Friday saw the Storm take on their rival Stockton Ports in a 3-game, weekend set. When the dust settled, Stockton managed to sweep the series bringing their season record to 13-9, good for first place in the Cal League’s Northern division. While the three losses left the Storm’s record at 9-15, putting them in fourth place in the Cal League’s Southern division
Game 1 advertised postgame fireworks and 5,000 plus attended in hopes of seeing some during the game as well. It was not to be, as three Ports pitchers held the Boys by the Lake to seven hits and no runs. Starter Zack Erwin (5 2/3 inning, 4 hits, 2 walks and 5 k’s), Angel Duno 2 1/3 innings, 3 hits and 1 k) and closer Miguel Romero, who pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 6th save of the year. Storm pitching was not far behind as Pedro Avila threw six innings of 4 hit, 2-run ball while striking out two. Blake Rogers and Trevor Megill combined to throw three innings of no-hit ball while striking out five in the losing effort. The third inning would do the Storm in as Stockton got singles from Melvin Mercedes (3B), Luis Barrera (RF) and they’d both come around to score on a double to left field by Nate Mondou (2B). The Elsinore offense was paced by two hits apiece from Eddie Olivares (CF), Jorge Ona (DH) and Brad Zunica (1B) but still stranded a total of ten baserunners.
Game 2 saw the offensive explosion that many fans hoped for from Friday’s game. Unfortunately, it was Stockton who broke out with 11 runs on 10 hits, including the first homerun of the season for Skye Bolt (cf), who also scored 3 times. Not be outdone, Eric Marinez (DH) also crossed home plate 3 times. Melvin Mercedes and Luis Barrera (who scored the only runs in Game 1) finished 3 for 3 with 3 RBI and 2 for 4 with 4 RBI, respectively. On the pitching side, Stockton starter Jake Bray picked up the win (1-0) going 5 innings and giving up 2 earned with relievers Brendan Butler followed by Brandon Marsonek throwing the final 4 innings giving up a hit and run. The Strom were led by Eddie Olivares (CF) who had his second straight 2-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. On the hill, Lake Bachar started and was torched for 6 runs, 5 earned in 3 1/13 innings, taking the loss and evening his record to 2-2.
Game 3 had the Ports turn four hits and a walk into three runs before the Storm even got to bat. By the end of the fifth, Stockton would have a 6-1 lead and did not look back. On offense, Skye Bolt went 2 for 5 and clubbed his second homer in as many days with Luis Barrera (RF) and Dairon Blanco (LF) two hits apiece. For the Storm, Jorge Ona (DH) would go 2 for 4 with a double. Wil Gilbert (1-0) picked up the win in relief of Ports starter Logan Shore (4 innings, 2 hits, 1 earned run and striking out 6). For Lake Elsinore, Michel Baez went three innings giving eight hits and five runs (all earned) while walking three and striking out four. Three relievers (Austin Smith, Dauris Valdez and Elliot Ashbeck) combined to go six innings, giving up three hits and one earned run while punching out seven.
Up next for the Storm is a 3-game road series to face the Inland Empire 66’ers, starting on Monday at San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino. Followed by an off day on Thursday before returning home to The Diamond on Friday to square off against the Modesto Nuts at 7 pm.
By Ed Alcaraz