Sunday, July 21, 2013

Early jump powers Cats to matinee victory

For the first time in their last five games, the Victoria HarbourCats got some first inning production. The Cats put up 4 runs in the first - the most runs they have ever put up to start a game - and then held on for a tight 6-5 victory over the visiting Wenatchee AppleSox.

LaVelle (32), welcomed home by Lewis (6), Real (14), and DeGoti (24)
Cats starter Ty Provencher sat down the Sox in order in the first before giving way to the quick-start offence that included a 3-run home run down the left field line by newly minted power hitter Dylan LaVelle. Lavelle picked up his third extra-base hit of the series with the blast. Two errors in the inning helped the Victoria cause, including a wild throw into center field that scored Chris Lewis to make it 4-0.

Lewis also scored in the 3rd inning after driving a double to the wall, and scoring on an Austin Russell single. Jordan Ellis scored Mike Darr on a sacrifice fly for the only other Victoria run.

Provencher was rolling along into the fifth, only giving up a single hit, a sun-aided sky-high pop up that 3B LaVelle lost in the sun before it dropped just out of the reach of covering SS Alex DeGoti. Ruled a hit (because the sun cannot cause an error), it was the only base runner Wenachee had in the first 4 innings.

The fifth inning started well for Wenachee, as Andre Real belted his team-leading 5th home run of the season to get the Sox on the board. Three straight singles, a fielder's choice, a another single netted 2 more runs. This was obviously Provencher's storm to weather, with the bullpen remaining empty through it all.

Ty-Pro righted the ship in the 6th and 7th before running into more trouble in the 8th, giving up a mammoth home run to AppleSox All-Star Connor Spencer. With the bullpen ready, he completed the inning with the lead intact at 6-5. He faced one more batter in the 9th until finally, after throwing 121 pitches on the night, he left to a standing ovation from many of the 1200+ fans in attendance, and hugs and fist bumps from his teammates. Cameron Cuneo finished off the next two batters to record his first save of the season.

From my observation, Saturday's win seemed to elevate the mood around the park. Lots of chatter was heard from the Victoria dugout, and for the first time in a few games the boys seemed looser and more involved in the game. Lots of high fives, guys jumping out of the dugout to welcome back returning players after productive at-bats, lots of cheering pitches taken for balls, etc. It's amazing what a win can do to set the mood.

With the first half officially over, the HarbourCats come into the all-star break one game below .500 at 17-18. These two wins against the AppleSox have been key, keeping them only 3 games behind Wenachee for the division lead. Still, they will need to play better ball in the second half to make the post-season as they find themselves in fourth place in the division.


Here's a look at some interesting game stats over the first half of the season...
  • Sunday's four-run explosion marked only the 8th time the Cats have ended the first inning with a lead. They have been outscored 32-20 in the opening frame.
  • Victoria's 5 runs through 3 innings were the most they have scored in the first three innings of a game this season.
  • On average, Victoria outscores opponents in only 3 of 9 innings: The 2nd, 8th, and 9th. They are outscored in all others (except for the 13th, where they have the only 2 runs).
  • The cats most prolific inning is the 8th. They have scored 24 runs, or 15% of all runs in the 8th. Their worst offensive innings are the 2nd and 3rd, accounting for 8% and 7% of total runs.
  • Defensively, the Cats give up more runs in the first inning than in any other, a total of 32 runs or 17% of all runs. Amazingly, they have a stingy 2nd inning, giving up only 10 all season, 5% of total runs.
  • Victoria has had only 4 games this season without an error, while opponents have had 7.
  • Victoria has collected and given up exactly the same number of hits to this point - 307.


  1. Your neglected to mention the infield double! In all the years I've watched baseball, I don't think I have ever seen one.

    Top of the 3rd, Wenatchee's #9 hitter Stephens hit a towering popup that landed on the dirt mid-way between Degotti (SS) and Lavelle (3B) -- it seemed to me that neither of them got a good bead on the ball, lost in the afternoon sun. No error was charged on the play, and Stephens scampered into 2nd with a double.


  2. Martin, that was actually the second sun-aided infield double awarded at RAP this year! The other was when a ground ball was fielded cleanly by the HarbourCats pitcher (can't recall who it was) and his accurate throw was lost in the sun by first baseman Chris Lewis. The throw got by him and the opponent took second base. Sun-aided infield double!

    Both day and night games provided sun challenges for the fielders. During the twilight, the first baseman and right fielder struggle; during day games those on the left side of the diamond struggle with the sun high in the sky. This provides for lots of opportunities for sun-aided hits!