Victoria to host the Bellingham Bells in North Division Final at Wilson’s Group Stadium, Saturday night at 6:35pm
Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart
August 10, 2023
Victoria, BC – A sixth inning triple from Marco Pirruccello, double from Hudson Shupe and two-run homer from Tripp Clark, were the HarbourCats first three hits of the game Wednesday night, leading to a 3-0 HarbourCats lead that they then rode to an eventual 4-2 win over the Wenatchee AppleSox in West Coast League playoff action at Wilson’s Group Stadium in Victoria.
The win gives the HarbourCats a two-game sweep over the AppleSox in the best of three Divisional Series and now pits them against the Bellingham Bells – who also swept their series over Kelowna – in the ONE-GAME knockout North Division Final that will be held at Wilson’s Group Stadium at 6:35 pm on Saturday evening.
The winner of that game will advance to Monday’s WCL Championship game, also a one-game win or die affair, that still potentially could be played here in Victoria.
For that to happen, the HarbourCats obviously must win, but then hope that either Portland (who swept their two game Divisional Series over Ridgefield) or Cowlitz (who play a deciding game three against Corvallis in the Divisional series) emerge as the South Division Champions. If Corvallis should emerge, then the HarbourCats would travel south for that game Monday.
Tickets for Saturday’s North Division Final are now on sale and going fast. They can be purchased on-line HERE!
Note: Fans who have pre-purchased tickets for this game prior to teams and dates being decided, ad season ticket holders who were e-mailed their tickets vis mobile, should use HOME PLAYOFF GAME #2 for their ticket.
Tickets are also on sale for the potential West Coast League Championship game on Monday evening. These can also be purchased via Select Your Tickets HERE. If the HarbourCats should not advance, or if this game ends up being played in Corvallis, fans will have their accounts credited accordingly.
Tickets are also on sale in advance at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street. The office will be open all day Friday from 10AM to 5:30 PM, as well as Saturday 10AM to 5PM for this purpose. Tickets will also be on sale at the gate Saturday starting at 5:30 PM.
On Wednesday night, things were looking down for the HarbourCats as Wenatchee starter Andrew Monson held Victoria hitless through the first five innings of the game. He did start to tire a bit in the fifth and the decision was made to pull him and go to reliever Evan Canfield, who was greeted out of the pen by a lead-off triple from Pirruccello. Shupe then followed with an RBI-Double and after a circus catch off the bat of Tyler Davis by AppleSox left fielder Frankie Carney, Clark deposited a 1-0 pitch over the left-field fence to put the ‘Cats up 3-0.
Meanwhile, the AppleSox were also having early trouble scoring as starter Davis Franklin was almost as good as Monson, holding the Sox to just three hits through the first five innings of play. Jake Finkelstein came on in relief in the sixth and was brilliant, throwing a three-up, three-down inning and then doing the same in the top of the seventh.
The ‘Cats would add an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an RBI single from Piruccello and that would be all the scoring until the AppleSox mounted a bit of the rally in the top of the ninth against HarbourCats reliever Skyler Manelski. That did not last long, as Brett Harvey came out of the pen to record the final two outs and get the save.
This will mark the first time the HarbourCats are advancing to a ONE GAME North Division Final. They have been in the best-of-three North Division finals three times previous to this, losing to Bellingham in 2016, defeating Kelowna in 2017 and defeating Wenatchee in 2019. In their only other playoff appearance, Victoria lost to Bellingham last season in the Divisional Playoffs.
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