Bambino's last is a blast
Thursday, June 9, 2005 - For Yuba-Sutter catcher Ricky Bambino, he made his final game with the Gold Sox Thursday night a memorable one.
The 6-3, 215 pounder from Redding doubled home the winning run in the fourth inning as the Gold Sox held on to beat the Solano Thunderbirds 2-1 in the first of a two-game series at All Seasons RV Stadium. This game was not part of the Horizon Air Summer Series.
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek was excited for Bambino after the game. “This was his last game with us. He's going to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Angels in the next day. He had been drafted by the Angels twice out of high school and in junior college. They called him on Monday and asked him again to join their organization.”
Bambino was the offensive star of the night with two hits in three trips to the plate. But it was his hard-hit double to the wall in right-center in the fourth, after a double play the at-bat before appeared to have squashed the inning, that proved to be the biggest hit of the night.
“He came up with the key two-out hit that was big for us,” Peek said. “He also threw a guy out stealing and blocked the plate real well.”
Not be overshadowed was some solid pitching by the Gold Sox. Three pitchers combined to hold a potent T-Birds batting order to only one run on seven hits. Kody Deroher, who started the game, went the first five innings to notch his first win of the season.
“It wasn't a smooth game for Kody,” said Peek. “He wasn't feeling good throwing in the bullpen before the game, and didn't have his best stuff out there, but he battled for five innings and gave us five good innings.”
Steve Alverson came on in the sixth inning and allowed just one single while striking out three batters on called third strikes to end each of the three innings he pitched.
“Steve's had a couple rough outings in a row, but tonight we got to see him at his best.”
Then Jake McKinley finished the ninth inning for his second save of the season. He has the only saves for the team.
Peek was very pleased to see his relief pitching begin to pitch the way they are capable of after a tough first few weeks.
“Our bullpen has struggled, but I never lost confidence in them,” he said. “I know we have talented kids out there, and it would be just a matter of time before they came around.”
The Gold Sox, who were shut out three times by the T-Birds last season, jumped on starter Kris Tomlinson for a run in the first inning. Zach Weidenaar led off the game with an infield single. Then he promptly stole second. He then went to third on a ground out. With two outs, Jason Searle took an off-speed offering from Tomlinson opposite field to score Weidenaar for a 1-0 lead.
Tomlinson held the Gold Sox scoreless until the fateful fourth. Jordan Prado and Junior Contreras each opened the inning with singles. But Billy Sinacori hit a sharp liner to third where it was turned into a 5-3 double play. With Contreras on second, Bambino ripped his double to make it a 2-0 Gold Sox lead.
Solano cut the deficit to 2-1 with a two-out double by Richard Gorman off Keroher. After a single put runners at the corner, Keroher got the next hitter to ground out to end the threat. The T-Birds managed just two baserunners over the final four innings.
“I told the kids after the game this was our best game of the year,” said Peek. “Even though we only scored two runs, we hit the ball and played great defense when we needed it. Plus, our pitching was outstanding.”
For the final game of the series Friday night that will count in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings, the Gold Sox will go with Tyler Pearson against Solano's David Hernandez, the Bay Valley East MVP for Consumes River and a 16th-round selection by the Baltimore Orioles. First pitch will be at 7:15.