CORVALLIS 2 (Series tied 1-1)
The 2019 Victoria HarbourCats set all sorts of offensive records in the West Coast League, including for most runs, hits, RBIs and homers in a season.
But that didn’t immunize them from the Corvallis Knights, who again showed why they are considered the New York Yankees of the WCL, with a 14-8 victory in Game 1 of the best-of-three league final on Friday night at Royal Athletic Park.
The Knights, named for the wife of Nike co-founder Phil Knight and primary sponsor Penny Knight, were looking for their fourth consecutive WCL title and seventh overall in Game 2 on Saturday in Oregon.
But the HarbourCats — all of whom are too young to remember Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees — were doing their own version of Saturday Night Fever in Corvallis and held their own and stayed alive.
Victoria beat the Knights, who have won just under half the championships in the 15-season history of the WCL, 5-2.
Game 3 takes place tonight in Corvallis.
The South Division-champion Knights were looking to put the North Division-champion HarbourCats to the sword to sweep the best-of-three WCL final series, which is a reprise of the 2017 league final, won 2-1 by the Knights.
But Victoria got two crucial hits, including a solo homer, from Harrison Spohn to take the lead in Game 2. Spohn’s Cal-Baptist NCAA teammate Nick Plaia had a hit and a run scored while Nick Adams blasted a double.
Victoria starter Reagan MacDonald went 3.1 innings and allowed two earned runs on two hits with five strikeouts and four walks.
The HarbourCats, with many of their NCAA players already returned to their universities for fall terms that begin this month, were threadbare because of the disappearing arms and bats.
It certainly made the final less than the showcase it should have been, but the remaining HarbourCats have given a good account of themselves in demanding circumstances.
HarbourCats head coach Todd Haney, a five-season former major leaguer, has said the length of the season is something the league needs to address