VICTORIA, B.C.— The Wenatchee AppleSox held onto its North Division lead by beating the Victoria HarbourCats in a 2-0 pitchers’ duel.
Ex-Wenatchee Valley College righty had his best start of the year by going seven innings without allowing a run. The quick-working soon-to-be Lewis-Clark State Tiger surrendered only five hits and three walks, while striking out nine. Chris McDowell, of Washington State University, closed out the game for the Sox, throwing two innings and giving up only two hits.
Victoria starter Connor Russell also had a stellar outing, despite being hit with the loss. Russell pitched eight innings, and only gave up three hits. He did walk three, but struck out six.
The Sox put the pressure on early as they scored in the top of the first, when Joey Jansen led off the frame with a double. Jansen moved to third on a Grant Palmer groundout, and eventually scored when Brock Slavin rolled out to short.
Wenatchee scored its second run in fourth in similar fashion: Palmer hit a single to start the inning, a Slavin walk moved Palmer up a station, and then consecutive groundouts from Connor Spencer and Ryan Barr plated Palmer to make it 2-0 — a lead that was good enough for the AppleSox’s stellar pitching.
The win ensures that the Sox (22-15) will maintain as the North’s top team as the Bellingham Bells (20-16) and the Walla Walla Sweets (20-16) jockey for second-place in Walla Walla. The victory is Wenatchee’s second in as many games, but the result marks Victoria’s fifth straight loss. The HarbourCats started the season well, but have lost eight of their last ten.
C.J. Burdick will take the hill Saturday in the second of the three-game series in Canada. Burdick threw well in his last start, but did not get the win due to sloppy relief work from the Sox bullpen.
Davis “The Minister” Engel will pitch the series-finale on Sunday before the WCL’s All-Star break.