| June 13, 2023
Photo Credit: Jordan Georgeson-Gold Country Media
By CCL Reporters Sean Brennan, Sam Nute, and Dylan Wickman
The first week of the CCL’s 30th year is officially in the books, and it did not disappoint. From 15-inning thrillers to shutout pitching performances to six-run innings, the opening week had it all. See how each team performed to start the season.
CCL NORTH DIVISION
Healdsburg Prune Packers
The Prune Packers have had a light league schedule to start the season only playing two games in the first week. The Packers’ first league game of the year saw the offense explode for 13 runs while the pitching was dominant in a 13-0 win against the Mudcats.
Cameron Nickens (Houston) and Connor Charpiot (Undecided) both hit their first homers of the season and starting pitcher Andres Galan was masterful in 5.0 IP, striking out five and only allowing one base runner. Left-handed-pitcher Myles Patton (Long Beach State) had his first start of the season in the Prune Packers 6-4 win over the Potters in game two of the CCL league season. Patton was dominant, striking out seven and allowing just two hits in 4.0 innings of work.
Offensively, Healdsburg had four different players with multiple hits as they continued their undefeated streak to begin the season. Next week the Packers will wrap up their series with the Potters, playing three more games against their North Division rival early next week.
In their first week of CCL League play, the Lincoln Potters got off to a 3-2 start, taking three out of four against the Sonoma Stompers, including a 15-inning thriller. The Potters rounded out the week with a 6-4 loss to the Prune Packers.
Over the first week, pitchers Anthony Susac (Arizona), Gabriel Maya (Loyola Marymount) and Woody Brennan (Cuesta College) combined to throw 14 shutout innings, striking out 20 allowing just two hits.
Offensively, Ben Romano (Tulane) went 5-for-17 with 3 RBI as well as walking five times. Leading the team in hits this week, Zachary Chamizo (UC Riverside) went 8-for-18 with 2 RBI plus walking four times.
Next week, the Potters will play a three-game set with the Prune Packers and a four-game series with the Mudcats.
After winning their first game of the season against the San Luis Obispo Blues, the Solano Mudcats have dropped five straight games over the first week of the 2023 CCL Season.
The Mudcats opened the season with a 9-3 win over the Blues that saw starter Chase Banks (Sonoma State) give the team 5.0 solid innings, allowing three runs and striking out 4. Banks was followed by Anthony Galindo (Texas A&M Texarkana) who was excellent in 3.0 innings giving up just one hit and striking out four.
The Mudcats MVP early on in the summer season has been Jake Tandy (Pacific). The freshman delivered on both sides of the ball, throwing 3.1 scoreless innings along with a .409 batting average at the plate with two doubles and two RBI.
Next week, the Mudcats continue league play with a three-game set against the Lincoln Potters.
The Stompers had a grueling first week in league play this season, going to extra innings in three of their six contests. Sonoma started the season with a three-game series against the Potters, which included two extra-inning games. They had an exciting walk-off win in the opener 4-3 in 10 innings, but dropped the next two, including a 12-9 thriller that saw the Potters win in 15 innings. The Stompers then played another 10 innings against the Mudcats to win 10-9 before dropping another game to Lincoln. They ended the week with a 6-1 win over the Crawdads, a much-needed stress-free victory.
Catcher Omar Gastelum (San Jose State) leads Sonoma with a .353 batting average. Shortstop Brandon Marion (Diablo Valley College) also has had a great start this season, accruing seven hits, seven runs and five RBI in the opening week while batting .333. He had some major plays in the 15-inning loss to Lincoln, including a two-run homer in the seventh to take the lead and a double to tie the game in the 12th.
Righties Jonathan Clark (San Jose State) and Bryant Thornton (Undecided), and lefty Jacob Verwiel (Undecided) all stood out on the mound for the Stompers. In the final game against Lincoln, Clark struck out nine batters in 5.0 innings while only giving up four hits and one run. Verwiel pitched in the 15-inning loss, giving up two hits and a run while also throwing nine strikeouts. In the win against Walnut Creek, Thornton pitched 4.0 innings only surrendering a hit and a run. The Stompers will play the Crawdads this week in a four-game series that started on Sunday.
Walnut Creek Crawdads
The Walnut Creek Crawdads opened the season winning a series against CCL affiliate, the Bay Area Admirals, before getting CCL league play started with one off games against the Mudcats and Stompers. In a 5-3 win over the Mudcats, the Crawdads used five different pitchers in the win. After a solid 3.0 innings from starter Austin Berggren (Nebraska), the Crawdads’ bullpen was lights out, allowing zero runs and just three hits over 6.0 shutdown innings. Offensively, Ryan Brome (Texas Tech) went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a walk, and Tyson Pointer (Texas Arlington) added three RBI’s for the Crawdads’ first league win of the season. Walnut Creek then hosted the Sonoma Stompers, but fell 7-1 as the Crawdads’ offense went quiet. Next week, the Crawdads will play four games against the Stompers to wrap up their series.
CCL SOUTH DIVISION
MLB Academy Barons
The Academy Barons went 0-2 against the Oaks this week, but both losses were tightly contested and remained within reach the entire way – something to build on during week two.
Despite two tough results to start the summer, the Barons seem to have instantly found an offensive stride thanks to multiple contributors. Headlining the Academy’s solid lineup is infielder Chrixtian Taveras (Compton CC), who went 4-for-7 this week with a home run, double and four RBI. Infielder Dylan Lina (Golden West College) enjoyed a similar start, recording two hits, a home run and four RBI in two games.
