Tuesday, June 2, 2015

'Cats drop one to the Emeralds

'Cats Starter Connor Suing "changin' it up"
After extinguishing the Blaze on Sunday (gotta' love the journalistic cliché!), the Victoria HarbourCats were back at it tonight against the North Sound Emeralds of the Northwest Collegiate Baseball League (NWCBL) which is based out of Seattle. Being that I was out of town for the first exhibition game (as Deputy Dawg would say...Dagnabit!), this was my first live baseball of the year so needless to say, I was fired up!

In what was a bit of a sloppy affair, the HarbourCats actually outhit the Emeralds ten to five but ended up on the unhappy end of a 7-4 scoreline. The 'Cats spotted their cross-sound opponents a 7-1 lead before making some late noise and even getting the tying run on base in the eighth before fizzling out in the ninth.

About 280 hardcore fans were in attendance on what was definitely a "two-fleece" evening in downtown Victoria. In the
Cotton, pickin' pesky errors!
end, it was the four HarbourCat errors that really played into the outcome with only three of the seven North Sound runs being earned; cotton pickin' pesky errors!

New arrival Connor Suing from Western Oregon got the start, giving up only one hit but issuing four free passes in his three plus innings of work. Six runs crossed the plate on his watch but again, only two of those were earned.

Of the remaining Victoria pitchers, sidewinder Riley Edmonds probably pitched the best, keeping hitters mostly off-balance with his unique delivery. Edmonds gave up two hits and one run in his three innings on the bump, while striking out four and walking two.

North Sound starter Thomas Deboer went a solid seven innings, scattering seven hits and allowing three runs. He struck out six and walked no one before turning the game over to his bullpen which definitely wavered a bit, but pulled it out in the end.

In general the HarbourCats hit the ball pretty well but it always seemed to be right at somebody or just not quite deep enough. Both Chris Fougner and Sean Murphy had two-hit games for the 'Cats. "Foggy" also made an amazing slide at home, lifting his left arm out of the way just as the tag was being applied in a "now you see it, now you don't" move to score a run in the eighth inning.

It was also good to see a couple more regular faces trickling in such as Connor Suing and Shawn Kennedy from Georgetown (NAIA). In addition to these players, the full coaching staff was behind the bench, including Graig "Hollywood" Merritt in his first appearance as the Victoria head coach.

Baseball aside, there were a few other things that caught my eye tonight:
  • the "K" guys are back doing their stuff along the right field line - good to see you again!
  • it saddened me to see that the clock in centre fields STILL has not been fixed - perhaps there is a shortage of good horologists in the Greater Victoria area
  • the Spinnaker's Kolsch has also returned and looks as cold and delicious as I remember. Aside from Gabe Clark, this has to be my favourite returnee
  • I asked for a radar gun for Christmas for the 'Cats, but I didn't see one out there. I'm hoping they are saving it for opening day
  • and Bubba will be happy to see that all urinals are in full functioning order...at least for a while
Now for a bit more on the NWCBL itself (the league that the Emeralds play in). It is a unique league where eligible players must be enrolled at a collegiate baseball program, be high school seniors with a national letter of intent signed or have played professionally and be looking to sign a pro contract. The latter category of player (more aimed at the pros) is encouraged to sign up with the Emeralds who not only play teams in this league, but also play exhibition games against other clubs (like the 'Cats...and the Bend Elks in prior years) and go into higher level tournaments throughout the season. The Emeralds are the only team in their division most likely because of their unique schedule. I guess that's one way of ensuring a pennant every year!

To get in this league, you simply pay your entry fee and then - assuming you meet eligibility requirements and there are still available slots - you are placed on a team based on your ability and experience level. Similar to my Sunday night beer-league hockey, you can ask to play with your buddy as well! Special note, Canadian players are welcome too!

Anyway, despite the outcome of the game today, it was still a great first night (for me) at the yard. Even though the weather was a little chilly and overcast, it was exciting to be in the friendly confines again. The green grass (with far less weeds than mine at home), the crack of the bats and the smell of ballpark food were like welcoming back an old friend. Yes Victoria, baseball has returned!

No comments:

Post a Comment