Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Another pitching gem leaves HarbourCats cold

Andrew Nelson shows us the arm-torque on a fastball. 
Well so much for the series prediction. I much prefer when someone else does the predicting around here, I always seem to overestimate our chances! Back on Monday, I predicted that Victoria's pitching would best the mighty bats of Bellingham in this series, agreeing to tow the company line that solid pitching always beats a good offence. Problem was, I hadn't considered the possibility that Bells pitching was capable of throwing two fabulous outings in a row here in our yard...

Tuesday night was just such a performance from B'Ham starter Seth Martinez. The freshman from Arizona State held Victoria bats at bay for eight solid innings, giving up only 1 walk, 2 hits and 2 runs in the bottom of the second inning, before cruising through the next 19 batters. Martinez fanned an impressive 10 batters in his eight innings of work.

Bellingham was led offensively by Gonzaga junior Jimmy Sinatro. Despite having to listen to walk up music from Ol' Blue Eyes himself (I'm sure he's never heard that before), he went 2-2 with 2 RBI, a triple, and two HBP. At .421, he now leads the Bells Bombers in batting average.

Bobble-head night was a huge success though. Almost 1400 fans made it out (although I think only the first 1000 were to get bobble-heads), and despite the lopsided 7-2 score and a biting wind blowing out to right field, most stayed to the bitter end. Personally, I was frozen to my seat and couldn't move, which could have assisted with that.

Kelly Norris Jones was a good sport throughout the night as the model for the first bobble-head in WCL history (I have no facts to the contrary, so that's probably true). The mini-KNJ was featured in most of the on-field antics and seemed to be everywhere. I expected some good-natured ribbing from the rest of his teammates, but they seemed fairly oblivious to the whole thing. Kelly went 0-2 under the pressure of it all.

With only 2 hits in the game, there weren't a lot of positives at the plates for Victoria. It was nice to see Devin Carter get the start in right field, and he made the most of it early, singling to lead off the 2nd inning and coming around to score the first Victoria run on a Nathan Lukes double. Carter was 2-2 in his HarbourCat career at that point, having done the same thing in his pinch-hit debut Monday night. That was it for him and the rest of the Cats on the night however, as we never saw another hit.

Victoria starter Andrew Nelson actually had a pretty good game, despite getting tagged with the loss. He pitched 6 solid innings, giving up only 2 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk. His defence committed another 3 errors though, leading to the go-ahead run in the fifth that generated the L.

In what could have been a memorable moment early in the second inning of the game, White Chocolate (WC) leaned over to me and pointed to center field... "Check it out - they fixed the clock!" he said. Yes right there on top of the scoreboard, the old-style big-and-little-hands pointed to 7:28. A check of the phone confirmed it - she was right on time! We rejoiced at what has plagued the park for three years now - a clock that didn't keep time. Now if only the city could fix the urinal that was sealed up with a black garbage bag mid-last season, we would be living the dream...

But alas, 15 minutes later as the inning came to a close, the clock still showed 7:28. We had fallen for it. Like my grand-pappy used to say, "Even a broken watch is right twice a day"... Sadly, it showed only 7:50 as the game ended - which by the time it actually did end and I hobbled my frozen carcass to the solace of my car's seat warmers, would have probably been a better time to leave anyway.

Still, I'm holding out hope for one win in this series tomorrow night as the 'Cats send 2-0 Mikey Wright to the mound. If any of the HarbourCat pitchers can stem the bleeding and tame the Bells, it's probably Mikey! Just remember to bring an extra fleece...

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