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NorthPaws Swept by HarbourCats in Season-Opening Series

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Article written by Larry Read.

VICTORIA, BC—The road wasn’t a very hospitable place for the Kamloops NorthPaws as they opened up their second season in the West Coast Baseball League. Playing at Wilson’s Group Stadium in Victoria, the NorthPaws were swept in three straight games by the hometown HarbourCats

The scores were 13-3 in the season opener Friday (June 2), 6-4 on Saturday (June 3) and 4-3 on Sunday (June 4).

Of the three games, Kamloops had its best chance of winning in the finale. They led the game 2-0 after scoring twice in the first inning. Up 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, The NorthPaws surrendered two runs. The ninth saw Victoria load the bases on their first three batters. Kevin Shay (San Carlos, CA) drove the ball to left field scoring the tying and winning runs.

The NorthPaws will head home to host Portland on Tuesday (June 6) while Victoria stays at home to open a set against the Walla Walla Sweets beginning Monday (June 5).

SERIES RECAP:

Friday, June 2, 2023-HarbourCats 13 NorthPaws 3

The NorthPaws led 1-0 after two innings but gave up three in the fourth, six in the sixth and four in the eighth. Kamloops added their other two runs in the fifth inning as they had six hits and committed one error. Victoria scored 13 runs on 10 hits.

Felix Chenier-Rondeau (Blainville, QC) led Kamloops offensively. Rondeau had two runs batted in and two stolen bases as he went one for three. Tyrelle Chadwick (Kamloops, BC) the third of five NorthPaws pitchers was tagged with the loss. He gave up four runs and two walks. Griffin Almond started on the mound for Kamloops and went three and two thirds innings.

Bradden Kesey (Manchans, Texas) led Victoria at the plate. The Grayson Country College player was one for four with three runs batted in. Ryan Magdic (Beamsville, ONT) was two for three at the dish with two runs batted in. Russell Young (Surrey, BC), who attends UBC hit a solo homer for Victoria. Dawson Huford (Victoria, BC) was the winning pitcher. He threw six innings of three hit ball, striking out four and walking one. Link to Scoresheet: http://baseball.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=598651

Saturday June 3, 2023-HarbourCats 6 NorthPaws 4

For the second straight night, the NorthPaws got the early lead scoring the games first run in the third inning. But Victoria notched deuces in the fourth, seventh and eighth as they had five hits and committed two errors.

Kamloops added a single run in the fourth and two more in the eighth notching three hits and committing two errors.

Infielder Cooper Neville (Glendale, AZ) was one for four with two runs batted in for the NorthPaws. David Jeon (Coppell, TX) was tagged with the loss coming into the game in the eighth. He surrendered two runs, struck out one and walked two. He was the third pitcher for Kamloops who started lefty Hayden Walker. He pitched five innings, striking out three, walking one and walking one.

Offensively, Victoria was led by Ryan Magdic. The Florida Southern College player was one for three with two runs batted in. Jake Finkelstein (Richmond, BC) was the winning pitcher. He went an inning and a third and was the fourth HarbourCats pitcher. Starter Cam Calley (The Woodlands, TX) tossed the first five innings. The Baylor University lefthander had nine strikeouts, three walks, gave up two runs and one hit.

Link to Scoresheet: http://baseball.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=598652

Sunday, June 4, 2023 HarbourCats 4 NorthPaws 3

Kamloops scored two runs in the top of the first inning. Nathan Gray (Queen Creek, AZ) doubled to bring in leadoff hitter Tommy Green (Courtenay, BC) . Later, Nolan Austin (Kamloops, BC) singled and scored on a single from Jude Hall (Chilliwack, BC). Hall was two for three on the day.

The NorthPaws led 3-0 until that eighth inning when reliever Joey Carrenza (Duncanville, TX) gave up three straight walks to load the bases. The HarbourCats got on the scoreboard on a hit pitch and a ground ball.

In the bottom of the ninth, two ‘hot shots’ to third baseman Austin resulted in two Victoria players getting to first and second. Tyrus Hall (Victora, BC) beat out a bunt to load the bases setting up Kevin Shea’s dramatics. Hall was two for three on the day. Shea was two for four with two runs batted in.

Shortstop Cooper Neville (Glendale, AZ) was two for three and made two outstanding defensive plays for Kamloops.

Reliever Kolby Lukinchuk (Prince George, BC) suffered the loss. He was the fifth pitcher of the day and went an inning giving up the tying and winning runs. Tucker Christenson(Norwalk, IA) was the winner in relief. He pitched two thirds of an inning surrendering one strikeout.

Link to Scoresheet: http://baseball.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=598653

HEAD COACH KEITH FRANCIS:

On weekend vs Victoria: “I didn’t think we were too nervous. We have a lot of players who are new to the program. I thought the younger guys played well this weekend. On the first night we had one bad inning which did us in. Saturday saw us make some errors which cost us. Today (Sunday), our first two pitchers performed well. We just couldn’t pitch out of jams when we gave them (Victoria) chances to win. I am not taking anything away from them, they are a good team. We failed to execute but we will get better. I won’t lie to you—it’s a bitter pill to swallow (the results) but I have been there before. We will turn this around pretty quick.

