#15 – Andrew Rich saves two games in one day
At the Perfect Game/BCS Northern California Championships, Andrew Rich was up to the challenge at Diablo Valley College when he came in to gather the save against the Delta Indians, in a 5-4 win. Later the same day, the Blaze toppled the Bay Area Thunder 6-3, with Rich saving the game again!
#14 – Blaze finish 2nd out of 18 teams at Perfect Game / BCS Northern California Championships
A highly competitive tournament with a total of 18 teams, the Blaze won their first four games in order to advance to the playoff round. After a 10-2 thrashing of CenCal, the Blaze advanced to the championship game. Unfortunately, the Blaze bowed out by a score of 5-1. However, five wins in six games proved to be a mighty accomplishment at the well-scouted tournament.
#13 – Sean Silva blasts double, homer, and strikes out 11
At the Central California Classic in November, Sean Silva dominated the Central Valley Reds when he struck out 11 hitters (he had six in a row and 9 of 10 at one point) in five innings. Also, he pounded a double and homerun at the plate.
#12 – Anthony Martinez’s 2 HR’s, 7 RBI’s, 10 Total Bases
In the Buchanan Classic, Anthony Martinez set three team records when he pounded a double and two homeruns, good for seven RBI on the day. He single-handedly destroyed a good Santa Rosa team.
#11 – Blaze’s 3-1 win over Clovis Outlaws; Bears Rule
The Clovis Outlaws, a collegiate team based here in the Central Valley, was a highly anticipated game by Blaze fans for quite some time. Although their lineup included 8 NCAA Division I players, the Blaze managed 12 hits (Buchanan stars Chambas (3), Barger (2), Bishop (2), Batty (2) led the way) and a 3-1 win.
#10 – Blaze win 15 games in a row (again!); New hero each game!
In 2007, the Blaze ran off an improbable streak of 15 wins; in 2008, they managed the feat again. What is even more impressive is that the Blaze showed their depth, as 12 different starting pitchers gathered wins during the 15 streak. Only Tyler Cook, Anthony Martinez, and Andrew Rich had two wins each.
#9 – Sean Silva’s shutout and 12 strikeouts
Against a very good Central Coast team (previously known as Paso Robles Bulldogs in 2007 season) in the Central Valley Summer Slam, Sean Silva dominated with a 12-strikeout performance, allowing only 2 hits on the day. The game vaulted the Blaze into the championship game, which they won 11-1 over the Clovis Shockers.
#8 – Chris Rodger’s 2 homeruns to dead center field in two days
In the Blaze’s Central California Classic, Chris Rodgers was ready to play. On the first day of the tournament, with the Blaze clinging to a 1-0 lead against the Valley Thunder, Rodgers blasted a 400-foot grand slam homerun to center. The next day, he dented the scoreboard in the championship game!
#7 – Nick Youpel’s 0.00 ERA in 30 2/3 innings of work
He was nearly unhittable in 2008 (hitters only had 15 hits against him in his 30 2/3 innings). All this translated into Youpel going the entire season without allowing an earned run (he only gave up 2 unearned runs all season). Not bad for a guy who worked in 15 games and pitched always when the game was on the line.
#6 – Blaze’s first triple play in franchise history
In the Fresno Pacific University Summer Lumber Tournament, the Blaze were in trouble in the first inning against the Visalia Lightning 18u. The Lightning loaded the bases in the first, off big righthander Haden Hinkle. However, before you could blink, the inning was over. A Lightning hitter was caught by Matt Jelmini at second base, who threw to Alec Mehrten, who relayed to Art Charles for a L-4-6-3 triple play!!
#5 – Blaze take 2 of 3 from national powerhouse NorCal Baseball
They are known nationally and have a rich tradition of baseball. When NorCal Baseball came to Fresno, it would be a great test and gauge for where the Blaze program had come to. By the end of the weekend, the results were in: a 5-1 and 11-6 doubleheader sweep on Saturday highlighted by the big arms of Andrew Wild and Kevin Richards. On Sunday, the Blaze were just one inning away from a sweep, but a 3-0 lead was squandered away. Overall though, 2 of 3 proved to be a big accomplishment for Blaze baseball!
#4 – Kevin Richard’s 8 straight K’s in one game
Against Lemoore, Kevin Richards dominated in a way that often is not done. Throwing four pitches for strikes, combined with a fastball in the mid to high 80’s, Richards punched out eight Lemoore High School hitters—in a row! The 11-0 victory was not nearly as impressive as Richard’s feat on the mound.
#3 – Seth Batty’s 13 hits in 14 at-bats (.929 average), nine straight hits
At the Lemoore tournament at the beginning of the season, Batty displayed numbers that you may only see on a video game system. In the five games of the tournament, he went 4-4 (triple), 2-2 (double), 3-3 (homerun), 2-3 (double), and 2-2 (double). Additionally, he walked once each game. Altogether, Batty was 13-14 (.929), with 14 runs scored and five extra base hits. His on-base average of .947 was even more startling as he reached base 18 of 19 times. Batty had nine straight hits and reached base 13 straight times to start the 2008 season.
#2 – Seth Batty’s 24-game hitting streak
Is it possible to top a 13-14 performance at the plate? Considering that was done over a span of five games, and this next event occurred over a span of 24, that answer is a resounding “Yes!” Seth Batty’s 24-game hitting streak began in the first game of the season and lasted until late July. Prior to the 18th annual Fall Dersert Classic in late October, Batty had played in 31 games in 2008—he hit safely in 29 of them!
#1 – Robert Chambas’s 7th inning, 2-strike, 2-out single helps Blaze overcome 6-0 deficit in first to win FPU Summer Lumber Championship
Everything seemed to be in place. It was the championship game of the Fresno Pacific University Summer Lumber Classic. The Blaze were hot, having won 11 straight, and one of the team’s true aces, flame-throwing lefty Andrew Wild, was on the mound. However, within a matter of minutes, the hungry Fresno Cardinals did something that may have never been done in the history of the game of baseball. In the top of the first inning, they had not one, not two, not three, not four … but EIGHT straight singles to start the game! Within minutes, the Blaze were down 6-0 in the first inning and there were still no outs. Tyler Cook came in to stop the bleeding, but the damage was done.
Fast forward ahead to the bottom of the 7th inning. The Blaze battled back and had come to within two runs. Every kid dreams of the situation. With bases loaded, 3 balls, 2 strikes, and 2 outs, Robert Chambas took an outside fastball and hammered it in to left field to plate two runs. With the game tied now 8-8, the Blaze fans were on their feet and energized. The next inning, the Blaze scored once to win the game. The improbable 6-0 deficit had been erased, due to the heart of the Blaze players and the big bat of Robert Chambas.