YAKIMA VALLEY 1
Timing is everything in baseball, especially with pitching. But in many different ways. With Fireworks Night guaranteeing one of the best crowds of the season, Dakota Hawkins certainly picked a good time to have a big game.
Victoria HarbourCats starter Hawkins provided some fireworks of his own on the mound by going six innings and allowing only three hits and no runs in a 9-1 West Coast League victory over the Yakima Valley Pippins on Saturday evening at Wilson's Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.
“It was a credit to my defence, which made three double plays, and a diving catch in the outfield,” said the six-foot, 195-pound native of Chehalis, Washington.
Hawkins plays for Lower Columbia College, but grew up a University of Washington Huskies fan and would like nothing better than to graduate from his two-year junior college to the NCAA Pac-12.
If he keeps this up, Hawkins could be raising eyebrows at the next collegiate level. He is 1-0 with a 2.17 ERA in 20.2 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts, three walks and 17 hits allowed in six games for Victoria.
“But there are some things that I’ve got to keep working on,” he said.
That is what collegiate summer ball is all about — ironing out the kinks and details for the varsity seasons in the fall and next spring.
On a team known more for its hitting prowess — Victoria won the opening game of the three-game set 17-2 on Friday night — the HCats mound play has been equally as impressive.
“We have a great pitching staff,” said Hawkins.
The HCats' hitting machine, meanwhile, continued unabated as Parker Bramlett and Chase Meidroth hit home runs Saturday with Meidroth finishing with three hits on the night.
HarbourCats coach Todd Haney said it “sounds like a broken record.”
But in the best way.
“It’s a great group of players who are playing at a high level,” he said.
“They push each other and take pride in their game performances.”
The HarbourCats are already guaranteed a playoff berth by winning the first-half WCL North Division title and are now 9-3 in the second half and 27-12 overall.
Victoria and Yakima Valley (6-6 and 17-21) close out their set this afternoon in a matinée at Royal Athletic Park.