The Storm Ends the 2018 Season on a High Note, Sweeping Lancaster at Home
By Dominick Lorenz
As the Storm were eliminated from playoff contention on August 30th, the love of the game shined through as the Eyes swept the Lancaster JetHawks at The Diamond during the Labor Day weekend. The sweep ended the team’s season with a 68-72 record, ranking the Storm 3rd in the California League South Division (5th Overall).
The final Fireworks Friday was a big hit as the Storm celebrated a 3-2 walk-off win off the bat of infielder Luis Guzman. Guzman ripped his first extra base-hit wearing the Eyes of the Storm to right-center field off JetHawks reliever Alexander Guillen that scored a head-first sliding A.J. Kennedy all the way from first base. This was the 6th walk-off performance by the Storm this season, which kicked off the homestand in the right direction.
Lancaster would strike for solo runs in the 5th and 7th inning to inch themselves closer to clinching a playoff berth. With the game tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the 9th inning, Guzman deliverd.
Saturday and Sunday were dominated by strong pitching performances not only by the starting pitchers, but also by the relievers. After getting four runs of support, right-hander Ronald Bolanos cruised through five solid innings yielding just one earned-run, four hits, while striking out four batters.
His biggest supporter was DH Luis Torrens who drove in two runs on RBI-Singles along with Edward Olivares who recorded a multi-hit game with one RBI.
Out of the bullpen, Cody Tyler, Hansel Rodriguez and Dauris Valdez combined to toss four shutout innings with eight strikeouts and only three hits allowed. The Storm would go on and win their second consecutive game by the final of 5-1.
Following back-to-back wins, manager Edwin Rodriguez and pitching coach Pete Zamora decided to go with the good ole’ “Johnny Whole Staff” bullpen day on the bump. Right-hander Caleb Boushley got the nod for his first start since August 27th, 2017 and brilliantly tossed five shutout innings in front of friends and family. His final line read 5 IP/3 H/0 ER/0 BB/5 K and was able to get four runs of support in the 3rd inning alone courtesy of Edward Olivares, Luis Torrens and Brad Zunica, who each recorded RBI-Singles.
As the sun set on Everything Night 2018, it was also time to cheer on the Storm one last time. The Eyes got off to an early 3-0 lead capped off by an RBI-Single Single by Michael Curry, which was his first RBI in the California League.
After Lancaster quickly tied things up in the next half-inning, the Storm bats stayed alive with a Chris Baker Sac-Fly, scoring Luis Guzman and an RBI-Single by Brad Zunica which scored Eguy Rosario.
Storm starter Reggie Lawson finished his last start of the year on a winning note going 5 IP/3 H/3 R/ 3 ER/5 BB/6 K. The big right hander ended his 3rd professional season going 8-5 with a 4.69 ERA (24 App/22 Starts) with 117 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched.
The last Storm run that crossed the plate was off the bat of Bradenton, Florida native Brad Zunica, who crushed his 17th HR of the season to right-center field. Reliever Tom Colletti struck out JetHawks DH Bret Boswell on three pitches, the Storm were victorious one final time at Pete Lehr Field, this time by the final of 6-5.
Reggie Lawson and Pedro Avila were named the Team’s Pitchers of the Year: RHP & RHP. Buddy Reed and Hudson Potts shared the Most Valuable Player Award and the Gerik Baxter Award went to Lawson.
Loyal Lake Elsinore fans kept coming to the ballgames. The Storm lead the California League in attendance for the 8th time in the last 10 years with 214,955 people coming through the turnstiles.
Press Release Provided By the Lake Elsinore Storm