The Diamond – Lake Elsinore, California
Reiss Knehr used the fastball to his advantage on Thursday, going 4.2 IP while only letting two runs cross on five strikeouts, adding to his season K/9 of 11.3.
The runs the left-hander gave up came in the third and fifth innings but were enough to secure a Rawhide victory. Knehr garnered a loss despite pitching the Rawhide well. Of his elite strikeout numbers, Knehr commented, “Me and [Pete] Zamora have had good conversation about how to pitch, and for me, it’s early contact and early strikes, and if I get early strikes it means the strikeouts come a little later.” Knehr confirmed this was his last outing of the 2019 Single-A season and he discussed his offseason plans, saying, I’m going to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas with Osvaldo Hernandez, so just working on doing the best I can there.”
It was a disappointing day for the Storm as they grounded into three double plays, two coming in situations where it looked as if they were ready to spark a rally and make a comeback from the one-run deficit. It was not meant to be as the Storm fell 2-1 despite having nine hits in the game, with ten runners left on base.
The bright spot of the Storm offense was center fielder Jeisson Rosario, who was 2-for-3 with a walk and drove in the Storm’s sole run in the contest. Rosario said of his performance, “[I] went out there and looked for the right pitch and thank God [I] was the one that found it and was able to put it in the right spot at the right time. The pitcher was throwing heat, but [I] was able to manage it and get a good hit out of it.” Rosario is also a defensive light for the Storm, a skill he said is, “both natural and an everyday practice. You’re supposed to practice the good and the bad, and that’s what [I] try to do.”
On the pitching side of things, besides Knehr, Efraín Contreras made a solid relief appearance for the Storm, pitching four innings and only allowing one hit and one walk while striking out one Rawhide hitter. Unfortunately, it was met with little offensive production, as leaving ten potential runs on the base paths came back to bite the Storm at the end of a tight game where runs were precious.
The Storm will now travel to Visalia for game three and four, as well as a potential game five if the teams split the next two. For the third game, the Storm will start Caleb Boushley, who made his last outing in game number three against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the South Division Championship Series last week. He will look to have a slightly better outing than his previous start, a game in which he was pulled after the third inning with three earned runs allowed on five hits with four walks. What he will hope to retain from his last outing is his strikeout ability. He struck out seven in his three-inning outing, an impressive feat.
The Storm can win this series, but they must drive in the runners they put on base to achieve victory.