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Anderson catching on early for HarbourCats

HarbourCats, AppleSox do battle again Saturday
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Aric Anderson was behind the plate for the HarbourCats鈥 home opener on Friday night at Wilson鈥檚 Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park. CHRISTIAN J. STEWART PHOTOGRAPHY

Aric Anderson wants to take baseball to the highest levels. That doesn’t necessarily mean MLB.

“I want to use baseball as a platform to preach,” said the Victoria HarbourCats’ early-season batting star.

The HarbouCats’ catcher went into the West Coast League team’s home opener Friday batting .375 in six road games with five runs scored and three RBIs as Victoria went 4-2. Anderson was third on the ’Cats only to Jake Haggard’s and Garrett Teunissen’s .381 batting averages heading into Friday.

“I’m having fun and playing loose and playing free,” said Anderson, who counts former football-baseball pro Tim Tebow as his sporting hero.

“I had a slow start [in the NCAA Div. 1 season with the Rice University Owls in ­Houston, Texas] but it starting clicking for me at the end of the school season and I want to build on that and keep it going and get in a lot of reps here in Victoria in summer ball.”

That he has been doing and it lifted the HarbourCats in their opening six games on the road.

But Friday night, the division-leading Wenatchee AppleSox cooled off the HarbourCats by edging Victoria 3-2 in 13 innings at Wilson’s Group Stadium at Royal Athletic Park.

The series between the ­HarbourCats and AppleSox concludes tonight and with a Sunday matinee at Royal Athletic Park.

“The chemistry on our team came together quickly on the road and we bonded,” said Anderson.

It’s all part of a greater plan, as the native of Las Vegas sees it: “I put my head down and told myself to be as strong as possible and see where God will take me in this sport.”

Anderson’s connection to get to Victoria for summer ball is his head coach at Rice, former 12-season MLB player and WBC Puerto Rico national team star Jose Cruz Jr., who is a friend of HarbourCats’ head coach and former MLB infielder Todd Haney.

“I am just picking their brains as much as possible,” said Anderson, of his good fortune to be guided by two former MLB players.

Cruz Jr. played for the Toronto Blue Jays and Haney for the Montreal Expos and Anderson can now say he also played for a 91原创 team, for which HarbourCats’ fans can be grateful this summer.

Anderson is the second member of his family to play NCAA Div. 1 after brother Austin Anderson who played football for Southern Utah and is now an attorney. His first name is ­pronounced Eric but spelled Aric because his older brothers are named Adam, also an attorney, and Austin “and my parents just wanted to keep on going with the A’s.”

Aric just wants to keep on going with the hitting and ­catching.

FOUL TIPS: The Nanaimo NightOwls moved to 5-2 with a 4-3 victory Friday over the ­Riverhawks (3-4) in Edmonton.

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