|The 'Cats packed in over 3,000 fans on Opening Night as the RAP|
Victoria pitcher Logan Lombana has a pretty decent outing, going five innings and only giving up two runs on four hits. This was matched by Cowlitz hurler Trevor Lane who also went five and gave up one run on three hits. While both pitchers did well, it seemed that they threw a lot of pitches and rarely started off with a strike. Fittingly, the score was 2-1 for Cowlitz after five innings.
Middle relief on both sides was sketchy as 'Cats pitcher Carson Schneider gave up six hits in just one and two thirds of an inning while his Cowlitz counterpart, Henry Omana, gave up five in one and a third. The 'Cats clawed back into it in the sixth when Cole Kreuter laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to advance the runners and the next batter, Ted Boeke, smashed a game-tying two run triple.
Some sloppy baseball then saw Victoria first baseman Bryce Greager commit a couple of errors on back to back plays which resulted in two Black Bear runs. Being generous, Cowlitz returned the favour when shortstop Kyle Hunt dropped a tailor-made double play ball with one out in the seventh to load the bases. Cowlitz reliever Grant Gamble followed this up with eight straight balls to tie the game up once again, and give himself that not-so-coveted infinite ERA.
Things then tightened up as the 'Cats Tim Peabody and Cowlitz' Joe Reta settled down and pitched a solid four plus innings until the Lukes double in the eleventh sent the local crowd home smiling at about 11:15 PM - yes, it was a long game.
It's always great to walk into the ballpark for the first time each season. The grass seems greener than the year before, the air fresher and the gastronomic delights even more savoury than you can remember. Tonight's game started off with an amazing rendition of the two national anthems by a girl no more than about ten. Then it was "Go" time. We were reminded that these are still polite young men as the 'Cats catcher, Gunnar Pollman, opened the game by shaking hands and taking time to chat with the home plate umpire prior to the first pitch. It's like kittens before they turn into cats.
Some other random observations along the way:
- Still on the field, there were a lot of bunts and steals which makes for exciting baseball
- The Black Bears' Chris Iriart was ejected in the ninth inning for arguing a called third strike but my question is, where does he go? Maybe they made him sit in a corner in the dugout and promise not to look at the game!
- Bin 4 Burgers had a steady stream of (well deserved) business, but the wait after you ordered was at least an inning long. The food is excellent though so I hope they can work out the throughput issue without pre-making the food
- The GOOD news though, is that while you wait for your burger you can watch the game on the terrace and no usher shoos you away due to fire regulations like last year
- All other lineups were very manageable
- Harvey's off-season conditioning regime was a dismal failure as he once again was defeated by a duo of four year olds running the bases
- While doing yoga in the seventh inning stretch is an admirable health move, I'm not sure how it was received by traditionalists. I'm thinking a scripted routine during Take Me Out to the Ballgame would be a nice compromise
- The car race promotion didn't fare so well but it may have been for the best...were the cars REALLY going to drive around the infield during warmup?
- Few other first-game kinks to work out but overall, I thought the HarbourCat staff did an outstanding job of hosting over 3,000 of their closest friends, rolling with it well when something didn't go their way