Saturday, August 3, 2013

Lack of offense wastes dominant outing by Conant

Bryan Conant
Bryan Conant was spectacular on July 14th when he threw a complete-game shutout against Klamath Falls, but he was even more impressive last night against the Walla Walla Sweets. Conant gave up only six hits in nine shutout innings, he struck out 10 and he didn’t walk a single batter. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to pick up a win, as the underachieving HarbourCats fell 1-0 to Walla Walla in 10 innings. On the plus side, at least the team had the good sense to sit Conant down after his 115-pitch masterpiece.

In his last four starts, Conant has now only given up a total of two earned runs in 33 innings. Yes, you read that correctly – TWO earned runs in his last 33 innings pitched. The season numbers for Conant “The Barbarian” continue to defy gravity, as he is currently fourth in the West Coast League with a 1.81 ERA. Opponents are hitting a paltry .198 against him and his WHIP stands at a miserly 0.93. The big lefty looks to have a bright future ahead of him, but we knew that well before he donned a HarbourCat uniform for the first time.

On Friday night, the ‘Cats did manage to push across three runs in a 3-1 victory over the Sweets. Those precious runs made a winner out of Ty Provencher, who also had what was likely his best outing of the season. “Ty Pro” threw a complete-game gem on Friday, giving up only one run on five hits and a walk. He struck out nine batters, which gives him 28 strikeouts in his last 25 1/3 innings on the hill. Provencher threw a whopping 135 pitches in the game, topping his previous high-water marks of 121 pitches on July 21st and 118 pitches on July 8th. Let’s hope that his arm really is made out of rubber and that the former short reliever remains injury-free over the remainder of his college career.

Saturday’s loss leaves the HarbourCats four games out of the last playoff spot in the North Division standings, but only the most hopelessly optimistic fan would be entertaining post-season thoughts at this point. With the team’s transmission stuck firmly in neutral, the most pertinent question remaining to be answered this summer is whether or not the HarbourCats can avoid a last-place finish. The Kelowna Falcons, made up primarily of Division II and junior college players, have managed to pull within three games of the fourth-place HarbourCats. In fact, the Falcons have been a much better team than the Victoria squad since late June. At the end of the day on the 23rd of June, the HarbourCats had a record of 10-4, while the Falcons stood at 3-12. Since that oh-so-obvious turning point of the season, Victoria has gone a shocking 10-22, while Kelowna has posted a respectable 14-17 record. If the team is to avoid finishing in the basement, a number of those sleeping bats are going to have to wake up in the dying days of the team’s inaugural season.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent write-up Gus. It's nice to see these pitchers getting some well deserved accolades. Conant's numbers are impressive to say the least. These guys have given their all each and every outing for their team. They definitely pitched well enough to get the win but more importantly they are fine young men who have taken the wins and losses gracefully. They have been a pleasure to watch!