Both the Quakes and 66ers opened the 2013 California League season at home on Thursday night, and both came through with exciting victories.
After blowing a 4-0 lead, the Sixers’ Ryan Jones’ third hit of the game, a single with one out in the 12th inning, scored the game-winning walk-off run in a 5-4 win over Modesto before 3,128 at San Manuel Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Quakes rallied from a 4-0 deficit and Scott Schebler’s three-run homer with two outs in the eighth lifted the Quakes to a 5-4 win over Lake Elsinore before 3,811 at newly renamed LoanMart Field.
Quakes manager Carlos Subero said that probably “eight” of the players on the 18-man Quakes roster for Thursday’s exhibition game will be on the Quakes’ opening day roster one week from tonight.
First baseman Angelo Songco, who had two hits, including the walk-off single, who played with the Quakes parts of each of the last two years, said he expects to be back in Rancho Cucamonga. Subero said Songco could start with the Quakes, but any injuries at higher levels would likely push him to Double-A.
It was interesting to see former Dodger third base prospect Pedro Baez, who at one point played in the Futures Game as a third baseman, pitch. Baez has been moved to the mound. He gave up the three tying runs in the top of the seventh. But Subero pointed out that only one ball was really hit hard
There is plenty of excitement over Thursday’s exhibition game at the Epicenter and rightfully so. The Dodgers are coming to Rancho Cucamonga.
Of course, Quakes fans have been treated to some high-profile rehabilitation guys last year, including Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. But this is an entire Dodger team, although several of the regulars will be playing in the Freeway Series the same night against the Angels.
But, this is not the first time that a big-league team has come to Rancho Cucamonga to play the Quakes in an exhibition game.
The 66ers announced on Wednesday that they are offering a no-cost reading program to area elementary schools that is also sponsored by Rotolo Chevrolet.
Participating schools will have an assembly that includes Sixers mascot Bernie and the community relations team. Students will receive a baseball-themed bookmark, and will receive 2 tickets to a selected game if the student reaches his or her reading goal.
“We realize the importance of touching these students lives in a positive aspect. It’s a very special treat for Bernie and 66ers staff members to come to their school just for them. Kids hold on to those memories for a long time and we hope that it’ll further their interest in reading beyond finishing the bookmark,” 66ers Community Groups manager Kelsey Beckenbach said in a press release.
Perhaps even bigger in this era of cash-strapped schools is an opportunity for the schools to earn money.
Students will receive tickets to attend one of the first four Sunday home games in 2013: April 7, April 21, May 12 and May 19.
The 3 schools the the most representation throughout the 4 days will receive donations from the 66ers. The school with the most attendees will get $1,500, while second and third place will each receive $1,000.
There are 2 games left in the regular season and three teams still alive for 1 playoff spot in the California League’s South Division.
The Quakes entered Saturday leading Lake Elsinore by 1 game, but lost 10-7 at Bakersfield. But that loss wasn’t a huge blow as Lake Elsinore lost to the 66ers, 9-1. Lake Elsinore remains 1 back. And the 66ers are still alive, just 2 games back. If the 66ers win their final 2 and the Quakes lose their final 2, there would be a one-game playoff on Tuesday. The Quakes and Lake Elsinore could also finish in a tie for a playoff spot. Should that happen, the Quakes would host the game on Tuesday based on the head-to-head regular-season record, won by the Quakes, 17-10.
However, if the Quakes and 66ers finish tied, that game would be in San Bernardino on Tuesday, because the 66ers own an 18-7 head-to-head edge on the Quakes.
Here are the 2012 California League postseason awards as released by the league today:
Manager of the Year Pedro Grifol High Desert Mavericks Coach of the Year Roy Howell High Desert Mavericks Trainer of the Year Greg Spence Inland Empire 66ers Turf Manager of the Year Peter Hayes Lake Elsinore Storm Clubbie of the Year Alex Mookas Lancaster JetHawks Most Valuable Player Billy Hamilton Bakersfield Blaze Pitcher of the Year Christian Bergman Modesto Nuts Rookie of the Year C.J. Cron Inland Empire 66ers Catcher John Hicks High Desert Mavericks First Base C.J. Cron Inland Empire 66ers Second Base Taylor Lindsey Inland Empire 66ers Third Base Adam Duvall San Jose Giants Shortstop Billy Hamilton Bakersfield Blaze Utility Steven Proscia High Desert Mavericks Designated Hitter Tommy Medica Lake Elsinore Storm Outfielder Leon Landry High Desert Mavericks Outfielder George Springer Lancaster JetHawks Outfielder Kyle Parker Modesto Nuts Pitcher Kevin Quackenbush Lake Elsinore Storm Pitcher Christian Bergman Modesto Nuts Pitcher Roenis Elias High Desert Mavericks Pitcher Matthew Andriese Lake Elsinore Storm
The Quakes entered play on Tuesday tied with Lake Elsinore with the South Division’s final playoff spot. By the end of Tuesday night, they had sole possession of the spot. The Quakes, behind three hits apiece by Austin Gallagher and Pedro Baez, the first pro home run by Yasiel Puig, and solid pitching by Garrett Gould (5-9), downed High Desert 4-2. Meanwhile, a four-run sixth inning propelled San Jose past Lake Elsinore, 7-4. The Storm’s loss gave the Quakes a one-game lead. Meanwhile, the 66ers, who entered the game three games back of the Quakes and Lake Elsinore, fell to Lancaster 7-2 as Telvin Nash hit a grand slam. The Sixers are now four games back with six to play.