Denny Larrondo rang up 11 strikeouts and Anderson Rojas singled in a pair of eighth-inning runs as the Visalia Rawhide earned a 2-1 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm on Thursday night at Valley Strong Ballpark. Visalia has won two of the first three games in the six-game series as the first half of the 2024 California League season came to an end.

The late comeback spoiled a brilliant outing for Storm right-hander Eric Yost. The 2023 draft pick out of Northeastern blanked the Rawhide over seven innings, striking out nine while allowing just four hits and a walk. Reaching 60 Ks on the season, Yost is tied for ninth in the league.

Larondo was nearly as good, with the 11 Ks over five innings to go with three hits and two walks. The only run allowed by the righty out of Cuba was on a bases-loaded HBP in a shaky fifth inning. Larondo allowed a double, an HBP and a walk to load the bases before his second hit batter brought in the run.

Rojas was 2-for-3 with a walk while Jansel Luis had three hits, including two doubles.

Jacob Campbell was 1-for-2 with a triple for Lake Elsinore after coming into the game when starting RF Braedon Karpathios was ejected for arguing a called third strike in the fourth inning.

The Storm finished the first half with a 32-32 record, good for tops in the South division. The Rawhide finished 3 1/2 games back at 29-36.


After three games of the six-game series, here are some of the impact players:


Luis – 8-for-12, 2 2B, HR

Rojas – 3-for-6, 2 RBI

Angel Ortiz – 2-for-9, 2 2B

Ruben Santana – 4-for-10, HR

Larrondo – 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K

Carlos Rey – 1 1/3 IP, W, 0 R, 0 H, 1 BB, 4 K


Wyatt Hoffman – 2-for-9, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 SB

Nick Vogt – 3-for-7, 2B, RBI, SB

Leodalis De Vries – 3-for-12, BB, RBI

Jacob Campbell – 2-for-9, 3B,

Eric Yost – 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K

Luis Gutierrez – 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R (0 ER), 0 BB, 2 K

Will Varmette – 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K

Javier Chacon – 2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K


The Lake Elsinore Storm got four runs in the second inning and held off a ninth-inning rally to beat the Visalia Rawhide by a score of 5-3 on Tuesday night at Valley Strong Ballpark. LHP Luis Gutierrez (W, 1-1) allowed just one unearned run over five innings and Romeo Sanabria belted his eighth home run of the season as the Storm (32-30) clinched the South division first-half title and a berth in the 2024 playoffs.

After a scoreless first inning, the visitors took a 4-0 lead with a second-inning rally aided by a pair of walks. A single and two free passes loaded the bases with one out for C J.D. Gonzalez, who brought in the first run with a sacrifice fly.

With two outs, 2B Chase Valentine singled in a run and LF Wyatt Hoffman doubled in two more to put Lake Elsinore up 4-0.

Gutierrez kept the Rawhide off the scoreboard until the fifth inning when they pushed across a run on a throwing error by 3B Rosman Verdugo with two outs. Visalia RF Angel Ortiz doubled before LF Jefferson Pena grounded sharply to Verdugo, who threw high past first base allowing Ortiz to come around and score to make it 4-1 Storm.

Gutierrez allowed just the one unearned run on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts over five innings. The 20-year old from Venezuela threw 71 pitches, 48 for strikes.

Sanabria’s eighth-inning solo shot made it 5-1, Lake Elsinore, until the Rawhide came up in the bottom of the ninth. A Ruben Santana single and a walk to Ortiz put two on with one out for Visalia. An out later, Cristofer Torin singled to load the bases before Jansel Luis singled in a pair to cut the lead to 5-3 with two outs.

RHP Thomas Balboni Jr. got Demetrio Crisantes to strike out to end the game and earn Balboni Jr. his second save of the season.

It was a thrilling, but disappointing, end to the game for the 1,368 in attendance.

Visalia starter RHP Casey Anderson (L, 2-4) went six innings and allowed four runs on five hits and two walks with six Ks in taking the loss. Outside of the second inning, where he hurt himself with two walks along with two singles and a double, Anderson was efficient in keeping the Storm off of the scoreboard.

Game two of the six-game series goes Wednesday night at 6:30 PM.


