Storm Eliminated from Playoffs
Burch Smith takes a tough-luck loss in elimination
Burch Smith takes a tough-luck loss in elimination
Contributor, MadFriars
Posted Sep 8, 2012

JetHawks pitchers held the Storm offense in check for the third straight night, beating Elsinore 3-2 to top the Padres’ Cal League club in the best-of-three series.

Shortstop B.J. Guinn opened the game with a double, advanced to third on a groundout and scored the first run on a Robert Kral sacrifice fly. But the offense went dormant until the eighth inning after that. They left runners in scoring position in the third, fifth and sixth.

In the seventh, Cory Spangenberg opened with a double and moved up on a sacrifice bunt. After Rico Noel was hit by a pitch to put me on the corner, Guinn popped out to first. With Justin Miller up, Rico Noel stole second and when the throw went through, Spangenberg broke for the plate. Lancaster shortstop Jio Mier got the ball back home in time to cut down Spangenberg to end the inning.

The Storm put men on the corners again in the eighth with a Justin Miller walk and Tommy Medica single. With two outs, Donavan Tate came through with a two-out double to plate Miller, but Medica had to hold at third and they wound up stranding two more men in scoring position. In the ninth, two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases, but the Storm were again unable to capitalize as Medica popped out to end the threat. In all, the club went just 1-11 with men in scoring position to strand eight men.

Starter Burch Smith took the loss despite a strong final performance in an impressive professional debut season. The righty from Tyler, Texas, gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. He struck out seven against just one walk, finishing his campaign with an eye-catching 144:28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 133.2 innings.

After reaching the playoffs with a 69-71 overall record, the Storm managed only four runs in the three contests, two of which were played in the most offense-heavy ballpark in the nation.

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