By Jacob Kronberg on Monday, February 13th, 2023
Palm Springs, CA – A six spot in the top of the first inning for the Alberta Grizzly (8-4-1) kicked off the penultimate day of the California Winter League regular season. The Grizzly sent nine men to the plate in the opening frame today in a 12-2 win over the Oregon Lumberjacks (7-7). Six of the first seven Alberta hitters reached base, including two hit batters and a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. Waturu Kumagai then drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, and Desmond Gates capped off the offensive outburst with a two-run double. Oregon would chip away at the deficit in the second inning thanks to a two-run double by Champ Garner, but from then on Alberta would coast. The Grizz’ would tack on two more runs in each of the sequential three innings for the victory. Gates had the big day, driving in three runs, and as a whole the Grizzly had 10 different players pick up an RBI. The win propelled Alberta back into first place in the Canadian division with just one regular season game to go.
Offense simmered down for the remainder of Monday’s contests, as the theme shifted to pitching. British Columbia’s (8-5-1) Spencer Taack led the way in a 3-0 win over the Palm Springs Power (6-7), with by far his best pitching performance of the winter. Taack twirled six marvelous innings on the bump, allowing just three hits, striking out 11, and not walking a single batter. The hard-throwing right-hander took a perfect game into the fifth inning before Drew Healey tripled into the left-centerfield gap. Jordan Schulefand came in to pitch the last frame, and picked up his third save of the season. Offensively for the Bombers, Harrison Fullerton, Tanner White, and Darius Simple each drove in a run. British Columbia now sits just half a game out of first place in the Canadian Division.
On the auxiliary field, the Toronto Rush (6-7) played spoiler over the Canada A’s (8-5-1) with a 3-0 win in the debut of new manager, Carlos Mirabal. Manuel Ochoa anchored the pitching, going six strong innings of two-hit ball. Ochoa has been an innings eater for the Rush as of late, as he made his third start today over the last four games. The entirety of the offense came in the third inning. McCoy Pearce drove in the first run of the game on a sacrifice fly. LoLo Williams added on two more runs via a two-run single. Alec Pascale then earned his second save of the season after he worked a scoreless seventh inning. The A’s loss dropped them back into a tie with the British Columbia Bombers for second place.
Monday’s finale saw the bullpen game of all bullpen games for the Manitoba North Stars (5-8-1) in their 3-2 win over the Washington Blue Sox (4-10). In hopes of resting his pair of aces for the Canadian Division play-in game, North Stars manager, Bryan Kloppe, had seven different guys pitch an inning in the victory. The plethora of arms gave up just two runs on four hits. Manitoba’s patience at the dish in the sixth inning gave them all the offense they needed. Three hit batters, a walk, a single, and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chih Hao Tu plated all three of the North Stars runs.
The California Winter League’s regular season finale is tomorrow with four games. The Toronto Rush face the British Columbia Bombers on the turf field at 9:00 a.m., followed by the Oregon Lumberjacks at the Palm Springs Power. The Palm Springs Chill are set to host the Alberta Grizzly at Palm Springs Stadium at 10:00 a.m., and the day finishes up with the Washington Blue Sox at the Canada A’s at 12:30 p.m. All games at the stadium are available live on YouTube on the California Winter League YouTube channel. Tomorrow’s promotion at the stadium Two for Tuesday, where fans get two tickets for the price of one. The California Winter League playoffs begin this Thursday. For more information about promotions, visit californiawinterleague.com