Records tumble in California League slugfest
When High Desert fell behind by eight runs in the first inning, the Mavericks didn't feel much like celebrating. So when James McOwen hit a bouncer that hopped over the first baseman's head to push his hitting streak to a Cal League-record 36 games, he didn't say much. "Oh, man,
When High Desert fell behind by eight runs in the first inning, the Mavericks didn't feel much like celebrating. So when James McOwen hit a bouncer that hopped over the first baseman's head to push his hitting streak to a Cal League-record 36 games, he didn't say much.
"Oh, man, there's going to be an asterisk if that's the only hit I get today," said McOwen, trying to crack a joke when he stepped back into the dugout.
It didn't get much of a response from his downtrodden teammates.
McOwen eliminated any thoughts of that asterisk with a fifth-inning homer, but it didn't do much for the Mavericks, who fell to Lake Elsinore in record-setting fashion, 33-18, on Sunday.
Not only was it the longest game in league history -- players from both teams wondered if it would ever end -- at 4 hours, 10 minutes, but the Storm broke the league record for hits (32), topping the 29 shared by Stockton (Aug. 1, 1993) and Rancho Cucamonga (Aug. 10, 1997).
That wasn't all.
The teams combined to set a league record for runs in a game (51) and the Storm fell one run shy of tying the single-team mark for runs, though they did break the record for RBIs.
McOwen's record wasn't the only individual accomplishment as Lake Elsinore's Matt Clark, in just his fourth Cal League game, equaled the mark for runs scored (seven).
"You don't get those too often," Clark joked after the game. "There was a lot going on, but it was pretty cool."
Clark fell a double short of the cycle, going 5-for-6 -- his first career five-hit game - with two homers and five RBIs. Felix Carrasco also just missed the cycle with two doubles, a triple, six RBIs and four runs scored.
Seven Storm players finished with at least three RBIs and everyone who stepped to the plate scored at least once.
The Mavericks sent eight players to the mound, including a catcher and a designated hitter late in the game.
"We just came out swinging today," Clark said. "All the balls kept falling in for us. Everybody just got their confidence going right away."
With the length of the game and brutal nature of the finish for High Desert, there wasn't much of a celebration for McOwen's big day. Players showered quickly and didn't linger in the clubhouse, like they do after most games.
"To watch something like that in the outfield, it's tough, but during 140 games you're going to have days like that," McOwen said. "You've just got to take them in stride. You know it's eventually going to be over."
McOwen finished his day 2-for-6 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored. He also broke a three-way tie with Bakersfield's Chris Davis (2007) and Modesto's Brent Gates (1992) for the longest hitting streak in league history.
"I feel the same as I did yesterday and probably the day before," McOwen said. "I guess it's a little monkey off the back just to say you got it done. I didn't want to fall one-game short or end in a three-way tie. I'm pretty much the same guy I was before."
"He's always been able to make contact," High Desert manager Jim Horner added. "He doesn't seem to let things get to him. A lot of people seem to think about the pressure and all that stuff, but he's a kid that can keep it going for a while because he doesn't worry about stuff like that."
Offensively, it wasn't a bad day for the Mavericks, who hit five homers and had four players finish with four RBIs, but there was little to make the sting of a record-setting loss go away.
It was a game so long it almost became tedious for the winning team, a contest where so much happened it was hard to describe.
"It seemed like a never-ending game of hits," Clark said.
Mason Kelley is a contributor to MLB.com.