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California League Finals begin tonight
09/13/2012 7:00 PM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- The winner of the 2012 California League Championship Season will be decided this weekend as the Championship Series begins tonight in Modesto.

The Modesto Nuts (73-67) will host the Lancaster JetHawks (74-66) in the first of a best-of-five series. Game time is 7:05 PM.

The Nuts, who made it into the playoffs as the second-half champion beat the San Jose Giants in the first round and the Bakersfield Blaze in the second round to advance to the Finals. The Nuts faced elimination twice in the first round and three times in the second round and fought back each time.

The JetHawks had to make it past the 2011 Cal League champion Lake Elsinore Storm in the first round before defeating the High Desert Mavericks, who owned the Cal League's best record and won both halves. The JetHawks trailed by one run in the eighth inning in Game 4 when the offense exploded for four runs and won, 9-6, to clinch a spot in the Championship Series.

The winner of the series will be given the "Joe Gagliardi Championship Trophy". Righty-hander David Martinez takes the mound tonight for the JetHawks. Martinez went 9-5 this year with 114 strikeouts in 160 innings.

The Nuts will counter with their own right-hander, Kennil Gomez. Gomez started the year in Triple-A before going 4-5 for the Nuts in the regular season.

Games 1 and 2 will be in Modesto, while Games 3, 4 (if necessary), and 5 (if necessary), will take place at The Hanger in Lancaster.

About the Cal League
The California League was founded in 1941 by a combination of Major League and Pacific Coast League clubs. The league currently has 10 teams and plays a 140-game season starting in April, with the regular season wrapping up on Labor Day in 2012.

Over the years, the California League has produced 14 Hall of Famers, 14 MVP winners, 17 Cy Young recipients, and has 31 Rookie of the Year awards. The California League has become the premier Class "A" League in Minor League Baseball. Cal League play allows fans to see today's Minor League stars on their way to becoming tomorrow's Major League legends as they take the field for the Bakersfield Blaze, High Desert Mavericks, Inland Empire 66ers, Lake Elsinore Storm, Lancaster JetHawks, Modesto Nuts, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, San Jose Giants, Stockton Ports and Visalia Rawhide.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.