66ers’ Victor Alcantara named Cal League Pitcher of the Week

Victor Alcantara

Victor Alcantara

The 66ers have fallen completely out of the playoff race with one week to play, but they are winning some individual honors as the regular season enters its final week. On Monday, Victor Alcantara was named California League Pitcher of the Week.
In his win on Friday at Stockton, Alcantara tossed eight innings, allowing just three hits, one unearned run while walking one and striking out eight.
Was this performance a surprise? Based on recent results, yes.
In his previous six starts, Alcantara he was 1-5 with an ERA of 9.09. But on Friday, his performance lowered his season ERA from 6.15 to 5.77 and improving his record to 7-12.

66ers’ Brandon Bayardi named Cal League hitter of the week

Despite a disappointing week in when they went 1-7, the 66ers earned the California League’s batter of the week award for the first time this season.

Outfielder/designated hitter Brandon Bayardi had a huge week, going 14-for-32 in eight game,s with two doubles, two triples, four home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. In Sunday’s doubleheader split, he went 4-for-8 with two home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored.

Brandon Bayardi

Brandon Bayardi

Although he missed about two months of the season from late May to late July, Bayardi has had a very good season, batting .310 with nine home runs, 35 RBIs and a .394 on-base percentage in 55 games for the Sixers. Bayardi was the Angels’ 36th-round pick out of UNLV in 2013.

 

He is the first Sixer to be Batter of the Week this season. Chris Ellis, Victor Alcantara and Sean Newcomb won Pitcher of the Week honors. Like the Sixers, the Quakes had one batter (Brandon Dixon) and three pitchers (Jose DeLeon, John Richy, Chase DeJong) win the league’s weekly award this season.

California League 2015 post-season all-star team announced

Cody Bellinger running

The Quakes’ Cody Bellinger rounds the bases on Aug. 3.

The 2015 California League post-season all-star team was announced on Friday, and both the Quakes and 66ers were represented on the team.
The Quakes’ Tyler Ogle was named the catcher on the squad. Through Thursday, he was batting just .255, but belted 19 home runs and 64 RBIs in 94 games. He was especially effective against right-handers, batting .342 with seven home runs in 79 at-bats.
Cody Bellinger, primarily a first baseman for the Quakes, was named the designated hitter on the squad. Like Ogle, Bellinger’s batting average is not high: .256. But also like Ogle, he’s had success with the long ball, hitting 26 home runs and driving in 87 runs in 114 games. He hasn’t played since last Saturday after taking a pitch off his hand.

The 66ers’ Eric Aquilera, who has played mostly first base, but also some left and right field for the team, was named the utility player on the squad. Aguilera is batting .333 with 16 home runs and 90 RBIs while stealing 13 bases in 113 games.
In addition, Quakes  groundskeeper Rex Whitney was named the league’s “Turf Manager of the Year.”

Here is the complete list of honorees:

Manager of the Year: J.R. House, Visalia
Coach of the Year: Gil Heredia, Visalia
Turf manager of the Year: Rex Whitney, Quakes
Clubhouse manager of the Year: Vic Zapien, Stockton
MVP: A.J. Reed, Lancaster
Pitcher of the Year: Antonio Senzatela, Modesto
Rookie of the Year: A.J. Reed, Lancaster
Catcher: Tyler Ogle, Quakes
First base: A.J. Reed, Lancaster
Second base: Jamie Westbrook, Visalia
Third base: Ryan McMahon, Modesto
Shortstop: Christian Arroyo, San Jose
Utility: Eric Aguilera, 66ers
Designated hitter: Cody Bellinger, Quakes
Outfield: Brett Phillips, Lancaster
Outfield: Tyler O’Neill, Bakersfield
Outfield: Raimel Tapia, Modesto
Pitcher: Antonio Senzatela, Modesto
Pitcher: Anthony Banda, Visalia
Pitcher: Chase Johnson, San Jose
Pitcher: Dan Altavilla, Bakersfield

2016 California League schedule announced

The 2016 California League schedule was released on Wednesday. Here are some highlights:
The season begins on Thursday, April 7 with the Quakes hosting Lake Elsinore and the 66ers at High Desert. It ends on Labor Day, Sept. 5 with the Quakes hosting Modesto and the 66ers at Lancaster.
The Quakes host Stockton on July 3 and are at the 66ers on the 4th. The Sixers are at High Desert on July 3.
Cal League logo
The longest Sixer homestand is 8 games, July 4-July 11. The Quakes don’t have an 8-game homestand, but have 5 seven-game homestands.
It used to be that the league seemed to try and not have the Quakes and Sixers at home at the same time, because that big cut into each other’s attendance. But the trend is going the other way.
This year, the teams were home on the same day 22 times, so conversely they were on both on the road 22 times (All off-days are league-wide). Next year, however, that number grows to 32. They will both be home May 2-5, May 20-23, June 1-3, June 23-26, July 16-19, July 28-31, Aug. 9-Aug. 14, Aug. 23-25. They will both be on the road: May 17-19, May 27-30, June 16-19, June 27-29, July 21-24, Aug. 4-7, Aug. 15-21, Aug. 30-Sept. 1.

