|Alex Real digs in|
Victoria starter Bryan Conant "the Barbarian" ended up giving up four earned runs in five innings of work - all off the long ball, while striking out three and walking two. Not wanting to be outdone, his Cal State Fullerton teammate, Joe Navilhon, gave up a solo shot of his own in the seventh inning that knotted the game at five apiece, robbing Conant of the victory. Other than that, Navilhon pitched well in his three innings of work as he struck out five and walked only one.
After falling behind 4-1 early, the 'Cats chipped away to pull ahead in the sixth until the Anthony Young dinger in the eighth. Timmy Richards went three for five hitting in the number two spot and raised his average to very nice .324. But it was Alex Real who provided the clutch hit in the bottom of the eighth after Richards hit one to second with the bases full. Real came up with two out and, apparently unhappy that he was not the first HarbourCat to do this, bashed a grand slam off loser Darren Kolk, to essentially put the game away at 9-5. Ryan Keller made sure there was no doubt as he pitched a solid last inning, giving up a lead-off double but then striking out two of the final three hitters.
It was great to see a timely hit by the 'Cats once again and even though they stranded nine runners,
It was also nice to see the coaching staff pull the starter before he got too tired and gave up those seventh/eighth inning runs. Another joy of a league like the WCL is that it takes some experimentation with your staff to see what they can do and where they run out of gas. Here's to hoping this continues because if they eliminate their early runs and get the starter out of there before trouble brews, the strong staff of relievers will make it awfully tough to generate any late inning heroics.
Next up for the 'Cats are the Walla Walla Sweets, who are in town tomorrow for a three game set that will cap off the 12 consecutive games for our local lads.