After failing to lose to the Visalia Rawhide in their first 10 match-ups of the season, the Lake Elsinore Storm were looking at three losses in four days directly in the eyes in the bottom of the 8th. Down a run and with just 6 outs remaining, some late-game heroics
After failing to lose to the Visalia Rawhide in their first 10 match-ups of the season, the Lake Elsinore Storm were looking at three losses in four days directly in the eyes in the bottom of the 8th. Down a run and with just 6 outs remaining, some late-game heroics were needed.
Luckily, those heroics were supplied by all of the usual suspects.
In the bottom of the 8th and needing at least one run to set up a potential 9th inning walk-off. Ethan Salas began the inning with a walk, the second time he had reached base on the night. In his very young professional career, Salas has reached base 12 times in 22 plate appearances. He would then steal his first bag of the year and put himself in scoring position with no outs.
After Graham Pauley, who has come up big for this team more than a few times and at least once more to come, flew out. However, this team's other constant hero, Albert Fabian, would hit a single that brought Salas home. The game would be tied at three runs and headed to the ninth inning.
Carter Loewen, as he had when he came in with the bases loaded the previous inning, completely shut the door on the Rawhide and gave the Storm a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the 9th.
Rosman Verdugo would strike out swinging but reach base due to a passed ball that went just far enough for Verdugo to get to first base safely. On the very next pitch, Wyatt Hoffman would attempt a bunt but a miraculous play from the catcher would make it a first pitch pop-out just to the right of home plate.
Kai Murphy would then hit a single to get a man in scoring position with one out. This single would turn the lineup over and set up either Nick Vogt or Ethan Salas to leave a hero. However, Vogt would strike out on just three pitches, and Salas, who nearly seemed destined to walk it off after his incredible start to his professional career, would ground out to push the game to extra innings.
Kobe Robinson and his incredible 1.64 ERA would be asked to hold the Rawhide to zero or one run scored with the automatic runner on second base in extra innings. He would accomplish the former by striking out his first batter, getting a groundout with his second, walking the third, and finishing the inning with a groundout. Robinson now has 22 innings pitched and 22 strikeouts on the season.
This left the Storm with only the need to get a base hit with Ethan Salas automatically on second base. Graham Pauley, as previously teased, took the second pitch he saw and shot it directly up the middle. It was hit just hard enough to escape the second baseman's reach and just slow enough to not reach the centerfielder before Salas slid home. This would be the Storm's second walk-off of the year and first in extra innings.
Tomorrow afternoon, the Storm will play the Rawhide for their final game of the homestand as they look to gather another victory as they attempt to stay in striking distance of the division lead.
-Written by Justin Jett