PALM SPRINGS, CA — This year’s iteration of the Palm Springs POWER has been truly special. Wednesday’s SCCBL crown, the third POWER SCCBL title in five years, might be the most noticeable, but as the POWER head into their final game of the summer Friday, a slew of players look to make their mark on the POWER franchise.
On July 19th, Cal State L.A. southpaw Ryan Santhon broke the POWER single-season strikeout record set back in 2006 by Ari Ronick. He came into the game tied with Ronick at 52. When he left the mound, capturing his second save of the season and finishing off the Inland Empire Aces for the POWER’s 35th win, Santhon had struck out five of the six batters he had faced, cruising by the old record in the process with over a week left to add to the total.
And he did. Santhon tacked on four more Ks against the Thrashers three days later. The POWER record now stands at an astounding 61. More shocking, Santhon’s 61 strikeouts have come in 41.1 innings pitched; Ronick’s 52 came in 50 innings.
Nick Baker set the new record for wins so long ago, that many people didn’t even notice. In his first eight appearances, seven of them as starts, Baker picked up eight wins–setting the new franchise mark held previously by a trio of players (Raymond Pelton – 2006, Trevor York – 2007, Travis Blankenship – 2009). That happened all the way back on July 13.
Since then: two more Baker starts, two more Baker wins, and the new record stands at 10, as Baker picked up his final win in Game One of the SCCBL Championship Series against the So Cal Athletics Tuesday, improving his record to a perfect 10-0 in 10 appearances.
The marvelous POWER closer Tony Guerra needs just one more save to break Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Bryan Shaw’s 2006 POWER record of eight saves in a season. Opponents are batting just .128 against him, which currently bests the record of .143 set by Brian Longpre from the 2009 squad.
The 2006 team, a team that finished 11th at the NBC World Series, holds all sorts of records that will be erased from the books come the end of this POWER season. To go along with Ronick, Pelton, and Shaw’s records, Jacob Vasquez’s .517 on-base percentage will give way to David Kiriakos’s astounding on-base mark. Kiriakos currently sports a .570 on-base percentage. Ryan Jones needs just one more RBI to tie and two to break Vasquez’s RBI record of 37 set back in 2006 (and tied by current POWER coach P.J. Jimenez in 2009). Ryan Garvey’s slugging percentage (currently .773) will demolish Kent Walton’s old record of .577 set in 2006.
But that is not enough for this record-setting group. Marcus Romero’s 44th run of the season extended the POWER lead to 7-0 in the final game of the SCCBL Championship Wednesday, and it also marked the end of a two-year-old run record set by Tyler Saladino in 2009. A new single-season batting record will most certainly go down in the books after Friday’s contest, as Ryan Jones (.424) or David Kiriakos (.414) seem likely to finish ahead of the .395 record from 2005–another Jacob Vasquez soon-to-be-relic. One more double would give that single-season mark to Alex DeLeon (currently 10), and three more hits from Ryan Jones would erase P.J. Jimenez’s old hits record (55) as well.
This team, hardly a collection of individuals alone, is setting new team marks as well. The only POWER team to ever have a losing record at any point in the season (when they started the season 1-2), set a new franchise record with 40 wins on Wednesday with a chance to extend it to 41 Friday evening. This year’s bunch also won 20 consecutive games from June 23 to July 15–another unprecedented feat (old record was 17, set in 2006.They have already set new records for team saves, strikeouts, runs scored, and doubles. Two more triples and 11 more hits would set new marks in those categories as well. The team on-base record will certainly go to this 2011 group, and with a big offensive night Friday, the team slugging percentage record is in jeopardy as well, as the current team sits just 9 points behind the .442 put up by the ’06 roster.
Friday, the POWER play on “Christmas in July” at the Ballpark against the OC Waves for what should be a fun-filled evening at the ballpark. We could see a few POWER pitchers step up to the plate, as well as members of this record setting offense trying their hand on the mound, toeing the rubber. The holiday spirit will be alive and well at Palm Springs Stadium, but for the baseball historians out there, each pitch will carry extra weight because of what this 2011 team could continue to accomplish in perspective of POWER history.
Come out and cheer on your hometown team one last time before Saturday’s star-studded All-Star Game matchup between the SCCBL All-Stars and the OCCL All-Stars. Gates open tonight at 6 p.m. with the first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The “Diamond Dig” will take place immediately following the game. Fans who won an entry during the season, and those who purchase an entry for $10 tonight, will try to be the first to unearth a one-carat diamond valued at approximately $2,500. The diamond is buried in a specific section near the baseball diamond at the stadium.
Tomorrow’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game will kickoff an hour early. Gates will open at 5 p.m., with the Derby beginning at 6:05, and the game starting at 7:05. Be sure to make it for the ceremonial first pitch, as 10-time Major League Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey will be honored before the game.
For more information call the Palm Springs POWER at (760) 778-4487.