LAKE ELSINORE — Despite a dominant pitching performance by Dylan Lesko, the Storm couldn’t hold onto a lead and were dropped by the Visalia Rawhide 6-4 on Saturday night.
After allowing a single to the game’s first batter, the 19-year-old righthander from North Georgia didn’t give up another hit for the rest of his four-inning, 57-pitch outing.
“We get a lot of guys who come in and throw hard,” said his manager Pete Zamora. “One thing I was telling [pitching coach Thomas Eshelman] about today is that he never looks at the radar gun. We get so many young kids that come in here, and they are looking at that all the time.
“The Dylan Leskos and Robby Snellings of the world never look at the miles per hour because they are so dialed in to compete.”
Lesko ended up striking out seven against one walk as he edged past 50 pitches for the first time in a game as he gets further removed from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in April, 2022, which allowed him to fall to the Padres in the first round of the draft.
“He comes as advertised with his velocity and changeup. But I don’t think his curveball gets enough love, because it is a helluva pitch too. It’s going to be a pitch.
The game was scoreless going into the bottom of the fifth when Homer Bush, Jr. blasted a solo home run to right-center, his first in the California League. Hitting leadoff, he had another big day with a double and walked to go along with his home run.
“It’s a thunder and lightning thing for me with Homer. He is lightning fast, and he has some thunder in the bat,” said Zamora. “He’s played a lot of baseball, but there is always refinement, and there are some smaller things he needs to do to get to the next level.
“He’s been dialed in, trying to get things right. He wants to be a really good baseball player.”
The Storm were up 2-1 in the top of the seventh when Lake Elsinore pitcher Kobe Robinson had one of his rougher outings of the year as he allowed the first three batters to reach base to go along with a pair of wild pitches for three earned runs.
Lake Elsinore came back in the bottom of the inning with RBI singles by Griffin Doersching and Victor Duarte to tie the game before Rawhide put up two runs in the ninth, with the deciding run coming on a tough error by shortstop Rosman Verdugo.
The Storm played a sloppy game overall, committing three errors and going 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
“It was a tough loss,” said Zamora. “We had our chances to win that game.”
Notes: After his lone hit of the night, outfielder Tyler Robertson stole second and third base consecutively to push his season total to 22 in 49 games. He now ranks eighth in the Cal League in stolen bases. … In his first four games in the Cal League, Bush has reached base eight times for a .500 on-base percentage.