By: Mike DiBucci

Palm Springs, Calif. –Tensions were high throughout a crowded Palm Springs Stadium, as all four teams were eager for the opportunity to move on to the 2016 CWL Championship game.

The first matchup between the #8 seeded Midwest Haymakers and the #2 seeded Manitoba North Stars started the eventful day at 10am. The Haymakers got off to a good start as Beau Riportella knocked in an RBI single, giving his squad an early 1-0 lead in the top of the 2nd. The North Stars then responded by putting up four runs in the bottom half of the frame by the way of two hits and four walks. In the bottom of the 4th, the North Stars took a commanding 7-1 lead by adding three more with help from Tom Nagy’s two-RBI single. The Haymakers added one in the 5th, but they simply couldn’t keep up with the powerhouse Manitoba squad. The Manitoba North Stars defeat the Midwest Haymakers by a score of 8-2.

The highly anticipated game two in Saturday’s semifinal double-header got under way with a full crowd on hand. Fans filled the stands, excited to see if the #11 seeded Palm Springs Power could continue their Cinderella story by upsetting the heavily favored #1 seeded Toronto Rush. The Rush got started early by taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st as Charles Dailey crossed the dish on Marcus Blackmon’s RBI single. After a few choice words by manager Dan DiPace during a brief gathering outside the Power dugout, they responded by tying the ball game at one in the top of the 2nd. After a scoreless bottom half of the frame, the Power bats let their presence be known in the top of the 3rd. Trent Zaks sparked the Power with a solo shot over the left field fence. They would snag two more in the frame with RBI singles from Ian Hagenmiller and Cameron Johnson, taking a 4-1 lead. After a 1-2-3 bottom half of the frame, the Power struck again in the 4th. Zach Alofaituli led off by smacking one over the right field wall to start the inning. Two batters later, Westyn Baylor contributed by hitting a 2-run home run to deep center. After an RBI single by Jordan Brower, Ian Hagenmiller crushed a 3-run blast, clearing the left-centerfield fence. After all this, the Power turned to their pitching staff and defense to seal the victoy. Blake Evetts led the Power pitching staff with 9 strikeouts over his five innings of work. The Palm Springs Power upset the Toronto Rush by a score of 11-3.

Be sure to come on out to Palm Spring Stadium tomorrow as the 2016 CWL Champion will be crowned. First pitch between the #11 seeded Palm Springs Power and the #2 seeded Manitoba North Stars is scheduled for 12pm.