VICTORIA, B.C. — The Corvallis Knights moved to within one victory of their fourth consecutive West Coast League championship by defeating Victoria 14-8 on Friday night in the opener of the WCL Championship Series.
The Knights (53-13) bashed four homers at Wilson’s Group Stadium to take a 13-3 lead, and then held on for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series. Left fielder Jake Holcroft and shortstop Brooks Lee each homered and drove in four runs to lead a 15-hit assault.
The Knights can capture their seventh WCL title by winning Game 2, set for 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Goss Stadium. Right-hander Eric Hill (2-0, 2.95) will start for the Knights; Victoria’s probable is undetermined.
Game 3 (if necessary) would be at 5:05 p.m. Sunday, also at Goss Stadium.
Starter David Watson pitched a season-high 7.1 innings and handcuffed the HarbourCats on five hits until faltering a bit in the eighth. He allowed five runs, as the bullpen allowed two inherited runners to score, but struck out seven in an outstanding effort and got the win.
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Second baseman Jake Harvey had four hits and three runs; Lee had three hits. Center fielder Briley Knight and catcher Zach Moeller added solo homers.
Moeller gave the Knights a 1-0 lead in the second with his homer. Holcroft and Knight went deep in the third inning for a 3-1 lead. Corvallis then broke the game open by scoring seven times in the fourth; the big hits were Holcroft’s two-run double and Lee’s three-run homer.
The WCL batting champ with a .368 average, Holcroft is hitting .429 (9-21) in four playoff games, with a homer, a triple, a double, nine RBIs and five runs.
Corvallis scored twice in the seventh and again in the ninth to offset a late Victoria rally that saw the HarbourCats score five times in their final two at-bats. Reliever Kevin West (UC Riverside) retired the only man he faced on four pitches for the final out, ending a bases-loaded threat.