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Riverhawks pitching handcuffs HarbourCats

Victoria wraps up series in Edmonton on Sunday
The HarbourCats will try to win the series finale in Edmonton on Sunday. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

The West Coast League baseball game Saturday in Edmonton between the Victoria HarbourCats and Riverhawks had to be shifted to the afternoon for obvious reasons in the Alberta capital.

These might be the boys of summer, but in Canada, you don’t mess with the boys of winter, especially when the hometown team is playing in the ­Stanley Cup final that night.

Whatever time they play seems fine with the Riverhawks as they have taken the first two games of the set against the ­HarbourCats, following up ­Friday night’s 3-1 victory with a 5-2 win on Saturday.

Three Riverhawks pitchers combined for a two-hitter in the Saturday game.

“We have been struggling offensively and they put some good arms up against us,” said Victoria head coach Todd Haney, the 2023 WCL coach of the year, who took the HarbourCats to the league final last year.

“We’ll be fine.”

The series concludes today in Edmonton at Re/Max Field, which used to be a Triple-A pro ballpark in the days of the Edmonton Trappers. It’s quite something for the summer-collegiate players in the WCL to behold.

“To be in a Triple-A clubhouse and field gives our players a chance to see what the next levels up look like,” said Haney.

“It’s a new experience for a lot of these players.”

Five-season former MLB player Haney knows all about it, however, having gone through Re/Max Field when he played Triple-A for the Trappers’ arch-rival Calgary Cannons. This is also after coaching the HarbourCats since 2018 and bringing them through Joe Martin Stadium in Bellingham against the WCL’s Bells. Joe Martin Stadium is where Haney began his pro career in Single-A as a 1987-drafted Seattle prospect playing with the old Bellingham Mariners.

“It all brings back awesome memories,” said Haney, who played for the Montreal Expos, New York Mets and Chicago Cubs in his MLB career.

“It’s the cycle of baseball. Now I get to work with young players and bring the next ­generation through these same ballparks.”

Haney will be looking for a win today in one of his old Triple-A visiting Alberta haunts as the HarbourCats have fallen to 7-7 and the Riverhawks have climbed to 9-5.

Third-baseman Cam Schneider, from the NCAA Div. 1 Fresno State Bulldogs and hitting .433 in a strong start to the season, had one of the Victoria hits Saturday.

“Cam [Schneider] is a gamer. He loves to come out and compete,” said Haney.

The other HarbourCats hit came from Manny Ramirez Jr., son of former MLB star and World Series champion Manny Ramirez.

The HarbourCats will return to play the Nanaimo NightOwls (6-6) three times this week in WCL action at Serauxmen ­Stadium in the Harbour City. Victoria leads the race for the Island Cup, presented annually to the winner of the season series between the HarbourCats and NightOwls, 2-1.

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