HarbourCats focus on building experienced team

The Victoria HarbourCats will focus on fielding an experienced team, says the team's general manager.

The Victoria HarbourCats didn’t make the playoffs this year, but the team is already looking ahead to next season where their focus will be fielding an experienced team, says the team’s general manager.

After a slow start to the season, things started to heat up on the mound during the second half and the team finished second in the west division with a record of 29-24, behind the Bellingham Bells.

“As far as the season goes, we didn’t make the playoffs, we didn’t win a league championship and we didn’t set any league attendance records for the overall season, but I think we’re trending in the right direction,” said Jim Swanson, HarbourCats general manager.

“We were probably the best hitting team in the league over the season. I think we brought a lot of excitement to the park, not only on the field, but off.”

Some of their success came from outfielder Kevin Collard, who led the team with seven home runs and 35 RBI. After coming off his freshman season with Sacramento State, PJ Floyd hit eight home runs, including exhibition games.

Nanaimo-native Griffin Andreychuk led the team with a batting average of .385.

“He’s a Vancouver Island guy through and through. He had a tremendous average and really was a catalyst to us finishing that stretch that we did with 21 wins in our last 29 games,” Swanson added.

Infielder Alex DeGoti closed out what is likely his final season with the team as well. The Miami-native, who has played with the team for the last three years, was also inducted into the HarbourCats Ring of Honour at Royal Athletic Park.

Heading into the offseason, the team will focus on bringing back players such as Floyd and Andreychuk.

“We want to try and build a little bit of an older group if we can and put some things together that allow us to take that next step and catch up or pass Bellingham or Kelowna, those really good franchises in our league,” Swanson said. “Every team in the league knows the game of baseball and you have to find those little ways to be better.”

The team also set a league single game attendance record with 4,627 people on opening night.

Swanson noted they will also be coming up with new promotional ideas to get fans to the park as well.

For fans unable to use tickets from the 2015 season, they can be exchanged for entry into a 2016 game for a limited time. Bring your tickets to the office and the face value will be applied toward the purchase price of either season tickets for 2016 or 10-packs.

Tickets for the 2016 season and 10-pack ticket packages are also on sale for 2015 pricing for a limited time. For more information, visit harbourcats.com.