Angel switches mode to slug Sox over Elks
Gold Sox left fielder Ryan Angel enjoys hitting in the leadoff spot, a slot he was often asked to produce in at San Jose State.
However, Angel found himself in a run-producing, instead of a run-scoring, spot Saturday night and came through.
Angel's two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh broke a scoreless tie as Yuba-Sutter went on to edge the Bend (Ore.) Elks 3-1 in the first of a two-game nonleague series in Marysville.
The Gold Sox (13-3) actually scored all three runs with two outs.
“That's the sign of a good team,” Angel said. “We came up big. We got the hits in the clutch. I think that's why we've been so successful so far.”
Angel's hit, a single up the middle against reliever Cory Merritt, drove home Buddy Morales and Frank Jeney.
Blake Knabenshue (2-0) picked up the win with in relief with three shutout innings. Brennan Garr notched his team-leading third save, despite allowing an eighth-inning run.
Bend starting pitcher Garrett Sternbridge (Lane Community College) suffered the tough-luck loss, despite only giving up two hits - both of those to Morales. Sternbridge handcuffed a previously hot Gold Sox lineup, which came into the game scoring 21 times in the last two games.
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek and Angel each mentioned that Sternbridge seemed to be pitching in reverse, often throwing his slider early in the count and his fastball later.
“The main thing was, he executed with those pitches,” Peek said. “That was one tough battle. I know we won by two, but that was as tough of a win as we've had all year.”
Morales reached on an infield single to lead off the seventh.
Manager Zeke Mitchem replaced Sternbridge with Merritt. After one out, Jeney hit a slicing single to right. Kyle Maunus lined out for the second out, but Mark Steinbeck coaxed a 3 and 2 walk to load the bases.
“He took some tough, tough pitches,” Angel said. “He threw him a slider that he wanted him to chase, but he laid off.”
Said Peek, “The next time, he might want to swing at that 3-2 pitch. I'm going to tell him that tomorrow. It was probably a ball, but it was marginal, and you don't want to be called out on a close pitch.”
Jeney actually had to knock the ball loose from former Gold Sox catcher Tyler LaTorre and dove back to touch home plate for the second run.
The Elks made it 2-1 in the eighth on Tyler Graham's two-out bunt single, which scored Matt Hibbits.
But the Gold Sox scored a key insurance run in the bottom half of the inning on Jeney's two-out RBI single, which knocked home Jason Searle.
Gold Sox starter Nick Waechter, working on a short outing, went the first three. Waechter wasn't eligible for a win but used a 90-plus fastball to strike out four and not allow a hit.
Waechter was on a short leash because he's expected to start a California Collegiate League game Wednesday in San Luis Obispo.
The Elks actually didn't get their first hit until two outs in the sixth when Graham doubled to left against Knabenshue.
Yuba-Sutter did have earlier chances. In fact, Angel walked to lead off the bottom of the first and then motored all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt from R.C. Dickerson. Cameron Shick followed with a line drive that nearly took pitcher Sternbridge's head off, but the pitcher knocked the ball down and threw to first. Angel was forced to stay at third.
A.J. Valentine walked to lead off the fifth and reached third but was stranded as well.
Notes: Jeney has reached base in 14 of 15 games and ended a 2-for-20 string with two hits ... Former Gold Sox Tom Everidge and Darren Sack made their professional debuts in the Northwest League Friday night. Sack had a no-decision but struck out seven in four innings for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (Giants), and Everidge was 3-for-4 for the Vancouver Canadians (A's) ... Quick correction on Dickerson, who actually has been caught stealing once on the year, now is now 11-for-12 in the steal department ... Sherry Angel, Carolyn Young and Tammy Turner were winners of the “Diamond Dig,” where girls and women sift through the infield dirt in search of chips. Those chips earned them sets of half-carat diamond earrings ... LaTorre was 0-for-3 in his return to Marysville.