A look back: Top 12 of 2012

Best moments and games from an unforgettable season

Delino DeShields stole his 100th base on the 2012 season's final day. (James Schubert)

By Jason Schwartz / Lancaster JetHawks | July 10, 2013 10:25 AM ET

12. July 1, 2012 - Tropeano strikes out nine in debut

After All-Star starting pitcher Bobby Doran got the call up to Double-A, the Astros sent right-hander Nick Tropeano to town with the hopes he could fill the void. The Astros third-round pick in 2012 tallied a team season-high nine strikeouts over eight innings at Modesto. He allowed just five hits and one unearned run as the JetHawks took the first game of a three game series, 3-1.

11. August 10, 2012 - Grant Hogue steals home

During his time in Lancaster, Grant Hogue showed he can run about as fast as the Antelope Valley wind blows. On this day, the speedy outfielder pulled off one of the most exciting plays in baseball. After reaching third base, Hogue broke for home as soon as Quakes reliever Jordan Roberts delivered his next pitch and slid in just under the catcher's tag to successfully execute a straight steal of home. The JetHawks went on to win, 10-0.

10. July 25, 2012 - JetHawks dramatic win in Lake Elsinore

The JetHawks came up short in the first 12 games they played at The Diamond. With just two games in Lake Elsinore, the JetHawks got superstitious and "sacrificed" a chicken (by eating a bucket of KFC). The "Baseball Gods" responded by setting up a thrilling finish. With the score tied 0-0 in the bottom of the ninth, Lake Elsinore loaded the bases with nobody out and the heart of their order due up. The duo of Jose Trinidad and Andrew Robinson proceeded to strike out the side and Alex Todd delivered a tie-breaking triple in the top of the 10th as the JetHawks ended their streak - and "curse" - with a 3-0 win.

9. May 12, 2012 - Domingo Santana hits walk-off grand slam

The JetHawks and Storm were tied heading into the ninth. The surging JetHawks were looking for a big win to prove they were a force to be reckoned with in the South Division. With the bases loaded, Domingo Santana stepped to the plate. All he needed was a deep fly ball. He got so much more. The then 19-year-old outfielder hit a towering drive that cleared the centerfield batter's eye. Santana rounded the bases and was mobbed by his teammates at home plate to congratulate him on a walk-off grand slam.

8. September 6, 2012 - Castro's nine pitch battle

After losing Game 1 of the South Division Mini Series, the JetHawks returned home facing elimination. With the game tied in the eighth, Erik Castro stepped to the plate with two on and one out. Castro fell behind in the count but battled to stay alive against Lake Elsinore reliever Jeff Ibarra. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, he lined a ball down the left field line that landed just inside the foul line. Both runs scored to give the JetHawks the lead and they went on to win, 5-1, to send the series to a decisive Game 3.

7. September 3, 2012 - DeShields becomes record stealer

Delino DeShields came into the final day of the regular season sitting on 99 stolen bases. After walking to lead off the seventh inning everyone knew he'd be going. The Astros first round pick in the 2010 draft stole second base to reach the century mark and promptly stole third base to eclipse it. His 101 combined steals with Lancaster and Lexington set a new Astros single season minor league mark.

6. August 4, 2012 - JetHawks turn triple play

With two on a no outs in the seventh, Jack Marder came to the plate against Chia-Jen Lo and hit a hard line drive that looked destined to be a base hit. Shortstop Alex Todd reached up and snatched it out of the air before flipping it to Enrique Hernandez at second base. Hernandez stepped on the base for one out and tagged the other runner to complete the rare triple play. The JetHawks finished off the day with an 11th inning walk-off single.

5. September 8, 2012 - South Division Finals Game 1

Game 1 of the South Division Finals was an intense back-and-forth battle. High Desert surged back from a four run deficit to tie the game in the eighth. With one out and the bases loaded, Jorge De Leon entered from the bullpen. The right-hander induced an inning ending double play to keep the game tied. With a tired bullpen behind him, De Leon pitched a perfect ninth and stranded runners at second and third in the 10th inning. In the 12th, Delino DeShields singled, stole second and scored on a Domingo Santana hit for the winning run.

4. September 11, 2012 - South Division Finals Game 4

After dramatic wins in Games 1 and 3, players and fans began referring to the JetHawks as the "Heart Attack 'Hawks." Trailing by one run in the bottom of the eighth, the JetHawks staged yet another comeback. Carlos Perez hit a game-tying single off Carson Smith and Rafael Valenzuela followed with the go-ahead double. Patrick Urckfitz tossed a perfect ninth inning and the JetHawks celebrated the third South Division Championship in franchise history.

3. May 17, 2012 - Tyson tosses gem

Three weeks prior to this game, Tyson Perez was in extended spring training and had never pitched higher than rookie ball. In his third start, he solidified his spot in the rotation for the rest of the season. The right-hander gave up a hit in the first inning and a solo home run in the second inning. That was it. He retired 22 of the next 23 batters he faced and threw just 81 pitches on his way to his first career complete game. The win improved the JetHawks' record to 21-20, pushing them over .500 for first time in 2012.

2. May 11, 2012 - Springer hits four home runs

Outfielder George Springer made national headlines by hitting four home runs in four consecutive at-bats over two games of a doubleheader. The outfielder totaled seven RBIs on the day and led Lancaster to wins in both games. The feat had been accomplished just two other times in California League history.

1. September 15, 2012 - Cal League Championship Series Game 3

No moment can compete with winning a championship. The JetHawks beat the Modesto Nuts to complete a sweep and capture the first California League Championship in franchise history. Delino DeShields set the tone with a leadoff home run to start the game and was later named MVP of the Championship Series. The JetHawks and their fans stuck around for hours after the game to enjoy the moment and wrap up a season filled with thrilling plays, dramatic wins and a title to finish it all off. How do you top that? With another championship of course…

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

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