SAN JOSE SWEEPS DH IN VISALIA

The San Jose Giants won both ends of a double header against the Visalia Rawhide on Friday night to take four of the first five games in the series. Expected bad weather over the weekend pushed the Sunday game up in an effort to get all six games in. Both games were scheduled for seven innings.

The Giants themselves were swept in their season-opening three-game series against Fresno and came into the Visalia series at 0-3. After splitting the first two games against the Rawhide, San Jose has now won three straight.

Game 1 was a 2-1 extra-innings win with the deciding run coming in on a bases-loaded walk. The installed runner advanced to third on an error by Rawhide SS Cristofer Torin. An infield single loaded the bases with no outs.

Visalia’s Sam Knowlton struck out the next two batters but couldn’t get out unscathed. He then walked Guillermo Williamson to force in the eventual winning run.

San Jose starter Cale Lansville went four innings and gave up a run on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Cesar Perdomo (W, 1-0) threw three scoreless innings with no hits or walks and three strikeouts. Tommy Kane pitched a clean bottom of the eighth to get his first save of the season.

Cesar Quintas singled in the only other run for the Giants.

GAME TWO

Another well-pitched game went to the Giants as they pushed across two runs in the sixth inning and held off a Visalia rally for a 4-3 win. SS Cole Foster drove in two of the San Jose runs by reaching on an error and drawing a bases-loaded walk.

Joe Whitman started and went four innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Shane Rademacher (W, 1-0), finished it off with three IP, giving up a run on two hits with a walk and five Ks.

The Giants drew nine walk in the game with Foster (2) and Jonah Cox (4) combining for six.

Torin went 4-for-8 over the two games and scored two runs for Visalia.

San Jose (4-4) is a half game out in the North division. Visalia (4-4) surrendered first place in the South division to Rancho Cucamonga and now sits a half-game back.

6-GAME SERIES LINEUPS

With the Opening Weekend three-game series concluded, the schedule now shifts to six-game sets for most of the rest of the season. Home openers included among the matchups, which are as follows:

STOCKTON (1-2) at RANCHO CUCAMONGA (1-2)

INLAND EMPIRE (0-3) at FRESNO (3-0)

SAN JOSE (0-3)at VISALIA (3-0)

LAKE ELSINORE (2-1) at MODESTO (2-1)

MODESTO TAKES 2 OF 3 IN STOCKTON TO OPEN 2024

The defending California League champions got off to a hot start to the 2024 season, averaging more than 7 1/2 runs per game in winning two of three from the Stockton Ports at Banner Island Ballpark on opening weekend. With a lineup stacked at the top by four of the Seattle Mariners’ top nine prospects, Modesto’s bats came up big in the two wins.

Colt Emerson – MiLB.com

Game one on Friday went to Modesto, 7-2, with the Nuts pulling away late. Colt Emerson (Mariners #3 prospect) came up with one out in the top of the first and turned one around for a home run to put the Nuts up 1-0. The Ports got even in the fourth when Nate Nankill singled in Luke Mann, who had led off the inning with an infield single.

The Nuts put three runs on the board in the seventh and ninth innings to pull away for the win. DH Charlie Pagliarini hit his first home run of the year in the ninth inning, a two-run shot. RHP Tyler Gough started and went four innings for Modesto, allowing a run on three hits and a walk with four strikeouts.

Stockton C Cole Conn had three hits and an RBI to lead the offense. RHP Jackson Finley went four innings and allowed just the one run on Emerson’s homerun, with two walks and six strikeouts.

GAME TWO: ROAD TRIP

For Saturday’s game I rode the rails up to Stockton for my first road trip of the season. The Ports came back with a 4-2 victory that saw them keep the potent Modesto bats off the scoreboard until the sixth inning, ultimately surrendering just two runs on five hits.

Nankill was back at it with a two-run double in the first inning to put the Ports up for good. SS Myles Naylor (MLB.com #8 prospect) launched a two-run shot in the fifth inning to cap Stockton’s scoring and give the home team a 4-0 lead.

