Corvallis and Victoria Clash This Evening in WCL Title Game
Chris King West Coast League Media
The road to the West Coast League championship runs through Corvallis, Oregon.
The Corvallis Knights, aiming for their seventh straight WCL crown, will host the Victoria HarbourCats in the League’s winner-take-all championship game Monday at Goss Stadium in Corvallis.
This marks the seventh straight season with the championship decided in Corvallis: from 2016 through 2019, and again in 2021 (after a 2020 lost to the pandemic), the Knights clinched the best-of-three championship series at home; one year ago, the Knights topped the Bellingham Bells in the WCL’s inaugural Championship Game for their sixth straight league crown.
The scheduled starting pitchers will be Corvallis’s Merit Jones and Victoria’s Davis Franklin.
Franklin makes his second start of the postseason; after he tossed five scoreless innings against the Wenatchee AppleSox in the opening round. The University of Puget Sound southpaw mostly worked as a reliever for the HarbourCats this summer and ranked among Victoria’s top arms, compiling a 2-1 record with a 1.44 ERA in 13 regular-season appearances.
Jones, a rising sophomore from the University of Utah, pitched in nine games during the regular season, going 1-1 with a 1.45 ERA. Like Franklin, Jones was brilliant in his first postseason start, allowing only one hit in six innings against the Cowlitz Black Bears last Tuesday.
On their way to this summer’s playoffs yet again, Corvallis captured the second-half title in the South Division, along with the WCL’s best overall record, guaranteeing them home-field advantage throughout the postseason. In the first round, they squeaked past the Cowlitz Black Bears in three close games, then edged the Portland Pickles in Saturday night’s South Championship Game, 4-1.
Meanwhile, the HarbourCats land in the Championship Game on the strength of a home performance for the record books. During the regular season at Wilson’s Group Stadium, Victoria nearly ran the table with 25 wins and just two losses. Now they’ve continued that dominance in the playoffs, topping Wenatchee in Game 2 to close out their Divisional Series, then storming from behind to top the Bellingham Bells in Saturday night’s North Championship Game, 7-5.
This marks Victoria’s third North Division championship, as they fell to the Knights in the championship round in both 2017 and ’19. Meanwhile, the Knights aren’t just going for their seventh straight championship; they’re shooting for their 10th title overall, and have reached the playoffs in 16 straight seasons.