The Victoria HarbourCats first season back after two pandemic-cancelled campaigns ended with a loss to the Bellingham Bells on Aug. 10. (Courtesy of the Victoria HarbourCats)

The Victoria HarbourCats first season back after two pandemic-cancelled campaigns ended with a loss to the Bellingham Bells on Aug. 10. (Courtesy of the Victoria HarbourCats)

Victoria HarbourCats season comes to a close after first-round playoff exit

Local team faced the North Division-best Bellingham Bells in WCL quarters

A 4-2 playoff loss in Washington on Wednesday night closed out the first season back for the Victoria HarbourCats after two pandemic-cancelled campaigns.

The local baseball squad was facing the top-seeded Bellingham Bells of Washington state in the West Coast League quarterfinals on Wednesday. After a 26-28 regular season, Victoria secured their matchup with the Bells after nabbing the final playoff spot in the North Division.

The Cats picked up their play in the second half of the season after they found themselves several games outside of a playoff position at the midway point of the campaign. They matched the Wenatchee AppleSox as the only two North Division clubs to win 15 games during the season’s second leg.

The HarbourCats dropped the opener of the best-of-three series with the Bells on Tuesday night. The Bells’ 8-2 victory during the only game Victoria would get to host during the postseason set up a must-win game two for the HarbourCats.

The teams were locked in 1-1 through seven innings, before Victoria put another run on the board in the top of the eighth thanks to a sacrifice fly off the bat of first baseman Nick Lee. But the lead wouldn’t last long as Bellingham scored three in the bottom half of the inning.

Bells pitcher Cameron Dayton then struck out three of the four Victoria batters that came to the plate in the ninth, ending the HarbourCats’ season.

The 2022 season saw the return of HarbourCats baseball after the previous two seasons were dumped due to the pandemic. The team said despite the quarterfinal exit, the season was a success after the pandemic kept them off the diamond for two years. Almost 70,000 fans took in Wilson’s Group Stadium home games over the course of the summer.

“The season was full of many great moments at the park and many new rivalries with teams like Nanaimo and Kamloops have been formed,” the HarbourCats said on Thursday.

READ: Former Victoria HarbourCats, turned collegiate stars, selected in MLB draft


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