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Storm gets licked by Major League affiliate

Baseball fans funneled into the Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium main entrance on April 2, and the crowd of 6,669 people spread throughout the large, open sports arena.

Taking the evenly-lit field, players warmed up under the sharp lights that colored the taste of an upcoming new season. A few players on the opposing team prepared an explosion of potential home-run swings.

The far-cries of ardent admirers spurred a tense relaxation surrounded by bumping stadium rock music.

This would be the third game in ten seasons between the parent club and their California League affiliate.

The evening events included special player introductions, ceremonial first pitches, sky divers, DJ, a new food vendor and much more.

With the Friars beginning their 2010 season on the road, the game against the Storm was the first chance for fans to catch the Padres in Southern California until their home opener this Sunday at Petco Park.

With four runs in the first inning, the Padres got off to a quick start, which led to their eventual win of 7-1.

With a successful hitting streak, Lake Elsinore’s Vincent Belnome brought in his team’s only run. Both Padres and Storm pitchers took the mound with well executed throws.

Mike Wickham, the director of scouting for the Padres organization, said in a recent interview with Play Ball in the official exhibition game program called “Then and Now,” said winning in the minor leagues is “a level of development.” The farm needs to teach its young players how to win, he said.

“Winning is important,” he continued, “but we don’t want it to be at the expense of development.”

When asked what he hoped the young players would get out of the exhibition game, he said, “We hope they get a feel for the Major League environment and excitement. This is their motivation and drive; they should be thinking, ‘This is why I play the game.’”

For more information about Lake Elsinore Storm baseball, visit http://www.stormbaseball.com.

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