The Visalia Rawhide celebrate their victory against the San Jose Giants that lead them to the California League Championship in 2019. Photo contributed by Visalia Rawhide.

published on September 10, 2019 - 1:05 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Championship baseball will be on the menu in Visalia this week as the Rawhide play the Lake Elsinore Storm for the California League Championship.

The Class-A Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate wants everyone to ring their cowbells Friday for the first home game of the five-game series.

The first two will be played at the San Diego Padres affiliate’s Riverside County stadium Tuesday and Wednesday.

If the series is split by Friday, the championship will extend to Saturday and possibly Sunday in Visalia.

The Rawhide secured the spot after sweeping the San Jose Giants in the Northern Division Championship in what would have been a five-game series.

“This is the first year (during my time with the team) that we have been able to finish the series at home which is a big advantage for Visalia,” said Jennifer Reynolds, general manager for the team, in an email. “We have a phenomenal home-field advantage and our fans are a big support for our team. This puts us in the best position possible, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this series shakes out. Fingers and toes are all crossed!”

The Rawhide have taken advantage of home-field play with a record of 49-19 at home during the regular season.

This will be the team’s 11th appearance in the finals since their last championship ring in 1978, according to Jillian Gearin, media coordinator. They are the only professional sports team to have made it to the finals that many times without taking it all. The only franchise to come close are the Los Angeles/Minneapolis Lakers between 1958-1972 who reached the finals eight times before taking the championship.

Ownership group Top of the Third, Inc. put the Rawhide up for sale following their 2018 season. They have held onto their interest in Visalia baseball during their search for a buyer. But owners Tom Seidler and Kevin O’Malley “are not in a rush to sell the club,” according to Reynolds.

Tickets are still available for the Friday playoff game that begins at 7 p.m. They can be purchased by calling 732-4433 or by visiting the team’s website.

They are offering a $15 ticket that comes with a $10 concession voucher. Fireworks will follow the Friday game. Before the Saturday game, should there be one, the team will be giving away Bring the Ring hats to the first 500 guests.

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