Pecos League

Along the Pecos League Trail

by Bruce Baskin
August 1, 2023 - Pecos League (Pecos)

The 2023 Pecos League playoffs began Monday night with two Pacific Division semifinal matchups. The top-seed San Rafael Pacifics drubbed the visiting Lancaster Sound Breakers, 12-3, at Albert Park while Bakersfield coasted to a 12-4 win over Monterey in Game 1 of their series.

San Rafael gave starting pitcher Alex Valasek a seven-run cushion in the bottom of the first inning, featured by a three-run homer by cleanup batter Nick Smith off Lancaster starter Gilbert Rosario. The Sound Breakers put up two runs in the top of the second when Manuel Ochoa's bases-loaded single brought in Andrew Castano and a Valasek wild pitch to Luke Smith plated Cal Bocchino.

Bocchino scored Lancaster's third and final run in the top of the seventh by singling, stealing second and then scampering all the way home when Valasek made a throwing error on a bunt by Nate Duarte. The Pacifics closed the night's scoring with five more tallies in the bottom of the frame, keyed by a two-run double from Kyle Guerra and a two-run roundtripper by Blake Diggle. Valasek overcame his second frame struggles and went seven innings for the win, allowing three runs and striking out seven with no walks. Rosario was charged with all seven San Rafael runs in the first and absorbed the loss the loss after being pulled with only one out.

Meanwhile, in 100-degree heat at Bakersfield's Sam Lynn Ballpark, the Train Robbers overcame an early 2-0 deficit by scoring runs in each of the last five innings en route to a 12-4 win over Monterey. The Amberjacks, the night's home team, got a run-scoring double from Tristian Cavasoz, who later scored from third on a fielder's choice grounder to second by Rodney Scarver to take a 2-0 lead in the first. Bakersfield trimmed the lead to one in the top of the third after Raul Ortega's bases-loaded walk pushed Dominic Moore across the plate.

The gates began opening in the fifth when the Train Robbers took a 3-2 lead by scoring runs on an Ortega sacrifice fly and Christian Jones' single up the middle and they never looked back, scoring nine more times over the final four frames. Jones later socked a two-run homer while Joe Riddle's bases-loaded single in the seventh drew an error by center fielder Ryan Diaz that ended up bringing in all three baserunners with Riddle ending up on third. Anthony Ward's two-run double in the bottom of the ninth for Monterey was too little, too late. Riddle earned the complete game win for Bakersfield while Emmanual Benevides, who relieved Cavasoz in the fifth, took the defeat.

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Pecos League Stories from August 1, 2023

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