The reigning California League champions will defend their title Modesto has clinched a spot in the 2024 playoffs with the first-half title. With a 15-3 win over the Visalia Rawhide on Sunday, the Nuts took the North division crown and grabbed the first post-season spot.

The Lake Elsinore Storm did the same on Tuesday with a 5-3 win, also over Visalia. At 32-30, the Storm are the only team over .500 in the South division and will have a spot in the playoffs after the second half concludes in September.

The 2023 playoffs saw Modesto beat San Jose in the divisional round before knocking off Rancho Cucamonga in the championship series.


The Visalia Rawhide pushed across five runs in the seventh inning to overtake the Lake Elsinore Storm and pull away for a 12-8 victory on Friday night at Valley Strong Ballpark. Druw Jones homered and had four hits, including a two-run homer to lead Visalia’s 13-hit offense.

After a slow start to the season with an alarming strikeout rate, Jones, Arizona’s #3 prospect, has turned it around with a slash line 0f .326/.400/.465 in May. Over his last 49 plate appearances, Jones has walked six times against 15 strikeouts. This after whiffing 21 times in his first 31 official ABs this season.

Visalia went up 2-0 in the fourth inning on Jones’ second home run of the season, a two-run shot. Lake Elsinore came right back with four runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-2 lead, only to allow a five-spot to the Rawhide in the bottom half.

Rawhide RHP Denny Larrondo started with two scoreless frames but allowed the first two batters to reach base via a walk and a double. After a strikeout, a fielding error led to four unearned runs.

Among four relievers who came out of the pen for Visalia was #22 Diamondbacks prospect RHP Landon Sims. The 34th overall pick in last year’s draft, Sims had a solid 1 2/3 scoreless IP with no hits and one walk against three strikeouts.

1B Romeo Sanabria and C J.D. Gonzalez each had two hits for the Storm.

Visalia reliever Alexis Liebano (W, 1-0) pitched a scoreless inning in relief, striking out one with no hits or walks.

The two teams have split the first four games of the six-game series. Lake Elsinore (17-18) is five games back of first-place Rancho Cucamonga. Visalia (15-21) is 7 1/2 games out.



The front-running Modesto Nuts were cooled down, for one night at least, as the San Jose Giants raced out to a big early lead and won 16-5 on Tuesday night at John Thurman Field. A 6-3 game into the fourth inning was put out of reach by a crazy 8-run inning to make it 14-3 and San Jose cruised from there.

Both teams put up three runs in the first inning, but the Giants kept adding on. Two in the second and a single run in the third made it 6-3 before the unconventional inning that saw San Jose put up a 4-spot.

Chandler Bierley came on in relief for Modesto and the leadoff hitter, Bryce Eldridge, reached on an error by 2B Michael Arroyo and advanced to second. From there it was Walk, WP, HBP, Walk, WP, Walk, HBP, Walk, WP and San Jose was up 11-3. Bierley recorded the first out of the inning by strikeout and was relieved with a line of 1/3 IP, 7 Runs (4 ER), 0 H, 4BB and 1 K.

The Giants got four IP from starter Ubert Mejias who settled down after the 3-run first inning. Mejias allowed 3 runs, (1 ER) on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

RHP Shane Rademacher (W, 3-0) went three innings in relief and allowed two runs, both unearned, on four hits and no walks with six strikeouts.

Eldridge hit a three-run home run (3) in the first inning and Jonah Cox went 3-for-7 with two runs scored and two RBIs for the Giants.

Modesto (24-9) still holds a 5 1/2 game lead in the North division while San Jose (17-17) is 7 1/2 games back.

Game three is Thursday at 7:05 PM.


Dillon Head

The San Diego Padres acquired 2023 NL batting champ Luis Arraez from the Miami Marlins on Friday night, digging into their minor league system in the exchange. Going the other way were Lake Elsinore OF Dillon Head, the Padres’ #7 prospect per Baseball America, OF Jakob Marsee (#11), 1B/OF Nathan Martorella (#17) and RHP Woo-Suk Go.

Head, age 19, was the 25th overall pick in last year’s draft and played in 21 games for the Storm this season, slashing .237/317/.366 with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 1 HR.

Marsee and Martorella both played for Lake Elsinore in 2022 and were at AA San Antonio this year, along with Go. Martorella was a baserunner when he was informed of the trade and he and Marsee left the field in the middle of an inning.


