Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pitching gem gives 'Cats the rubber match

In a masterful display of starting and relief pitching, the HarbourCats climbed back to .500 on the season with a 3-0 shutout of the Cowlitz Black Bears on Thursday.

Winning Pitcher Mikey Wright
The game was punctuated by a stellar starting pitching performance by San Jose State's Mikey Wright, who scattered a mere four hits over seven complete innings, striking out three. UMN Lobo Preston Ryan was also impressive, earning the save by retiring all five batters he faced. Both batters were aided by a clean sheet from the fielders behind them, as Victoria produced no errors for the first time this season.

The 'Cats got the only run they would need in the bottom of the first, after a wild pitch and a passed ball scored 2B Sean Watkins. Victoria would add a second run in the third after a Tim Boeke double and steal were cashed in on a Danny Collier infield hit. A fourth inning bomb to left center by 1B Bryce Greagor completed the scoring, leaving the rest up to Wright and Ryan.

With the win, the 'Cats improved to 3-3, finding their footing to complete a solid first week of the 2014 season.

It's shaping up to be a great year at the ballpark. first impressions of the team are good - there are a lot of solid contributors on the team, and they seem to be adjusting nicely to the cold weather and wind we have seen this week. Starting pitching may still be an issue, but there are some great young arms in the pen. The park itself is in fine form already. Food is fantastic, facility upgrades like the seats and a cleaned-up left side of the park make the place look more like a professional venue. (Now if they can only fix the urinal in the men's bathroom that's been under a black bag since last season...) The outfield fence is almost entirely full of sponsor banners as well, pointing to a fabulous job of integrating with the community done by Gm Jim Swanson so far.

The biggest change is in the "feel" of the park. Everything seems to be a step up from last year. I'm impressed by small things like the pre-game announcements, the music choices, even the sound-effects all seem upgraded and closer to what you would hear in a major-league stadium. Some new humor has been introduced with clips on the video board and new sounds, and new player and logo graphics on the screen are easier to read and seem to just fit better.

On the concourse, there is a wealth of HarbourCat merchandise that was not available last year - another indication that the 2014 management team is listening to fan requests and taking some action. On the field, there's a whole new set of activities and promos - while still working out some kinks, they are at least showing some initiative and not using the same set from last year.

Lineups for food and drink are a mixed bag. Opening day, there was a 30-45 minute wait for a Bin4, yet hardly any for a beer. A couple of extra sales points around the concourse helped with beer, and because each and every burger is made fresh to order, the Bin4 wait was understandable - and oh-so-worth-it! The rest of the home-stand, it was 5 minutes or less.

Not to dwell, but the HarbourCat Burger is my new favourite. Pulled Pork on a burger? Damn straight!

So after he three game opening home stand, I see nothing but optimism for the team, and nothing but enjoyment in store for Victoria fans. It's a great product on the field, and as close to a big-league experience as you can get off the field. If you didn't make it out this week, get yourself out next week when the Bells come to town - you won't regret it.


  1. The first "Greager-bomb" of the it! I also noticed that someone (on opening night) was putting up "K" signs...would love for that to become a mainstay.

  2. I was pretty impressed with both P. Ryan and M. Wright. So fun to watch young, badass pitchers figuring things out and working batters. Mikey got ....a lot....of fly ball outs last night :)

  3. ...and the Cats are in Bend, Oregon to take on the Elks tonight, Saturday & Sunday. You can listen to the game "LIVE" if you visit the Harbourcats website -