No curse for this Bambino
A last name like Bambino suggests a huge uppercut and home runs flying over fences at a record pace.
Ricky Bambino did plenty of that at Foothill High in Redding and even cracked two during a North State all-star game.
But Bambino has learned to be a disciplined hitter as well. And he accomplished that Saturday night for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox.
Bambino's contribution helped Yuba-Sutter overcome several fundamental breakdowns as the Gold Sox rallied for a 5-4 win over the Oakland Expos in a nonleague game in Marysville.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Bambino hit a two-run double and scored the tying run in a three-run seventh and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly. He went opposite field for each at-bat.
“They were pitching me away all night,” said Bambino, who now attends Sierra College. “On the double, I just dropped back and went with the pitch.”
No one likes to hear when others get hurt, but Bambino's chances of seeing more playing time increased when the Gold Sox were informed that Greg McCarthy (Western Oregon) has to undergo knee surgery. Bambino started at designated hitter on Saturday but will likely play one-third of the time behind the plate and share time with Buddy Morales.
About the two opposite-field at bats, manager Brad Peek said, “That's what good hitters do. That double carried pretty good. That shows he has a lot of power.”
Nick Waechter (2-0) picked up his second win in three days, going the final three innings. Waechter actually allowed Oakland to score four times in the seventh but settled down in the eighth and ninth.
Yuba-Sutter made four errors, two of those coming in the seventh and one more in the ninth, as the Expos brought the go-ahead run to the plate.
Peek did think his team finally did show a sense of urgency when it found itself down 4-1.
“We were coming off that tough league series where we had two, high-intensity games,” Peek said. “I think it was a natural letdown. When we gave up those four runs, I turned to coach (Jack) Johnson and said, ‘Maybe that will wake us up.' ”
The Gold Sox struggled for hits against Oakland lefty Jeff Lyles, a former Cal hurler. The Gold Sox scratched home an unearned run in the first inning but didn't score again until the seventh.
In that inning, Brennan Garr walked, Kyle Maunus doubled off the wall in left and Bambino followed with a double over right fielder Matt Blankenheim's head to chase Lyles.
Manager Panos Lagos replaced Lyles with reliever Sean Hunter, who induced a double play from Frank Jeney, although Bambino scored on the play to tie the game 4-4.
Morales, A.J. Valentine and Garr all singled to load the bases against Hunter in the eighth. Maunus grounded into a fielder's choice, but Bambino flew to right, plenty deep to score Valentine for the go-ahead run.
Gold Sox starter Eric Thompson went the first six innings, scattering six hits, walking two and striking out five. The Eagles actually ran themselves out of two innings, something the Gold Sox did as well.
Yuba-Sutter tried a safety squeeze in the fourth with Valentine bunting, but Oakland turned it into a double play after throwing out Cameron Shick at home.
“With the squeeze, we wanted A.J. to pull the (bunt) with him a little more,” Peek said. “It was a good bunt. I'm not sure if Cam got a great jump off third either.”
Notes: Peek said he expects Blake Knabenshue (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) to be in uniform tonight and could see some time in relief ... Jeney's streak of reaching base safely ended at 10 games.