Even novice baseball fans know that leadoff walks are costly, but how about two walks to start an inning? Even deadlier. But that’s just what happened to Harbourcats starter Mikey Wright on Saturday night and he paid the price for his slow start. Wright walked Brandon Grimsley and Vinny Esposito to start the game, both came around to score, and the Falcons had a lead they would never relinquish. Final score: Kelowna 5, Victoria 2.
After getting through the Home Opener without walking any batters, Victoria pitchers combined to walk seven hitters while only striking out six. Walking more than you strike out is quite simply a recipe for trouble.
The best pitcher on the night for the hometown squad was Grand Canyon University’s Josh Walker. The undersized but feisty right-hander held the Falcons to only one run on two hits and a walk in three innings of relief. One of my favourite plays of the night was the popup that Walker induced to the middle of the infield in the top of the fifth. Although pitchers are typically told to vacate the premises immediately to allow one of the infielders to take a popup, Walker waved his arms wildly to call off the entire infield and emphatically make the play. I really like this young man's moxie.
The guy who stole Victoria’s thunder was Kelowna starter (and winning pitcher) Tyler Gillies, a sophomore at the University of British Columbia. Gillies mixed up his pitches well and kept HarbourCats hitters off balance for much of the evening. He was a key component in UBC’s recent NAIA West Grouping Championship, so we shouldn’t really be surprised by his solid outing this evening.
PJ Floyd was the only HarbourCat to register more than one hit on the night, as he went two-for-four at the plate, but he also committed one of Victoria’s three errors. Evan Willow and Matt Bryan made the others.
The ‘Cats and Falcons play the rubber game of the three-game set tomorrow afternoon when Shawn Kennedy takes to the hill for the 'Cats against Elias Bedolla. The winner of the game will take home the inaugural Accent Inns Trophy, as the Falcons and HarbourCats will not meet again in 2015.