PORTLAND — The Lefties kept up their winning ways when it counted Friday, canning the Portland Pickles 3-2 in the official West Coast League regular season opener for both teams at Walker Stadium.
Just as in their exhibition home opener Thursday where hit batters proved crucial in an 8-7 walkoff win over Victoria, the Lefties didn’t have to get a hit to bring home the winning run in Friday’s contest.
With two outs in the top of the sixth, a third strike to Port Angeles designated hitter Stephen Sepcich hit the dirt and caromed off the backstop bringing in Ronnie Rust from third with a feet-first slide for the eventual game-winning run.
Rust was hit by a pitch to open the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He moved to third on a wild pitch, and after a walk to Cameron Allie and another hit batter (Brady Heid), scored on the botched third strike.
Rust previously notched a broken-bat RBI single to open the scoring for the Lefties in the top of the second and Matthew Christian added an RBI single in the third.
Port Angeles pitchers led the way in the victory, with four Lefties’ hurlers racking up an impressive 19 strikeouts, led by eight from Kade Mechals in four innings on the mound.
Mechals, a McMinnville, Ore. product, threw a no-hitter for Port Angeles manager Darren Westergard this past spring at Skagit Valley Community College, and has signed to pitch for NCAA Division I Grand Canyon University next season.
Also throwing for Port Angeles: Nick Parr, who picked up the win and struck out five of the 10 hitters he faced over two innings; Justin Dolezal who notched four strikeouts in two frames and Baxter Halligan who threw a clean ninth inning with two strikeouts to earn the save.
Port Angeles (1-0) played Portland late Saturday and will wrap the three-game set with the Pickles tonight at 5:05 p.m. before heading to Bend for a three-game set with the Elks.
Port Angeles 3, Portland 2
PA 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 2 2 — 3 6 2
PDX 0 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 2 10 3
WP: Parr LP: Newstrom SV: Halligan
Lefties — Mechals 4IP, R, 2H, BB, 8K; Parr 2IP, R, 2H, 2BB, 5K; Dolezal 2IP, H, BB, 4K; Halligan IP, H, 2K.
Pickles — Roth 3IP, 2R, 6H, BB, 5K; Lauderdale IP, BB, K; Newstrom 3IP, R, 2H, 3BB, 5K; Copeland 2IP, 2K.
Lefties — Harum 2-4, R, BB; Christian 3-5, RBI; Rust 2-3, R, RBI; Sepcich 1-5, R, RBI.
Pickles — Berry 2-3, BB, 2B; Diaz 1-3, R, RBI; Dennis-Lee 1-1; Lopez 1-4, RBI.
Port Angeles 8, Victoria 7
PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles rallied from a 6-1 deficit in its second season home opener Thursday night at Civic Field, scoring the tying and winning runs when consecutive Lefties’ batters were hit by pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in an 8-7 exhibition victory over the rival Victoria HarbourCats.
Fittingly, Port Angeles’ Trevor Risenburg was plunked on his left elbow (he wears a protective brace) to bring home Matthew Christianson with the walkoff winner and set off a water-bottle fueled celebration that made its way into shallow center field.
The Lefties plated two runs apiece in the final three innings, two coming in the bottom of the seventh as Port Angeles took advantage of three walks, some aggressive base running and two HarbourCat passed balls.
In the bottom of the eighth, Cameron Allie’s two-RBI single to left field brought home catcher Ronnie Russ and Risenburg, who had come aboard after being hit by a pitch and reached on an error, respectively.
Center fielder Dalton Harum laced a double down the line in right field to open the bottom of the ninth and moved to third when Baxter Halligan reached base via a Victoria error. A fielders choice and a walk to Brady Heid loaded the bases with one out followed and Russ was hit by another pitch to bring home Harum and knot the score at 7-all.
Risenburg was then hit with the walk-off winner.
Port Angeles 8, Victoria 7
Victoria 0 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 — 7 10 3
PA 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 2 2— 8 6 2
WP: Oldenburg LP: Ching-Ho
HarbourCats — Brunnig 3IP, R, 4H, BB, 2K; Stevens IP, R, 2BB, K; Stovman IP, 2K; Yoshihara IP, K; Walker IP, 2R, OH, 4BB, 2K; Chung-Ho 1.1IP, 4R, 2H, BB.
Lefties — Dotson 2 2/3IP, 6R, 6H, 2BB, 2K; Busse 4 1/3IP, 0R, 3H, 5K; Duwawry IP, R, H, BB, K; Oldenburg IP, 2BB.
HarbourCats — Pecota 1-3, RBI; Bigford 1-1, 2RBI; Smith 1-4, 2B, RBI; Green 1-1, RBI; Jet Fagg 1-3, 2R; Nantes 1-1, RBI.
Lefties — Allie 1-2, 2RBI; Harum 1-4, R, BB, 2B; Christianson 1-5, 2R; Rust 0-2, BB, R, RBI; Risenburg 1-2, 2BB, 3R, 2RBI.