Top Moments of 2006
Buchanan's Scott Isaak (9) and Kerman's Gibby Gonzales (4) survey the grounds on the first day of competition at the 2006 Hawaii World Series. The Blaze stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Oahu for 7 games of baseball and 11 days of fun.
# 10 – Blaze steal 11 bags in one game
During the U.S.A.B.A World Series in Oakhurst, the Blaze surely brought their bats to the tournament (see top moments #9, #6, #4, #3 below!). However, on this day, the Blaze brought their running shoes, too. A team record 11 stolen bases in the 16-6 win was highlighted by newcomer Andrew Rich. Rich stole four bases on his 2-4 performance at the plate. David White, who went 3-3, stole 2 bags, and Phil Boren, Jordan Carlson, Scotty Isaak, Mo Mariscal, and Gibby Gonzales each swiped one apiece, as the Blaze toppled the Yosemite Colts.
# 9 – Blaze go 4-0 vs. tough Burien (WA) Sea Dogs
The U.S.A.B.A. World Series, which had several NCAA future Division I players playing for several of the teams (Cal Blaze, CV All-Stars, Burien Sea Dogs, CV Fever), proved to be one of the toughest tournaments in the Blaze early years. Playing 13 games in 7 days meant the Blaze would have to square off four times against the big, physical team from Washington. Washington Union’s Andrew Rich, Selma’s Josh Franco, Hoover’s Taylor Liles, and Kerman’s Phillip Gonzales each pitched the Blaze to impressive wins against Burien. Rich, Franco and Gonzales each had complete game wins, while Liles threw six innings (2 BB, 3 K) and Ryan Mulligan struck out three consecutive hitters for the save in the 7th of a 5-2 win.
Blaze Baseball in Hawaii
The Blaze take on the Georgia Eagles in Hawaii during July of 2006.
# 8 – Richie Mirelez pitches gritty complete game win in Hawaii
It was clear the Blaze were more focused on surfing and beaches than playing baseball when they took the field against the Kahoehoe Knights in Game # 4 of the Hawaii World Series. After allowing the first three runners to score, the Blaze were down 3-0 after the first inning. However, Richie Mirelez bore down, pitching one of his best games in his Blaze career. The small right-hander battled his way through a scrappy Hawaiian lineup the next six innings, to gather the complete game, 9-4 win. Mirelez didn’t allow allow a single hitter to advance past 1st base in the 4th through 7th innings. He scattered eight hits and had five K’s.
# 7 – Blaze pound out 18 hits in game one; turn 3 DP’s in game two vs. CV All-Stars
The Central Valley All-Stars, known around the Valley as a premier team, was a heck of a way for the Blaze to start off their 2006 summer. Collegiate future stars and MLB picks who played for the CV All-Stars included Wes Borba (CSU Fullerton), Jared Thompson (UC Davis), Brian Oliver (Indiana State), Blaine Alberta (Lewis and Clark State), Marcus Walden (Toronto Blue Jays), but even a lineup like this was unable to overpower the impressive Blaze club. In their first games of the year, the Blaze played the CV All-Stars to 5-5 and 1-1 ties. In game one, the Blaze pounded out an astounding 18 hits; in game two, their defense turned three double plays.
# 6 – Phil Boren goes 19-38 (.500) at U.S.A.B.A. World Series
Although unable to play the first part of the season, Phil Boren was ready to play when called upon for the U.S.A.B.A. World Series. Boren showed no signs of rustiness as he started and played in all 13 games of the tournament. He banged out an incredible 19 hits in 38 at-bats. In the first 6 games of the tournament, Boren went 2-4 (double), 1-3 (2 RBI), 2-4 (2 doubles), 2-3 (double, 3 RBI), 3-4, 2-3 (HR, 3 RBI). Besides his 19 hits and .500 average, he finished the 13 games with 8 runs, 10 RBI, 6 doubles, and a .548 on-base percentage (23-42).
Josh Franco played Blaze Baseball for three seasons (2005-07). He threw a complete game win over the Burien (WA) Sea Dogs during the 2006 season in the U.S.A.B.A. World Series. It was Franco's only start on the mound of the season as he battled back from a debilitating stomach illness.
