Kekai Rios of the HarbourCats slides into second but is easily put out by Wenatchee shortstop Joel Condreay in the first half of an AppleSox double play. The action came during Wenatchee’s 9-4 win over Victoria in the West Coast League home opener Monday at Royal Athletic Park. The teams play again Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 6:35 p.m. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Large crowd sees HarbourCats drop baseball home opener in Victoria

Royal Athletic Park was rockin’ Monday night, but so were the AppleSox

A home opener crowd of nearly 2,700 fans at Royal Athletic Park had high hopes for the Victoria HarbourCats on Monday night.

The Wenatchee Apple Sox took a page out of the Cats’ book, however, spoiling the locals’ first 2017 West Coast League game at home by taking a 9-4 win. The visitors slapped out 13 hits, led with two home runs and four runs batted in by Adrian Vela and never trailed in the game.

With skydivers dropping in to the field – one of whom carried the game ball – Mayor Lisa Helps throwing one of the ceremonial first pitches and Central Saanich’s Zamboni guy, Marko Kardum, screening the field beforehand with his ice scraper, the crowd was fired up from the start.

Starting pitchers Ethan Fox for the Cats and Colin Maier for Wenatchee each held their opponents scoreless through three innings. But the visitors opened things up in the fourth with three runs. Victoria got two back in the bottom half on a two-run single by Ethan Lopez, but Wenatchee piled up four more in the fifth.

Lopez and Kekai Rios got the crowd back into it by smacking run-scoring singles in the seventh to make it 7-4, but a Vela blast well over the left field screen padded the AppleSox’ lead again.

The teams are back it tonight (June 6) starting at 6:35 p.m., and play game 3 of their series Wednesday at that time.

HarbourCats accolades … Victoria rookie pitcher Adam McKillican (UBC Thunderbirds) was named West Coast League pitcher of the week yesterday. He made two relief appearances over the weekend, throwing three scoreless innings in each, and picked up a win and a save.

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