A’s, North Stars Victorious, Lead Charge in CWL Standings

By Kirsten Karbach

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The Canada A’s and Manitoba North Stars each emerged victorious, as both teams remain deadlocked in a virtual tie for first place in the California Winter League standings.

With three days remaining in the regular season, Canada (9-3) sits just mere percentage points ahead of Manitoba (8-2-2), with the Toronto Rush (8-4) one game back in the standings.

The A’s stayed hot by taking down the Midwest Haymakers, 9-2 at Palm Springs Stadium. Canada connected for four consecutive hits to kick off the second inning, highlighted by a Chris Kalousdian RBI triple and a Brendan Hendriks run-scoring double.

Alec Saikal finished 3-for-4 including three RBI singles. Jerrod Groves knocked home Sean Harris with a double in the third to cut the deficit to one for Midwest (4-7), but Canada powered forward with six runs over the last four innings to pull away.

The Manitoba North Stars kept pace with Canada, edging out the Bay Area Bootleggers, 7-6.

Bay Area (3-8-1) broke out to an early advantage by plating three runs in the opening frame, but Manitoba bounded back quickly in the second. With the bases loaded and two down, Buddy Elgin ripped a double down the third baseline to bring all three runners across.

Evan Neiser earned the win in relief, holding the Bootleggers to just an unearned run on two hits while cutting down six batters in five innings. Stephen Sunday blasted a two-run homer to left to pull Bay Area to within a run in the seventh inning, but Cipriano Garza notched the final two outs for the save.

In the opener on the auxiliary field, the Palm Springs Power pushed past the Palm Desert Coyotes by a 5-1 final. Julian Esquibel earned the victory and lowered his ERA to 1.47 after surrendering just an unearned run on three hits across his five innings of work.

After the teams traded tallies in the first, Trent Zaks singled home a run and scored on Jordan Brower’s double to give the Power (6-5) the advantage. Zaks and Brower each finished with two hits to lead the charge, while Kade Andrus collected two of the three hits for the Coyotes (5-6).

The Oregon Lumberjacks and Alberta Grizzly battled to a 3-3 tie in the middle contest, as Zach Theulen delivered a clutch solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to pull the game even.

Clayton Crum struck out five batters in five innings for Oregon (5-5-2), while Kevin Lenik and Collin Fishman combined to toss zeros across the final four frames for Alberta (6-5-1) in relief of Will Gerhard.

Coachella Valley concluded the day by squeezing past the Washington Blue Sox by a 4-3 final. The Snowbirds (3-9) pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning when Coachella Valley loaded the bases, and Masahiro Miyadera brought home the decisive run with a fielder’s choice grounder.

Anthony Sorrentino led the Blue Sox (4-8) with a solo bomb in the third inning, while Quintin Alexander finished 3-for-3. Albert Traxler and Kyosuki Yamada each collected two hits for the Snowbirds.

Saturday is Dollar Beer Day at Palm Springs Stadium, featuring draft Budweiser and Bud Light for just one dollar. Game one showcases the Palm Springs Chill and the Canada A’s at 10:00 a.m., followed by the British Columbia Bombers and the Toronto Rush at 12:30 p.m.