SeasonV comes to Victoria this afternoon as the HarbourCats come home for the first time this season, bringing with them the Wenatchee AppleSox for a three game set. A raucous welcome no doubt awaits the team that brings to town a 3-1 record after an exciting road trip through two southern cities.
In case you missed it, Victoria welcomed the Port Angeles Lefties to the WCL with an 11-2 thumping on Thursday night at Civic Field in P.A., then spoiled the Yakima Valley Pippins 2017 opener the next night, holding on for a 7-6 victory. On Saturday night, one bad inning led to 7 Yakima runs and an 11-4 loss, but Sunday the Cats rebounded with a 6-2 effort to get to the 3-1 mark.
As one could expect of a team averaging 7+ runs a game so far, offensive numbers are outstanding to this point. The team is hitting a combined .265, with 5 players hitting above .300. Most impressive so far are SS Harry Shipley and 3B Noah Prewett, both of whom come into tonight’s game hitting .462 on identical 6 for 13 streaks. Catcher/DH Kekai Rios has made the most of his early swings going 4-10, with Ethan Lopez (.364) and Kevin Collard (.308) rounding out the 300 club. Surprisingly, the power isn’t on yet as the team has yet to hit a home run, and on the base paths, the group is a collective 6/10 on stolen bases.
On the mound, despite getting rocked in game two of the Yakima series, the club sits at a combined 3.86 ERA. Relievers have a slightly better 3.60 ERA in 20 innings of work, while starters sit at 4.20 in 15 innings. Seven errors have accounted for a total of 6 runs against.
While it’s a bit early to be too focused on stats, we have seen some great early starts including AJ Block’s 8 K’s in 3 innings with no earned runs, and Adam McKillican who has 6 shut-out innings under his belt so far, picking up both a win and a save in the process.
For the HarbourCats this week, the lineup will remain pretty much the same as the first 4 games. LHP Claire Eccles gets to town on Tuesday, as does RHP Taylor Prokopis from Colorado Mesa University. We may also see some game time from RHP Greg Casper, who hasn’t figure into the games played so far. Greg is coming off a red shirt year where he was unable to pitch, so he hasn’t seen game action since leaving the Cats last season. Look for him to get a graduated start back into the lineup.
The AppleSox come to town after dropping all three opening games against the Sweets down in Walla Walla. Wenatchee was outscored 16-10 in the three games, including being shut out 4-0 in game 2. Spotty .205 hitting for the Sox combined with a team ERA of 4.32 account for the slow start, with only OF’s Dugan Shirer (.500 on 4-8 hitting) and Evan Johnson (.417 on 5-12 hitting) doing any real damage. Johnson is a bit of a beast; he’s hit two home runs and has almost half of the Sox RBI. Hopefully SS Reagan Teegarden is the Keg’s “K Batter”, the WSU Sophomore has whiffed 7 times in 11 AB’s so far.
On the mound Wenatchee is sending up WSU’s Colin Maier and Gonzaga’s Mason Millett for their first action of the summer on Monday and Wednesday while sending Hugh Smith up for a start on Tuesday. Smith pitched a scoreless inning on Friday. Victoria responds with the versatile Ethan Fox to the mound Monday – Ethan is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 2 innings of work, but he’s also hitting .182 in 11 AB’s over 3 games in left field. Expect his focus to move toward the mound as the Victoria roster fills in. Tuesday Victoria fan will get their first look at opening day starter AJ Block as he goes for his first win, and Wednesday sees 2016 returnee Colin Ashworth looking for a bounce-back game to lower his ERA to single-digits.
But the true magic of this series will be what happens around the game. The HarbourCats front office has been waiting for 10 months now to unveil the 2017 array of promotions, in-game entertainment, and changes to the park that make RAP the place to be on a sunny summer evening. Expect to be amazed with visual excitement all around the park on Monday and carrying on right through the series. Good crowds are expected for all three nights – the excitement of opening night Monday might just be overshadowed by the sensational story that continues with Claire Eccles’ arrival on Tuesday.
And of course there’s meeting the 2017 team, raising the 2016 banners, meeting the new coaching staff and seeing how they manage the game, and of course – continuing the winning streak started yesterday in Yakima. You don’t actually think for a minute we’re going to lose another game this year do you?
We are all set for another stellar year of baseball in Victoria with the HarbourCats. The field has never looked better, the beer never been colder, the Floyds burgers never more juicy. I can’t imagine a better way to start June! Play ball Victoria!