Colonials, Hit King Both Rally To Win in Walk Off Fashion
By Jack Coppinger – @JHCoppinger
PALMS SPRINGS, Calif. –– Day seven of the California Winter League featured a bevy of exciting performances and a pair of walk offs wins.
The day kicked off with on the main diamond with the Palm Springs Chill (3–1) defeating the Oregon Lumberjacks (2–3) by a score of 8-1.
Shane Gonzales was the offensive star of the ballgame, lining an impressive two-run home run over the centerfield wall in the third inning.
Ricky Schafer made the start for the Chill and earned the win after hurling four shutout innings while striking out three Lumberjack batters. He was backed up by relievers Joe Mello and Jose Flores, who combined to throw the last three inning while allowing just one unearned run to seal the win.
Ozzy Braff scored the lone run Dennis Pelfrey’s Lumberjacks after he singled with one out in the sixth inning, stole second, and trotted home thanks to an error.
In the afternoon action inside Palm Springs Stadium, Hit King (2–2) defeated the Manitoba North Stars (1–4) by a score of 5-4 thanks to a walkoff triple by Justin Kovalsky.
The game was a back and forth affair that saw Manitoba rally back from a 3-1 deficit in top of the seventh thanks to two-out hits from Spencer Muirhead and Bobby Dragon, whose two-run single drove home Muirhead and Jeff Watkin to give Manitoba the lead, 4-3.
But Hit King wasn’t ready to quit, and they staged their own rally in the bottom half of the inning. Dylan Hatch opened the frame by working a walk. With one out he stole second and then advanced to third on Brandon Smallings groundout. Hatch then finally scored the tying run on Shao-Bin Ho’s two-out single.
With the game now tied 4-4, Justin Kovalsky stepped up and lasered one into the left-centerfield gap that sent Ho speeding around the bases to score the winning run.
The day’s first action Auxiliary Field saw the Toronto Rush (3–2) hand Manager Casey Dill and the Palm Springs Power (3–1) their first loss of the season by a final score of 8-1.
Andrew Moralez took the mound for the Rush, hurling five shutout innings while striking out five and allowing just three hits. For his efforts Moralez earned the win while lowering his earned run average to 0.70.
Moralez was backed by the offensive duo of Matt Stubbs and Kevin Farley who combined to drive in six of Toronto’s eight runs. Stubbs finished the day with three hits in four at bats, including a triple, while Farley contributed a sacrifice fly and a two-RBI double.
The next action on the Aux featured more excitement as the New York Colonials (4–1) secured a hard fought, come from behind victory in walkoff fashion over the Alberta Grizzly (1–4) by a score of 8-7.
Alberta struck first the ballgame, scoring four runs on four hits in the top of the first including a run scoring double by Ryan Caldwell. They would extend their lead by plating three additional runs in the game’s third inning.
The Colonials would battle back to cut the lead to 7-5 after six innings of play, setting the stage for an exciting final frame.
Bud Morton led off the Colonial seventh with a base knock. After back to back strikeouts, he advanced to second on a knock from Ryan Gyrion, before John Giakas plated the pair of them with a double. Lance Montano then sent his team into a frenzy when he connected on a walk off single to plate Giakas with the winning run.
Kyano Cummings earned the win for New York by throwing two scoreless frames that lowered his season earned run average to 2.33.
In the day’s final action the British Columbia Bombers (2–1) defeated the Canada A’s (2–2) by a final score 8-2.
The Bomber offense was led by Thomas McGuckin and Nolan Flashman who each homered in the ballgame. McGuckin finished the day with two hits in two at bats and four runs batted in, while Flashman finished one of three with two runs batted in.
Devin Alexander earned the win in relief for the Bombers after throwing two no-hit innings while striking out four A’s batters.
The California Winter League will continue tomorrow with two games on the main diamond at Palm Springs Stadium and three on the Auxiliary Field.
On the main diamond, the Canada A’s will take on the Washington Blue Sox at 10:00 a.m., followed by the Coachella Valley Snowbirds taking on the British Columbia Bombers at 12:30 p.m.
On the Auxiliary field the action will begin with Hit King taking on the Manitoba North Stars at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Palm Springs Power taking on the Alberta Grizzly at 11:00 a.m., and the Toronto Rush taking on the Palm Springs Chill at 1:30 p.m.3
Tomorrow is Out-of-Towners Day at Palm Springs Stadium, so bring your out of state ID to receive two dollar tickets.