Victoria HarbourCats starter Adriel Queseda Pena, one of two Cuban-born players signed to the team this season, in mid-pitch during Wednesday’s West Coast League exhibition game against Port Angeles. He struck out four batters and gave up just opne earned run in two innings of work, but the locals lost 8-6. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Sun shines on visitors in HarbourCats’ exhibition opener

Victoria in Port Angeles tonight for second half of West Coast League home-and-home

Baseball season has returned to Victoria’s North Park neighbourhood.

The Victoria HarbourCats, who open their West Coast League regular season Friday (June 1, 6:35 p.m.) at the renamed Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park, got things going a couple of days early with an exhibition game last night against the Port Angeles Lefties.

The back and forth game saw the locals jump out to a 6-1 lead after two innings, but the Lefties picked away at Victoria pitching for the next six innings to win 8-6.

The contest, played before an announced crowd of 623 under sunny skies, featured the first appearances for the Cats of two Cuban-born pitchers. Starter Adriel Queseda Pena and reliever Alejandro Ortega Lopez combined to pitch the first three innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run and striking out six batters between them.

The teams play each other in another exhibition tonight in Port Angeles, before the HarbourCats kick off their 2018 season with a three-game weekend set against the Wenatchee AppleSox.

Founder, lead singer and songwriter with 80’s band Men Without Hats, Ivan Doroschuk, will sing the national anthems for Friday’s game. The Victoria resident is said to be a huge baseball fan who spent many nights in his youth watching the Montreal Expos play.

Saturday’s game also starts at 6:35 p.m. and features the first of four post-game fireworks displays, while Sunday sees a 1 p.m. matinee game. Fans can meet the HarbourCats on Saturday at the North Park neighbourhood Association block party, starting at noon.

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