Power Walk Off on NorthStars as Braff Leads ‘Jack To Win
By Jack Coppinger – @JHCoppinger
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. –– The California Winter League continued its eighth season on Saturday with five ballgames including a pair of walk off wins by the Palm Springs Power and New York Colonials.
The day got on underway on the main diamond at Palm Springs Stadium with a matchup between British Columbia Bombers (3–3) and the Palm Springs Chill (4–2).
Shane Gonzales led the way for the Chill, finishing the day with a pair of hits in three bats as the Chill cruised to their fourth victory of the season by a score of 8-0.
Chill pitchers Ricky Schafer, Joe Mello, Brian Heldman, and Jose Flores combined to hurl a shutout, while striking out eleven Bombers and allowing just two hits.
The day’s second game on the main diamond also proved to be the day’s most exciting, as the Palm Springs Power (6–1) rallied in the last half of the seventh inning to walk off against the Manitoba North Stars (1–6) to secure their sixth victory of the season.
The teams traded blows in the early innings, and headed into the seventh and final frame tied at three runs apiece. The North Stars then struck to take the lead 4-3 after a pair of walks and a run-scoring single by Spencer Muirhead.
Trailing by a run and down to their last three outs, Casey Dill’s team didn’t quit, putting runners at second and third with just one away. Takashi Miyoshi, the Power’s slugging third-place hitter, then lined a ball deep into the left-centerfield gap which drove home runners Christopher Burks and Curtis Gomez to seal the 5-4 walk off win.
Over on the Auxiliary Field, the action kicked off with the New York Colonials (5–2) defeating the Washington Blue Sox (2–5) in walk off fashion by a final score of 4-3.
The Blue Sox jumped ahead by scoring two runs in the top half of the first inning thanks in part to an RBI triple by right fielder Tony Holton.
The Colonials would battle back against the Sox pitching, and as the game entered the bottom half of the seventh, they trailed by just one run, 3-2. New York then proceeded to collect four straight singles in the frame, including a tying knock by Mark Demko, and the game winner by Bud Morton which secured a 4-3 victory.
Kyano Cummings picked up the win in relief for John Harris’ Colonial outfit, as he hurled the game’s final two innings while allowing just one baserunner and striking three Blue Sox batters. The win improved Cummings record to a league leading 3–1.
Saturday’s second action on the Auxiliary Field saw the Oregon Lumberjacks (4–3) overcome Hit King (3–3) by a final score of 9-1.
Lumberjacks’ third baseman Ozzy Braff led the way offensively for Dennis Pelfrey’s squad, finishing the game with a pair of doubles and two runs batted in after two at bats.
Braff’s day backed a stellar effort from starter Robbie Kidd, who hurled five innings while striking out eight Hit King batters and allowing just one run.
Pitchers Joshua Falbo and Nathan Suyematsu each contributed three-up, three-down innings in relief of Kidd in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
In the day’s final action, the Toronto Rush (6–2) defeated the Coachella Valley Snowbirds (2–5) by a final score of 8-1.
Khirus Ware was the offensive star for the Rush, picking up a pair of hits and driving in two runs over three at bats, while his fellow outfielder Lance VanNoy continued his hot streak by picking up a base hit and driving home two runs of his own.
Andrew Moralez made the start for Tom Vaeth and the Rush, hurling four innings of one run baseball to earn the win.
Trevon Ross provided the only Snowbird run of the day, cashing in Jason Wilcoxson’s leadoff double with a run scoring single in the third inning.
The California Winter League will continue with five more games slated to be played on Sunday, including two on the main diamond inside Palm Springs Stadium.
The action will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a matchup between the Alberta Grizzly and Hit King, followed by a 12:30 p.m. matchup between the Coachella Valley Snowbirds and the New York Colonials.
Over on the Auxiliary Field, the day’s three games will feature the British Columbia Bombers taking on the Oregon Lumberjacks, the Canada A’s taking on the Palm Springs Chill, and the Washington Blue Sox taking on the Palm Springs Power. These games will begin at 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 12:30 p.m., respectively.
Tomorrow is Super Lotto Sunday at Palm Springs Stadium, meaning the first one-hundred fans to enter the ballpark with paid admission will receive a free California Lottery Ticket*.
*limit one per attendee