Jim Swanson, Victoria HarbourCats
Victoria HarbourCats pitchers stole the show as the HarbourCats and Cowlitz Black Bears concluded their three-game series with a doubleheader at David Story Field in Longview — site of the upcoming WCL All-Star Game — on Friday evening.
The first of two seven-inning games saw a pitching matchup that featured a pair of aces with Victoria right-hander Austin Dondanville (Cal Poly/3-0, 0.83 ERA) making his fourth start of the season, matched up against righty Kevin Baker (Portland/2-1, 0.77) in his fifth start for the Black Bears.
The HarbourCats wasted no time striking first in game one, using a two-out double from right fielder Austin Guibor (Fresno State) in the top of the first inning, to cash in left fielder Jarron Silva (UCLA) from second base after he had walked to lead off the game.
With no Cowlitz base runners against Dondanville through four innings, the HarbourCats broke the game open in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on four hits to build a comfortable 5-0 lead for their right-hander.
Shortstop Griffin Andreychuk (Seattle) drove in PJ Floyd (Sacramento State) to make it 3-0 Victoria before center fielder Jake Stone (Fresno State) delivered the big swing, a two-run triple to score Andreychuk and Cody Snider (Chico State) who entered the game as a pinch hitter for Silva and reached on a single.
The Stone triple chased Baker as Cowlitz turned to right-handed reliever Jacob Worrell (UC Riverside).
A ground ball off the bat of catcher Joe Prior (Fresno State) scored Stone to finish the scoring in the fifth inning and finalize Baker’s line at five earned runs on six hits over 4.1 innings pitched with three walks and five strikeouts.
The five-run lead was plenty for Dondanville who was in control from the first pitch on this evening. The right-hander carried a perfect game through 5.2 innings before Cowlitz center fielder Colin Winn (Santa Ana College) reached on a single which was the first of only three base runners for the Black Bears in the game.
Dondanville stranded Cowlitz runners at second and third in the bottom of the seventh inning to preserve a 7-inning complete game 3-hit shutout with no walks allowed and one strikeout.
Three Cowlitz pitchers combined to allow five runs on seven hits and six walks with five strikeouts.
Dondanville moves to 4-0 on the season with the win and lowers his season ERA to 0.63, which is second among starters in the West Coast League. Baker took his first loss for Cowlitz, dropping to 3-1.
Jake Stone led all hitters in the game with three hits and two RBIs.
This was the fourth time a HarbourCats starting pitcher has carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning or later. The deepest no-hit bid of the season so far came from right-hander Dalton Erb (Chico State) who pitched seven perfect innings to begin his outing on Opening Night at Royal Athletic Park on June 7.
Erb was drafted days later by the San Diego Padres and is now pitching for the Tri City Dust Devils (short-season) in the Northwest League.
Game two of the doubleheader featured a pitching matchup between Victoria right-hander Josh Mitchell (Pitt/3-0, 2.25 ERA) and right-hander David Appleby (Utah/1-2, 8.06 ERA) for Cowlitz.
Appleby worked out of trouble early in this one, stranding five HarbourCats base runners through three innings to keep Victoria off the board early. On the other side, Mitchell made big pitches of his own to keep Cowlitz scoreless as this one headed to the fourth inning.
The HarbourCats finally capitalized on their opportunities against Appleby in the fourth inning.
The inning began with a Dakota Dean (New Orleans) leadoff single in front of third baseman Ryan Anderson (UC Davis) who walked to put two aboard. After a fielder’s choice erased Dean and allowed catcher Riley Guntrip (Siena Heights) to reach, Shortstop Tommy Jew (UC Santa Barbara) laced a two-run triple to deep left, scoring Anderson and Guntrip to put Victoria on top, 2-0.
Appleby’s day came to an end after walks to shortstop Griffin Andreychuk (Seattle) and center fielder Matt Lautz (UC Santa Barbara) loaded the bases with one out.
Right-handed reliever Parker McFadden (Washington State) retired both hitters he faced in the fourth to strand the bases loaded and finalize Appleby’s line of two earned runs on three hits and five walks over 3.1 innings pitched with three strikeouts.
McFadden was strong for Cowlitz, working 2.2 hitless innings of relief with one walk and four strikeouts keeping the HarbourCats close.
Mitchell was lifted after pitching five scoreless innings for the HarbourCats, allowing just two Cowlitz hits and one walk, notching six strikeouts.
Reliever Holden Lyons (Oklahoma City) took over on the mound for Victoria in the sixth inning, The right-hander worked two perfect innings with two strikeouts, securing the 2-0 win and earning the save and in the process, becomes the HarbourCats single-season and career saves leader with five.
Mitchell earned the win for the HarbourCats, improving to 4-0, and Appleby dropped to 1-3 with the loss.
With the series sweep, the HarbourCats finish their first half at 23-4, while Cowlitz falls to 12-18 overall and 0-3 in the second half.
HarbourCats season ticket holders have the first opportunity to purchase playoff tickets until July 11. Tickets are being sold as a two-game package, and on July 12 those two-game packages will go on sale to all others and season tickets will be released for purchase as well.
Single-game tickets for the games, expected to be August 10 and 11 (the second game, if needed), will go on sale around July 26, but that will depend on sales volumes with the two-game packages.
Note that regular season flex pack passes will not be able to be used in the playoffs.
For more information, visit this link — http://sponsorimpact.com/files/HC_playoff_packages_2016.pdf
The HarbourCats return home to Victoria on Saturday, July 9 as they open the official second half of their season with the first game of a three game series against the defending WCL Champion Bend Elks at Royal Athletic Park.
Details on the entire homestand are as follows–
Saturday, July 9: 6:35pm first pitch, gates open at 5:30pm. Postgame fireworks presented by SG Power.
Sunday, July 10: 1:00pm first pitch, gates open at 12:00pm. Harvey, the team’s beloved mascot will celebrate his birthday with a bobblehead giveaway thanks to Synergy Health.
Postgame will be the Diamond Dig with Barclay’s Fine Custom Jewelers and it is also Country Night with Wilson’s Transportation & View Royal Casino as well as RBC Friends and Family Game Day.
Monday, July 11: 6:35pm first pitch, gates open at 5:30pm. Columbia Fuels is staging a special ‘Feel the Heat’ surprise promotion at this game.
10-PACK TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE
A 10-Pack is the perfect way to enjoy HarbourCats baseball when you want and with whom you want. There are still 12 regular season home games remaining this season, so get yours today!
Call the office (778-265-0327) to buy 10-Packs or stop in at 101-1814 Vancouver Street.
Assistant GM Brittany French is in the office and ready to assist fans with all ticket purchasing and can take care of any other requests and questions fans may have.
The team office at 1814 Vancouver Street (across from RAP) is operating under in-season hours:
MONDAY-FRIDAY – 9:00am-5:00pm
SATURDAY – 10:00am-2:00pm
SUNDAY – Closed (Except by appointment)
Jim Swanson (Managing Partner, Victoria HarbourCats) 778-265-0327
Brad Norris-Jones (General Manager, Victoria HarbourCats) 250-888-2003
Brittany French (Assistant GM, Victoria HarbourCats) 778-265-0327