Tonight, the Lake Elsinore Storm used just 2 of their 16 pitchers and that proved to be more than enough. Because, for the first time in the Lake Elsinore Storm's long 28-year history, a no-hitter was thrown. Garrett Hawkins and Alan Mundo combined for 9 nearly perfect innings, a hit
Tonight, the Lake Elsinore Storm used just 2 of their 16 pitchers and that proved to be more than enough. Because, for the first time in the Lake Elsinore Storm's long 28-year history, a no-hitter was thrown. Garrett Hawkins and Alan Mundo combined for 9 nearly perfect innings, a hit batter in the 9th took away perfection with just 2 outs remaining, but they left the ballpark having combined for 7 strikeouts and zeros everywhere else.
On the first night of Fourth of July Weekend, the Storm ensured that the crowd of nearly 2,000 people would have as much fun as the team has had all season long. Hawkins began the night by retiring the side in 9 pitches. He would then strike out 4 of the next 6 batters he faced, inducing a slew of swing and misses. His mix of high velocity and mind-altering off-speed stuff that a constant for every other California League team all season long. He would retire all 21 batters he faced in order.
However, at 77 pitches through 7 innings of work and a few unfortunate outings just behind him, Manager Eric Junge and Pitching Coach Leo Rosales decided to turn to Alan Mundo for the final 6 outs of the game. He would instantly reward them for this show of faith, throwing just 7 pitches and retiring all 3 batters he faced. Mundo would then return from the dugout for the final frame after waiting nearly a half hour as 8 batters came to the plate and 4 more runs crossed the plate for the Storm's red-hot offense.
In the game's final frame Mundo would force Myles Emmerson to ground out to shortstop Charlis Aquino but then, on a 1-2 count, he would hit Jose Bonilla on a fastball inside, taking away the perfect game but keeping the no-no alive. After a well-hit lineout found Aquino's glove for the second out of the game. An ensuing walk would put two men on and keep Mundo just out away from Storm history. On the very first pitch of the next at bat, Carlos Luis would snag the second well-hit ball at first base, however, this was not caught on a line but rather on the ground.
Mundo would rush over to first, cover the bag, and receive the toss from Luis who had still been crumpled in the dirt from the acrobatic dive from just moments before. This final miracle would secure the final out of the game and the first no-hitter in Lake Elsinore Storm history.
Almost impossibly for Lake Elsinore fans, the combined no-hitter was not the only remarkable thing to happen tonight. The Storm would continue to roll through 66ers pitching like a steamroller over cement. Combining for 18 hits, 4 doubles, 3 home runs, 2 triples, and 15 runs scored, the Storm's prolific offense went supersonic. The most notable offensive performer was also the most recent addition to MiLB's Top 100 Prospect List. James Wood would end his night just 1 double short of the cycle but put on quite the display. He would hit a single in his first at bat of the game, a 2 run home run over the monstrous right field wall in the 5th inning, and a 2 RBI triple in the 6th.
James Wood now has a .333 batting average to go along with his 1.053 OPS through his first 28 games of professional baseball. At 6'7'' he has also stolen 9 bases and legged out 9 doubles. Wood was not alone in his offensive brilliance tonight, 4 other Storm players would record 2 or more hits including Wyatt Hoffman who would lead the team with 4.
On the first night of a weekend full of celebrations of this country's shared history, the Lake Elsinore Storm left The Diamond tonight after creating some of their own.
-Written by Justin Jett