone kept the Pippins scoreless in the seventh and eighth, but in the ninth, Jack Tagget would give up two more big insurance runs to the Yakima squad, putting the game out of reach for Victoria.
Doing the damage in that ninth for Yakima was Tora Otsuka with a 2-RBI single, his fourth hit of the evening and eighth hit of the three-game series with Victoria. DeLuca also had a good night with a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored.
For Victoria, Shaps put together his second three-hit night in a row, including a triple, while Vansau, with a homer and two-RBIs and Shipley with a hit, a walk and run scored also contributed in the losing effort.
Owen takes the loss for Victoria, his first of the season, while Dollard improves to 4-0 for Yakima. White gets the save, his fifth of the season for Yakima.
With the win, the Pippins improve to 3-3 in the second half (16-17 overall), while the HarbourCats fall to 6-4 (20-17), but stay in first place, just a half game up on Wenatchee, who were tied with Cowlitz 3-3 in the ninth at press time.
The HarbourCats now have a day off before they play a pair of weekend exhibition games against the Burnaby Bulldogs (Saturday at 6:35 pm and Sunday at 1:05). Then it is the All-Star break Monday and Tuesday with the HarbourCats resuming league play next Wednesday when they travel to Bellingham to face the Bells at Joe Martin Field.