Thursday, July 10, 2014

'Cats lose a close one but set a world record!

A-Rog mowin' em down
In a very entertaining game in front of a raucous crowd of 1,606, the Victoria HarbourCats came up just short in the ninth inning to fall 5-4 to the visiting Medford Rogues. The story of the game is an easy one tonight - the 'Cats left the bases loaded FOUR times and three of those times (first, seventh and eighth) they did it with only one out and could not get a single run across. The final time was in an exciting ninth where they did put two runs across but as it turns out, that was one too few.

It really comes down to the clutch hit which seems rarer than a Rosie O'Donnell doggie bag these days. Hitting for average is great and going two for four is awesome, but getting that one clutch hit when you need it is what is going to win games. Again Victoria outhit their opposition (this time 12-8) only to come out on the losing end which must be extremely frustrating to these guys as they are doing a lot of things right out there. Just not at the right time.

That aside, it really was a good game to watch. It was a clean game fielding-wise as there was only a single error by Medford. There was some weirdness too, when a routine single went into the Medford outfield and popped inside the centrefielder's uniform, ever so briefly. But an alert Bob Miller ran out to the umpiring crew and they ruled that this put the ball "out of play" giving the HarbourCat batter an extra base. Strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama!

Both starting pitchers kept the game moving by working quickly with "Triple M" (the Medford Man Mountain) David Peterson out-dueling Alex Rogers by giving up no runs, four hits/strikeouts/walks in his six and a third innings. Rogers had a good night himself going one out short of the distance (after which the 'Cats gave up two more runs...DOH!) and surrendering four runs, seven hits with four K's and two free passes.

After that it was a battle of which relief staff wanted to win the least. The Rogues tried to give it back by serving up eight more hits, four runs and two bases on balls the rest of the way but again, the 'Cats just couldn't find that final single when they needed it.

It was also a game of "what if's" for the 'Cats. What if Rogers pitched the final out of the ninth? What if Gabe Clark didn't get gunned down trying to get to second base in the eighth (the next batter hit a double)? What if Medford's Yuto Kata (who also went two for two) didn't steal home in the first and then AGAIN with two out in the ninth?

All that said, today was really about the awesome fans in Victoria. Community spirt was soaring as the creative HarbourCats promotional team set out to break the record for most ceremonial first pitches before a game, aiming for a target of 5,000 which was well above the record of 4,218 that they were aiming for, set by the Brevard County Manatees. Danny the Intern from Kool-FM (your kids will know him) kicked off the festivities around 8:30 AM this morning and a steady stream of people of all ages and abilities started hurling (baseballs, that is) all the way up until game time. In fact, a couple of intrepid bloggers were spotted at the festivities throwing their cheese as well. When all was said and done, our city-folk threw a mind-boggling total of 5,253 pitches. A new world record!! Outstanding job Victown!! Pat yourselves on the back and go to the showers now...ya' done good. Now serious question...can any of you throw middle to late inning relief??

And as an added bonus, click here for a view of the 10 WORST ceremonial first pitches. Luckily, this was filmed before I served up my own kitten-like knuckle curve!

One of the 5,253 pitches - probably the best one!

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