LHP Will Johnston went 4 2/3 scoreless innings for Stockton and left without having given up a hit. Johnston walked four and struck out eight, throwing 80 pitches, 49 for strikes. RHP Corey Avant got the last out in the fifth and ultimately got the win (1-0) for his 1/3 inning of work.

#6 Mariners prospect Jonny Farmelo launched his first homerun of the season in the top of the sixth to get Modesto on the board and #9 prospect Michael Arroyo did the same in the eighth to cap the scoring for both teams.

Modesto starter Will Schomberg gave up two runs on four hits and three walks over four innings, striking out seven.

Mann made two dazzling plays at 3B for Stockton in big moments, flashing both a great glove and a strong, accurate arm.

The crowd of 3,182 was the biggest of the weekend and the energy in the park was great. As a life-long Californian who should probably be living near the equator, I say it was COLD, and this is indicative of this first portion of baseball season. The games start off with bringing layers for when the sun goes away, then it transitions into my favorite part of the year when it’s blazing hot during the day and it feels great as it gets dark and cools down.

The park entertainment was great, including a pre-game concert on the concourse. The batting cages down the right-field line give fans an amazing look at these guys getting their swings right there amongst the crowd. The grassy areas beyond the outfield and the views of the river make Banner Island Ballpark a wonderful place to take in a game. Down the left-field line there’s a walk-in freezer where you go inside to get your beer and soda and come out the other side to pay. Pretty slick. Not especially on this night, but when it heats up it’ll be a godsend.

NUTS TAKE THE SERIES

Today the Nuts broke out big for 17 hits and six homeruns as they put up a 14-5 win. Stockton scored twice in the bottom of the first to go up 2-0 before Modesto scored in seven of the next eight innings for the game and series win.

Nate Nankill, yet again, came through in the first inning with a two- run shot to give the Ports the early 2-0 lead. The 2023 seventh-round draft pick out of Cal State Fullerton went 5-for-9 with two walks, two doubles, a homerun and six RBIs over the three-game series.

Modesto got even in the top of the second when C Connor Charping tripled in a pair of runs. Charping was 4-for-9 in two games with three RBIs.

Stockton’s Conn doubled in a run to put the Ports back up briefly at 3-2. Besides Nankill, Conn was another hitting star for Stockton over the weekend, going 7-for-11 with a walk and two doubles.

After that, it was bombs-away for Modesto with longballs from Emerson (2), #4 prospect Lazaro Montes (1), #30 prospect Luis Suisbel, Farmelo (2), and two from Aidan Smith (2).

RHP German Fajardo went three scoreless, hitless inning in relief with one walk and three Ks to pick up the win.

The hitting stars were all over the place for Modesto this weekend. Suisbel was 6-for-12, Montes was 5-for-12 and Smith was 4-for-14 with the two homers.

RHP German Fajardo went three scoreless, hitless innings in relief with one walk and three K’s for the win.

So, that’s it for Opening Weekend, we are definitely back. This coming week I will be going to either Visalia or Modesto, maybe both.

2023 CHAMPS MODESTO IN STOCKTON ON OPENING NIGHT

The 2024 California League season opens tonight with all eight teams in action for three-game series to kick things off. The matchups are as follows:

VISALIA at INLAND EMPIRE
RANCHO CUCAMONGA at LAKE ELSINORE
FRESNO at SAN JOSE
MODESTO at STOCKTON

The Modesto Nuts take the field at Banner Island Ballpark tonight as the reigning California League champions for the first time since 2017. The 2023 Nuts got hot at the right time, which was ALL THE TIME in the second half. After going 34-32 and finishing six games out in the first half, Modesto went 43-23 in the second half to narrowly win the North division by one game over Fresno. The blistering second half included at 16-game win streak in August/September and finishing the season with 17 wins in the last 19 games.

