Evan Crower signed with Stanford in 2011 and was expected to be a two-sport athlete for the Cardinal. The St. Augustine native played quarterback and threw for Cardinal when baseball season rolled around, but despite his name being behind Andrew Luck and Kevin Hogan on the football depth chart, Crower opted to focus solely on football.
After four years, Crower graduated last June having played in 10 games but was never a full-time starter for the Cardinal. So he again turned his focus to a professional career in baseball.
“I’ve always wanted to be a baseball player growing up,” Crower said. “I was going into Stanford playing both sports an it just didn’t work out. I was going to head somewhere else for my fifth year, and just decided to pick up the baseball and start throwing again after I graduated.”
Crower arrived in Palm Springs this week to participate in the California Winter League. After routinely throwing his fastball in the mid-90s on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Phillies offered the lefty a contract. It was the first time in the history of the winter league that a player has been agreed to terms with a Major League ball club on the first day of workouts. The league’s Opening Day was on Thursday.
“It’s crazy,” Crower said. “I’m very excited for the opportunity and to get out to Clearwater (Fla.) for Spring Training and start the grind.”
Crower should for in nicely with the tall, rangy lefties currently en vogue right now in the majors. At 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, he has the size and evidently the arm pro scouts covet.
“Fortunately enough I was seen,” Crower said, “and right now I’m just really excited.”
Rancho Mirage 101, Big Bear 38: On the one-year anniversary of his youth coach Ned Waits’ passing, Koby Alvarez sank six 3s and finished with 20 points to lead the Rattlers, who are now 20-0. Charles Neal had 24 pouts and 13 assists, Daryn Evans and Tyrell Robsinson each had 15, and Matt Tiedeman added 10 points, 12 rebounds and two monstrous dunks for Rancho Mirage.
Desert Mirage 3, West Shores 2: With a combined 26 fouls, the Rams and Wildcats played in one of the more physical games of the year, with Alejandro Pimentel scoring two goals and Fred Zaragoza adding another. Zaragoza, Ramses Mora and Javier Ruiz had assists for Desert Mirage (12-0, 6-0 De Anza). Edgar Ornelas scoring a pair of goals against the Rams, his former school, in a losing effort. West Shores plays at Calipatria on Tuesday and then at La Quinta on Friday. The Rams play at Desert Hot Springs on Monday.
Yucca Valley 4, Twentynine Palms 1: Andrew Bellucci had a hat trick and Oscar Hernandez added another for the Trojans in a rivalry game win. Giovanni Costagliola and Bryan Grijalva added assists, and Enrique Tamayo had nine blocks. Goalie Luis Estrada had 11 saves.
Rancho Mirage 4, Big Bear 1: The Rattlers scored four consecutive goals and overcame an early 1-0 deficit for a decisive win over Big Bear on Friday. Jaidah Martin scored first on an assist from Kenya Cordero, and Victoria Releford had the game-winner in the 55th minute on a 40-yard dribble and a shot from 20 yards out. Martin scored again on an assist fro Abigail Perez, and Ellisa Mendiola added the fourth goal off an assist from Martin and Cordero. The Rattlers are now 10-5-1, 5-1 in De Anza, and play Shadow Hills in a huge league game at home on Monday.
CLOSE CONTESTS HIGHLIGHT CWL CANADA DAY
PALM SPRINGS, Calif –– Day two of the 2016 California Winter League season kicked off with a bang on the Auxiliary Field as the Bay Area Bootleggers scored three runs in the final frame to earn a walk off victory over the Coachella Valley Snowbirds. With the Bootleggers trailing by two runs, David Kimbrough led off the inning by lacing a triple into left center gap before being driven in by Dalton Tinsley. After Clay Ragland reached via an error, Brett Thompson drilled a double into the right field corner allowing Ragland to circle the bases and tie the game at two. Thompson would later advance to third on a Vincenzo Piantanida single, setting the stage for Stephen Sunday’s game ending sacrifice fly. Bootleggers defeat Snowbirds, 3-2.
In the day’s first contest on the main field at Palm Springs Stadium, The Palm Desert Coyotes, led by starter Andrew Lowe (three innings pitched, five strikeouts, no runs allowed), defeated the Manitoba North Stars by a final score of 4-3 despite being held hitless until the fifth inning. North Stars’ starting pitcher Jake Pintar struggled to find the strike zone for much of his day, but expertly navigated the danger by striking out five Coyotes. Pintar finished his day having allowed just one unearned run to score over four innings of work, enabling his team to take a 2-1 lead into the fifth. However Pintar’s departure from game opened the door for the Coyotes’ offense as they scored three runs on three hits, including an RBI double by Kolten King, to take a 4-2 lead in the frame. The North Stars responded in the bottom of the inning on a Carl Johnson single to left field which scored Brett Zaziski, cutting the lead to 4-3, but were stifled during the game’s final two frames by relief pitcher Chris Murray, who faced just one batter over the minimum to earn the save. Coyotes defeat North Stars, 4-3.
In a game that featured the second walk off win of day, the Oregon Lumberjacks defeated the British Columbia Bombers by a final score of 3-2. The Bombers’ opened the scoring in the top of the third after Jeremy Schreiber walked and reached third on a double by Gabriel Ramos, before scoring on a Nicholas Emmole sacrifice fly. The teams traded blows across the fourth and fifth innings, scoring one run apiece, before reaching the seventh, and final inning with the score tied at two. After the game’s eventual winning pitcher Scott Stonestreet set down Bomber’s during the top half of the frame, the Lumberjack’s loaded the bases for left fielder Chris Woodruff who worked a walk to force home the winning run. Lumberjacks defeat Bombers, 3-2.
Back on the main diamond, the Canada A’s, led by the pitching duo of Tanner Kiest and Ricky Schafer –who combined for 14 strikeouts en route to securing the win and the save, respectively– defeated the Alberta Grizzly by a score of 3-2. The Grizzly struck first in the top of the second after Brett Huffman singled, stole second, and advanced to third on a fly out before coming home to score. However the A’s responded in their half of the inning, scoring all three of their runs by pounding out five hits including a Brendan Hendriks double. Alberta cut the lead to one in the sixth, and made the game interesting in the seventh by putting runners on second and third with two away, but were ultimately unable to tie the score. Canada A’s defeat The Grizzly, 3-2.
In the day’s final action, the Toronto Rush defeated the Washington Blue Sox by a final score of 7-1. Led by the combined pitching efforts of starter Alex Brosnan and relievers Seth Powers and Joel McKeithan, the Rush held a potent Blue Sox lineup to four hits while allowing just a single run. Shunta Kamoshita knocked three hits, including an RBI double, to lead the Toronto offense which scored twice in the first, once in the fourth, and exploded for four runs in the fifth. Rush defeat Blue Sox, 7-1.
The 2016 California Winter League season continues on Saturday with a full slate of games, including match ups at the main field between the Toronto Rush and Midwest Haymakers at 10:00am, and the Palm Springs Chill taking on their rivals the Palm Springs Power at 12:30. Saturday is Dollar Beer Day at Palm Springs stadium, which means all draft Bud and Bud Light is just one dollar. Be sure to purchase a commemorative CWL cup at the merchandise booth for an even bigger pour!