HarbourCats headed to Duncan

The HarbourCats are moving north.

It’s only for one game, but Victoria’s elite baseball team will make its home in Duncan on June 22 for an exhibition game as part of season wrap-up festivities for the Duncan Junior Baseball Association.

The HarbourCats, who play in the West Coast League, a summer circuit for collegiate players, will take on the Langley Blaze of the Pacific International League at Evans Park in the first game of its kind in the Cowichan Valley.

"This is an exciting thing," HarbourCats general manager Jim Swanson said. "It’s great for baseball, and it’s great for this association. It’s a win-win."

It’s not unusual for college summer leagues to play exhibition games in nearby communities, Swanson noted, but this will be the first such attempt for the HarbourCats, who are heading into their second season of play.

Dubbed "Baseball Day in Duncan," the events will include team awards and a couple of woodenbat games involving Duncan players, leading up to the Harbour-Cats game.

"What we’re going to have happen will be a ton of fun," Swanson promised.

Although it will be the end of spring ball in the Cowichan Valley, the HarbourCats, who represent the highest level of baseball on Vancouver Island, will be in the middle of their season. The team includes a number of Canadian players, including Island products like Victoria’s Kelly Norris-Jones and Nanaimo’s Griffin Andreychuk.

The HarbourCats’ competition, the Langley Blaze, are a senior team made up of former college players and ex-pros. The Blaze have won their league two years in a row, and finished second in the national senior championships last year.

The DJBA is hoping to make the game as affordable as possible for all local ball fans.

"We’re going to try and raise funds to give this to the community for free," president Kevin Olender said.

The fundraising efforts will begin with a bottle drive at Evans Park on March 8.