Friday, August 8, 2014

Kitsap series preview

Saturday is fireworks night at RAP!!
The final weekend of a baseball season can be a magical time. If the year has been a success -- like it has been in Corvallis, Yakima Valley and Bellingham -- fans are excited for the upcoming playoffs and eagerly watching their team prepare for the first round. If the outcome of the season has not yet been determined -- as is the case for the AppleSox and the Elks -- fans are on the edge of their seats, fervently cheering for their team to come through in the clutch and squeak into the post-season. For the rest of us, the final weekend of the regular season is simply one last chance to get out to the ballpark and enjoy the game that we love.

This weekend sees the HarbourCats and Kitsap BlueJackets closing out the 2014 WCL season at Royal Athletic Park with a three-game series, and there are a couple of very interesting plotlines to follow while you nibble on that Bin 4 burger and sip that tasty Kolsch. Gabe Clark comes into the Kitsap series with eight home runs on the year, one short of the all-time WCL record. Unfortunately, Clark hasn't gone yard in his last nine games (36 at-bats), which has allowed Kevin Kline of Corvallis and Walla Walla’s Andrew Mendenhall to pull into a three-way tie with him.

It’s a bit of a long shot, but Hunter Mercado-Hood is technically within striking distance of the all-time WCL record for RBI in a season (48). Although he is eight shy of tying the RBI record, Mercado-Hood has lit up the BlueJackets’ pitching staff this summer, knocking in 12 runs (!!) in only five games / 18 at-bats. Just as with the home run record, scoreboard watching will be mandatory if our guys tie or break a record, since HMH now trails both Kevin Kline (45 RBI) and Vince Fernandez (43 RBI) of the Yakima Valley Pippins.

The RAP clock may still be broken, but time is running out on the 2014 season
The ‘Cats and BlueJackets know each other all too well after having already met on six occasions this summer. Victoria has completely had their way with Kitsap, sweeping all six games and outscoring them by a stunning margin of 63-13. That’s right, the HarbourCats are AVERAGING over 10 runs per game against the woeful Kitsap pitching staff this season. The ‘Cats would be wise to not take their opponents too lightly, however, as the BlueJackets have been playing close to .500 baseball (12-13) since the two teams last met on July 6th.

While making short-term predictions on sports is hazardous at the best of times, we’re going to stick our necks out and predict that the HarbourCats will continue their dominance over the BlueJackets and sweep the series. If our prognostication comes true, Victoria will have won their last five games of the season and finished at the .500 mark with 27 wins and 27 losses. After an inconsistent summer that has had its share of turmoil, wouldn't that be an uplifting way to end the 2014 season?

Regardless of how this weekend plays out on the field, look for large and boisterous crowds to come out to the old ballyard and cheer on the hometown team. Because we all know that this is our last chance to witness Nathan Lukes throw out a baserunner with a frozen rope, or see Mercado-Hood swat yet another line drive for a base hit, or marvel as Clark launches one last moon shot into the screen over the left-field wall. The sun is quickly setting on the season and the cold, driving rains are on their way, so be sure you come on out for one last hurrah.


  1. Listening to the broadcast last night, Jordan Smith that Gabe Clark would not be playing in the Kitsap series. He was driving home to California today. Wyler Smith was also on his way to Utah.

  2. Annie - can you play first base??? They might need to call you into action!!

  3. Annie,

    The HarbourCats have just confirmed that Gabe "The Babe" Clark will indeed be in the lineup this weekend for the 'Cats. He flies out on Monday.

    1. As long as he doesn't fly out every at bat, we'll be ar.

  4. That's great news Gus! With very little to cheer about, at least we can hope that Gabe breaks the home run record.