Friday, June 5, 2015

Opening night - what a show, what a performance, what a crowd

It was a night for the history books at RAP tonight. The HarbourCats started their third year in the WCL with a decisive win over their BC brethren Kelowna Falcons. Over 4600 fans witnessed a gem of an opener that featured hot starting pitching, some clutch hitting, and a lopsided score for the home side.

New jersey, new logo, no numbers
First off, lets talk about the debut of the new home uniforms. Big-league style pants start the professional look, topped off with a new set of jerseys that sport a new V-Cat logo on the front instead of the smaller number that had been present in the previous version. It's a clean look, but the removal of the number makes for more difficult player identification - especially this early in the season. While I like the logo, I think I'm going to miss the numbers...

On the crowd side, Ticket Rocket - the new on-line ticket site of the 'Cats - seemed slower that the old system, with pre-game lineups to get into the park extending well down the block outside the park. Tickets are scanned by iPhones which seemed to take longer than the old scanners while they focus and find the barcode - but I want to go through the gate a couple times before offering judgement.

Food and beverage sales were brisk, and lineups were pretty crazy for most of the game, meaning a inning or more wait for any sort of concession. To be expected with 4600+ fans all wanting to eat and drink - I suspect with regular attendance numbers, things will flow smoothly.

Overall the crowd was...calm? A very quiet home crowd who had a lot to cheer for, and did the obligatory amount. This blogger didn't hear anyone out of the ordinary - no loud obnoxious fans, and nothing really in the way of heckling. Too early in the season to be getting on the other team perhaps?
4627 Fans means lots of folks on the soccer grandstands. A full park is a happy park!

On the field, the team looked pretty good. Not the final expected roster by a long shot, but a group of guys who played a good game and made the plays as expected. Starting pitcher Alex Rogers showed fans he's upped his game since last year - he has grown into a true power pitcher with great control and a stellar fastball. He pitched the first 6.1 innings giving up only a single run on 5 hits. At the plate, the 'Cats were led once again by Victoria boy Chris Fougner. Foggy had another stellar night at the plate going 3-5 with a run scored, earning him Player of the Game honours.

Mr. Rogers shows this is absolutely his neighbourhood
Scoring was as balanced as possible, with every single starter scoring a run, scattering 11 hits and 7 walks across the 8 innings at the plate. Dane Fujinaka was impressive at 3B, going 1-4 with a couple RBI, as was catcher Jackson Thoreson who went 2-3, also with 2 RBI.

Cats pitchers showed control all night long, surrendering only 8 hits and giving up not a single walk. Seems like a rare feat, but it's actually the 9th time in team history 'Cats pitchers have not offered up a free pass.

Kelowna isn't the biggest powerhouse in the league, but a solid start in front of an enthusiastic crowd set the HarbourCats on the right track early. With Mikey Wright starting Saturday, it could be more of the same from the mound, which should mean a similar result on the scoreboard. For a team that is still missing quite a few of it's expected final lineup, that's about as good as anyone could ask for.

Great to have baseball in town again, get out to the park and take in a game!

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