By Pierre LaBossiere
Peninsula Daily News
VICTORIA — The Port Angeles Lefties, with many of their players still scattered all over the country playing in college playoffs, only managed to bring 11 players to their opening game against the Victoria HarbourCats.
That was all they needed.
The Lefties, showing a lot of grit that fans can look forward to all summer, came from way down to win their season-opener, 8-6 over their cross-strait rivals, who had a much larger contingent of players available, on Wednesday night.
It was an exhibition game, but the Lefties can hang their hats on the fact that they found a way to win against a lot of odds. They had several players out of position because they were so shorthanded and virtually no bullpen to speak of.
Lefties fans, keep an eye out this season for Dalton Harum. The big Virginia Tech-commit blasted a long home run against Victoria and came within a whisker of hitting another one. He ended up with two hits and two runs scored.
“It was a 1-2 pitch and I was looking for something off-speed and then he threw me a changeup,” Harum said of his home run. “I did my best to turn on it. “It’s always good to start a season that way,” Harum said. He said on his second near-home run, he just got under it a little too much.
The big hero for the Lefties was pitcher D.J. Sutorius. With the Lefties down 6-1 and with few pitching options, Sutorius, a Biola College (Calif.) player [the Lefties had a pair of players from Biola last year], came in to pitch the final five innings, giving up just two hits and no walks while striking out six.
Sutorius said his pitches had some “extra nastiness” on the night.
“I just wanted to prove something,” Sutorius said. “I don’t really know anyone here.”
Sutorius has only been in Port Angeles for two days, but is enjoying the experience so far.
“It’s a really supportive community. I’m having a fun time,” he said.
Baxter Halligan was also a big part of the win. He finished with three total hits and two runs scored.
First, Halligan hit a triple that started the Lefties’ rally in the fourth inning. He came in to score and so did Tim Reynolds, who had walked, on a three-base throwing error by Victoria to make it 6-4.
In the fifth, Harum made it to 6-5 with his home run over the left-field fence. Halligan then got on base with a single, stole second and came in to score on a Nic Rues RBI single, making it 6-6.
As the Lefties fought back to make a game of it, Sutorius was dealing on the mound, shutting down a HarbourCats lineup that looked fearsome the first couple of innings. He didn’t even allow a baserunner over the final three innings.
In the seventh inning, Lefty Austin Earl got on base with a walk and Halligan came through again, knocking him over to third base with a single. Halligan stole second and on a bad throw, Earl was able to walk home from third to give the Lefties a 7-6 lead.
Brady Heid and Stephen Sepcich opened up the eighth inning with singles, and Heid came around to score on a pair of wild pitches to give the Lefties a late insurance run.
The Lefties are now on the road visiting the new team in the West Coast League, the Portland Pickles. The Pickles game today is the official regular season opener of West Coast League play for both teams.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]ilynews.com.