PALM SPRINGS, Calif- The second round of the 2019 CWL Playoffs began with the Alberta Grizzly defeating the Canada A’s by a final score of 4-1 in the first game at the auxiliary field. The Grizzly only had two hits, but they were efficient at the plate. Three of their runs were scored on one swing of the bat when Colten Trager mashed a home run to deep left field in the second inning, giving the Grizzly an early 3-0 lead. The A’s responded in the fifth when Joseph Becht scored on a wild pitch after walking earlier in the inning, but that was as close as it would get. Alberta added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Ryan Whitt singled home Luke Bolka, and that 4-1 score would stand as the A’s made three quick outs in the seventh inning. Winning pitcher Alex McCune for the Grizzly was effective through five innings, allowing only one run while striking out six batters and scattering five hits. Kyle Lazcano suffered the tough-luck loss for the Canada A’s, giving up three runs (one earned) on one hit while striking out five batters.
The second game on the auxiliary field resulted in a win for the Oregon Lumberjacks who defeated the Palm Springs Chill 8-2. The Chill struck the initial blow in the second inning when Giovanni Garbella scored on Nick Mira’s single to make it a 1-0 game, but the lead would be short-lived. Lumberjacks Designated Hitter Larry Alcime launched a round-tripper deep into the parking lot beyond the left field fence in the bottom half of the second to put Oregon ahead 2-1 and give them a lead they would never relinquish. Nine hitters proceeded to come to the plate for Oregon in bottom of the third inning, highlighted by clutch bases-loaded singles from Jonathon Howard to bring in two runners and Jordan Lambert to add another run and push the lead to 5-1. Nick Mira had an RBI single for the Palm Springs Chill in the fourth inning to make it a 5-2 game, but that was all the closer the Chill would get. The Lumberjacks added three insurance runs in the fifth inning when Larry Alcime collected his second hit and subsequent third RBI of the day followed by Joshua Rodriguez’s two-run double with the bases loaded to make it an 8-2 ball game in favor of Oregon. Michael Stryffeler went five innings for the Lumberjacks and earned the win, allowing five hits and striking out six batters. Keaton Slack surrendered five earned runs off of five hits and got the loss for the Chill, although his four strikeouts looked sharp over five innings pitched.
The first game at Palm Springs Stadium featured an American Division semi-final match between the Washington Blue Sox and the Palm Springs Power with Washington taking the win 8-3. The scoring started early with each team producing a run in the first. In the top half Hayato Amamoto hit a one-out single and eventually was driven in by Tatsunori Negishi later in the inning with another single. The Power got their run when Lamar Briggs led off the inning with a walk and stole second before Jacob Boston drove him in with a two-out double. The Blue Sox pitching would hold the Power offense at bay until the seventh after stellar outings by winning pitcher Rizumu Yasukouchi who went three innings giving up one run and Micah Witty-Oakland who went four innings and only giving up two hits. The Blue Sox bats would not be stymied as they scored in five straight innings. The third inning brought in Kodai Kato to score after a ground ball double play from Negishi. Washington scored two more runs in the fourth inning. Taichi Nakamura and Kazuaki Oishi both walked in the inning and would come into score from a Kato single and a wild pitch during Amamoto’s at-bat. The fifth inning brought two more runs for the Blue Sox off more wild pitches as both Negishi and Nakamura came in to score during the inning. In the sixth, Kato would score again off a throwing error by the catcher Jay Carp. One more run came in for the Blue Sox in the seventh when Nakamura led off the inning with a single and scored on a Kato single. The Power offense got going again in the seventh scoring two runs off a sacrifice fly from Won Jie Choi and another RBI double by Boston but it would come too little too late as their offense would be held there. Seth Burris took the loss for the Power after going 3 ⅔ inning and giving up four runs on six hits.
The last game of the day at Palm Springs Stadium pit the top seeded Toronto Rush against the bottom seeded British Columbia Bombers with the Rush taking it 10-3. The Bombers loaded up the bases in the top of the first and pushed across one run off a walk to Cory Lubinski. Toronto got their first run of the game in the second when T.J. Ward led off the inning with a home run over the left field fence tying the game. The third inning Toronto’s bats came alive sending eight men to the plate and scoring four. Grady Caldwell started the scoring lacing a double to score Tyler Cowles before Caldwell himself scored on a wild pitch. Jesse Russo immediately walked setting up Ward for a two-run home run into left-center. The Bombers put two runs of their own on the board when Alex DeLaCruz-Rodriguez hit a home run of his own into left-center scoring both himself and Kyle Robinson who had reached on an error. In the sixth, the Rush brought three runs across with the help of two errors by British Columbia. William Myers took home the victory for the Rush going five innings giving up only two earned runs. Joe Romence finished with the loss giving up five runs through 2 ⅔.
Saturday at the California Winter League will be Sun & Suds Saturday, featuring $2 Bud and Bud Light Drafts. The Oregon Lumberjacks will take on the Washington Blue Sox at 10:00 AM in game one at Palm Springs Stadium to crown the American Division Champion. The Alberta Grizzly will square off with the Toronto Rush in the Canadian Division Championship at 12:30 PM in game two at Palm Springs Stadium.