VISALIA, CA-Rawhide defeated the Lake Elsinore Storm 4-3 to win the California League Championship for the first time in 40 years.
Visalia took the best-of-five game series in four games to win it's first California League Championship since 1978. The California League Championship MVP is Mack Lemieux. He threw a total of four and two-thirds scoreless innings of relief over three games. He only gave up one hit and two walks.
It was scoreless through fourth and half innings until the Rawhide scored three in the bottom of the fifth inning. Visalia sent nine batters to the plate. Yoel Yanqui singled off Storm starter Adrian Martinez and reached second on a fielding error by the left fielder Tucupita Marcano. Yanqui scored of a single to centerfield hit by Max Murphy , who later scored off Jose Herrera 's single to right field. Rawhide scored one more off a throwing error by relief pitcher Nick Kuzia to make it 3-0.
Cole Bartlett relieved Rawhide starter Bryan Valdez , who threw five scoreless innings. Bartlett gave up two runs in the sixth to make it a one-run game. MVP Mack Lemieux finished out the sixth by forcing an inning ending double to maintain the Rawhide 3-2 lead.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Breckin Williams came in for Lemeiux. The first pitch that he threw was hit off the right field scoreboard by Gabriel Arias to tie up the game. The game went into extra innings tied up at 3-3. Geraldo Perdomo walked to lead off the bottom of the tenth. Alek Thomas doubled down the left field line to score Perdomo to walk off the game.
This Championship is the first one in Rawhide franchise history. Since the 1978 Visalia Oaks won the title, a Visalia team has been to the finals 11 times but come up short. The only professional team that is close to that record is the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers from 1958-1972 when they reached the finals eight times without winning the championship.
Now that the Rawhide have won the championship, every California League team has won the Championship in this millennium.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.