By Jack Coppinger – @JHCoppinger
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. –– The California Winter League playoffs continued on Friday with Round-Two action on both the main diamond inside Palm Springs Stadium and on the Auxiliary Field.
The day’s first matchup began at 9:00 a.m. on the Auxiliary Field, and saw the #4 New York Colonials (10–6) eliminate the #5 Oregon Lumberjacks (9–7) behind the excellent pitching of lefties CJ Bahn and Kyano Cummings, who combined to shutout the potent Lumberjack offense, 2-0.
Bahn got the win for Manager John Harris and the Colonials, hurling five and two-thirds innings while striking out six batters and allowing just two hits. Reliever Kyano Cummings picked up the save in relief of Bahn while allowing just one baserunner to reach via the walk.
Third-baseman John Giakas led the way for the New York offense, launching a solo home run as part of two hit performance.
Oregon starting pitcher Michael Eagan took the loss on the day, despite allowing just two runs, only one of which was earned, over four and one-third innings on the day.
Thomas Roulis and Ozzy Braff contributed the Lumberjacks’ only two hits on the day, both of which were singles.
The day’s next ballgame began at 10:00 a.m on the main diamond at Palm Springs Stadium, saw Casey Dill and the #1 Palm Springs Power (11–2–1) defeat the #8 Hit King (8–7) by a final score of 8-0.
The game was much closer than the final score would indicate, as the Hit King pitcher Tyler Garkow hurled five excellent innings, while allowing just two Power runs to score. However, things changed in the sixth after Garkow was removed from the ballgame, allowing the Power to victimize his relief to the tune of six additional runs.
Power left-fielder DonAndre Clark tripled, scored three times and drove home three, while catcher Brandon Oliver had four hits including three doubles and three runs driven in, to pace the Power.
Hit King’s offense threatened to break through in the first, fourth, and sixth, but were stymied each time by the Power starter –and CWL Pitcher of the Year candidate– Payton Lobdell, who hurled six shutout innings to earn the win.
In the Auxiliary Field’s second matchup, the #3 Toronto Rush (10–6) escaped the upset and defeated the #6 British Columbia Bombers (8–6) in walkoff fashion by a final score of 3-2.
The game proved to be a pitchers duel early, as Rush starting pitcher Andrew Moralez matched Bomber starter Devin Alexander pitch-for-pitch in the early going.
The Rush would jump ahead in the bottom of third, after Tanner Oymaian singled to cash in a one out double by Kyle Richards. However the Bombers fought back, plating a run in the top of the fourth, before adding another to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
That score held into the bottom of the seventh, and it looked like British Columbia was on track to eliminate the Toronto in upset fashion.
But Tom Vaeth and the Rush didn’t quit: after Tanner Oymaian reached with one out in the frame, Jabari Brown laced a double to tie the game, and pinch hitter John Jennings singled him home to seal the victory, 3-2.
No one was more excited to see the winning run cross than Andrew Moralez, who had entered the bottom of the seventh on the hook for the loss after tossed all seven innings of the ballgame while allowing just two runs and recording six strikeouts. Instead Moralez was named the games winning pitcher.
Jaron Dorchinez was the offensive star for the Bombers, finishing the day with a double and triple over three at bats.
In the day’s final matchup inside Palm Springs Stadium, the #2 Palm Springs Chill (12–3) escape a pair of late rallies by the #7 Canada A’s (8–8) to win 5-4.
The Chill jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the third, scoring three times thanks to four straight singles from Quintin Alexander, Matt LoCoco, Elijah Briseno, and Jake Luce, followed by a double from Davis Strong.
Ricky Schafer made the start for the Chill and pitched brilliantly, during four shutout innings with allowing just two hits.
It was not until Schafer left the ballgame that the A’s managed to get their offense going, as the final broke through with a four-run rally in the top of the sixth, thanks to a pair of run scoring hits from Daniel Hoy and Jeremy Scott to take the lead 4-3.
However the Chill would rally in their half of the sixth to take the lead 5-4, before the A’s rallied to tie the game with two outs in the seventh thanks some excellent base-running from pinch-runner Justin Kovalsky.
Davis Strong then doubled to left to begin the bottom of the seventh –his second two-bagger of the day– before reaching third base with just one out in the frame. Tyler Eichorst then lofted a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield to drive home Strong to send the Chill onto the Semi-Finals.
The California Winter League win continue on Saturday with two Semi-Final games at Palm Springs Stadium:
Saturday is Dollar Beer Day at Palm Springs Springs Stadium, so come on out to the ballpark for $1 draft Budweiser and Bud Light beer!