Four years ago a firework-launching-baseball-smashing franchise was born called the Victoria Harbourcats.
A 20-year old Nick Pivetta would start the first game for the franchise, hurling the first baseball in Harbourcats history.
It’s all come full circle, as Pivetta is slated to make his first Major League start for the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday – and simultaneously becoming the first Harbourcat alumnus to pitch in the big leagues.
Nick Pivetta is powerful right-handed pitcher who was brought up through the Victoria baseball system, attending Lambrick Park as a youngster. He represented Canada at the 2010 U18 World Championships, and would sign with the Harbourcats in June of 2013. Days after his second start for the Harbourcats, he was selected in the 4th round of the MLB amateur draft by the Washington Nationals.
“It’s an absolute thrill to see a HarbourCats player reach the big leagues — our first, and it’s a significant milestone,” said HarbourCats managing partner Jim Swanson. “That our first MLB player is also a product of the Victoria baseball system makes it a perfect situation and something we can all celebrate. We think Nick will have a long career as a big league pitcher, he’s done all the right things to develop.”
In 2015, he was swapped one-for-one for a player most baseball fans would recognize: All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon.
More recently, he started Canada’s second game at the World Baseball Classic in March, hurling 4 innings and allowing just one run.
The 6’5”, 220 pounder started the 2017 season off with a bang in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, going 3-0 with a miniscule 0.95 ERA. His last start featured a career high 11-strikeout performance, no doubt making a few grassroots-level baseball coaches proud here in Victoria.
He was called up on Tuesday.
Baseball fans: If the Jays 5-14 start has thrown you off, Victorians have a clear team to pledge their allegiance to as Piveta has joined co-Lambrick alumni and Victoria product Michael Saunders in Philadelphia with the Phillies.
Update: Nick Pivetta was slated to make his debut on Wednesday but Tuesday’s game was in Florida was rained out.