In the final game of the first half and with both teams knowing their fate, they still battled because it’s baseball and these players work hard for every at bat. But, after a back and forth lead, the Bakersfield Blaze came out on top, defeating the Lake Elsinore Storm, 7-6.
The Storm’s Justin Miller continued to impress going 4 for 4 Saturday night, just a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Miller ended the first half of the season batting .396, scoring 16 runs and 16 RBIs in just 25 games.
Bakersfield began the game the same way it mostly did, going up 1-0 by way of Billy Hamilton. Hamilton walked, stole second, stole third and scored on a line drive single to right field by Theo Bowe.
The Storm tied the game up in the third kicked off by Rico Noel’s bunt single with two outs. Noel then stole second and advanced to third when catcher Tucker Barnhart threw the ball into center field. Miller singled driving in Noel to keep the Storm in the game.
Noel leads the team in games played (68) and in stolen bases (46), which is second in all of major and minor league baseball behind Bakersfield Hamilton who compiled a total of 80 by the end of the evening.
The Storm took the lead in the fifth by way of the Noel/Miller tandem yet again. Noel singled to right field with one on and two outs, scoring Bisson after a walk. Miller collected an RBI double behind Noel that sailed into right field giving the Storm the 3-1 lead.
Chris Bisson will head into the second half riding a six-game hitting streak batting .276, having stolen 18 bags and scored 40 runs for the Storm.
Bakersfield regained the lead by scoring one run in the bottom of the fifth and two in the sixth, which was highlighted by Kurtis Muller steal and score and a home run by Barnhart to right field for the Blaze.
The Storm snatched the lead back quickly from the Blaze when Miller roped a two-run home run over the center field wall at Sam Lynn Ballpark to go ahead 5-4.
But the Blaze continued on as Muller doubled, Hamilton stole two more bases and Devin Lohman reached on an error allowing the home team to take to 7-5 lead and only give up one more run in the eighth for the win.
The Storm ended the first half at 36-34, just a game out of first in the South Division of the California League. Storm fans don’t forget to see how the five Storm All-Star stack up on Tuesday, June 19.
Donn Roach, Kevin Quackenbush, Rico Noel, Rymer Liriano and Cory Spangenberg will represent the Storm as part of the California League All-Stars who will take on the Carolina All-Stars in Winston-Salem, NC.
For more information on the Storm or info on the All-Star game, contact Eric Theiss at 951-245-4487 x245 or visit stormbaseball.com.
*Contributed by the Lake Elsinore Storm