Baseball types will tell you, no matter the discrepancy between the teams, the hardest thing to do in the sport is sweep a three-game set. That is especially so on the road.
If nothing else, baseball is a sport were adages hold true more times than not.
The Bend Elks (4-14) avoided a home sweep at the hands of the visiting Victoria HarbourCats (8-7) by recording a 7-6 victory on Wednesday night at Vince Genna Stadium in central Oregon after Victoria won the first two games Monday and Tuesday.
Seattle Mariners draft pick Jack Smith, from the Washington State Cougars of the NCAA Pac-12, led the HarbourCats offence with two hits and a run scored. Extra-base hits weren’t an issue for Victoria as Nic Plaia, Harrison Spohn, Dustin Demeter and Dustin Miller all hit doubles. Bringing runs home proved more problematic with the ’Cats stranding eight batters on base.
The Elks’ bats were also alive as they took advantage of the long ball with Jake Holton and Chris Diehl launching home runs.
Victoria Starter Mason Shaw only lasted two innings, giving up four hits, two earned runs with a strikeout and four walks. The HarbourCats rallied to take 5-2 lead by the top of the fifth inning before the Elks started chipping away to take a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the eighth before a solo homer by Jeddediah Fagg tied it for Victoria in the top of the ninth. The Elks, however, scored the walk-off winning run with two out in the bottom of the 10th.
The HarbourCats (8-6) return home to face the torrid North Division-leading Bellingham Bells (12-5) in a three-game series from Friday through Sunday at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park that could go a long way toward deciding the North Division first-half championship, and playoff berth that goes with it.
The Bells pushed their winning streak to seven games Wednesday night with a 7-4 victory over the Cowlitz Black Bears.