VICTORIA — The Kelowna Falcons forced extra innings, but fell 5-4 to the Victoria HarbourCats on Canada Day at Royal Athletic Park in West Coast League baseball.
Starting pitchers Nick Nygard for Kelowna and Aaron Celestine for Victoria were both terrific in the early frames.
But the Falcons wouldn’t get their first lead of the game until the 10th.
They scored for a fourth consecutive inning when Brandon Hupe’s hit found the wall on an RBI double to left field that put Kelowna ahead 4-3.
Reliever Kristian Scott remained in the game to try and close things out for the Falcons, and was an out away from holding onto a win, but Victoria put runners on the corners with two outs with a pinch hitter in Chase Wessaner at the plate.
He sliced a double to the wall in right field that brought home a pair of runs, and the HarbourCats walked with a 5-4 win.
The Falcons had a big opportunity to score in the third, loading the bases with one out before James Shimashita and Hupe struck out back-to-back to conclude the frame.
The missed chance would prove to be costly.
Victoria came back in the home half of the inning when Griffin Paxton hit a double down the right field line that plated Jason Willow from third to give the HarbourCats a 1-0 lead.
The Cats added to their lead in the fifth as they jumped ahead by a pair of runs after a lead-off single from Harrison Spohn.
After stealing second base and getting to third on an error, Spohn was able to come home on a wild pitch from reliever Tucker Grote that gave Victoria a 2-0 lead.
Celestine finished up a terrific outing after five innings of work, surrendering no runs in five hits and striking out 10 Falcons.
Hupe delivered a big hit in the seventh, sending a solo home run over the wall in left centre for his second homer in as many games. It cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Falcons were able to get the game tied up in the eighth inning after a lead-off double from Austen Butler. Cole Cummings brought him home with an RBI single to left field and evened the game up at 2-2.
The Falcons (6-14) head south for the start of a three-game series against the Wenatchee AppleSox (9-12) beginning tonight at 7 p.m.
The game will be broadcasted live on the mixlr.com/kelowna_falcons.