Kelowna Falcons

Series Preview: HarbourCats

The Kelowna Falcons look to get back in the win column after a lengthy mid-week layoff and host their West Coast League Canadian counterpart in the Victoria HarbourCats for a three-game series beginning on Friday night at Elks Stadium.

TICKETS

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2019 Season Series:

Friday, June 14th @ Elks Stadium (6:35 PM)

Saturday, June 15th @ Elks Stadium (6:35 PM)

Sunday, June 16th @ Elks Stadium (6:05 PM)

Saturday, June 29th @ Royal Athletic Park (6:35 PM)

Sunday, June 30th @ Royal Athletic Park (6:35 PM)

Monday, July 1st @ Royal Athletic Park (1:05 PM)

2019 Returnees:

P Wyatt Hummel (Okanagan College/West Kelowna, BC)

P Ian Turner (Mt. Hood Community College/Maple Valley, Washington)

INF Jake Fischer (Okanagan College/Edmonton, AB)

INF Ezra Samperi (Mt. Hood Community College/Gresham, Oregon)

INF Tylor Nixon (Yakima Valley Community College/Hamilton, Montana)

INF Dan Pruitt (Western Oklahoma State/Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

INF Matt Voelzke (George Fox University/Lake Oswego, Oregon)

OF Austen Butler (University of British Columbia/Port Coquitlam, BC)

Between The Foul Poles:

Kelowna:

  • The Falcons will look for four days away from WCL play to try and get themselves back in the win column after falling in their last five games.  The one area in which Kelowna has had no issue this season is on the mound, where the Falcons sit 6th in the league with a 3.74 earned run average. Kelowna is one of two teams to have not have allowed a home run this season and rank 2nd in the WCL with a .198 batting average against, sitting just behind the Yakima Valley Pippins for top spot.
  • Defense is always a big key to strong pitching and the men behind the mound have made their presence felt as the Falcons sit tied for 1st with the Ridgefield Raptors in errors committed with just four through six games. Kelowna comes into the weekend ranked 2nd in fielding percentage at .983% and are also second in the league in assists this season with 72.
  • Scoring runs has been an area in which the Falcons are looking to improve upon heading into their three-game set against the HarbourCats and the offensive numbers thus far have not been kind to Kelowna. With a .175 team batting average and 12 runs scored in 6 games during the beginning of the 2019 season, the Falcons will try to work their way out of the bottom of the ranks in offensive numbers in the WCL.

Victoria:

  • Victoria comes to Kelowna in the midst of a five-game road trip and a brief series south of the border in Yakima against the Pippins. The HarbourCats dropped the opening game of the two-game set by a 4-2 score on Wednesday before bouncing back with a 5-3 victory to conclude the series before heading to Kelowna with a 4-4 record on the young season.
  • The HarbourCats offensive numbers sit in the middle of the pack in the West Coast League when it comes to runs scored but own a .257 batting average, which is tied for 4th in the league. Victoria ranks in a tie for 3rd in the league in on base percentage at .346 and once on base, they are tough to get out as they lead the WCL in stolen bases with 21 while also being caught a league-high 12 times, 6 more than any other team.  
  • From the mound, the HarbourCats have been solid as well, boasting a team ERA of 3.34 which ranks them 4th in the league with this matchup pinning the 4th and 5th best ERA’s in the league against each other. Getting on base cam be a difficult task against Victoria as they do not surrender many free passes in giving up just 20 this season, which is tops in the league. In the field, Victoria sits 9th in the WCL with 15 errors and .951 fielding percentage.

Players To Watch:
Kelowna:
OF Austen Butler (5’11”/185 lbs/University of British Columbia)

Even though the offensive numbers haven’t been where Head Coach Ryan Wright and the Falcons wish they could be, second year outfielder Austen Butler has put up a strong opening to his second season in the Okanagan. The Port Coquitlam, BC native is currently hitting .400 on the season with 8 hits in 20 at-bats while compiling 2 doubles and 3 RBI’s. Butler comes into the weekend against the HarbourCats after hitting .364 (4-for-11) in the Falcons most recent series against the Ridgefield Raptors.

P Ian Turner (6’2”/180 lbs/Mt. Hood Community College)

Pitching has been a strength of the 2019 Falcons and relief hurler Ian Turner has done his part from the bullpen in supplying outstanding pitching. The Maple Valley, Washington product recently came out of the ‘pen for 5.1 innings last Saturday and was lights out. Striking out five while allowing just two hits and an unearned run gave him 7.1 innings of solid work this season with an ERA of 0.00 and is just one of five pitchers in the WCL (along with teammate Connor Hurley) to hold that earned run average.

P Jonathan Clark (6’0”/180 lbs/San Jose State College)

Although it came in a loss on Sunday, freshman Jonathan Clark gave the Falcons a chance to win with his strong start, the second of the season for the San Marcos, California native. The right hander dealt 5.2 innings allowing 2 runs and 6 hits but struck out 9 while walking just 1 batter in that time and comes into the weekend tied for 5th in the league in terms of strikeouts with 12 and hasn’t given opposing batters much in the way of hitting.

Victoria:
C Frankie Niemann (6’0”/204 lbs/Tulane University)

The sophomore from Tulane University has been outstanding to start the season for the HarbourCats, collecting 14 hits in 29 at-bats for a .483 batting average, which places fourth in the WCL. The Sanford, Florida native leads the ‘Cats in RBI’s with 5 and doubles with 3 and has scored a run in 6 of his 8 games played this season. To go along with that number, Niemann has earned hits in each of his games but one this season, including a five-hit effort against the Wenatchee AppleSox on June 5th.

INF Griffin Paxton (6’2”/200 lbs/University of Texas San Antonio)

Paxton rides a seven-game hitting streak as he has not gone a game without compiling a hit so far in the 2019 campaign. The West, Texas native has earned a double and a triple along with a pair of RBI’s this season and his 9-for-27 efforts is good enough for a .333 average, which ranks second on the team. Paxton is also very effective at getting the bat on the ball, only striking out twice in 27 at-bats while walking once this season.   

P Matt Amrhein (6’0”/178 lbs/California Baptist University)

When the HarbourCats have a lead into the late innings, Head Coach Todd Haney looks nowhere further than Matt Amrhein, who has been terrific out of the closer role this season. The Upland, California product has made three appearances this season with all of them ending in saves for the right hander. Amrhein has surrendered just one hit in his three innings of work of three games while striking out a trio of batters as well and could be used in a high pressure situation for the HarbourCats throughout the weekend.

The Falcons will host their Canadian counterpart in the HarbourCats from Friday through to Sunday at Elks Stadium. Friday and Saturday are 6:35 PM starts while Sunday is a 6:05 PM slated first pitch along with some great events happening throughout the weekend including all Dad’s getting into the ballpark for half the price on Sunday in honour of Father’s Day. Tickets are available at the Falcons website, calling (250) 763-4100 or at the gate ahead of the opening pitch.

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