Friday, August 1, 2014

'Cats ring up the Bells

Gabe Clark smashes his two run double down the lline
The Victoria HarbourCats beat a very good ball club tonight by taking down the Bellingham Bells 4-2. The team showed what it can do when they've got it all going - hitting throughout the lineup (only two starters were hitless), some clutch hitting along the way (exhibit A - Gabe Clark...more on him later), good defense, solid starting pitching and lights out relief. It all came together tonight and Victoria showed just what they are capable of on any given night. The biggest difference in my opinion is the timing of the hits. Victoria can hit, we know that by where they sit in the league, but they do struggle to get the timely hit. Well, not tonight.

The Bells got on the board first by doubling in a run in the second but the 'Cats answered when all-round nice guy Aaron Barnett smashed his first collegiate round tripper to even the score in the fourth. I mean seriously, this guy really looks like he enjoys what he's doing...always smiling, always encouraging the next batter from the on deck circle, running out to greet the pitcher after the final out of every inning. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Well done AB.

Now enter Gabe Clark. This guy is going places. No, he didn't hit his record-tying homer - no thanks to the clueless announcer who called it out it during the game...which was like announcing to the crowd that a goalie has a shut out entering the third period. But I digress. All Gabe did was slam a two run double in the fifth to give the 'Cats a little breathing room while going two for four on the night. Both balls were hit hard and had no chance of being played. Defensively he was scooping balls out of the dirt all night and handled a hot grounder with ease. So with eight games to go, Clark is hitting .320 (and climbing), leads the 'Cats in slugging (.576) and OPS (.979), and is leading the league in home runs. And all this as a sophomore, where he had a starting role and hit .280 for the top ten ranked Oregon State Beavers. As Timbuk 3 would have said, The Future's so Bright (Gabe's Gotta Wear Shades).

Back to the game, Nathan Lukes also had a pretty good night in the lead-off spot - where he belongs - going two for five to nudge his average even higher in the .300's. On the mound, Logan Lombana got the job done again by pitching seven yeoman's innings and giving up two runs on seven hits while striking out three. Carson Schneider continued his recent dominance out of the 'pen with two perfect innings of relief.

In non-game related events, the Benn brothers and Adam Kreek (who also sang the Canadian anthem...again!) were there and the sun even broke through for a nice "warm" evening. The mound proved to be a bit troublesome when in the first inning, Bells starting pitcher Gabe Cramer knocked out a few large chunks of earth and tossed them away in frustration, prompting the grounds crew to go to work a couple of different times. By the time the night was over, the mound had more work done to it than Joan Rivers.

I think both batteries were frustrated by the "tight" strike zone as Big Blue seemed to try and make the game as long as possible for no apparent reason with some head-scratching calls both ways. Even more frustrating to me, and this is really starting to grind my gears, can someone please explain why we cannot have ANY indication of the visitor's lineup on the scoreboard?? Why is that so hard? We can do replays, but we never know who is at bat or where we are in the order. It can't be that hard to get some static information up there, can it? Heck, I volunteer to run a flash drive to the scoreboard between innings if that's what it takes. Sorry...just sayin'...

Anyway, too much negativity there. I don't want to take away from what a great game it was to watch, and how satisfying it is to see the 'Cats hit their stride. Sure they may not make the playoffs, but it is good baseball. Come on out tomorrow and Sunday to see for yourself.

Who's having fun here? Aaron is!

1 comment:

  1. Re: your comments about the visitor's lineup on the scoreboard -- you are absolutely right. This would make a big difference to the fans in the stands, and like you say it shouldn't be that hard. The information is available in real-time on -- what would it take to get it up on the RAP JumboTron?