Lake Elsinore- A six o’clock start under sunny skies was the backdrop for the game between the Lake Elsinore Storm and the Visalia Oaks. In front of 2,055, the Storm lost 7-6 spurned by a six run fifth. The Storm closed to within one in the bottom of the ninth but Peeter Ramos got a bit overzealous, getting picked off rounding second after his double plated two, ending the inning and the game.
Visalia got on the board first due to a Juan Ciriaco error in the second inning. The shortstop sailed a throw to first, the runner moved to second on a ground out and scored on a single.
Fernando Valenzuela Jr. opened the bottom of the fourth inning with a double. Jordan Pickens walked to put two on. Brett Bonvechio followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt which the fielder threw away down the right field line, scoring Valenzuela to knot the game at 1-1.
Steve Baker then put the Storm ahead when he grounded out to short and beat out the double play attempt, gaining an RBI as Pickens crossed the plate.
A one out walk came back to haunt Clark Girardeau in the fifth. A stolen base followed and the run scored on a double, tying the game at 2-2. On a 3-2 pitch, Wes Bankston doubled down the left field line to put Visalia back in the lead, ending Girardeau’s night.
“Girardeau battled his rear end off,” manager Rick Renteria said. “His fastball got away from him there at the end.”
Dirk Hayhurst relieved him with one out, induced a ground out before giving a free pass to the next two – walking in a run. Hayhurst then allowed a single up the gut to score two, putting Visalia up 6-2. One more single followed, tacking on another run.
Baker opened the seventh inning with a solo home run to left field about 400 feet out, his second RBI of the game. He went 3-for-4 on the night.
The Strom scored three more in the ninth inning with Bonvechio coming around to score on a Brian Burgamy sacrifice fly and Ramos’ game ending double that scored Baker and Juan Ciriaco.
“That play typified the day,” Renteria, who closed the door to the locker room for 15 minutes after the game and laid into his team for their poor play, said. “It was the story of the day. The way we finished was kind of the way the game went (for us). We physically made some mistakes today. That is not common.
“It wasn’t pretty. Hopefully it is a wake-up call. I think they will look at themselves and expect much better from themselves.
Girardeau is now 0-2 in California League play after going 1-1 with the Fort Wayne Wizards in six starts.
Valenzuela fell a homer shy of the cycle, striking out looking in his final at bat of the night.
Peeter Ramos took a little extra batting practice with hitting coach Tom Tornicasa on Wednesday. He was hitting off the tee in back of the plate, working on the mechanics of his swing. Ramos entered play hitting .253. Ramos inevitably struck out in his first at bat and ended up going 1-for-5 on the night with two RBI's. It was his out in the bottom of the ninth that ended the game.