Victoria HarbourCats sporting vintage ’70s Victoria Mussels uniform. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall.

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The Victoria HarbourCats returned to the West Coast League schedule Tuesday with a matchup at Royal Athletic Park against the visiting Yakima Valley Pippins. The HabourCats got off to a fast start with a six-run first inning off two homers, however, the Pippins scored 11 consecutive runs to take the game 12-6.

“We just weren’t scoring runs, it is as simple as that,” shared Coach Brian McRae. “We also weren’t pitching tonight. We have to get ahead on the count, we weren’t doing that. You are not going to win too many games giving up 15 hits.”

The HarbourCats, who played .500 ball most of the first half of the season got on a hot streak, with a 9-1 stretch and a 5-1 start to the second half of the season, but the Bend Elks cooled the ‘Cats hot streak winning two of three at R.A.P on the weekend.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Andrew Shaps and Bryce Bonner both got the home runs during the bottom of the first. Shaps went ¾ on the night.

“We weren’t pitching. I pitch too and we have to throw a first pitch strike. Your confidence goes up when you throw a first pitch strike. We weren’t doing that,” said Shaps who attends Chico State. “For sure you have to get ahead on the count. Otherwise, if you don’t throw a first pitch strike, as a pitcher you begin to doubt yourself – take a couple miles per hour off the pitch and then that is when the hitters get you.”

The Pippins continued to beat up on HarbourCats pitching staff, scoring a run off Jack Tagget in the sixth, two more off Matt Kent in the seventh, one in the eighth off Radd Thomas – a mammoth home run off the top of the scoreboard by Brad Beesley – and two more off Thomas in the ninth, to put the game out of reach.

The Pippins 15-hit attack was led by Nick Plaia who had a three-hit night with three runs scored and Tyler Bosetti, with two hits and three RBIs.  Four other players also had two-hit evenings, while Beesley and Lucas Denney contributed two RBIs each.

The HarbourCats, who wore the 1970s Victoria Mussels uniforms, played as the Mussels on the night including the public address announcer and play-by-play commenter over the livestream broadcast.

The “Mussels” 11-hit effort was led by Shaps, while Noah Prewett and Harry Shipley had two hits each in the losing effort.

On the mound, Yakima’s Adair takes the win in relief, skunking the Mussels on just three hits in his three innings of work.  Pete Minella closed out the final six outs in the 12-6 win.  Tagget takes the loss for the Mussels, his first of the season.

Outfielder Po-Hao Huang from Fu Jen Catholic in Taiwan. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

The win moves the Pippins second-half record to 2-2 (15-16), while the Mussels, with their third loss in the last four games, drop to 5-3 (19-16) and sit in a virtual tie with Wenatchee (3-1) for first in the North, although the Wenatchee AppleSox have four games in hand.

The teams play game two of their series on Wednesday with the HarbourCats Claire Eccles making her first official West Coast League start.  The Pippins will counter with John Fuqua. Game time is 6:35 pm.

Cat Scratches:  Both DJ Porter and Harrison Bragg left Tuesday’s game with injuries and will miss the remainder of the Yakima series.  The HarbourCats Nick Moroney, who injured his leg over the weekend, has been sent home to recover.  RHP Liam Steigerwald has gone home for assessment of an arm injury, but is probable to return to the team before the year is out.  The HarbourCats welcomed RHPs Wyatt Boone (University of Seattle) and James Bradwell (UBC) to the club Tuesday.  Nick Bellafronto left the team over the weekend. He will continue the summer season with the Port Angeles Lefties.