LAKE ELSINORE, CALIF. - The Storm wrapped up the 2018 season by hosting the Lancaster JetHawks for a festive Four-Game series that was worth wild for the players and the fans.
As the Storm were eliminated from playoff contention on August 30th, the love of the game shined through as the Eyes swept the Lancaster JetHawks at The Diamond during the Labor Day weekend which ended the team's season with a 68-72 record and ranking 3rd in the California League South Division (5th Overall).
The final Fireworks Friday was a hit as the Storm celebrated a 3-2 walk-off win off the bat of infielder Luis Guzman. Before the celebration commenced, Edward Olivares smashed his 12th Home-Run of the year in the 3rd inning, which led to an early 2-0 advantage. Lancaster would strike for solo runs in the 5th and 7th inning to inch themselves closer to clinching a playoff berth. With the game tied 2-2 entering the bottom of the 9th inning, Guzman ripped his first extra base-hit wearing the Eyes of the Storm to right-center field off JetHawks reliever Alexander Guillen that scored a head-first sliding A.J. Kennedy all the way from first base. This was the 6th walk-off performance by the Storm this season, which kicked off the homestand in the right direction.
Saturday and Sunday were dominated by strong pitching performances not only by the starting pitchers, but also by the relievers. After getting four runs of support, right-hander Ronald Bolanos cruised through five solid innings yielding just one earned-run, four hits, while striking out four batters. His biggest supporter was DH Luis Torrens who drove in two runs on RBI-Singles along with Edward Olivares who recorded a multi-hit game with one RBI. Out of the bullpen, Cody Tyler, Hansel Rodriguez and Dauris Valdez combined to toss four shutout innings with eight strikeouts and only three hits allowed. The Storm would go on and win their second consecutive game by the final of 5-1. Following back-to-back wins, manager Edwin Rodriguez and pitching coach Pete Zamora decided to go with the good ole' "Johnny Whole Staff" bullpen day on the bump. Right-hander Caleb Boushley got the nod for his first start since August 27th, 2017 and brilliantly tossed five shutout innings in front of friends and family. His final line read 5 IP/3 H/0 ER/0 BB/5 K and was able to get four runs of support in the 3rd inning alone courtesy of Edward Olivares, Luis Torrens and Brad Zunica, who each recorded RBI-Singles. The JetHawks threated late with solo runs in the 7th and 8th, but Storm closer David Bednar shut the door as the last four outs he recorded were all strikeouts to hand the Storm a 4-2 victory.
As the sun set on Everything Night 2018, it was also time to cheer on the Storm one last time. The Eyes got off to an early 3-0 lead capped off by an RBI-Single Single by Michael Curry, which was his first RBI in the California League. After Lancaster quickly tied things up in the next half-inning, the Storm bats stayed alive with a Chris Baker Sac-Fly, scoring Luis Guzman and an RBI-Single by Brad Zunica which scored Eguy Rosario. As Storm starter Reggie Lawson finished his last start of the year on a winning note going 5 IP/3 H/3 R/ 3 ER/5 BB/6 K, he ended his 3rd professional season going 8-5 with a 4.69 ERA (24 App/22 Starts) with 117 strikeouts in 117 innings pitched. The last Storm run that crossed the plate was off the bat of Bradenton, Florida native Brad Zunica, who crushed his 17th HR of the season to right-center field. As reliever Tom Colletti struck out JetHawks DH Bret Boswell on three pitches, the Storm were victorious one final time at Pete Lehr Field, this time by the final of 6-5.
Here are some of the highlights in 2018:
- Storm lead California League in attendance for the 8th time in the last 10 years (214,955)
- (6) Walk-Off's at The Diamond
- 4/18 - RBI Single by Nate Easley (Storm defeat 66ers 6-5)
- 6/3 - RBI Single by Buddy Reed (Storm defeat 66ers 7-6)
- 6/17 - RBI Single by Jorge Ona (Storm defeat JetHawks 2-1)
- 7/4 - RBI Single by Hudson Potts (Storm defeat Rawhide 3-2)
- 7/20 - RBI Single by Jorge Ona (Storm defeat Nuts 4-3)
- 8/31 - RBI Double by Luis Guzman (Storm defeat JetHawks 3-2)
- (8) California League Mid-Season All-Stars
- RHP Chris Paddack RHP Pedro Avila
- LHP Adrian Morejon INF Hudson Potts
- RHP Reggie Lawson OF Edward Olivares
- RHP Elliot Ashbeck OF Buddy Reed
- End of Season Team Awards
- Pitcher of the Year: RHP Pedro Avila & RHP Reggie Lawson
- Team MVP: Buddy Reed & Hudson Potts
- Gerik Baxter Award: Reggie Lawson
- California League Trainer of the Year: Ricky Huerta
With the offseason now in full swing, the Storm organization would like to thank everyone involved for their continuous support during our 25th Season celebration. We will be back next season with bigger and more exciting themes/promotions for our 25th Anniversary season in 2018! #EyesOn25
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.