PALM SPRINGS, CA – The Palm Springs POWER clinched the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League regular season title and the top seed in the playoffs with a 3-1 victory over the Riverside Rebels Friday night.
The POWER (32-4, 16-3) now own home-field advantage for the SCCBL Championship Series, which begins Tuesday, July 23.
Pitcher Keaton Hernandez delivered his best performance of the season in the watershed victory. In six innings the right-hander allowed just one unearned run on two hits while striking out a season-high 12 to advance to 5-0.
The night got off to a rocky start for Hernandez, who sandwiched a hit batter around a single and a walk to load the bases with no one out in the first inning. Hernandez proceeded to strike out the next three batters and ignite his memorable performance.
The POWER wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ryan Raslowsky singled with one out and stole second base, advancing to third on a throwing error by Rebel catcher Chris Gonzalez. With two outs, Matt Lowenstein, making his home debut in a POWER uniform, singled to drive Raslowsky home for a 1-0 lead.
The POWER doubled the margin in the second inning when Austin Barrett singled home Jake Howeth. Howeth had singled and stole second to begin the inning.
The Rebels only run came in the fourth, when outfielder Adam Turpin struck out but reached base on a wild pitch. After advancing to second base on a throwing error and third base on a single, he came around to score a groundball double play off the bat of third baseman Daxton Deal.
Palm Springs tallied the final run in the fifth inning, when Michael Massi scored a passed ball.
Mark Seyler earned his second save for the POWER, tossing three innings of hitless relief. The right-hander struck out four batters, giving the pitching staff 16 strikeouts on the night to set a new season-high.
Adam Quintana (0-2) absorbed the loss for the Rebels (8-16, 3-12), surrendering three runs (two earned) on seven hits in eight innings.
The POWER go for a season sweep of the Rebels Saturday at 7:05pm. Every Saturday is Kid’s Night at the ballpark, where kids 12 and under get in for just $2. Fans that can’t make it to the game can listen to the broadcast at pspbb.com.