LAKE ELSINORE, Calif. - The first half of the season came to an end this afternoon, with the Storm closing the books on the Stockton Ports at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore and taking away the hopes of a Ports first half title.
Stockton came into the series even with the Modesto Nuts in a race to crown a California League North Division first half champion. They leave Lake Elsinore looking for a second opportunity in the last half of the season instead.
The Storm set the tone early thanks to Edwin Moreno's first inning home run in the series opener Thursday night, his third home run of the season. From there, the Storm never looked back, swinging the bats well after a frustrating sweep in Lancaster.
Lake Elsinore's offense connected for eight extra-base hits on Thursday night, seven of those for doubles. The team finished with 15 hits in the 9-2 win, giving starting pitcher Jesse Scholtens plenty of run support for his first complete game of 2017.
Ruddy Giron, Edwin Moreno, Michael Gettys, and Peter Van Gansen each had two base hits while Josh Naylor and Kyle Overstreet each collected three knocks. The top four hitters in the Storm lineup went a combined 9-for-19 with 17 total bases.
Scholtens gave his bullpen the night off, throwing 112 pitches for his complete game win. He gave up two runs, both coming from home runs, on just five hits and tallied seven strikeouts to improve to 3-1 and lower his earned run average to 2.61 with Lake Elsinore.
Pitching was the highlight in Friday night's 3-0 Storm win, with catcher Kyle Overstreet being the deciding factor offensively.
Both staffs took a scoreless game to the bottom of the eighth inning until Overstreet connected for a bases-clearing double on a line drive that hugged the left field chalk. It was Overstreet's second base hit of the night. The three-run double was all it would take.
Left-handed pitcher Eric Lauer got the start for the Storm, throwing five shutout innings while collecting six strikeouts and giving up the same amount of base hits. The well-rested bullpen combined for four shutout innings in relief. Zech Lemond and Trevor Frank each threw two innings while both surrendering just one base hit and collecting a strikeout.
Saturday's game fell to the fortune of Stockton, whose pitching shut down the Storm enough to win a 2-1 ballgame.
Storm hitters Michael Gettys and Ruddy Giron collected the lone hits of the night, with Gettys slugging a triple late. It was his second triple of the season.
Austin Allen's bat was the difference Sunday afternoon, when he connected for a 423-foot two-run home run in the second inning, proving to be all the runs Cal Quantrill and company would need.
Quantrill earned the win after getting the start, going five innings and giving up just one earned run and collecting five strikeouts.
Gerardo Reyes and Jerry Keel combined for four innings in relief, allowing just one hit while striking out five.
The Storm finish the first half at an even 35-35 and will take the field at The Diamond again next Monday, June 26, when they take on Rancho Cucamonga.
Lake Elsinore will send eight All-Stars in Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Josh Naylor, Trevor Frank, Gerardo Reyes, and Jose Castillo to Visalia for the California League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 20.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.