The West Coast League wild card race is heating up down the final stretch as Corvallis, Victoria and Yakima Valley all are battling for the WCL’s final playoff berth with the regular season ending Sunday, August 9. Corvallis (28-20) leads the wild card standings by two games over Victoria (26-22) and Yakima Valley (26-23) trails the Knights by 2.5 games.
Corvallis kept their slim wild card lead by beating Walla Walla last night at Borleske Stadium 10-4.
The Victoria HarbourCats moved into second position in the wild card hunt by topping the Pippins last night 11-5 at Royal Athletic Park. Victoria is the hottest team in the WCL as the Cats have won 5 straight and 9 of its last 11 games.
Yakima Valley owns the tie-breaker vs. Corvallis as the Pippins took two series from the Knights while Corvallis owns the tie-breaker with Victoria as the Knights swept the HarbourCats July 3-5 at Goss Stadium. Whoever wins the series being played now at Victoria between the HarbourCats and Pippins will own the Victoria/Yakima Valley tie-breaker.
All three wild card contenders are drawing great interest as Victoria, Corvallis and Yakima Valley are tops in league attendance with Victoria averaging 1,900 per game to lead the league. Corvallis at 1,420 per game ranks second and Yakima Valley is third at 1,328 per game.
The HarbourCats and Pippins conclude their critical series at RAP with a game this evening and the finale tomorrow night. Corvallis starts a three-game set at East Division-leading Kelowna (30-17) tonight at Elks Stadium.
Corvallis finishes at home this weekend with three games vs. Medford (21-25) while Victoria wraps its regular season at West Division-leading Bellingham (30-18) for three. Yakima Valley closes its season with three home contests vs. rival Wenatchee (21-27).
Bend (33-13) clinched the WCL South last night with a walk-off 2-1 win over Kitsap. The Elks had a game at Kelowna cancelled due to rain this summer and two games at Medford cancelled due to smoke. If they were to lose their remaining five home games and Corvallis win out the Elks would finish a 1/2 game ahead of the Knights.
Bellingham and Kelowna are likely to clinch division titles this week. The Bells finish at reeling Cowlitz (1-9 over last 10 games) and at home against Victoria. The Bells are 5-1 vs. the HarbourCats this season.
Kelowna finishes with three at home vs. Corvallis and three at Walla Walla (21-26), who has lost 9 of its last 11.
The West Coast League post-season starts on Tuesday, August 11. The first round of best-of-three playoffs runs August 11-13 with the best-of-three West Coast League Championship Series (WCLCS) beginning Saturday, August 15th at the lower seed. WCLCS game two is scheduled for Monday, August 17th at the higher seed (team with better winning percentage). And game three would be Tuesday, August 18th, if necessary, at the higher seed.
Four WCL teams qualify for the post-season; division winners and the wild card. First round pairings will be set by WCL president Dennis Koho and based on proximity.