The playoffs were more of the same with a pair of two-game sweeps to raise the championship banner.

Tonight we start all over and in minor league baseball the players change quickly, so here’s a hat tip to the incredible season that Modesto put together last year. The banner will fly at John Thurman Field for years to come.

2024 VISALIA RAWHIDE ROSTER ANNOUNCED

The Visalia Rawhide announced their 2024 roster on Wednesday, highlighted by six of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ top 25 prospects, including Druw Jones. Press release below, full roster HERE.

VISALIA, CA– The Arizona Diamondbacks have officially announced the opening day roster for the Rawhide ahead of Friday’s season opener.

The Rawhide roster features 31 players including six among the top 25 within the Diamondbacks organization. Visalia’s roster features 17 pitchers including three catchers, five outfielders, and six infielders.

Druw Jones headlines the opening roster entering the 2024 season as the 74th ranked prospect in Major League Baseball according to mlb.com. The Rawhide infield is filled with top prospects including Jansel Luis, Cristofer Torin, and Ruben Santana. The three Hide infielders enter the season within the top ten in the Diamondbacks organization.

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2024 SAN JOSE GIANTS ROSTER ANNOUNCED

The San Jose Giants announced their 2024 roster on Monday. Here’s the press release:

San Jose, CA – The San Jose Giants have unveiled their roster in anticipation of the 2024 season. The roster is loaded with young talent and features 12 of the San Francisco Giants 2023 draft picks, including first rounder Bryce Eldridge, the 4th ranked San Francisco Giants prospect according to MLB.com.

The Giants open the 2024 season at home against the Fresno Grizzlies on Friday, April 5 for three games. Tickets for the opening homestand are available on sjgiants.com.

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2024 STOCKTON PORTS ROSTER ANNOUNCED

The Stockton Ports announced their Opening Day roster on Tuesday, ahead of Friday’s season-starter against Modesto at Banner Island Ballpark. The club that starts the 2024 season included 14 returnees from last year and Oakland’s #18 prospect, Ryan Lasko.

The club will see its first action on Wednesday in an exhibition game against Stanislaus State University.

INLAND EMPIRE 66ERS SOLD TO DIAMOND BASEBALL HOLDINGS

Press release from the Inland Empire 66ers:

San Bernardino, CA (March 27, 2024) – The Inland Empire 66ers today announced they have entered into an agreement to sell the team to Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH), an organization that owns and operates select Minor League clubs affiliated with Major League Baseball (MLB). DBH will carry on the community-first legacy that Dave Elmore, late co-owner of the 66ers, and Donna Tuttle Elmore instilled in San Bernardino since purchasing the team in 1992. The 66ers will continue playing as the Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels, and all front office staff will remain with the club under the existing leadership of General Manager, Joe Hudson.

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FRESNO 2024 COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCED

Here’s the press release for the Fresno Grizzlies’ 2024 coaching staff, led once again by manager Steve Soliz:

Fresno, CA – The Fresno Grizzlies and Colorado Rockies have announced the Fresno field staff for the 2024 season. Reigning California League Manager of the Year Steve Soliz will once again pilot the team after leading the Grizzlies to a league-best 78-54 record in his inaugural season at the helm. Reprising their roles for the 2024 season are Bench Coach Cesar Galvez, Hitting Coach Trevor Burmeister, Athletic Trainer Justin Wilson and Physical Performance Coach Jeremiah Stewart. The only change to the staff is Rolando Garza, who takes over as the Pitching Coach after the departure of Mark Brewer.