Junior right-handed pitcher Rene Julian Galvan (Cerritos College) was lights-out during his opening night start, retiring nine and holding the Oaks offense to a lone walk in 3.0 innings. On Sunday, righty Harold Boyce (Undecided) allowed just two hits and struck out three in a three-inning relief appearance.
The Barons have a relatively light week ahead, as they will play two-game sets against the Riptide and Saints.
Arroyo Seco Saints
Despite kicking off the season with a decisive non-league victory, the Arroyo Seco Saints didn’t find the same fortune in their first two CCL contests, dropping both legs of a home-and-home with the Riptide. After suffering a 7-4 defeat on the road, the Saints responded, doubling Orange County’s hit total in game two. The two teams stayed tied for most of the night, but a late ‘Tide run proved the difference in a 3-2 defeat.
A member of the Saints' 2022 squad, infielder Max Blessinger (Belmont) wasted no time during his second go-around in Pasadena, starting league play 4-for-7 with a double. Outfielder Kyte McDonald (Wichita State) and infielder AJ Ortiz (Biola) have also seen results at the plate thus far, each recording three base knocks in two games against Orange County.
Right-hander Carter Herrera (Cal State Fullerton) pitched three strong innings on the mound in Friday’s loss, striking out five while relinquishing a single walk. Saturday saw a dominant appearance from southpaw Peyton Cariaco (Kent State), who struck out six of the seven batters he faced in two frames of work.
The Saints are slated for two more home-and-home series with the Foresters and Barons before finishing the week against the Riptide.
In their league opener against the Barons on Saturday, the Conejo Oaks overcame multiple deficits (2-0 and 6-2) to eventually take the lead for good in the seventh. Conejo won in come-from-behind fashion again during the next day's rematch at the Academy, plating five runs in the ninth for a 9-6 victory.
Going 3-for-6 with four RBI in two league contests, infielder Zach Daudet (Regis) is quickly becoming a key force in the Oaks’ lineup. Catcher Max Aude (Los Angeles Valley College) and infielder Zachary Shwartzberg (Undecided) have also provided an offensive punhc, each with three hits in the last two victories.
Left-hander Tobias Plotkin (Glendale CC) helped fuel the late-game rally on Saturday, getting through three innings in just 34 pitches while fanning three. During the final two innings of Sunday’s contest, right-handed pitcher Jaxon Jordan (Moorpark College) faced the minimum and tossed three strikeouts, a pivotal performance that kept Conejo within striking distance.
Next week, the Oaks will only face two opponents – they are set to play two and three-game sets with the Blues and Foresters respectively.
Orange County Riptide
The Riptide began league play winning two games against the Arroyo Seco Saints. Orange County won the first game 7-4, thanks to a 6-run third inning. The offense did not have that same spark in game two, totaling just five hits, which was half as many as the Saints had. However, the Riptide posted runs when they needed to most to pull out a 3-2 victory.
The Riptide has had a balanced scoring approach on offense, with outfielder Nick Upstill (Pepperdine), outfielder Cary Arbolida (Houston), center fielder Grady Morgan (Fresno State) and second baseman Owen Fuller (North Carolina Charlotte) all batting over .400. The offense caught fire in the third inning of the first matchup, scoring six runs. A double from Fuller and then five singles that followed kept the offensive momentum flowing.
Lefty Evan Vasiliou (Utah Tech) and righty Jack Kirrer (Cal) were the starting pitchers in their respective games, and both provided solid performances. In the first game, Vasilou gave up just one hit in three innings while striking out two batters. Kirrer also shut out the Saints in three innings, giving up three hits while throwing five strikeouts.
Next week, the Riptide will play two games against the MLB Academy Barons and then two more against the Blues.
San Luis Obispo Blues
The Blues were faced with a tough matchup against the Santa Barbara Foresters to start league play. San Luis Obispo dropped the first game 6-1 as the offense couldn’t find its rhythm. It looked to be a similar story in the next game until the Blues exploded for five runs in the seventh to secure a 5-3 victory.
Outfielder Luke Pemberton (Pepperdine) started the rally, smacking a double to drive in two runners. Center fielders Trevor Adams (Arizona) and Jeriah Lewis (San Jose State) followed that up with a pair of singles to build the commanding lead.
Lefty Robinson Lardner (Cuesta College) was spectacular on the mound, throwing five strikeouts in five innings while only giving up two hits. Right-hander Lucas Alaniz (Modesto Junior College) had a more up-and-down performance in the first game, giving up nine hits in 4.2 innings, but only allowing three runs.
The Blues will go on to play two games apiece against the Oaks and the Riptide next week.
Santa Barbara Foresters
The Santa Barbara Foresters appeared to be in midseason form on Saturday, commencing the 2023 campaign with a decisive 6-1 win over the Blues. San Luis Obispo would flip the script at home a day later, however, moving the Foresters to 1-1 on the young CCL season.
Through two games, infielders Giovanni Horvat (UNLV) and Ryan Black (Texas Arlington) have spearheaded Santa Barbara’s offense. Both have maintained a .429 average and accounted for four RBI. Outfielder Max Belyeu (Texas) has been consistent at the dish, finishing week one with a 0.555 on-base percentage.
Lefty Samuel Garewal (Northwestern) had a solid start on Saturday picking up four strikeouts in 3.0 shutout innings. Despite allowing two hits and three walks, starter Kolby Kmetko (Nevada) kept the Blues off the scoresheet in his four frames of work.
Next week, Santa Barbara will play a home-and-home against the Saints followed by a three-game set with the Oaks.
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