The Lake Elsinore Storm returned to The Diamond tonight with one goal in mind; win one of three against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Instead, the Storm took the first game of the series by a score of 14-7 and clinched a 2022 playoff berth. This is their first Half-Season California
The Lake Elsinore Storm returned to The Diamond tonight with one goal in mind; win one of three against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Instead, the Storm took the first game of the series by a score of 14-7 and clinched a 2022 playoff berth. This is their first Half-Season California League South Championship since 2010 and they did it with their patented, potent offense.
The game began far less certain than it ended. In the first inning, Storm starting pitcher, Bodi Rascon allowed a walk and a single before recording the first out of the game. He would then give up an RBI single before retiring the side. Max Ferguson, who finished the night 4-5 with 4 RBIs, started the evening with a fast and loud triple. James Wood, in his first home at bat since hitting the IL, would bring him home on a groundout to second base, an out he nearly avoided with his always surprising speed.
The Quakes starter would then walk three consecutive batters, a theme of the night, before Carlos Luis would bring 2 runs across the plate. Luis leads the Storm in RBIs this season with 44. Victor Duarte would then hammer the first pitch of the next at bat to bring the Storm lead to 4-1.
Despite the fast start, fast being relative; the first inning of tonight's game was 30 minutes in duration, the Quakes had some fight of their own. They came back to score 4 runs in the top of the 2nd to bring the game to a stalemate. Max Ferguson would then create stadium-wide deja vu as he came to bat in the bottom of the 2nd inning and hit yet another triple. And, as if taken straight from the 1st innning script, a James Wood groundout would bring Ferguson home to tie the score at 5 runs apiece.
Alan Mundo would take the mound in the top of the third and also take complete control of the game. He would wind up going 5 innings, giving up just 1 hit, 1 walk, allowing 0 earned runs, and striking out 4. His poise would guide the Storm to tonight's win and playoff berth. It would also allow the Storm room to score 9 runs across 4 innings, giving them a comfortable 14-5 lead heading into the 7th inning.
The Storm would score across these innings mainly with patient at bats and Quakes mistakes. In fact, Lake Elsinore would score twice on two wild pitches and once on a hit batsman. Along with Max Ferguson's stellar night, Carlos Luis would collect 3 hits, 3 RBIs, and 2 Runs, completing his dominant first half and giving him an OPS over .830.
After cruising across innings 3 through 8, the Storm would run into trouble in the top of the 9th. Ben Miller would allow 2 earned runs before Manager, Eric Junge, would call upon Aaron Holiday to close out the game like he has all season long. Holiday would reward him and the fans in attendance by striking out the first batter he faced and taking home the win. The Storm return tomorrow night to face the Quakes on Woof Wednesday at 6:05 PM.
-Written by Justin Jett