Former Kings in the Cal League Playoffs
While I’ve obviously been following the Midwest League Playoffs in depth (Fort Wayne is currently up 2-0 on Burlington in the best-of-five Championship Series), I haven’t given any coverage so far to what has been a thrilling Cal League Playoffs.
That changes today. Mention needs to be made of what several former LumberKings have done out West.
Mauro Gomez (left) and Ian Gac drove in 16 runs combined for the Blaze in eight playoff games.
Ian Gac (’06-’08), Mauro Gomez (’07), Matt Lawson (’08), Kennil Gomez (’08) and others helped power Bakersfield to the post season, and the Blaze didn’t settle with a first-round letdown. They came back from a 1-0 deficit to oust Modesto with 13-6 and 6-1 wins.
In the second round, they fell behind 2-0 to Cal League powerhouse San Jose (league-best 93-47 during the regular season) as Ryan Tatusko (’08) yielded just a run and lost to Clayton Tanner in game one and the bullpen failed for a disastrous eight-run eighth inning in an 8-3 loss in game two. Tim Murphy (’08) turned in 7.0 scoreless innings, but Justin Miller and Glenn Swanson (’06-’07) were beat up in relief.
That’s when the Blaze turned it on. The Gomez’s teamed up for a 7-3 win in Bakersfield as Kennil Gomez stifled the Giants to a run over 6.2 innings while Mauro Gomez homered and drove in three. They evened the series with an 11-4 win in game four thanks to Gac’s season-best six-RBI night, including a three-run blast that cleared the famed Sam Lynn Ballpark batter’s eye. Michael Main (’08) tossed 2.0 scoreless relief innings to help Tanner Roark get the win.
Unfortunately, that’s where the dream ended. San Jose erased an early 2-0 Blaze lead and won going away, 12-3. The Gomez/Gac combo went 0-for-7 with three strikeouts combined as Bakersfield fell short of meeting High Desert in the Cal Leage Championship Series.
As you well know, Bakersfield was our old High A affiliate and High Desert is our new High A affiliate. It would have been great to see the two match up in the finals, but it’s still exciting to see the Mavericks enjoy continued success.
Kyle Seager (left) and Steven Hensley will attempt to lead the Mavs to the title.
Three former LumberKings are with the Mavs, including Steven Hensley (’09), Travis Howell (’09), Kyle Seager (’09) and Stephen Penney (’09).
The Mavs had a first round bye thanks to a South Division-best 83-57 record. Their second-round matchup pitted them against the Angels-affiliated Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. That means a ton of former Cedar Rapids Kernels.
High Desert took game one behind Hensley’s outstanding complete-game, three hitter. He struck out 10 Quakes and Jamie McOwen continued his dream season with a two-run blast to finish off a 5-0 victory.
The Mavs still wouldn’t let the Quakes on the board in game two as their second ace, former West Michigan Whitecap Mauricio Robles did his best to match Hensley with 7.0 scoreless frames in a 4-0 win. Carlos Peguero was the man with the two-run clout this time around.
Rancho outlasted High Desert and staved off elimination with a 7-6 walk-off win in the 10th in game three. Joe Dunigan was the offensive highlight thanks to yet another two-run homer in a 3-for-4, three RBI game. The Quakes forced the deciding game five with an uneventful 2-1 win behind former Kernel Ryan Brasier’s 8.0 scoreless innings.
The series returned to Adelanto for the deciding game, and a 3-2 pitcher’s duel favored the Mavs through the first four innings. Then, the bats took over. Juan Diaz, Dunigan and Peguero all homered after the fifth and the bullpen was stellar in an 11-6 lashing to end the series. The stiff-armed Penney was the man on the mound in a non-save ninth, and he turned in a scoreless frame to send the Mavs onward.
That sets up the best-of-five Cal League Championship Series, your High Desert Mavericks against the San Jose Giants. The two best teams from their respective divisions rightfully meet up. The series begins tonight in Adelanto with Hensley on the mound.
If you’re looking for more baseball to listen to, check out the Mavs tonight at 9:05 central time. The link to the audio is here: http://v3.player.abacast.com/player/player.php?pid=eldorado_kixw&stream=bb