Click below to access the press release

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Quakes clinch first-half South Division title

Quakes logoEntering the day needing either to win or get a loss from Lancaster, the Quakes got both.
The Quakes (40-29) clinched the California League South Division first-half title with a 5-2 victory at Visalia on Saturday night.
It is the Quakes’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and also was the team’s first half-division title since winning both halves in 2011. Visalia (42-27) had already clinched the North Division first-half title.
On Saturday, Tyler Ogle had two hits, including his 13th home run and drove in three to lead the Quakes. It was Ogle’s two-run homer in the seventh that snapped a 2-2 tie. Brandon Dixon also homered for the Quakes.
Luis DePaula, A.J. Vanegas, Michael Johnson (4-1), Daniel Tillman, and Ramon Benjamin (fourth save) combined on a five-hitter for the Quakes.
Although Lake Elsinore’s game at Lancaster started about an hour before the Quakes’ game at Visalia, the Quakes’ game ended first, followed by Lancaster’s 12-8 loss to Lake Elsinore. The Quakes entered the game leading the first-half race by two games with two to play.

The High Desert Mavericks’ World Series connection

When you’ve had as many affiliations as the High Desert Mavericks have had over the years, they are bound to have connections with players from a multitude of organizations.
Since moving from Riverside in 1991, the Mavericks have had seven different affiliations, and are about to embark on their eighth, when the Texas Rangers come to town for 2015. And that doesn’t include the two years they were a co-op team in 1994-95 and had players from several organizations on their squad.

The California League is for players early on in their career path and that’s how two of this year’s World Series opponents: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Kansas City Royals slugger Billy Butler ended up there.

But Bochy was there in 1991, as a manager for the San Diego Padres’ affiliate trying to work his way up. He had a successful career as a player, but was just starting out as a manager.
It was actually his second season in the league, having managed the predecessor to the Mavericks, the Riverside Red Wave to a 64-78 record in 1990. In 1991, he was back, led the Mavericks to a decent but not overwhelming 73-63 record, then led them to an impressive playoff run (sound familiar?), by beating Mike Piazza, Pedro Martinez and the Bakersfield Dodgers (85-51) amnd then beating the Stockton Ports in the finals, who had beaten 92-44 San Jose in the semifinals.
I covered that team. It was my first real beat and I loved it. Bochy was patient with me (I was still in college and didn’t really understand how the minor leagues worked). While I was aware of how good Bochy was, most of my focus was on the rest of the team. But while Matt Mieske, Jay Gainer and J.D. Noland will be remembered by fans of the ’91 Mavs, they aren’t remembered for their careers. As it turned out, Bochy was the best prospect on that team.

Billy Butler was with the Mavericks in 2005, in their first season of a two-season affiliation with the Royals. Butler was a young 19-year-old kid with a ton of power (25 home runs in 379 at-bats), but no position to play. They tried him at third base, but that didn’t last long. He made 18 errors in 41 games at third, including four in one game that I witnessed personally. Shortly thereafter, they moved him to left field, where he could hit, but still couldn’t field: Among players with at least 18 games played in the outfield, he was last with a .932 fielding percentage. But he could still hit, and he had a decent eye, with 42 walks in 92 games and a .348 batting average his OPS of 1.054. As it turned out, his power was not High Desert-created. It was legit. And like Bochy, he was the biggest prospect on the team.

Now they’re facing each other. The 6-4, 245-pound Bochy and the 6-2, 225-pound Butler. Opponents in the World Series. Forever connected by Adelanto.

66ers close in on playoff spot

The second-worst team in the California League needs just 1 win in its final two games to make the playoffs.

That’s all the 66ers need Sunday or Monday at Lancaster to guarantee at least a tie for the South Division second half title. And a tie would not require a one-game playoff, but send the Sixers to the best-of-3 first round against Lake Elsinore.

The Quakes have a much longer road. Not only do they need the Sixers to lose their final two games, but they need to make up a one-game deficit to High Desert.

While the Sixers’ second half record is only 35-33, it would be remarkable to make the playoffs after going 25-45 in the first half, and losing their best position player, shortstop Jose Rondon, to Lake Elsinore in a trade.