Matos Shines, Storm Bats Quiet in Loss – MadFriars

Robert Hassell. Photo Credit: Lake Elsinore Storm.

LAKE ELSINORE, California – The first two games in the Lake Elsinore series with Inland Empire were wild, high-scoring ball games you’d expect from the circuit formerly known as the California League. Thursday night wasn’t one of those games.

Both teams received great performances from their starters, but Inland Empire took advantage of five runs in the sixth inning and pulled back to secure a 3-0 win at The Diamond in front of 1,825 spectators.

The story of the night for the storm was the excellent outing of 20-year-old Righty Dwayne Matos, who entered the 2020 season as a stranger. Matos set the tone early on and showed excellent control of a fastball that he could consistently throw for a stroke. He hit two in the first, including shortstop Jeremiah Jackson, one of the best prospects in the Angels system.

The storm couldn’t get anything going in the lower half of the inning as they were fine. Robert Hassell III. Dumped and worked a full count but was ultimately called on strikes on a tall fastball that was a borderline field. Hassell III. Also checked in his second attack, again on a field that was a boundary blow.

Matos blew through the next four innings, making weak contact with the ground. Inland Empire Hitter were eliminated seven times and only accumulated one routine game to stay in the air. Matos had a tough contact in the fifth, but first baseman Brandon Valenzuela made a huge jump off a liner sent to right field.

Matos was perfect through five innings, knocking out four batters. Matos has yet to take a hit in nine innings of work in 2021.

LHP Ramon Perez relieved Matos and let the game slip away. After recording an out, Perez went the next two batters. Perez got a grounder, but Storm’s third baseman Jarryd Dale chose not to throw for second to start the doubles game and played it safe first. After another walk, Perez forced a grounder into second, but Euribel Angeles’s throw was faulty and two runs came into play to give Inland Empire a lead they wouldn’t give up.

Note: Due to COVID-19 logs and current team guidelines, there was no post-game media access.

Notes and observations:

  • The attack defense has made 12 mistakes in the first three games of the series so far. Second baseman Euribel Angeles made another major mistake late in the game where he misplayed a grounder he couldn’t use on a short hop.
  • RHP Jason Reynolds threw two innings of relief and threw himself at a loud double in the ninth. He threw some good curveballs that fooled opposing batters badly. He scored three strikes and went one. Reynolds was Lehigh University’s 32nd round of voting in 2019.
  • LHP Ramon Perez recorded two and went four without allowing a hit. Despite the command problems, Perez almost escaped the traffic jam. He has an ERA of 9.82 on a limited sample.
  • Brandon Valenzuela started on first base and showed very good footwork around the bag and played some nice games with throws in the dirt. He’s a very good defensive catcher but looked very natural at first.
  • Dwayne Matos only needed 56 pitches to get through five innings. He threw 39 strikes. No stadium weapon was available. Matos appeared to be throwing mostly fastballs and changes, but interfered with a breaking ball in the last two innings.

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