It took to the 54th and final regular season game, but the Victoria HarbourCats secured a West Coast League playoff spot Sunday afternoon at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
Needing a victory over the visiting Edmonton Riverhawks — who were also needing a win to make the postseason — and a bit of help on the out-of-town scoreboard, the HarbourCats got both and will now host Game 1 of their best-of-three first-round series with the North Dvison first-half champion Bellingham Bells tonight at Royal Athletic Park. Games 2 and, if necessary, 3 will be played at Joe Martin Field in Bellingham on Wednesday and Thursday.
The HarbourCats go into the postseason as the No. 4 seed in the North Division after their overall record of 26-28 left them a half-game ahead the Riverhawks and a half-game back of the expansion Kamloops NorthPaws, who claimed the division’s third seed and play the second-half winning Wenatchee AppleSox in the other North Divison semifinal series.
In the South Divison, the Corvallis Knights won both the first and second half division titles, so they will face the No. 4 seed Yakima Valley Pippins in the first round, while the Ridgefield Raptors and Portland Pickles will square off in the other South Division semifinal series.
On Sunday at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, HarbourCats starter Nick Taylor almost singlehandedly propelled Victoria into the playoffs as he went six innings, giving up just five hits and one run in the HarbourCats’ 3-1 victory. Jack Seward pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up the save. Noah Sudyka, who’s headed back to the University of San Diego in a few weeks, supplied much of Victoria’s offence, going 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.