Saturday, August 9, 2014

The best of times, the worst of times at RAP tonight

Saturday night at Sports Traders Diamond was both a wonderful fan experience, and a night at the ballpark I hope we don't see again...

First, the good:

Victoria Eagle and 10-day guy Drew Davidoff made a spectacular HarbourCat debut on the mound. Taking over the game in the sixth inning, and spinning a gem of a 2-hit, 2-walk, 4 inning masterpiece. His slightly side-arm delivery had the BlueJacket hitters swinging at balls moving in and out of the strike zone all night long. He started his Cat career in style, getting ahead of Kitsap catcher Natt Matranga 2-0, then let a fastball fly that went *behind* the startled catcher. Matranga launced a single two pitched later and the youngster looked rattled. Out came Aaron Barnett though, who gave him some words of encouragement, a pat of the back, and the ship was righted. Davidoff would never look back after that. The press box gang gave him the player-of-the-game nod, which he was excited to receive, waving to friends and family in the crowd.

Hunter Mercado-Hood continues to prove those all-star voters wrong, going 3-3 on the night, driving in 1. That raises his average to .383. In his last 11 games, HMH has hit safely in each, a combined 27-49, an amazing .551 - raising his average 51 points in the week and a half. Hunter is chasing Klamath Falls' Steven Packard for the overall batting title but Packard is keeping pace going 2-5 in his game Saturday, keeping him at .407. Playing with the possibilities, if Packard goes 0-5 tomorrow, and Hunter goes 4-4, he'll win the title... Lets go Hunter!
HMH and his first hit of the day, he would add two more and end 3-3

Forgotten Cats Ted Boeke and John Grimsley had great games. Boeke was on base all night going 2-3 with 2 walks, and Grimsley was 2-2 with a walk and 2 runs scored.

Not a single throw to second ended up in center field - and catcher Aaron Barnett actually threw a runner out at second!

The crowd! 2,592 strong, a great showing of Victorians out to the game. Many new fans in attendance who had not been out to a game this year. Lots of positive attitudes and friendly fans to take in the game. What's better, is that Victoria brought 1200 more fans in than the next closest rival in the race to win the attendance crown this year. The Bend Elks, who had 4,200 fans out Friday night, had only 1,400 Saturday, giving Victoria a 3,800 person lead with one game left each. It should be noted, last night's 4,200 fans - a complete sellout in Bend - was thanks to a "free gate" night...

More oooh, more ahhh.
Fireworks. Wallace Driving sponsored the big show to end the season, and man it was sweet. Each show seems to be better than the last and tonight's was no exception as 20 minutes of fireworks and many oooohs and ahhhs had fans forgetting they had just watched a losing baseball game. Cats know fireworks - and burgers - the players all headed up to Bin4 for an after-game burger before fireworks and were mingling with fans and Bluejacket Players on the concourse. A nice gesture for the boys for sure.

And now the Bad:

As good as HMH has been, Gabe Clark has been the opposite. Since hitting two home runs against Corvalis on July 26, he's gone ice cold, batting 9-47 over that time, a .191 average. Gabe seems to have lost his mid-season stroke that made him dangerous each time he came to the plate.

More poor umpiring, so it seemed. Replays showed Alex DeGoti safe at first in the 7th on a play that was called out. The Cats got two breaks in the 8th - HMH appeared to also be out getting back to first late on a Gabe Clark lineout, and then also seemed to be tagged out sealing second two pitches later. Kitsap Head Coach Ryan Parker was pissed, but showed enough restraint to stay in the game on the first call, and only waved in disgust at the second.

Andrew Nelson. Come on. I saw this as one of the most important games of the year. New fans in the stands, time to put on a show for the home crowd and set up the season for next year. Kind of like wearing your best clothes to Mom's house for Sunday dinner, it's expected you put on your best. But not on this night. Pitching coach Ben Jackson, from U of Kentucky trots out Andrew Nelson from - you guessed it, the U of Kentucky for the start. Nelson has been horrible in every start he's made for the HarbourCats this season. His 6.00 ERA going in ballooned to 7.16 after being lit up for all 9 runs. If it wasn't for two defensive outs made to end the first inning, it would have been worse.

Pitcher management. Keeping on the same theme, in a game you're trying to win, your starter is getting lit up in the first inning, and not a soul is warming up in the pen? In the 3rd, same guy gives up a 2-run shot. Nothing? In the 4th, 2 more runs, three hits, a walk, and nothing? Down 9-2, finally a pitching change. Maybe a win just wasn't that important to the coaching staff tonight as I thought it was...
"Yeah, I have no idea why I'm still in here either..."

Ah well, what can you do.

One game left folks, Sunday at 1:05. No starter announced, but look for another Eagle to take the mound. Lets hope to end the season on a high note - come on out and see the boys off in style!

No comments:

Post a Comment