For the second time in three seasons, the Victoria HarbourCats were zapped by the Death Star of the West Coast League.
The Corvallis Knights won their fourth consecutive WCL baseball title and seventh overall by blasting the HarbourCats 11-1 in the deciding Game 3 of the league final Sunday in Oregon.
The Knights, named for the wife of Nike co-founder Phil Knight and primary sponsor Penny Knight, won the best-of-three final series 2-1. It was a reprise of the 2017 league final, also won 2-1 by Corvallis over Victoria.
The HarbourCats set all sorts of WCL offensive records in 2019, including for most runs, hits, RBIs and homers in a season. But it was again the Knights who lifted the league trophy. They have won almost half of the championships in the 15-season history of the WCL.
“Corvallis is a first-class organization and it was a great series. We look forward to playing them for many years to come,” HarbourCats head coach Todd Haney said.
Haney confirmed he will return to the team next season.
“We have unfinished business,” said the former pro infielder, whose five seasons in the MLB included a stint with the Montreal Expos.
“And that is to win the last game of the post-season. Our guys played their hearts out. We played as hard as we could with a roster that had lost 30 players by the championship game [summer collegiate players having to get back to school and their NCAA teams in August]. It was a great season. We just came up one game short.”
Not that the record-setting regular season soon will be forgotten.
“It was a tremendous season with a great group of guys,” Haney said.
“They were extremely receptive to coaching and to being taught. They were here for a reason — to learn the game and because of their love for the game.”
The HarbourCats again led the 12-team WCL in attendance with a 2,311 average per regular-season game. The Portland Pickles were second at 2,252 and Corvallis third at 1,821.