Soliz enters his fifth season in the Colorado Rockies system and his fourth with the Grizzlies. Last year, Soliz’s squad finished with a winning record against every team in the league and saw multiple players secure end of year California League awards. Over the past three seasons, Soliz has helped develop a plethora of Colorado prospects including 2023 California League MVP Ryan Ritter, current Rockies shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and #1 Colorado prospect Adael Amador. Before becoming Fresno’s manager, Soliz had been the team’s Bench Coach (2022) and Development Supervisor (2021). In his first season with the Rockies, Soliz managed the Short-Season club in Boise (2019). Prior to joining the Colorado organization, Soliz spent 15 seasons in the Angels system. He had most recently coached with the Major League team, serving as the catching and information coach. Before taking that role, he was the Halos bullpen catcher for eight seasons from 2003 to 2010. Soliz was originally selected by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round of the 1993 First-Year Player Draft. He enjoyed eight professional seasons as a catcher with Cleveland (1993-99) and San Diego (2000-01). Over 473 minor league games, Soliz compiled a .236 batting average with 168 runs scored, 62 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs and 144 RBI. He was most notably a catcher in the 1998 Triple-A World Series. In the offseason, Soliz resides in San Juan Capistrano, California with his wife Heather and daughter Charlotte.

Galvez returns to the Grizzlies dugout for the second straight season as the Bench Coach. Last year, Galvez helped develop a young plethora of Rockies talent, including 2023 California League MVP Ryan Ritter and Rockies #7 overall prospect Dyan Jorge. The former infielder spent seven minor league seasons playing in the Colorado Rockies system from 2010-2016, reaching as high as Triple-A Albuquerque. Galvez was known for his speed, swiping 116 bases, including 47 in his second professional season. After his playing days ended, Galvez joined the Rockies as a minor league coach. He was the Boise Hawks hitting coach in 2018-2019. Galvez was then promoted to manager of the Hawks in 2020 prior to the pandemic. After that, Galvez was a coach for the Hartford Yard Goats in 2021 and the ACL Rockies bench coach in 2022. Galvez is only 32 years old and was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Burmeister enters his fifth season in the Colorado Rockies system and his second with the Grizzlies as the Hitting Coach. Last year, Burmeister was instrumental in the success of 2023 California League MVP Ryan Ritter and the emergence of infielder Skyler Messinger. Prior to joining Fresno, Burmeister spent three seasons as the hitting coach with the Arizona Complex League Rockies. He was originally hired as the hitting coach for Rookie Level Grand Junction prior to the cancelled 2020 season. Prior to joining the Rockies, he served as the assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator for Madison College (2016-19) and as the assistant baseball coach for the University of Minnesota Duluth (2015-16). He was awarded the ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year in NJCAA for his work at Madison College in 2019. During the summer of 2016, Burmeister was the assistant baseball coach for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods Summer Collegiate League. Burmeister attended Madison College before transferring to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He received his master’s degree in education (coaching emphasis) in 2017 and has a bachelor’s degree in organizational and professional communication (2014). Burmeister also minored in psychology and sociology. He played baseball for two years at each of his collegiate stops, mainly as an outfielder. Burmeister attended Verona Area High School in Verona, Wisconsin and currently resides in Black Earth, Wisconsin.

Garza joins the Rockies organization as the Grizzlies Pitching Coach. Prior to joining Colorado, Garza spent time in the Tampa Bay Rays system as the Pitching Coordinator (2020-23). Before that, Garza worked five years at Pepperdine University as their Pitching Coach (2015-19). He most notably worked with minor league pitcher A.J. Puckett in 2016, who had a stretch of 57.1 innings without giving up an earned run and 45.2 innings without surrendering a run, one of the longest streaks in NCAA history. Garza spent one year with the ACL Angels (2015) and three seasons at Riverside City College (2013-15) prior to joining the Waves. While at RCC, he collaborated with Korean strength coach/skill developer Youngjin Yoon on a holistic hybrid pitching philosophy that merges the American power pitching culture, with Southeast Asian baseball developmental strategies. Before his college coaching career, Garza made coaching stints with the Angels and Rays (who he worked with later on). Garza, like the majority of the Grizzlies coaching staff, played professionally as well. He was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 9th round of the 1997 MLB amateur draft from Coachella Valley High School. He played in the minor leagues from 1997 to 2004. In 2000, Garza transitioned from infielder (primarily) to a pitching role. After his playing career ended, Garza earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from California State University, San Bernardino and graduated in 2010. Garza has two siblings, Jose and Raymond.

