Category Archives: CAL LEAGUE SOUTH

BLAZE, MAVS TO MOVE, CAL LEAGUE TO 8 TEAMS

f1b6a883-8f83-43b5-9b55-19a1f19c2f7cThe California League announced on Monday that the Bakersfield Blaze and the High Desert Mavericks will move to the Carolina League next season in a realignment of advanced-A leagues. The two cities will see their clubs cease operations and the California League will play with eight teams in 2017.

Bakersfield has been in the Cal League for 75 years while High Desert is finishing its 26th season in Adelanto.

The Blaze, famously, had problems with their aged stadium, Sam Lynn Ballpark, which has home plate facing the setting sun which necessitates later start times. The dugouts are way up the lines and it is lacking modern amenities that are now standard in weight training facilities and indoor batting cages.

imagesThe Mavericks got caught up in a nasty fight between the city and ownership. Both sides thought their counterpart to be unreasonable and litigation cast a cloud over the start of the 2016 season. As a result, High Desert was the logical choice to join the Blaze in downsizing the league and keeping with an even number of teams.

The Blaze have long had the lowest average attendance in the Cal League and High Desert has the second-lowest. This season the Blaze is averaging a mere 848 fans, despite the first-place club on the field in the second half. The Mavericks, first-half champions in the South division, are averaging 1,056. It’s a long way to next next lowest average attendance figure, Visalia’s 1,731. The rest of the league draws more than 2,000 per game on average.

It is sad to see a 75-year old club leave the league, but Bakersfield didn’t have a leg to stand on. Despite the first-rate staff that had the minor league experience down pat, the fans just didn’t come out. Attempts had been made to get a new facility but they fell through and the final years of Bakersfield baseball have seen sparse crowds in an outlier of a facility. That’s a tough way to go out. The fantastic staff deserved much better.

High Desert’s situation didn’t really have to happen, but the baseball played in the Mavs’ home stadium is unusually high-octane, even by Cal League standards. Again, it isn’t good to see a community and a league lose a franchise, but when the name of the game is player development, the wind-affected play in Adelanto has made it hard to evaluate both pitching and hitting.

The Cal League is clearly one of the most offense-heavy leagues in minor league baseball. Could they have continued to make it work out there? Of course. It’s unfortunate to have politics kill the whole deal. 1,000 people a night isn’t as large of an average crowd as most of the rest of the league, but it isn’t peanuts either. A lot of people spent a lot of summer nights watching the Mavs over the years. And then there are the employees.

It’s a sad, sad situation for a pretty stable league. But at the end of the day, you can see the logic in the realignment decision-making. The California League will continue to thrive. It will just do it without these two clubs, and that is sad for the people affected in these communities.

BALLPARK DIGEST STORY by Jeff Goldberg

 

PITCHER OF THE WEEK – MATT BOWER, LANCASTER

Matt Bower went five strong innings against Lake Elsinore to earn Cal League Pitcher of the Week honors. Bower allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out 10 over five shutout innings. It was the lefty’s first start at Lancaster after coming up from Quad Cities.

ORTIZ SHINES FOR HIGH DESERT WITH 6IP, 1H

Photo: MiLB.com

Photo: MiLB.com

The High Desert Mavericks rode the arm of Luis Ortiz and a 14-hit attack to pound out a 9-1 victory over the Visalia Rawhide on Saturday night. The home Rawhide hurt their own cause with a season-high six errors as well.

The visiting Mavericks broke open a 1-1 contest with a string of deuces in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, then put up two more runs in the ninth.

Ortiz, the Rangers’ #4 prospect in Baseball America’s rankings, allowed just one hit over six innings, a solo homer to Colin Bray in the third inning. The right-hander threw 59 pitches with 41 of them strikes while striking out five against 0 walks.

The Mavericks (24-12) have taken the first two games of the four-game set in Visalia and remained a game back of first-place Rancho Cucamonga (25-11) in the South division. The Rawhide (23-12) saw their lead in the North trimmed to two games as the San Jose Giants knocked off Modesto.

