They say, ‘pitching and defense’ wins ball games. Tell that to Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth or even Albert Pujols and you may get a scoffed look but that was the recipe for a 2 – 1 victory on Tuesday night against the Lancaster JetHawks. Four Storm hurlers combined to put up an impressive line: 9 innings, 8 hits, 1 run and 10 strikeouts minus the 5 walks. The winning pitcher was Elliot Ashbeck, who moved to two wins, two losses and Dauris Valdez closing it out to earn his third save of the season. On the offensive side, LF Buddy Reed continued his stellar season by going 2 for 4. He smacked his sixth homer (an inside the park type) )and stole his nineteenth base on the year. Lancaster starter Rico Garcia pitched well enough to win, 7 innings, 7 hits, 1 earned, 1 walk and 8 strikeouts. He falls to five wins, four losses while SS Alan Trejo went 3 for 4 for the JetHawks.
In summarizing Game Two of this series, I could’ve been lazy and just “cut and pasted’ the pitching results from Game One. Once again, four Lake Elsinore hurlers combined to put up a great pitching line: 9 innings, 7 hits, 0 earned runs, 2 walks and 8 strikeouts. This time, Michel Baez was the winner, his first of the year against four defeats and Dauris Valdez picked up his fourth save and second in as many days. And the offense was paced by 1B Brad Zunica (2 for 4, his 4th homerun), DH Marcus Greene, Jr, (2 for 4) and SS Ruddy Giron (2 for 4) provided all the offense en route to a 4 to 1 triumph. JetHawks starter, Ty Culbreth went six innings and took the loss and stands with a one win, win loss record while SS Alan Trejo again went 3 for 4 with an RBI to led the offense.
Winning the first two and with Chris Paddock on the hill for Game Three had the Lake thinking sweep. Unfortunately, the pitching that was present earlier in the series disappeared and the offense for both teams would control the outcome. While the Cal League is known as a ‘hitters paradise’ this contest would not see a single ball clear the outfield fence. Instead, ‘small ball’ ruled the day. With the teams combining for twenty-three total hits including: five doubles, a triple six stolen bases and five fielding errors with the Storm committing four of those). You add all this up and we were tied at six after nine innings. And after both teams scored a run in their half of the tenth, the eleventh inning would see the Storm commit two throwing errors that led to Lancaster scoring three runs and take a 10 – 7 lead that made JetHawks pitcher, Heath Holder the winner (4-0), Lake Elsinore reliever, Austin Smith the loser (0-2) and gave Lancaster cloer Reid Humphreys, his eleventh save on the season. 1B Brad Zunica went (2 for 4) and LF Buddy Reed hit his third triple of the year and added two stolen bases, running his total on the season to twenty-one. JetHawk LF Manual Melendez went (3 for 4) with a run scored and drove in three.
The Storm welcome the San Jose GIants to the Diamond for a 3-game weekend series starting on Friday, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM. The Lake will turn to Pedro Avila (3-2) to face off against San Jose’s Sandro Cabrera (6-0).
By Ed Alcaraz