The Valley News Diamond Showcase was a huge success. Valley News partnered with Storm Events to sponsor the Diamond Showcase: two days of tripleheader baseball featuring all the teams of the Southwestern League on Friday, April 19, and the Sunbelt League on Friday, April 26. This event gave local teams an opportunity to experience play in a professional stadium and environment and fans an opportunity to see all the league’s talent in one place on one day for one low ticket price. It also provided vendors and sponsors exposure to thousands of fans at a single event.
Paloma Valley vs. Heritage
One could see the excitement in the actions of the players. Before the nightcap between the Heritage Patriots and the Paloma Valley Wildcats, the Patriots were pumped. When Heritage coach Scott Montgomery was asked about the experience, he said, “When Tony Martinez is pumped, he is hard to hit; we’ll give them a good game.” In the teams’ previous meeting, Martinez had pitched a no-hitter into the late innings before the Patriots lost a close game to the Wildcats. Paloma Valley is undefeated in league play (10-0). Heritage is now 4-7.
In the Wildcats’ dugout before the game, the energy was extremely high. The players had to be advised to conserve some of the energy for the game. Head coach Chuck Kemp told a player “I need you to use that energy when you’re at bat.” The game was a pitchers’ duel with Paloma Valley’s Gabe Greenbank pitching seven no-hit innings before Heritage’s Adrian Benitez singled in the 8th. Martinez, backed by excellent defensive plays, pitched seven shout-out innings before tiring and allowing three runs in the 8th. Paloma Valley won the game 3-0.
Lakeside vs. Perris
The middle game of the triple-header featured the Lakeside Lancers (3-7) vs the Perris Panthers (0-10) and was an action-packed game with the hitters getting the best of the pitchers. Lakeside won the game 11-7; they had 15 hits and committed two errors. Perris had 11 hits and 2 errors. Lakeside took an early 3-1 lead in the first inning, but a four-run third inning and another two-run inning in the fifth, gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead. Lakeside came back strong in the final two innings, scoring one run in the sixth and seven in the eighth, while holding Perris scoreless. Lakeside hitters (.455 BA) ended with 10 RBI’s, two doubles (Wilson Dakota, Ruby Medina) and a triple (Medina). Medina hit .750 on the night.
Elsinore vs. Temescal Canyon
The Elsinore Tigers (7-4) won the opener over the Temescal Canyon Titans (8-3) by a score of 4-1 in extra innings. Due to time constraints, the games were originally scheduled for seven innings. The game went nine innings. Temescal Canyon had an opportunity to score in the eighth, but outfielder JT Brown was thrown out at the plate. The game was scoreless through eight innings when Elsinore’s Evan Hartfiel hit a triple with the bases loaded giving Elsinore a 3-0 lead in the ninth. Temescal Canyon managed to score a run in the bottom of the inning, but the Tigers held on for the win. Temescal Canyon had eight hits, including a triple by Josh Cohen and a double by Grant Gooselaw. Elsinore also had eight hits, including Hartfiel’s triple and a double by Hofstra-bound John Taurinsky.
The Valley News Diamond Showcase had something for everyone: strong pitching, solid hitting and outstanding plays on defense.
Thanks to all of the sponsors who made this event possible: VW of Murrieta, Tri-Lakes Sportswear, Nutrishops of Temecula and Lake Elsinore, Nutz About Nuts, Ace Hardware, Diamond 8 Cinemas, Avon, Gravity X Dance, Executive Event Services, Habitat for Humanity, and Temecula Buick GMC. Sponsorships and vendor spaces are available for next year’s event. Contact Paul at Valley News for details ([email protected]).