SCOREBOARD

MODESTO – 7
SAN JOSE – 11

LAKE ELSINORE – 1
LANCASTER 5

HIGH DESERT – 9
VISALIA – 1

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – 5
INLAND EMPIRE – 3

STOCKTON – 6
BAKERSFIELD – 9

 

MAVS’ DEMERITTE HAS 3H, 2HR….AGAIN

imagesHigh Desert 2B Travis Demeritte had a great opening night, going 3-for-4 with 2HR in a Mavericks win over Inland Empire on Thursday. The #21 prospect of the Texas Rangers enjoyed it so much, he tallied another three hits and two more bombs on Friday.

All this damage came from the leadoff spot as Demeritte drove in eight runs over the two games.

A 2013 first-round draft pick, Demeritte showed this kind of pop in his first full pro season, bashing 25 homers as a 19-year old in 2014. But last year was a step back with only 53 games played and a PED suspension.

The Mavericks, who lost to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the South Division finals last season, are off to a 2-0 start and have put up 19 runs over the two games.

 

POST-SEASON AWARDS ANNOUNCED

The California League handed out post-season honors on Friday with A.J. Reed taking home the MVP award while Antonio Senzatela was named Pitcher of the Year. Reed tore up the league in 82 games with Lancaster before being promoted to AA in July. Senzatela has made 23 starts for the Modesto Nuts and leads the circuit in ERA (2.40) and  WHIP (1.05).

The full list of honorees is as follows:

2015 CALIFORNIA LEAGUE POSTSEASON ALL-STAR TEAM
NAME POS TEAM MLB ORG
Tyler Ogle C Rancho Cucamonga LAD
A.J. Reed* 1B Lancaster HOU
Jamie Westbrook 2B Visalia ARI
Ryan McMahon 3B Modesto COL
Christian Arroyo SS San Jose SF
Eric Aguilera UT Inland Empire LAA
Cody Bellinger DH Rancho Cucamonga LAD
Tyler O’Neill OF Bakersfield SEA
Brett Phillips OF Lancaster HOU
Raimel Tapia OF Modesto COL
Dan Altavilla P Bakersfield SEA
Anthony Banda P Visalia ARI
Chase Johnson P San Jose SF
Antonio Senzatela P Modesto COL
J.R. House Manager Visalia ARI
Gil Heredia Coach Visalia ARI
Rex Whitney Turf Manager Rancho Cucamonga LAD
Vic Zapien Clubbie Stockton OAK

* Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year
† Pitcher of the Year

(Table from official California League webpage)

MODESTO’S BALOG, HIGH DESERTS MARTIN EARN WEEKLY HONORS

Alex Balog of the Modesto Nuts was named Cal League Pitcher of the Week after a 7 2/3 inning performance where he held Bakersfield without a hit or a run. The 23-year old right-hander got the win and lowered his WHIP t0 1.06 on the season.

All Pitchers of the Week at MiLB.com
High Desert’s Tripp Martin was red-hot at the plate last week batting at a .375/.423/1.000 clip with four homers. On August 15th, Martin went 2-for-3 against Inland Empire, blasting two home runs and knocking in three.

All Players of the Week at MiLB.com
MONDAY SCOREBOARD

INLAND EMPIRE – 0
LANCASTER – 8

MODESTO – 12
VISALIA – 13    (10 innings)

HIGH DESERT – 1
RANCHO CUCAMONGA – 8

SAN JOSE – 2
STOCKTON – 13

LAKE ELSINORE – 3
BAKERSFIELD – 1

 

BELLINGER STAYS HOT AS QUAKES DOWN MAVS 8-2

rancho-cucamonga-quakes-primary-logo-2-primaryA day after dropping both games of a double-header at High Desert, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes rallied from 2-0 down to outpace the Mavericks 8-2 Thursday night. 1B Cody Bellinger was in the middle of a three-run fourth inning and, after the game was all but decided, blasted his 26th homerun in the ninth inning.