# 5 – Josh Franco throws CG win after battling illness all year
Josh Franco battled a stomach ailment all year long that caused him to miss significant time playing baseball and to lose a significant amount of weight. Looking weak and frail, Franco stepped on the mound for the first time all summer against the speedy and physical Burien (WA) Sea Dogs in the U.S.A.B.A. World Series. Franco pitched one of the team’s most impressive games of the year. In seven innings, he scattered nine hits, allowed two runs, and struck out four. The Blaze won 6-2.
# 4 – Batty, Rich, Chambas (16-year olds!) dominate the U.S.A.B.A World Series
Only three days after returning from Hawaii, the Blaze were trying to put together a roster for the 2006 U.S.A.B.A. World Series. Although the tournament was 18-under players, the Blaze were not afraid to go to the youngsters to find help. Washington Union’s Andrew Rich and Buchanan’s Robert Chambas agreed to play for the Blaze during the tournament. During game one, the Blaze literally plucked Seth Batty out of the stands, as he was there watching the game. Rich, Chambas, and Batty were far from intimidated. The three 16-year olds dominated older competition, helping lead the Blaze to an 8-5 record in the tournament. Their numbers during the tournament:
G GS AVG. AB R H RBI 2B/3B/HR
Rich 13 13 0.333 42 11 14 7 6/0/0
Chambas 13 13 0.379 29 10 11 11 3/0/2
Batty 12 10 0.364 22 3 8 5 2/0/0
# 3 – Two comeback wins on elimination day of U.S.A.B.A. World Series
It was playoff time of the 2006 U.S.A.B.A. World Series. The Blaze had just finished playing 10 games in five days (doubleheaders for five days straight in the tournament) and were now preparing for playoff time. In the morning, the Blaze were down 3-0 to the Burien (WA) Sea Dogs, coming into the bottom of the 6th. Amazingly, the Blaze offense came alive to score four runs in the last two innings to stay alive in the tournament. Later in the day, Pernell Halliman pitched a sterling five innings against the Central Valley Fever. The problem? The Blaze were facing Mariposa (and eventual Fresno Pacific University signee) David Hawes and his 88-mph fastball and wicked palm ball. Down 2-0 in the top of the 7th, the Blaze came through with six runs to win – Andrew Rich and Seth Batty had key doubles in the 7th inning explosion.
# 2 – Ryan Acevedo throws CG win over mighty CV All-Stars|
The mighty Central Valley All-Stars lineup (see # 7 above), filled with numerous eventual Division I signees, proved to be no match the first time they met the Blaze in the U.S.A.B.A. World Series. Ryan Acevedo blended an 80-mph well-spotted fastball with a soft curve, but it was his devastating changeup that kept hitters off balance all day. Acevedo allowed three runs in the 3rd inning and another in the fourth.
Down 4-1, the Blaze scored five times in the 5th on when Chris Briseno, David White, Seth Batty all singled to load the bases. After a Jordan Carlson sacrifice fly made the score 4-2, Michael Cooper lined out for the second out of the inning. However, back-to-back-to-back 2-out hits by Andrew Rich (RBI single), Phil Boren (2-RBI double) and Jared Coleman (RBI single) accounted for four more runs.
Acevedo proceeded to throw three shutout innings to finish with a complete game victory. In the 7th, he struck out the first two hitters of the inning. After Jacob Smith singled, Acevedo finished off the game by getting Jared Thompson to fly out to Rich in center—his fourth put out against the fence during the game.
IP H R ER BB/K
Acevedo, W 7 10 4 2 1/4
# 1 – Phillip Gonzales in Hawaii – back-to-back CG wins and 22 K’s in 14 IP
When the Blaze arrived in Hawaii in late-July of 2006, Phillip Gonzales was still thinking baseball. He put up a dominating performance in his two pitching starts for the Blaze. In Game #1 of the 2006 Hawaii World Series, Gonzales threw 7 innings against the Park City (UT) Storm, giving up just one run while striking out 13 hitters! Gonzales came back to the mound in game six of the tournament and he picked up right where he left off. Against the Kahoehoe Knights (HI), Gonzales dominated on the hill throwing a complete game shutout and striking out nine hitters. All in all, Gonzales tallied two wins and 22 K's in just 14 innings of work during the tournament.