Recap – Bats go silent in Kitsap
The HarbourCats return for three games against the visiting Wenatchee AppleSox this weekend, after stumbling through a short road trip to Kitsap this past week.
In the three games played at the fairground Tuesday through Thursday, the ‘Cats didn’t exactly show what you would call their “A” game. Not that anyone was watching – Kitsap averaged less than 175 fans for the three games despite the fabulous deals on food and beverage offered at the park. The loudest sound in the park was the local Osprey family – they have one as well perched atop one of their light standards. Maybe it was the sheer silence of the venue that had Victoria bats sleeping, as they managed only 11 runs scored in the series.
As a team, Victoria hit .173 in the three games. Nobody had a series to remember – except for late-inning pinch hitter Tyler Goldstein. He went 2-3 with a walk, including his first WCL home run, and 2 RBI. Only three other players (Alex DeGoti, Michael Gretler, and Pikai Winchester) had more than 1 hit in the three game series.
Even ace starter Alex Rogers couldn’t bail the team out, losing his first game of the season in Wednesday’s 6-2 loss. An uncharacteristic night from Rogers, he didn’t walk a batter but gave up 10 hits in 4 innings of work. Both Tuesday’s starter Alex Dondanville and Thursday’s starter Matt Bliis pitched fairly well, giving up 2 earned runs each in 4.2 and 4 innings respectively. As a collective group, the relief core didn’t give much of anything up – except for Sean O’Toole , who picked up Tuesday’s win throwing only 6 pitches, then performed his best Ricky Vaughn impression on Thursday, walking 5 and throwing 5 wild pitches in 2.2 innings.
Despite the O’Toole meltdown, pitching was as good as could be expected, and the ‘Cats offense should have been able to overcome the glitches. Giving up 5 unearned runs on 7 errors didn’t help matters either.
The 2-1 trip leaves Victoria in sole possession of last place in the West division, now four games back of the Bellingham Bells.
Preview – AppleSox return to RAP
Victoria went 1-2 in a road series against them last season, and are 3-9 against the ‘Sox all-time.
Wenatchee is in a similar funk to Victoria, and come in with a 5-10 record, being swept in their most recent series by the Yakima Valley Pippens. Offensivley, Wenatchee is near the bottom of all league offensive categories, hitting only .226 on the season. First Baseman Mitchell Holland and OF Sheldon Liikala lead the ‘Sox offence, hitting .368 and .320 respectively. A free swinging team with slow speed, the ‘Sox are good candidates for the strike ‘em out/throw ‘em out double play.
On the mound, Gonzaga RHP Hunter Wells has shown outstanding control this season as a starter, posting a 2 wins in 3 games – in the other game, he pitched eight scoreless innings but didn’t get the win. Striking out an average of a batter per inning while keeping walks to a minimum, he brings a 1.96 ERA (1.040 WHIP) to town. He hasn’t pitched since Sunday, so expect him on the mound Saturday or Sunday. It gets spotty after that – I’m hoping to see lefty reliever Dustin Hamilton, who sports a fine 0.87 ERA, has 14 strikeouts in 10.1 innings of work, but has walked 11 batters giving him a 1.740 WHIP. Unusual to see such an inverse of ERA and WHIP, an inning with him on the mound sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen that should be exciting to watch unfold.
Wenatchee has only announced Friday’s starter, it is Kyle Blankenship (0-1, 6.09 ERA).
Victoria has their starters listed as Shawn Kennedy II (0-2, 5.19 ERA) on Friday, Dominic Topoozian (2-1, 1.63 ERA) Saturday, and Austin Dondanville (0-0, 3.52 ERA) on Sunday. This will also be the first home game for reliever Henry Omana. The righty from Cal State Fullerton pitched a scoreless inning in relief Wednesday night.
Of player note:
- The last time the two teams faced off, OF A.J. Alcantara was playing for the ‘Sox, so he will have something to prove to his old team.
- The AppleSox welcome back P Kyle Blankenship as well as SS Kyle Vanderkin as players returning from 2014.
Once again, vote on your prediction below. I’m not doing well on mine, but I’ll once again take a stand on the Cats winning two of three based on pitching that seems to be settling down, and bats that should respond well to the friendly home crowd. What say you?
Games are Friday and Saturday night at 6:35, Sunday at 1:05. Remember there are NO water sales at the park this year, but there are purified water bottle filling stations in each washroom. Bring an (empty) refillable bottle from home and keep the kids hydrated!