Quakes win, 66ers lose desert slugfests

While the Quakes were holding on to win in Lancaster, 8-7 on Friday night, the 66ers’ comeback came up short at High Desert, falling 15-12 to the Mavericks.

The Quakes improved to 3-6 in the second half, while the Sixers dropped to 2-7.


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Mavericks down Quakes 8-5, capture 1st half title

The game had a playoff feel, with 3,275 fans in attendance on a Monday night.

The Quakes held the early 5-2 lead, but couldn’t hold it, despite a 5 for 5 performance by C.J. Retherford.

Poor pitching and poor defense led to six runs in the fifth and sixth inning and the High Desert Mavericks downed the Quakes 8-5.

The win gave the Mavericks the first-half South Division title in the game that served as a one-game tiebreaker with the Quakes.

Brad Miller’s single in the sixth inning tied the score 5-5, and John Hicks followed with a two-run single to give the Mavericks the lead for good.

The Mavericks scored six runs in the fifth and sixth, thanks to nine hits, one hit batter, two wild pitches, one error (and another hit that should’ve been an error) and a missed cutoff man.

The Quakes’ best chance to rally came in the eighth when Austin Gallagher and Bobby Coyle drew leadoff walks.

But Scott Wingo and pinch-hitter Chris Jacobs struck out and Leon Landry hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.

Mavericks tie Quakes for 1st half title

When the Quakes won on Thursday, they knew they had 3 chances to win 1 game against the High Desert Mavericks to win the first-half South Division title.

The first chance came on Friday, and they lost on Mickey Wiswall’s 11th-inning home run 9-7 after tying the score in the ninth.

On Saturday, they had the tying runs on base with one out in the 9th, but fell in again on the road in Adelanto, falling 5-2.

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Quakes still 1 win away

Needing a win in 1 of their last 2 games of the first half to clinch the first-half title, the Quakes came up short in their first chance, losing 9-7 in 11 innings at High Desert on Friday night.

The Quakes  lead the Mavericks by 1 game in the South Division first half with 1 to play. Should the Mavericks win on Saturday night in Adelanto, they would tie the Quakes for the first-half title. The teams would then have a 1-game playoff in the next scheduled meeting of the second half. That game is Monday, June 25 at High Desert.

Lancaster and Lake Elsinore are also 1 game back of the Quakes with one to play. But those two teams lose any tiebreaker scenarios and cannot win the first half.

I try not to criticize managerial moves, but I will in this case with Quakes manager Juan Bustabad.

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Quakes on the brink of the title

Last year, the Quakes seemed destined from the first-half title from pretty early in the season.

This year, they weren’t on the first-half title radar until the last couple of weeks. Funny how a 10-1 stretch can change things.

Now, after Thursday’s 5-3 come-from-behind win at High Desert, the Quakes are 1 win away from a first-half South Division title for the second year in a row.

The Quakes (37-31) lead High Desert, Lake Elsinore (which lost to Bakersfield late Thursday) and Lancaster (all 35-33) all by two games with two to play.

As I understand it, even though all 4 of those teams, or 3 of those teams could finish the first half in a tie, only the Quakes and High Desert can win the first-half title. That’s because Lake Elsinore and Lancaster both lose on any tiebreaker scenarios, whether they are involved in a 3-way or 4-way tie.

So, if High Desert wins the next two games, the Quakes and High Desert would have a one-game playoff in the first game in the second half between the teams. That game is June 25 at High Desert. Of course, the Quakes can eliminate any tiebreaker scenarios just by winning Friday or Saturday at High Desert.

Quakes regain sole possession of first

With three games to go, the South Division first-half title is the Quakes’ to lose.

Joc Pederson hit a tie-breaking home run leading off the eighth inning to give the Quakes a 3-2 victory over Lancaster on Wednesday night, their ninth in 10 games. The win coupled with High Desert’s 5-4 win over Lake Elsinore, gives the Quakes (36-31) sole possession of first place in the South Division. Lake Elsinore, which had been tied with the Quakes, drops into a second-place tie with High Desert, one game back. Lancaster (34-33), which could have forged a four-way tie for first with a victory, dropped into fourth place, two games back.

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Landry an all-star, but Quakes’ streak ends

Before the game was good news for the Quakes; outfielder Leon Landry became an all-star injury replacement for High Desert’s Julio Morban. Landry is batting .329 with three home runs, 16 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases.

And of course, it was Landry at the plate with the game on the line in the ninth inning: trailing by a run with runners on second and third and two outs. But Landry couldn’t beat out a grounder to second, and the Quakes’ 8-game winning streak ended with a 3-2 loss to Lancaster at the Epicenter.

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Quakes remain hot, 66ers on the brink

As the South Division race in the California League is heating up, it appears one hopeful’s time is about up.

Four teams: High Desert, Lake Elsinore, Lancaster and the Quakes entered Saturday’s games separated by a single game in the standings, with the 66ers four games back.

With four teams ahead of them and only eight games remaining entering Saturday, the Sixers would pretty much need to win out and have everything else break right to still have a chance.

But Lancaster held on for a 4-2 victory, knocking the Sixers five games out of first and on the brink of elimination.

Meanwhile, the Quakes beat High Desert 4-2 and Lake Elsinore downed Visalia 6-3.

So, after Saturday’s games, it’s Lake Elsinore (34-29) in sole possession of first place, but the Quakes, High Desert and Lancaster all one game back at 33-30.

Quakes, Sixers win, race tightens up

A the Quakes and 66ers returned home to both begin 6-game homestands on Friday, the California League South Division race couldn’t get much tighter.

But after Friday’s results, it did.

The Quakes won their fifth straight game, beating first-place High Desert 6-1. Meanwhile, the 66ers downed second-place Lancaster 5-4 in 11 innings. In addition, Lake Elsinore, which was tied with Lancaster for second place, defeated Visalia 11-1.

So after Friday, each team in the South Division has eight games remaining, and the standings are: High Desert and Lake Elsinore tied for first with 33-29 records; Lancaster and the Quakes tied for third, with 32-30 records, just one game back. The 66ers (29-33) are in last place, but are only four games out of first. The Sixers may technically be alive, but it would nearly be impossible for them to win the first half, needing to vault over four teams.

If the 66ers went 8-0 the rest of the would have a 37-33 record. Because the Quakes and High Desert play each other 5 more times before the end of the half, one of those two teams will need to have at least 35 wins. And with Lake Elsinore and Lancaster in the mix, everything needs to break right.