Game One began on a warm, spring evening with winds reaching 20 mph, causing most fly balls to die well short of their intended destination beyond the fence, pitching would take center stage. Storm starter, Michel Baez would give up two hits while his defense would commit three errors leading to their 22nd loss of the season. The Lake’s offense you ask? They pounded out nine hits that contributed to a single run, resulting in a 3 to 1 loss. Left fielder Buddy Reed and center fielder Edward Olivares had two hits each but when you strand nine base runners, you won’t win many games. Meanwhile, Modesto relied on poor Storm fielding and timely walks to score their three runs. When all was said and done, Nuts starter Darren McCaughan moved his record to two wins against three losses, Seth Elledge picked up his fourth save and Michel Baez would be handed his third loss with no victories.
Game Two featured the same wind and weather as Game One but with a different result on the field. The Boys from the Lake sent Chris Paddack (1 – 0) to the hill, he of the earned run average sitting at 0.00 to go along with sixteen strikeouts over ten innings. His numbers would rise, in a great way, when he handed off the ball to start the bottom of the eighth inning to reliever Diomar Lopez. His gained his second victory, moved his strikeout total to twenty-six but kept the ERA at a perfect 0.00. Lopez would give up a run when LF Logan Taylor doubled home DH Kyle Lewis. That would be the highlight of the Nuts’ offense as Dauris Valdez came on in the ninth to close the door for the Storm and pick up his first save of the year. RF Jorge Ona hit his second homerun and C Marcus Greene, Jr. added two runs batted in to give Lake Elsinore a 4 to 1 victory. Randy Bell (1 – 2) started for Modesto and was tagged with the loss.
Game Three’s recap is going to start with a quote to help set up this Lake Elsinore summary. It comes from fictional Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown from the 1994 Major League II, as if he were giving the Storm a pep talk, “OK, we won a game yesterday. If we win today, it’s called “two in a row”. And if we win again tomorrow, it’s called a “winning streak”…it has happened before!” And it worked as the Storm rallied in the eighth inning for four runs, highlighted by a two-out, two-run RBI single from RF Edward Olivares to cap off the scoring and give Lake Elsinore a 4 – 3 lead that would hold, making a winner out of starter Pedro Avila (2 –2) and gave David Bednar a chance to pick up his second, which he did by throwing two scoreless innings. Anthony McIver (0 – 1) took the loss for Modesto and Wyatt Mills blew his second save opportunity of the year.
Game Four had the Storm picking up a series victory and achieving their first 3-game winning of the 2018 season. This game wouldn’t feature much in the way of dramatic comebacks. The Lake would get finish the game with 9 runs on 13 hits while holding Modesto to 1 run on three hits. The offense was led by DH Jorge Ona, who hit his third HR of the year and second of the series. LF Buddy Reed chipped in three hits, three RBI’s and two stolen bases, giving him seventeen swiped bags for the season. Storm starter, Reggie Lawson’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 3 BB and 3 K’s to raise his record to (3 – 1). Reggie McClain (1 – 1) started for the Nuts and took the loss.
Up next for the Storm (16 – 22) is a three-game set to face off against the Angels’ affiliate, Inland Empire 66er’s (18 – 20) at The Diamond starting at 7 pm on Tuesday with Adrian Morejon (1 –3) looking to extend the Lake’s winning streak to four games against Inland Empire’s ace, Joe Gatto (4 –1)
By Ed Alcaraz