The Diamond- Lake Elsinore, California
The Lake Elsinore Storm saw a four-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night against the Inland Empire 66ers, as the bats couldn’t wake up in time to support Ronald Bolanos, who threw five innings of one-run ball. Despite another solid performance from Buddy Reed, Lake Elsinore would fall by a score of 6-3 in front of a home crowd at The Diamond.
Bolanos was wild, but only in the first inning after allowing a leadoff single to Luis Rengifo. Rengifo would swipe second and advance to third on a ground ball out. A wild pitch that bounced away from catcher Marcus Greene Jr would allow Rengifo to score, but Bolanos escaped the inning by getting Jonah Todd to bounce out to the third baseman, Hudson Potts, for an easy out.
The Storm were unable to generate much offense in the game despite getting baserunners in each inning. Buddy Reed’s base hit was erased when he was thrown out attempting to steal second base. A towering blast to right field netted Potts a double, but back-to-back strikeouts by Brad Zunica and Matt Batten wiped out the runner in scoring position. The Storm would load up the bases in the fourth inning, but Inland Empire starter Erik Manoah got back-to-back punch-outs to dance out of danger.
Meanwhile, Bolanos settled down after a rocky start and proceeded to cruise through his next four innings, while getting some assistance from his defense. After a strikeout by Bolanos, a throw-out attempt by Greene skipped away from Batten, but a quick-witted Eguy Rosario picked up the ball and threw out Jordan Zimmerman, who had originally stolen second, out at third as Zimmerman tried to scamper to third base.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez noted that, after the first inning, Bolanos was “attacking the hitters, getting ahead in the count…he was throwing the same pitches with the same velocity, but he was attacking the hitters.” It is good to see a young pitcher like Bolanos change his approach after an inning in order to be more aggressive instead of trying to nibble at the strike zone and get too fancy with his pitches
Bolanos would hold the 66ers to a mere one run, and the Storm offense would finally come through in support of their starter. Edward Olivares got the first Lake Elsinore run on the board with a ringing double to left field, which scored Robbie Podorosky. Olivares scored after Reed scorched a double off the right field wall, and the game was tied back up.
The 66ers jumped back in front two innings later against reliever Emmanuel Ramirez. Doubles by Julian Leon and Luis Rengifo tied the game up. An errant throw by right fielder Podorsky allowed Rengifo to move up to third base and a base hit by Jared Walsh would put the 66ers up for good.
Inland Empire would pad their lead by piling on three more runs, taking advantage of some questionable defense by the Storm in the ninth inning to add some insurance runs, and while the Storm would mount a desperate comeback in the ninth inning, an RBI single by Podorsky was not enough to win the ballgame and the Storm fell 6-3 at home.
Rodriguez was still proud with the effort his young squad showed, saying that “Today was a good game (but) we had some bad breaks.” Rodriguez also recognized the talent level the team has, calling his ballplayers “a very talented team… it is a matter of time that they start letting their talent take control of the game,” and ensuring the fact that the Storm will continue to play under the control of their talent.
Storm player who stood out
While he was wild in the first inning, Bolanos settled down to cruise through the rest of the game unscathed as he tossed five innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking three. It was a very nice bounceback outing after a 2.2 inning start against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, where he gave up five runs on four hits. Bolanos’ velocity never wavered and the right-hander looked sharp. However, he threw 85 pitches in the game and only tossed 54 of them for strikes, while also having a 29-pitch first inning. He will have to get better command of the strike zone in order to move up in an unforgiving Padres farm system.
Reed had another solid game at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He has gone 9-for-14 in his past three games, including today’s, with four RBI and two stolen bases. Rodriguez said about Reed that “in the last month, I’d say, he has been doing a great job of adjusting to the pitchers and adjusting to the game,” while praising his tireless work ethic and his intelligence when it comes to baseball. Reed is an excellent fielder and his fleet-footedness allows him to be a catcher’s worst nightmare on the base paths. If Reed can continue this kind of production, it is safe to assume that there will be a plane ticket to San Antonio with his name on it sooner rather than later.