With five scheduled regular-season dates to go, West Coast League North and South races are too close to call, with six contending teams vying for the league’s final two postseason berths with no contending team more than two games out of contention.
Tonight, the Victoria HarbourCats are hosting arguably the biggest game of the WCL regular season, as they face rival Bellingham in a rubber game at Royal Athletic Park. The HarbourCats evened the series last night with a 10-4 win.
In the North, Victoria currently sits in first place with a 14-10 record with Wenatchee just a half-game back with a 12-9 mark while Bellingham is at 12-11, only a game and a half back.
First pitch at Royal Athletic Park is set for 6:35 pm. Victoria’s Wyatt Boone of Seattle (1-0, 6.54) gets the ball for the Cats. Bellingham’s probable starter is Merle Rowan-Kennedy of Puget Sound (1-2, 4.54).
Victoria is 3-2 vs. Bellingham in the second half. If the HarbourCats win tonight, they own the tie-breaker with the Bells. If Bellingham were to win, the next tie-breaker is record in division in the second half.
Victoria is 7-4 in division in the second half while Bellingham is 6-6. Wenatchee has posted an impressive 12-3 mark in division, in the second half. The AppleSox also own the tie-breaker with Victoria.
Bellingham is 2-1 vs. Wenatchee in the second half with three remaining home games with the Sox set for August 4-6 at Joe Martin Field.
The race in the South is just as tight.
The South second-half standings are as follows: Corvallis 13-8, Cowlitz and Yakima Valley are both 13-9 and Bend is 13-11.
Cowlitz and Yakima Valley are currently playing a critical series at David Story Field in Longview, Washington. The Pippins took game one last night 1-0.
The Black Bears are 2-2 versus Yakima Valley in the second half with a huge game set for tonight and the series finale scheduled for tomorrow night. If the two teams were to split, the tie-breaker would be determined by record in division in the second half. Cowlitz is 4-3 in the division, in the second half, while the Pippins are 4-6 in division, in the second half.
Bend owns the tie-breaker vs. Yakima Valley. The Bend and Cowlitz tie-breaker will be determined during the Black Bears at Elks series August 4-6 at Vince Genna Stadium.
If Corvallis were to win the second half, the South team with the next best overall record would claim the South’s final playoff spot. Currently, Yakima is two games ahead of Bend and Cowlitz in the overall standings.
The Knights own the tie-breaker with both Bend and Cowlitz; and are 2-1 vs. Yakima Valley in the second half with three games remaining between the two clubs scheduled for August 4-6 at Goss Stadium.
The Corvallis at Wenatchee series August 1-3 at Paul Thomas Sr. Field was postponed due to poor air quality conditions. Two of the games will be made up tomorrow at OSU’s Goss Stadium in Corvallis. Both games are set for 7-innings and the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 6 pm. Wenatchee will be the home team.
If necessary, the Knights will travel to Wenatchee to play a single, regular-season finale game at Wenatchee’s Paul Thomas Sr. Field at 7:05 pm on Monday, August 7.
Kelowna and Corvallis both secured berths in the WCL postseason by winning the North and South first-half titles, respectively. The Falcons and Knights will host games two and three (if necessary) of the WCL Divisional Series on Wednesday, August 9 and Thursday, August 10. The second-half winners will host game one on Tuesday, August 8. The West Coast League Championship Series is set for Saturday, August 12, Monday, August 14 and Tuesday, August 15 (if necessary).
To check out the league’s playoff procedures, please click here.
Photo Credits: Christian J. Stewart.
ABOUT THE WEST COAST LEAGUE
The West Coast League is the premier summer collegiate baseball league west of the Mississippi. The 13-year-old, 11-team, professionally operated wood-bat league located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest features pro prospects from major conferences across the nation and an unparalleled history out west of great fan and player experiences in addition to the best summer weather in North America. 82 players with WCL experience were selected in the MLB 2017 June draft. In 2016, more than 230 WCL alums appeared in affiliated professional baseball including 28 in the major leagues, such as 2015 home-run leader Chris Davis (Baltimore), 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up Matt Duffy (Tampa Bay) and rising star pitchers Matt Andriese (Tampa Bay), Matt Boyd (Detroit) and James Paxton (Seattle); and outfielder Mitch Haniger (Arizona, now Seattle). Overall member attendance was 379,611 in 2016.