By Josh Fathollahi – @JashFath
The sun shone bright on Palm Springs Stadium on Monday as fans filed in to watch a full slate of California Winter League action on Local’s Day. With the first-place Palm Springs Power having a scheduled off day, two other CWL contenders wanted to put the league on notice and remind fans that they should be viewed in the same light as the 9-1 local Palm Springs franchise.
One of the two aforementioned teams was the 7-2 Toronto Rush, who laid the lumber to the now .500 Hit King (4-4) in the morning game at the Auxiliary Field. Nate Ferrell, Lance VanNoy and Khirus Ware combined for seven RBI in the second and third innings, giving Toronto starter Fumataki Sakaguchi (2-0) more than enough run support to escape with his second win of the season. The Japan native tossed three innings of shutout ball in the eventual 10-0 victory.
The first game at Palm Springs Stadium featured a matchup between two struggling franchises looking to turn their season around, the Coachella Valley Snowbirds and the Alberta Grizzly. The Grizzly struck first in the second inning on an RBI single by Josh McAdams and a sacrifice fly by Ozzy Braff. The Snowbirds would strike back in the fourth, plating three runs on an RBI single by Armando Brito and a two-RBI triple by Justin Black. Alberta would land the final blow, however, plating five runs in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by a three-run shot by their offensive star of the game, Josh McAdams. The win for the Grizzly put both teams’ records at 2-7.
Back on the Auxiliary Field, the Palm Springs Chill would face off with the 2016 CWL Champions, the Manitoba North Stars. It was a back-and-forth affair early on, as both teams exchanged leads in the early innings. The Chill were led offensively by Elijah Briseno (1-for-1 with a double, two walks, a run scored and an RBI) and Shane Gonzalez (1-for-2 with a double and a pair of RBI). The North Stars were led by Lorenzo Wright’s two-run homer in the second inning. The home run wouldn’t be enough, as Jose Flores shut the door in the final inning, sealing the 5-3 win for the Chill.
In the final game at the main stadium, the 6-3 Oregon Lumberjacks showed the fans in attendance why they deserve to be in the conversation for best team in the league. Their day was headlined by starting pitcher Robert Maislin, who fanned 11 Blue Sox batters over his six innings of work. The righty held Washington to two runs and earned his second win of the CWL season. CWL broadcaster, Jack Coppinger, noted that the key to Maislin’s dominating performance was his use of his sharp slider. On the offensive side, the recently-signed d’Aundray Van Slyke showed the crowd what Florence Freedom of the Frontier League saw in him when they inked him to a contract this past week by smashing a two-run home run in the fifth inning. He would finish the day with three hits, two runs and three RBI.
The final game of the day saw the New York Colonials and Canada A’s face off in a game that came down to the wire. Keifer Quick was the offensive hero for the A’s, driving in three of the club’s four runs. The Colonials managed to get three runs on the back of two solo shots by Kalani Brackenridge and Yusuke Fujiki. Canada starter Adam Prashad wouldn’t let New York score more than those three runs, securing his second win of the season. He struck out 10 over his six innings of work. This was the first time two CWL pitchers have reached double-digit strikeouts in the same calendar day this season.
California Winter League baseball continues tomorrow with another five games taking place at the Palm Springs Stadium facilities:
- Palm Springs Chill @ Alberta Grizzly [AUX Field – 8:30 a.m.]
- British Columbia Bombers @ Toronto Rush [PS Stadium – 10:00 a.m.]
- Hit King @ New York Colonials [AUX Field – 11:00 a.m.]
- Palm Springs Power @ Canada A’s [PS Stadium – 12:30 p.m.]
- Manitoba North Stars @ Oregon Lumberjacks [AUX Field – 1:30 p.m.]
This Tuesday – and every Tuesday during the CWL season – is Two-for-Tuesday at Palm Springs Stadium. All tickets are 2-for-1 and hot dogs, beers, and sodas are all $2!