It seems like opening night was months ago – at least it seems that long when you aren’t writing blog posts! A lot has happened since the last time I penned a post, so it’s worth staring with an early-season recap… It’s a long one this time, but there’s plenty to talk about!
We join our fellows-of-the-yard two weeks into the season, sporting a slightly under .500 record of 5-7. They currently sport a team ERA of 4.46 and a team batting average of .236. On the surface, the team seems to be in the midst of an early-season struggle – especially given the teams that have been faced to this point are not WCL powerhouses. But what the numbers don’t show you, is what’s going on just under the covers on this team…
First off, the record isn’t all that bad considering the team composition through the first 12 games. With close to 20 signed players opting out and a dozen or so more not available to start the season, the HarbourCats were in serious scramble mode trying to field a competitive team with local talent and 10-day call-ups. Not just roster fillers, the new hires logged some critical innings an at-bats, holding the team in close games and pulling off some early wins. Of the dozen or so 10-day guys, Morgan Varley stood out with a great opening series – thanks to some amazing plate discipline and 5 walks, he ended the weekend with a .667 OBP. Of those early-season call-ups, only Nanaimo’s Brady Rogers has stuck around as a regular, filling in the 2B spot.
After going 1-2 in the opening series against Kelowna, the ‘Cats almost swept the Kitsap Bluejackets, winning 2 of 3, and losing the middle game in a dramatic come-from-behind win by the Jackets.
Taking to the road for the first time this season and landing in Bend Oregon with a solid 3-3 record, the team was likely unprepared for what was about to occur… It was that game that seems to happen once a season for every team in the WCL (admittedly though, never quite like this). The blowout in Bend, as it shall be known. The 24-5 loss to the Elks was a day for the WCL record books – it was the most runs ever given up by a team in a single WCL game. The Elks sent so many runners across the plate it needed to be repainted for Saturday’s game.
The ‘Cats lost one more game before rebounding to take the final game of the series thanks to the no-sales-tax addition of returning hero Gabe Clark to the team. Playing weekend ball, Clark went 1-8, but his hit was a monster home run.
The team stayed on the road this week, starting a six game home-and-home series against the Black Bears from Cowlitz. In perhaps their best three games of the season, the Cats could have easily swept the Bears if not for a couple of killer innings. Victoria pitching was outstanding in the first 2 games – holding Cowlitz off the board in 16 of 18 innings, but the bats were silent – hitting only .140 and losing both games by identical 3-2 scores. The rust came off for Thursday’s game 3 though, and the Cats pounded out 17 hits and 17 runs. Top news item on this road trip, was the return of Mr. HarbourCat himself, Alex DeGoti.
If you haven’t been checking the box scores and stats so far, there are some incredible seasons underway by HarbourCat players – some even All-Star worthy…
- OF Kevin Collard is tearing up WCL hitting, sitting at .441, and leading the team in Hits (15), Runs (9), and RBI (11).
- 3B/SS PJ “Pink” Floyd has hits in 7 of 10 games, including a league-leading 3 HR.
- P Alex Rogers sports a 3-0 record and a stellar 0.47 ERA with 17 strikeouts and has been dominant in his starts so far.
- P Dominic Topoozian has also been impressive so far, his 1-1 record is misleading, but his 1.84 ERA makes him a solid starter.
- C/1B/DH Jackson Thoreson is a force at the plate pushing across 10 RBI on 12 hits so far. He commands the pitching staff like Aaron Barnett, but hits like Alex Real. An early-season candidate for the blog’s player of the first-half
So when I say there’s more to the team than the record – take those three well-played games they lost, add a bounce or two, and the cats are on the positive side of the win-loss column. Good signs for the future…