High Desert star promoted

California League pitchers can breath a little easier. One of the leagues top players won’t be around to pester them any more.

The Seattle Mariners have promoted shortstop Chris Taylor from High-A High Desert to Double-A affiliate Jackson of the Southern League.

Taylor, 22, was hitting a league-high .335 with 16 doubles, seven triples, seven home runs, 62 runs scored and 44 RBI.

Taylor was a fifth round draft choice out of Virginia in 2012. He is the No. 28-ranked prospect in the organization according to Baseball America.

 

 

 

It’s All-Star time for Quakes, Sixers

Most of the Quakes and Sixers will have a few days to regroup and prepare for the last 70 games of the season. But a handful are heading to San Jose for Carolina-California League festivities to be hosted by the San Jose Giants on Tuesday.

The Sixers (37-33), an affiliate of the Angels, have four players named to the team. They are pitchers Mark Sappington and Kramer Sneed, infielder Alex Yarbrough and outfielder Zach Borenstein. Sappington and Borenstein will not play. Borenstein, who originally planned to take part in the Homerun Derby, injured his knee legging out a double in Saturday’s game at High Desert.

The Quakes (31-39), the Dodgers affiliate, will be represented by outfielder Noel Cuevas and third baseman Ryan Mount, although mount is also injured and won’t take part.

The Carolina League won last year’s game 9-1. It was held at Winston-Salem.

This will be the 17th meeting between the two. The series is deadlocked at 7-7-2.

The second half of the season gets underway on Thursday. The Quakes will start out at Lancaster while the Sixers will host Lake Elsinore.

Sixers win in dramatic fashion

Walkoff wins are always exciting. When it’s with a home run, it’s even better. Now put a first-half title and playoff berth on the line, well it doesn’t get much better than that.

The Inland Empire 66ers won in that fashion on Wednesday as Alex Yarbrough roped a three-run shot to left with one out in the bottom of the 11th for a 7-4 win over Stockton at San Manuel Stadium.

It was huge because Lancaster beat High Desert 10-3 to stay two games in front with four left. That still might be tough to overcome but three out with four left would have been almost impossible.

The Sixers (35-31) stormed the field and Yarbrough was later the recipient of a shaving cream pie during the on-field post-game interview.

The Sixers still have a tough go. They now play four against High Desert (32-34) to end the half while Lancaster (37-29) has last-place Lake Elsinore (26-40), although the Storm have been playing much better lately.

Nothing beats a pennant race!

 

 

 

 

 

California League rosters announced

Mark Sappington is 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA in nine starts for the 66ers.

The California League All-Star team that will take on one from the Carolina League on June 18 in San Jose has been announced. Both local teams are represented.

CALIFORNIA LEAGUE

Pitchers

Jake Barrett, Visalia Rawhide; Ty Blach, San Jose Giants; Carlos Contreras, Bakersfield Blaze; Edwin Escobar, San Jose Giants; Drew Grenier, Stockton Ports; Chris Jensen, Modesto Nuts; *El’Hajj Muhammed, Bakersfield Blaze; Josh Osich, San Jose Giants; Brady Rodgers, Lancaster JetHawks; Mark Sappington, Inland Empire 66ers; *Hunter Strickland, San Jose Giants; Dan Winkler, Modesto Nuts.

Catchers

Jeff Arnold, San Jose Giants; Robert Kral, Lake Elsinore Storm.

Infielders

*Ryan Cavan, San Jose Giants; *JiMan Choi, High Desert Mavericks; Matt Duffy, Lancaster JetHawks; *Jake Lamb, Visalia Rawhide; Geson Montilla, Visalia Rawhide; *Ryan Mount, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes; Max Muncey, Stockton Ports; *Cory Spangenberg, Lake Elsinore Storm; Chris Taylor, High Desert Mavericks; Angela Villalona, San Jose Giants; Alex Yarbrough, Inland Empire 66ers.

Outfielders

Andrew Aplin, Lancaster JetHawks; Jabari Blash, High Desert Mavericks; Zach Borenstein, Inland Empire 66ers; Noel Cuevas, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes;Preston Tucker, Lancaster JetHawks.

Field staff (All San Jose)

Andy Skeets, Manager; Mike Couchee, pitching coach; Lipso Nava, hitting coach; Dave Getsoff, trainer; Dustin Brooks, strength and conditioning.

* Denotes player who will not play due to promotion or injury

 

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.

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.

Cal League season begins in less than a week

The Cal League season opens next Thursday. Usually, it’s several days after the big leaguers start, but this time the Cal League actually opens before some big league teams, like the Angels, who open on Friday. The 66ers open at the Quakes on April 5.

No rosters are out yet but Here are some possibilities of players it would be interesting to see:

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Change for Mavericks radio

Alex Freedman, who had been the Mavericks broadcaster for the last several seasons, will not be broadcasting games for the 2011 season for the team.

The new owners of the Mavericks have apparently changed the position, effictively eliminating a fulltime broadcaster.

Freedman had originally served as the Mavericks’ No. 2 broadcaster under Jon Rosen beginning in the 2007 season, then succeeded Rosen when Rosen left for other opportunities  I believe for the 2008 season.

Freedman writes that William Calvert, who had broadcast games for Bakersfield and Lancaster in the last couple of years, will broadcast weekend Mavericks home and commuter games on the internet for the 2011 season.