It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for the Lake Elsinore Storm during their first month of regular season baseball. April started off a bit rocky for the boys donning the eyes that look right back at you. Prior to going on a seven game win streak, the Storm were sitting close to the bottom of the pack at 10 wins and 11 losses, but a stellar performance by winning 10 of their last 11 games has catapulted them into first place in the South Division of the California League.
To add to the excitement in the clubhouse, the Storm have seen three key Padres players come down for some rehab assignments. Third baseman Chase Headley, outfielder Carlos Quentin and pitcher Casey Kelly will all make re-appearances during the week as all three hope to be reinstated from the disabled list by the end of the Padres home stand on Sunday, May 11.
Headley, on the disabled list since April 25 with a strained right calf, appeared in his first Minor League rehabilitation game on Monday, May 5 and Quentin played in two games over the past weekend and is likely to play in a few more games. Quentin has been out since suffering a bone bruise to his left knee making a sliding catch in a game on March 16 and has been on the disabled list since March 29.
Kelly missed all of last season following reconstructive surgery on his right elbow on April 2, 2013, but made his first Minor League rehab start on Saturday, May 3 for Lake Elsinore and rejoined the Storm on Thursday, May 8 for a start.
“It’s an exciting time for us right now. We have some great themes coming up for fans to enjoy like our GEEKend Weekend that starts on the 16th, our own Joe Ross was named California League Pitcher of the Week and having the guys from the top come down always gets the fans excited,” said Storm General Manager Raj Narayanan. “We can’t wait to see everybody at the ballpark.”
With some help from Tyler Zickel, assistant director of media relations, here is some of what happened over the past week, plus a look at what’s coming up for your Lake Elsinore Storm.
Joe Ross named California League Pitcher of the Week
Starting pitcher Joe Ross was named California League Pitcher of the Week for games played between April 28 and May 4. The 20-year-old blanked the Visalia Rawhide through six innings of work on Tuesday, April 29 tallying a career-high nine strikeouts without walking a single batter en route to his second win of the season. Ross has compiled a 1.95 ERA in six starts, good enough for third-best in the California League. The Oakland, California native has allowed just three earned runs in his last five starts, striking out 30 and walking five, a 6:1 strikeout to walk ratio.The distinction is the first awarded to a Storm player this season.
Storm win seven straight to complete perfect home stand
The Lake Elsinore Storm were walk-off winners for the third time in four games Thursday May 1, besting the Visalia Rawhide 3-2 in eleven innings to complete a perfect home stand. The win was the ninth straight at The Diamond for the Storm (17-11), who are now 10-4 at home. Of those 10 victories, four have come in walk-off fashion. Lake Elsinore improves to 3-1 in extra inning games and is in sole possession of first place in the Southern Division.
Their record is second only to the Bakersfield Blaze, who are 20-8 in 2014. Domoromo continues to swing a hot bat after a slow start. The Venezuelan has now hit safely in seven straight games, tying the longest hitting streak by a Storm player this season. He has collected 13 hits in his last 27 at-bats. Renfroe has hit in six in row.
With the longest home stand to date in the books, the Storm traveled up the 15 freeway to take on the Inland Empire 66ers (11-17) over the weekend where they took the series 2 games to 1.
Storm win 10th consecutive home game
A five-run second inning provided more than enough offense for the Storm Monday, May 5 in a 7-4 defeat of the Lancaster JetHawks, stretching their home win streak to ten consecutive games. After a 1-2-3 top of the first from Storm starter Joe Ross, the bats came out swinging in the bottom of the frame. Benji Gonzalez doubled with one out, and Padres third baseman Chase Headley, who joined the Storm prior to the game on a rehab assignment, drove a two-bagger of his own to right-centerfield that plated Gonzalez. Headley finished the night one for three with two RBIs and one run scored. Gonzalez was two for three with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored. Ross earned the win and went 6.0 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and striking out four in that span.
The Storm have won ten of their last eleven and seventeen of their last twenty two, securing their spot at the top of the South Division. The Storm will finish out their series with Lancaster this week and will then welcome Rancho Cucamonga over the weekend.
The Lake Elsinore Storm will host their inaugural GEEKend Weekend May 16-18 in celebration of geek culture. In addition to a packed events schedule, each day will feature special raffles and giveaways. Proceeds from the weekend will benefit the American Lung Association
In anticipation of the weekend, the Storm is holding a Used Video Game Drive that will run from May 1 to May 18. Fans can bring their old video games, game consoles and accessories to the Storm ticket office in exchange for free tickets to any game that weekend. One game or accessory is good for one ticket and one console is good for five. The drive will benefit Get-Well Gamers Foundation, an organization that provides local hospitals with video games for their children’s wards.
- Friday, May 16 – Superhero Night
GEEKend kicks off with Superhero Night on Friday, May 16. Come dressed as your favorite superhero and receive free admission to the game. A video game truck will be parked in the FunZone to satisfy even the hardcore gamer’s need to crush “n00bs”. Movie passes provided by Diamond 8 Cinemas will be given away through contests and raffles throughout the game.
- Saturday, May 17 – Star Wars Night
The Storm Strike Back with the 9th season of Stars Wars Night! The force will be strong at The Diamond on Saturday, May 17. Star Wars characters from the San Diego Star Wars Society, 501st Legion and Mandalorian Mercs will be roaming the stadium throughout the game. Come dressed as your favorite Star Wars character and receive free admission to the game. Star Wars-themed music, in-game entertainment and more will delight Jedi young and old. Stick around after the game for an exclusive screening of Storm Wars: Mini-Movie, featuring Thunder the Big Green Dog.
- Sunday, May 18 – Ren-EYE-sance Day
The Diamond will be transformed into a Renaissance Faire on Sunday, May 18 featuring displays and exhibitions from the Society for Creative Anachronism. Come dressed in your medieval attire and receive free admission to the game. Sorry, no weapons allowed. We’ll be offering turkey legs in the concession stands and $4 “mead” specials through the seventh inning. After the game, fans will witness history as The Diamond hosts the first-ever on-field medieval battle reenactment.
GEEKend is fast approaching, so get your tickets today. Visit stormbaseball.com or call (951) 245-4487 for more information.