Steven Echavarria

RHP Steven Echavarria, Oakland’s #6 prospect according to MLB.com, made his professional debut with Stockton on Thursday night in a game the Ports eventually won in 10 innings, 4-3. The 18-year old, who was picked in the third round of last year’s draft, went 3 2/3 innings with 2 unearned runs allowed on 5 hits and 3 BB with 3 Ks. Echavarria threw 74 pitches, 46 for strikes. After success in showcase games and a dominant senior season in high school, this was the first look against professional hitters. From the Stockton Ports webpage:

Highly-touted prospect Steven Echavarria made his pro debut on Thursday in Stockton. He looked the part of budding ace that the A’s paid three-times over slot value to get to de-commit to the Florida Gators when they took him in the third round of last year’s draft at just 17 years of age.

The now 18-year-old flashed the velocity on the heater and bite on the off speed pitches early on, before running into a little trouble in the fourth. He exited after 74 pitches (46 for strikes) with two outs and the bases loaded. Micah Dallas induced a pop up in the infield, but with no other infielder able to get to the ball, Dallas tried to play it himself, only for it to pop out of his glove for an error, allowing Visalia to take a 2-0 lead.


Deyvison De Los Santos

IF Deyvison De Los Santos played with the Visalia Rawhide in 2021 and 2022 as an 18-year old and quickly moved up the organizational ladder to AA Amarillo by the end of 2022. After a full season there in 2023 where De Los Santos slashed .254/.297/.431 with 20 HRs and 61 RBIs, the Diamondbacks left the 20-year old unprotected last winter. The Cleveland Guardians claimed him and De Los Santos went to Spring Training with the condition that he would have to be on Cleveland’s big league roster all season or else be returned to the Diamondbacks.

The Dominican native bonded with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez and was mentored by the superstar this spring before being returned to the Diamondbacks on March 23rd. Whatever JRAM shared with De Los Santos appears to have worked as he is off to a blazing start at AA Amarillo, slashing .392/.438/.722, and leading the league with 9 HRs, 38 hits and 21 RBIs Still just 20-years old, it appears the Diamondbacks dodged a bullet in leaving him unprotected last year.


The Stockton Ports and Visalia Rawhide went back-and-forth in the early innings of their series opener at Banner Island Ballpark on Tuesday before Stockton pulled away late for an 11-5 victory. The middle of the batting order did the bulk of the damage on offense while four Ports pitchers teamed up to allow just two earned runs.

RHP Yunior Tur worked out of some first-inning traffic with no damage in the top of the first. Tur got the third out on a pickoff at first base to end the Visalia threat. Stockton then struck for three first-innings runs when Myles Naylor blasted a three-run home run, his third long-ball of the season. All nine hitters came to the plate with Visalia starter Casey Anderson avoiding further damage while leaving the bases loaded.

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The Modesto Nuts begin the second week of their two- week homestand tonight at 7:05 PM against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Last time the Nuts faced the Quakes, the Nuts won the 2023 Championship!. Join us for a week filled with fun!

April 30- Together Tuesday- Bring in any two non-perishable items and receive a free ticket to the game presented by Valley First Credit Union

May 1- Silver Sluggers Night presented by Hearing Life

May 2- Pups & Pints Night- Bring your dogs to the park for Free and enjoy 1/2 of regular sized premium draft beer. Presented by Bark and Michelob Ultra

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The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and the Modesto Nuts lead their divisions with identical 14-5 records as they kick off a six-game series at John Thurman Field today. Modesto has scored 141 runs and has a run differential of +66. Rancho isn’t far behind with 137 runs for a +43. Here’s the full slate for this week:

LAKE ELSINORE (9-10) at SAN JOSE (9-11)

FRESNO (12-7) at INLAND EMPIRE (4-15)

VISALIA – (10-10) at STOCKTON (5-14)



Modesto’s Michael Arroyo was named California League Player of the Week for April 22-28. Going 8-for-21 over five games against Stockton, Arroyo had a two doubles, a triple and a home run with six walks against just three strikeouts. On Friday Arroyo had a 4-hit game and on Saturday he had a single and drew three walks, scoring three times.

Elijah Dale was nearly perfect over six innings on Saturday for the Nuts. The right-hander didn’t allow a hit and walked just one while striking out eight in Modesto’s 17-2 win over the Ports.