Wilson enters his fourth season with both the Rockies and Grizzlies as the Athletic Trainer. Prior to joining the Rockies system, Wilson spent three years (2018-2020) with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Wilson has also worked overseas in Puerto Rico for the Criollos de Caguas baseball team. They play in Liga de Béisbol Professional Roberto Clemente, which is comprised of seven teams. Wilson graduated from the School of Athletic Training in 2016 from the University of Central Florida and then was a graduate assistant at the University of West Florida. Wilson enjoys fishing and golfing in his free time.

Stewart enters his second season with both the Rockies and Grizzlies as the Physical Performance Coach. Prior to joining the Rockies, Stewart was a Strength Coach at Colgate University and for UCLA Men’s and Women’s Basketball. He obtained his B.S in Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton and currently is a graduate student at PennWest. He resides in Fresno with his wife and two beautiful children.

The Fresno Grizzlies season opener is slated for Friday, April 5th, at 7:00 pm in San Jose while the home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9th, at 6:50 p.m. against the Inland Empire 66ers.

#Growlifornia

ABOUT THE FRESNO GRIZZLIES

The Fresno Grizzlies are a proud affiliate of the Colorado Rockies organization. During the 2023 season, the Grizzlies finished with the best record in the California League while holding several league records, including highest attendance. The team plays at Chukchansi Park, a year-round venue hosting numerous special events, including concerts, non-profit events, and more.

PORTS NAME FITZGERALD PLAY-BY-PLAY VOICE

Press release from the Stockton Ports on their new play-by-play announcer Tim Fitzgerald:

Stockton, Calif. – The Stockton Ports are thrilled to announce Tim Fitzgerald as the new play-by-play announcer for the 2024 season.

Fitzgerald will replace former broadcaster Alex Jensen, who previously filled the role for the last three seasons.

“I’m very excited to be the full-time broadcast voice of the Stockton Ports,” Fitzgerald said. “This is a position I’ve been interested in for a while, and it was a thrill to fill in for Alex Jensen when needed the past two seasons. I love baseball and can’t wait to tell the story of the Ports this year and beyond. I’m incredibly thankful to Chris Zavaglia, Jordan Feneck, and Pat Filippone for giving me this opportunity.”

Fitzgerald spent the past three years at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. as the Director of Communications for Athletics. He oversaw communications for Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball, Golf, and Men’s and Women’s Tennis.

During his time at Saint Mary’s College, he was also the lead broadcaster for the Gaels Baseball Program that had three players drafted in 2023, and has churned out big leaguers Corbin Burns, Tony Gonsolin, Patrick Wisdom, and Ken Waldichuk. He also helped lead a media campaign to get the WCC’s all-time leading 3-point shooter Taycee Wedin into the State Farm National 3-Point Competition where she made the finals.

“We are excited to have Tim join the Ports team as our new play-by-play broadcaster,” said Ports Assistant General Manager Chris Zavaglia. “He has done a tremendous job filling in over the past two seasons. I’m looking forward to him bringing his knowledge of Ports baseball to the fans along with his on-air talent in 2024 and beyond.”

Fans will get the chance to listen to all Ports games on the airwaves of Fox Sports AM 1280 and the iHeart Radio app for another season. While fans can tune in on the radio, they will be able to watch games on MiLB.TV and the Bally Live app, for free, for the first time too.

The Ports Opening Night is scheduled for Friday, April 5th at Banner Island Ballpark where they’ll take on the Modesto Nuts, the Single-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, with first pitch slated for 7:05 pm. Mini plans, groups, suites, and single-game tickets are all on sale for the 2024 season. Fans can purchase tickets for Opening Weekend here.

For more information, call the Ports front office at 209-644-1900 or email at [email protected].