|"Lets see. First I'll strike everybody out, then I'll go yard. That should do it".|
In an interesting Charlie Strandlund-type performance, Sean Watkins started the game at DH tonight, moved to the pitcher's mound in the 7th, hit the go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth, and closed out the game in the ninth. Like the star of his neighbourhood little league team, Watkins didn't give up a hit, walked only one, and struck out an incredible 6 of the 10 batters he faced - and yes, he did hit the towering home run that propelled the Cats to Victory.
Watkins' home run in the bottom of the eighth couldn't have come at a better time either. After Logan Lombada gave up a 2-run lead in the top of the seventh, it looked like the balls were starting to bounce Kitsap's way. The Bluejackets had committed five errors on the night and should have been out of the game by that point - but a couple of fortunate bounces and some timely hitting brought them back to even. Then Watkins took over, and just like that, a winning streak is born!
Victoria got a more balanced attack this night, with 6 'Cats registering hits. Catcher Aaron Barnett led the way going 2-4 to raise his team-leading average to .370.
The game was speeding right along until the bottom of the seventh when home plate umpire Chet Masse took a foul-tip off the bat of Devin Carter to the chest. Masse was down for several minutes before leaving the game for good. A two-man crew completed the game. The 15 minute delay actually served a purpose, extending the game long enough to make the park dark enough for fireworks.
2812 fans jammed the park tonight, enjoying the win, the warm night, and the light show that followed. While fans spent most of the game very quiet, Watkins performance in the eighth and ninth got the crowd off it's hands and into the game late. RAP saw it's first wave of the season as well. The HarbourCats needed a win in the worst way, and got just what the doctor ordered.
One thing that I find impressive is the knowledge of the fans sitting around RAP. Lombana was charged with a balk in the third, and I heard at least a half-dozen fans explain the rule and result to the fans around them. In the fourth inning, Nathan Lukes was charged with an error on a throw home that went well wide, and Barnett collided with the home plate umpire (Masse again - not his night) - and fans were quick to acknowledge that there was no interference on the play, that he was in the right position, and that the error put him into the play through no fault of his own. Good fans in Victoria, who know the game they are watching.
The Canada Day hats are also top-shelf, and look fantastic with the uniform - the white one anyway. What baffles the mind though, is why are these guys still wearing last-year's pants? All are dirty, wrinkled, and ill-fitting. Some guys are making due by tucking them into their socks and rolling them up, but it's hard to hide the fact that somebody else's ass had them well-worn before they got here. Every game there's some comment (yes, mostly from females in the crowd) about the state of the white pants. While the new hats are awesome and really remind us all we are Canadian, could we not fork out $40 each in new pants for these boys?
Oh and the fireworks were so well worth it. Another great promotion by the HarbourCats front office, enjoyed by all.