PHOENIX AZ - FEBRUARY 16: Michael Choice #71 of the Oakland Athletics warms up during a MLB spring training practice at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on February 16 2011 in Phoenix Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

California League Championship Series: Storm Defeat Ports 3-2 In Extra Innings Securing 2-0 Series Lead

We provide a rundown of the 2011 California League Championship Series featuring the Stockton Ports and Lake Elsinore Storm.

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California League Championship Series: Lake Elsinore Takes 2-0 Lead On Tenth Inning Sac Fly

The Lake Elsinore Storm took game two of the California League Championship Series on Friday evening in walk-off fashion to secure a 2-0 series lead heading back to Stockton. The Storm defeated the Ports 3-2 in the tenth inning with a Reymond Fuentes sacrifice fly that plated Jonathan Galvez. The series returns to Stockton Saturday evening for game three.

The Ports took the early lead and seemed set to even up the series but their bullpen could not hold on and a tenth error doomed them. Michael Choice got the scoring going in the first inning with a solo home run off Jerry Sullivan. Choice was 2-for-5 on the evening and is hitting .415 in the postseason. The Ports added a second run in the fifth inning when Conner Crumbliss singled in lead-off man Myrio Richard.

Ports starter Robert Gilliam put together a fantastic start lasting seven innings and giving up one run on four hits while striking out seven. Unfortunately his bullpen could not hold up the lead. With the score 2-1 Ports, Connor Hoehn walked Jake Blackwood, gave up a sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Galvez and then gave up an Edinson Rincon double to score Hoehn and even the game at two apiece.

Both sides went down in the ninth but then the Ports appeared to have a rally going in the tenth. Conner Crumbliss walked and then advanced to third on a Michael Choice single. The Storm intentionally walked Anthony Aliotti to load the bases with nobody out. The Ports then managed to go down flailing in order with a pop-up to short, a strikeout and a groundout to the pitcher.

The Storm led off the bottom of the tenth with a single by Jonathan Galvez. Third baseman Michael Gilmartin attempted to make a play but committed an error, which allowed Galvez to advance to second. Danny Payne successfully sacrificed Galvez to third, after which the Ports intentionally walked Rymer Liriano. Unfortunately the Ports could not get Reymond Fuentes into an easy out as he hit a sacrifice fly to left field which scored Galvez.

Game three of the series is at 7:05pm PT on Saturday evening in Stockton at Banner Island Ballpark. Tickets are still available at the Ports website.

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California League Championship Series: Storm Blanks Ports, Takes Game One 6-0

The Stockton Ports were coming off a strong win over the San Jose Giants to get into the Cal League Championship with the Lake Elsinore Storm, but fell flat on their face in game one of the series. Jose De Paula pitched lights out for the Storm, coupled with a strong outing form their bullpen to take down Stockton by the score of 6-0.

Eddy Rodriguez and Jake Blackwood hit homers for the Storm, but it was first baseman Nathan Freiman would led the way, finishing the night 4-4 with three RBI’s to give Lake Elsinore the early lead in the series.

Michael Choice was the only Port with more than one hit tonight, finishing 2-4 with two singles. Dusty Coleman and Anthony Allioti each had a double, the only extra base hits all night for the Ports. Stockton left nine men on base tonight, going 1-8 with runners in scoring position Thursday night.

Game two of the best of five series is set for Friday at 7:05 pm PT from Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium.

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California League Championship Series: Stockton Ports vs. Lake Elsinore Storm Starting Lineups

The 2011 California League Championship Series gets underway as the Stockton Ports travel down to Southern California to face the Lake Elsinore Storm. The best-of-five series opens with two games at Lake Elsinore followed by three games at Stockton. The Ports are batting for their 12th California League championship.

The Ports send out Murphy Smith to face Jose De Paula. Smith finished the regular season 6-9 with a 3.94 ERA. De Paula finished the season 10-5 with a 5.22 ERA.

Stockton Ports
1. Myrio Richard LF
2. Conner Crumbliss 2B
3. Michael Choice CF
4. Ryan Lipkin C
5. Dusty Coleman SS
6. Josh Whitaker DH
7. Leonardo Gil 3B
8. Anthony Aliotti 1B
9. Rashun Dixon RF

Lake Elsinore Storm
1. Reymond Fuentes CF
2. Jeudy Valdez SS
3. Tommy Medica DH
4.Nathan Freiman 1B
5. Eddy Rodriguez C
6. Jake Blackwood RF
7. Jonathan Galvez 2B
8. Edinson Rincon 3B
9. Rymer Liriano LF

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VIDEO: Watch the Stockton Ports Celebrate Cal League Championship Berth

After their come from behind victory against the San Jose Giants on Tuesday night, the Stockton Ports had themselves a bit of a celebration in the clubhouse for the championship berth. It was, of course filled with the obligatory beer/champagne showers, hilarious dance circles, indiscernible chanting, and most of all extreme elation from players and fans alike. 

The Ports had been duking it out with the Giants all season long, but finally got the last laugh after a little small ball and poor pitching loaded the bases for Stockton in the seventh, ultimately taking the lead for good with a wild pitch, a Mitch LeVier RBI single, and a Rashun Dixon RBI fielder's choice. Coming from behind at home; what a great way to clinch a chance at a championship.

Here's a video courtesy of the Stockton Ports of that aforementioned celebration, which may or may not include a 'Stomp' like drum kit, strobe lights, ice throwing, and grown men acting like children. True cinematic beauty. Watch and enjoy. 

Full Version (via TheStocktonPorts)

 

Stay with SB Nation Bay Area for complete coverage of the Cal League Championship. 

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Stockton Ports Face Lake Elsinore Storm In California League Championship Series

We provide a preview of the 2011 California League Championship Series featuring the Stockton Ports and Lake Elsinore Storm.

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