Season Wraps Up With Power Taking Title
By: Robert Ambrose & Megan Castellucci
Palm Springs, Calif. – Another successful California Winter League season has wrapped up here in Palm Springs! A crowd of 900 fans packed into Palm Springs Stadium to watch the Palm Springs Power be crowned champions of the California Winter League, after they defeated the Canada A’s 8 – 3 during Sunday’s finale. This championship win was a first for the Power in California Winter League history.
The Power finished the regular season with a 12-5 record, which was the best in the CWL in 2020. Trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning in their quarterfinal playoff game against the Oregon Lumberjacks, the Power not only ended the perfect game bid of Lumberjacks starting pitcher Mason Alexander, but they came back for a 2-1 walk-off win. In the semifinals, the Power used an eight run fourth inning to defeat the Palm Springs Chill 11-5 and scored four runs in the fifth inning of the championship game to go ahead for good.
Offensively, the Power were led by rookie, Landen Barns (USPBL). Barns hit .423 during the CWL, recording 22 hits, 13 RBI, and two triples. Barns crossed home plate 11 times. Derek Bangert also contributed to the Power’s offensive surge with his 14 RBIs and six doubles.
Defensively, Ethan Rosebeck (Frontier League) led the Power pitching staff, recording 4 wins this California Winter League season. Rosebeck notched 30 strikeouts in 25 innings of work. He walked nine and had an ERA of 2.52. Rosebeck will find himself competing for a job with the Southern Illinois Miners this season.
After starting the season 4-7, the A’s caught fire and won their final four regular season games to climb to the two seed in the Canadian Division for the playoffs. The A’s then defeated the Manitoba North Stars in a walk-off victory, 7-6, in the quarterfinals. In the semis, the A’s pulled away with a late surge to defeat the British Columbia Bombers 16-9, extending their winning streak to a league high six games.
Third baseman, Riley Mihalik (USPBL), led the A’s offensively, hitting .419 with 14 RBI, one triple, and two doubles. He recorded 18 hits and crossed home plate 12 times. Mihalik led the A’s in the batting average and RBI leader categories.
Austin Rubick (Frontier League) led the A’s pitching staff with a 16.2 innings of work, recording 21 strikeouts in 12 game appearances. Rubick finished with a 3–0 record.
The CWL saw four complete games on the mound in 2020. The very first one was thrown on February 3 by Stephen Chamblee (Frontier League) for the Power in a 6-3 victory over the Bombers. Chamblee threw his second complete game on February 8 against the A’s in a 1-0 loss. It turned out to be the beginning of the A’s’ six game winning streak. Kevin Hahn tossed a complete game on February 10 for the Chill in a 7-0 loss to the Lumberjacks. Neil Lang also threw one on February 5 for the Manitoba North Stars in a 1-0 loss to the A’s.
Offensively, the California Winter League was led by outfielder, Matt Feinstein (Frontier League). Feinstein led the league in batting average, hitting .488, with 20 hits, five doubles, one triple, and one homerun. He recorded 14 RBI and five stolen bags.
Payton Isaacson (Frontier League) led the CWL in the homerun category with seven. Isaacson also recorded 19 RBI and three doubles.
Romero Harris (USPBL) took the RBI leader category with 22 RBI on the season. He hit.407 with four homeruns, two triples, and three doubles.
Joseph Rivera (Frontier League) led the CWL pitching staff with 50 strikeouts. He pitched for a 1. 54 ERA in 22 .2 innings of work. He had a 3-0 record.
Perhaps the proudest accomplishment for the CWL this season is seeing a total of 46 of this year’s players get professional contracts for this upcoming spring and summer. This includes 31 players in the Frontier League, nine players in the United Shore Professional Baseball League (USPBL), two players in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, one player in the American Association, and three players signing contracts with major league teams with invites to Spring Training. John Sechen signed with the Rockies, Joseph Fernando signed with the Padres, and Justin Lewis signed with the Rangers.
Overall, the season was a blast and a great experience for the fans and players. Fans from all over the world enjoyed spending days at Palm Springs Stadium watching future stars of the game. The players also had a blast getting an opportunity to keep playing the game they love every day. There are not very many places that offer the spectacular weather that Palm Springs does during the months of January and February. That alone is what makes the California Winter League a unique and enriching experience year in and year out.