Prune Packers and Saints to Clash in CCL 30 State Championship Series

| August 4, 2023

By CCL Reporter Dylan Wickman

The CCL 30 State Championship is here in a matchup between a familiar face on this stage and a foe hungry to take their glory. From August 4-6, the Healdsburg Prune Packers will take on the Arroyo Seco Saints in a best-of-three series to battle for the CCL 30 trophy. The first game will be played on the Saint’s home turf at Jackie Robinson Memorial Stadium in Pasadena, while the second and possible third game will take place at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. Both teams have had to overcome obstacles to get to the final phase of the season. Read below to learn about each finalist’s journey and the players that have played a key part.

CCL North Division Champion // Healdsburg Prune Packers

Healdsburg is no stranger to this stage, as this is their third consecutive trip to the CCL State Championship, and they plan to succeed for a third consecutive time. They have reached this point by showing dominance on both sides of the ball. They have averaged 11.5 hits and eight runs per game this season while slashing .316/.407/.477 and have a team ERA of 2.51 and a WHIP of 1.13. 

They ended with a 26-9 record, good for the North Division Title, and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

But their season did not come without adversity. They established themselves at the top of the league for most of the summer, starting 22-3 and going on a 14-game win streak at one point. However, they finished a lackluster 4-6 and held on to the No.1 seed by just one game. 

The team challenging them was the Walnut Creek Crawdads, who had Healdsburg’s number all summer long, winning five out of seven matchups against them. But the Packer’s experience and unfaltering offense proved superior in the CCL 30 North Divisional game when the two teams matched up once again, as Healdsburg won 10-7 to advance to the Championship.

The Prune Packers have made a name for themselves with an offense that features many dangerous hitters. 13 Packers batted above .300 this summer and three above .400. Infielder Connor Charpiot (Long Beach State) headlines Healdsburg’s attack and was one of the CCL’s best hitters all season long as he led the league in batting average. He slashed .410/.519/.602 while totaling 34 hits and 25 RBI in 83 at-bats and put together an impressive streak of 16 straight games with a hit. 

Outfielder Robbie Hamchuk’s (San Jose State) numbers are not far behind Charpiot’s, as he slashed .403/.474/.546 for the season. He led the league in hits with 48 and had 14 multi-hit games this summer. Outfielder Cameron Nickens (Houston) was tied for the lead in home runs in the CCL with six while also racking up 27 hits and 24 RBI. 

Outfielder Ivan Brethowr (UC Santa Barbara) is a recent addition to the team, playing his first game on July 18, but has already become one of its most important players. He went 14-for-39 while totaling a whopping five home runs in 10 games and was instrumental in the divisional win, going 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in the eighth. 

Southpaw Myles Patton (Long Beach State) was just as important on the other side of the ball during that game, pitching a scoreless 4.0 innings and tallying six strikeouts. He has been dependable all season long, tallying 39 strikeouts in eight games while sporting an ERA of 1.42 and a WHIP of 1.16. 

Fellow left-hander Christopher Stamos (Undecided) held a chillingly low 0.78 ERA this season and has conceded just 14 hits in 23.0 innings while striking out 34 batters. Another star on the mound for Healdsburg is right-handed pitcher Caden Bugarske, who posted a 1.00 ERA and WHIP in 25.1 innings this season – never giving up more than one earned run in an outing. 

RHP Robert Aivazian (Cal) has been a standout reliever throughout the summer, not conceding more than two hits in a single one of his 11 appearances, amassing a 1.05 WHIP. 

CCL South Division Champion // Arroyo Seco Saints

The Saints have had ups and downs this season but got hot at the right time to power them through to the State Championship. Contrary to the Packers, the Saints had a slow start to the summer but put together a late-season surge to secure a 21-14 record and the No.1 seed in the CCL South Division. 

Despite having one of the best-performing pitching staffs in the league, they held a modest 11-11 record through week 5 and were four games back of the first seed. However, Their offense then went on a tremendous hot streak, scoring 110 runs in 13 games to finish 10-3. Their hitters finished the season, slashing .281/.374/.397, while the pitching staff put up an ERA of 3.53 and a WHIP of 1.34. 

The Saints, like the Packers, had one team consistently standing in their way all summer: the Orange County Riptide. The ‘Tide were 6-1 vs. Arroyo Seco this season, with three of those games being one-run wins. The two met once again Divisional and this time, the Saints would be the ones to pull out a nailbiter, winning 1-0 to cash in their ticket to Championship. 

The Saints’ sizzling offense is headed by infielder Raider Tello (Iowa), who led the South in batting average. He slashed .378/.417.489 while racking up 34 hits in 90 at-bats. He had multiple hits in half of his 24 games this season, as well as four three-hit performances. Outfielder Max Blessinger led the team in both hits (36) and walks (19) while slashing .324/.427/.369. 

Outfielder Kyte Mcdonald (Rice) has improved as the season progressed, with three of his four home runs coming in the final six games of the regular season. His hot streak has continued into the postseason as he knocked the critical solo home run – his third in as many contests – that propelled the Saints to a Divisional Game victory. Infielder Spencer Rasmussen (Azusa Pacific) only played his first game for the Saints on July 25 but has already established himself as one of the team’s premier hitters. In just five games, he batted 9-for-19 with five doubles and a home run. 

The Saints’ pitching staff has been lockdown all season long, helping keep the team afloat early on when the offense hadn’t yet found its groove. Righty Carter Herrera (Cal State Fullerton) pitched 36.0 innings this season, the fourth-most in the league, but his performance never faltered. He had an ERA of 2.00 and a WHIP of 0.86 and came up huge in the Divisional Game, pitching 6.0 shutout innings while striking out five batters. 

Right-hander Caleb Reyes (Cal Poly Ponoma) didn’t give up a single earned run in his last 24.0, evidenced by his 1.73 ERA and .96 WHIP for the summer. RHP Jacob Henderson (Iowa) was nearly perfect as a reliever this season, surrendering just one hit in 15.0 innings while totaling 24 strikeouts. LHP Kevin Warunek (Longwood) is another strong bullpen arm for the Saints, sporting a 2.70 ERA in nine appearances. He recorded his second save of the season when closing out the Riptide in the Divisional Game. 

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