By; Frank La Sala
PALM SPRINGS, Calif- The first round of the playoffs at Palm Springs Stadium concluded Thursday with the Washington Blue Sox and British Columbia Bombers advancing in their respective divisions.
The Blue Sox took down the New York Colonials 8-3 in game one. Washington didn’t waste any time getting into the run column, scoring three times in the bottom of the first. Tatsunori Negishi lined a two-run double to put the Blue Sox on top. Later in the inning, Negishi scored on an RBI single off the bat of Ikegami Katsuyuki. Katsuyuki hit another RBI single in the third to extend the lead, a second run scored on the play after an error. In the fourth, Kyle Stahl and Koudai Sasaki each hit RBI singles to extend the Blue Sox lead to 7-0. Then in the fifth, Hayato Amamoto drove in a run with an RBI single. The Colonials scored their runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Shinya Toyama recorded the first out, he walked back-to-back Colonials in front of Gregory Barnette, who lined a triple down the right field line to cut into the deficit at 8-2. Barnette scored later in the inning on a wild pitch. Gen Utamura allowed just two hits and a walk over five scoreless innings with six strikeouts to earn the win. Negishi finished 3-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBI’s. Amamoto, Stahl, and Katsuyuki all finished with two hits each.
The Bombers came back from an early deficit, and knocked off the Manitoba North Stars 4-3 in the second game. Trey Bridis led off the top of the second with a triple and scored on Nick Campana’s RBI single to get the games scoring started. In the fourth, Bridis lined a double off the top of the left field wall, scoring Judah Wollenburg from third, to give Manitoba a 2-0 lead. After Travis McQueen recorded the first two outs in the fifth, Konosuke Kawagishi hit a pinch-hit triple to right to run the lead to 3-0. The Bombers sent ten to the plate in the next half inning, and took the lead. Jalen Benjamin doubled to open up the sixth, then scored on Shannon Baker’s RBI single. After back-to-back walks loaded up the bases with no-outs, Ryan Gowens settled down and retired the next two. But Riley Conlan lined a bases clearing three-run double into left center to give the Bombers the 4-3 lead. British Columbia wouldn’t give up the lead. Alex De La Cruz-Rodriguez, Parker Sniatynski, and Jalen Benjamin all finished with two hits each. McQueen went the distance, allowing eight hits and three runs over seven innings with four strikeouts.
Friday is Canada Day, Canadian Residents get into Palm Springs Stadium for just $3. The Washington Blue Sox will play the Palm Springs Power at 10 AM, followed by the British Columbia Bombers and Toronto Rush at 12:30.