HarbourCats Strike Late Again, Take Series From Pippins

VICTORIA, B.C. – In a game eerily similar to the series opener on Friday, the Victoria HarbourCats and Yakima Valley Pippins kept it close early before the home team broke out the bats late, scoring 8 of their 9 runs in the last four innings to claim a 9-1, series-clinching win on Saturday night at Royal Athletic Park.

In a scene that set itself up much like Friday’s series opener, Victoria (8-3, 27-12) did not get much going against Pippins (6-6, 17-21) starter Joe Magrisi throughout the first five innings. After trading zeroes through three and a half innings, the HarbourCats struck in the fourth when Chase Meidroth hit a solo home run to left-center field, just beyond the fence. It was the only hit in the first five innings for Victoria.

Magrisi was dealing through five, but his opponent, Victoria righty Dakota Hawkins, was just as good, shutting down the Pippins over six scoreless innings. Hawkins did not walk a batter and struck out six, allowing just three hits. The right-hander picked up his first win of the summer, as his offense exploded once the bottom of the sixth rolled around.

In the bottom of the sixth, Magrisi – who had only allowed two earned runs all season – allowed the first six men to reach, and four of them to score, before striking out the last three batters he saw in the frame. Similar troubles developed for the All-Star right-hander in the 7th inning, when Victoria put the first four men on base before Magrisi was substituted out of the game. On the night, in his first loss of the summer, Magrisi allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits over 6-plus innings, walking 3 and striking out a season-high 13.

Behind Hawkins, the bullpen for Victoria was strong, with Hunter Hennigh and Matt Amrhein combining to allow just one run over the final three innings. Hennigh gave up the only run in the top of the eighth inning, when Aidan Welch led off the frame with a walk, and scored a few batters later on an RBI single from Nick DiCarlo. Amrhein, the HarbourCats’ closer, allowed one hit and struck out one in a scoreless ninth.

Meidroth led the way on offense for Victoria with three hits and three RBIs, while Parker Bramlett went 2-for-3 with 3 RBIs, and Matt Turner, out of the nine-hole, was 2-for-3 with a triple and 2 runs scored. DiCarlo had the only RBI for the Pippins, who recorded just six hits and did not have a player with a multi-hit game.

The series concludes on Sunday at Royal Athletic Park with an early 1:00 PM first pitch. Right-hander Trystan Vrieling will start the finale for the Pippins, looking to avoid the sweep, opposite Victoria righty Mitch Lines. Pregame coverage with Miles Klotz will begin at 12:45 PM at pippinsbaseball.com/live.

By Miles Klotz

July 21, 2019