On play of Nathan Gray and Cooper Neville: “Both these guys are just out of high school or have had just one year of college. Cooper especially hit the ball well. They are very fun to watch and will only get better.”

NorthPaws moving forward: “We have a catcher/outfielder and a pitcher who arrived in town (Kamloops) on the weekend. Both will be in the line up soon (one was sick and the others equipment didn’t arrive yet) and we have others making their way here after being knocked out of the College World Series. They will add a lot of depth to our roster.”

WE MEET AGAIN:

The NorthPaws and HarbourCats will meet one more time this season. The two teams will play in Kamloops in a three game series which begins July 28th.

NEXT UP:

The NorthPaws return home to Dearborn Ford Field at Norbrock Stadium to entertain the Portland Pickles. The three game set is Tuesday through Thursday (June 6-8th). Opening pitch all three nights is 6:35 PM. Wednesday, June 7th will see the Western Hockey League Kamloops Blazers honored. Members of the team will be on hand and will be signing autographs.

Kamloops will be at home for six games. The visit June 9-11.

If you can’t make the games, they are all webcast on https://wcleague.watch.pixellot.tv/ . Some will also be shown on Shaw TV in Kamloops (Cable 10 or 105 with Blue Curve). For “Everything NorthPaws-Go to the website : https://www.northpawsbaseball.ca/ “ Kamloops North Paws tickets: ticketing@northpawsbaseball.ca West Coast League: westcoastleague.com.

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Summer Collegiate

Stability and more support the story for NightOwls coaching staff

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Greg Frady, Gorman Heimueller, Sean FitzGerald are the only coaches the Nanaimo NightOwls have ever known.

With the West Coast League team entering its third season at historic Serauxmen Stadium, that trio will have some help for 2024 — and the local kind.

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Frady, the Head Coach and veteran of college and international baseball, is proud to add two local coaches to the staff — First Base Coach Tyler Moretti, and Mental Skills/Bullpen Coach Jordan Herbison.

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Pitching Coach Heimueller, amazingly, is approaching his 50th year in the game, a career that includes two World Series rings, while FitzGerald, who runs the offense from the third base box, brings a wealth of junior college experience from Skagit Valley College.

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Moretti is well known locally as a former Pirates player who went south to play at Jamestown College, also seeing time at then-named VIBI. He has coached at the PBL and collegiate level.

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Herbison, originally from Ontario, played at UBC and the former RHP is now an instructor at Vancouver Island University, and was the mental performance coach for the NightOwls in 2023.

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Herbison and Moretti will give NightOwls players more opportunities for development.

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Arm injuries in pro and college baseball — NightOwls make organizational statement

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Heimueller has served as a minor league pitching coach and coordinator for many MLB organizations, most recently with the Padres. He has World Series rings for his work with the Twins and Phillies.

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With the NightOwls, Gorm has enjoyed working with them all — but especially strong-command pitchers such as Nathan Buchan, Garrett Goodall, Jake Fleury and Josh Laukkanen.

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“Gorm loves to say he’s never seen a ground ball leave the park,” said Swanson.

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“We see athletes on our team and others using max effort rather than prioritizing strikes — that makes for longer games, too, another focus in baseball. If someone can throw 97, with healthy actions and commanding the baseball, that’s great — but few can and let’s stop turning our backs on pitchers who can get people out with pitch location as the priority.

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“There is too much focus on radar gun ratings, on spin rate readouts, and Gorm and our coaching staff will be developing and rewarding pitchers who locate pitches and get batters out.”

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The NightOwls are excited about the player roster for the coming season, and the mix of pitchers on the roster — different styles, to create different looks and get the 27 outs required to win games.

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Victoria HarbourCats – 2024 Season Ticket Pick-up Event

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WE ARE BACK! 2024 Season Tickets Available for Pick-Up

May 17, 2024

We are inviting all season ticket holders, host families, and fans to join us for our annual “MAX MIXER” Season Ticket Holder Pick Up Event on Tuesday, May 28th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at MAX FURNITURE at 3460 Quadra St. in Victoria.

WHAT: Season Ticket Pick-Up and Pre-Season Mixer
WHERE: MAX FURNITURE – 3460 Quadra St.
WHEN: Tuesday, May 28th from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

Come meet your fellow fans, grab your season tickets, and mingle with HarbourCats staff and Harvey the HarbourCat as we kickoff the 2024 season.

There will be ticket and merchandise deals offered exclusively at the event.

NO RSVP required but if you have any questions, please contact the HarbourCats office at 778-265-0327.

If you can’t make the event, you can pick up your tickets at the HarbourCats office at 101-1814 Vancouver Street. Open M-F 9AM to 5PM, and Saturdays 10AM to 4PM.

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