Bellinger is tied with Bakersfield’s Tyler O’Neill for the California League homer lead.

With the win Rancho Cucamonga pulled to within two games of High Desert in the South Division 2nd half standings.

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PORTS EDGE NUTS BEHIND MENGDEN’S GEM

StocktonDaniel Mengden allowed a first-inning run but then shut down the Modesto Nuts over the next six innings as the Stockton Ports won a tight contest by a score of 2-1 Tuesday night. The Stockton Ports took advantage of Modesto errors to score both of its runs.

Modesto got on the board first behind a Michael Benjamin single followed by two errant pick-off throws by Mengden that sent Benjamin to third. The run came in when Benjamin scored on a steal attempt by Ryan McMahon as the throw went through to second base.

Stockton broke through in the sixth inning with a pair of walks, a fly ball out that moved Jacob Nottingham to third, and an errant pick-off attempt by Modesto’s Devin Burke.

The deciding run came across in the eighth when a botched double-play attempt put Stockton runners at first and third and Nottingham followed with a sac fly.

Modesto loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth but failed to score when Correlle Prime grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.

Stockton has won three straight games while Modesto suffered its fifth straight defeat and is now one game behind Visalia in the North division 2nd half standings.

TUESDAY SCOREBOARD

BAKERSFIELD 11
LAKE ELSINORE 1
Brett Ash goes 6  IP for Blaze, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. Kyle Petty goes 3-for-4 with a 2B, a HR (8) and 4 RBI.

VISALIA 6
SAN JOSE 4 (11 innings)
Rawhide get two in top of 11th on Kevin Cron‘s 23rd HR and a sac fly by Jose Queliz. Visalia takes one-game lead in the North division.

LANCASTER 8
INLAND EMPIRE 2
Chase McDonald belts his 22nd HR, Jethawks score seven runs in last three innings. Francis Martes (W, 2-1) goes 6 IP allowing 6 H, 1 R (0 ER), 2 BB with 3 Ks.

RANCHO CUCAMONGA 13
HIGH DESERT 2
Quakes get homers from Tyler Ogle (16) and Jacob Scavuzzo (8) and pull within one game of first-place Mavericks. Scott Barlow (W, 5-2) goes 6 IP, allows 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 5 K’s.

STOCKTON 2
MODESTO 1
Daniel Mengden (W, 4-3) allows three hits, two walks and one earned run over seven innings. Jacob Nottingham’s sac fly in the top of the eighth is the difference as the Ports hand the Nuts their fifth-straight loss.

JEMILOA, DAVIS NAMED PITCHER/PLAYER OF THE WEEK

RHP Zach Jemiola of the Modesto Nuts was named California League Pitcher of the Week. Jemiola went seven innings against San Jose on Wednesday and didn’t allow a run, walking one and striking out six while giving up four hits.

All Pitchers of the Week at MiLB.com

3B J.D. Davis of Lancaster went 12-for-26 with 6 HR and 15 RBI while earning California League Offensive Player of the Week honors. Davis had a slash line of .462/.481/1.192 while homering in six straight games.

All Offensive Players of the Week at MiLB.com

MONDAY SCOREBOARD

No Games Scheduled

TUESDAY GAMES

BAKERSFIELD at LAKE ELSINORE
VISALIA at SAN JOSE
LANCASTER at INLAND EMPIRE
RANCHO CUCAMONGA at HIGH DESERT
STOCKTON at MODESTO

SECOND-HALF SURGE FOR BAKERSFIELD’S WILSON

Bakersfield Blaze OF Austin Wilson

Bakersfield Blaze OF Austin Wilson

Austin Wilson had a rough first half at hiA Bakersfield this season but the 2013 2nd-round pick entered tonight’s game against Modesto swinging a hot bat. After playing 56 first-half games for the Blaze, the Seattle Mariners’ #16 prospect carried a batting line of .191/.291/.299 with just 5 HR and 19 RBI.

When the second half started on June 25th, the Stanford alum went 2-for-5, raising his batting average to .196, but there were more struggles ahead.

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