Pearson shows off for scouts
Tyler Pearson shined in possibly one of the biggest starts of his young career.
With Kansas City Royals scouts on hand Friday to give the Gold Sox pitcher a final evaluation before possibly negotiating a contact, Pearson, who was drafted by the Royals in the 30th round earlier this month, shut down the Novato Knicks (23-12, 7-4) for six innings with his usual nasty variety of pitches.
And on “That 70s Night” at All Seasons RV Stadium, Gold Sox outfielder Jonathan Dees fit right in, sporting an Afro and then hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning as Yuba-Sutter (20-4, 16-4) took the second of a four-game Horizon Air Summer Series set, 3-1, in a brisk 1 hour, 54 minutes, the shortest game this season.
Pearson (3-1) got off to a rocky start in the first inning, allowing his only two hits and Novato's only run, but he then settled and faced just one over the minimum through the next five innings, retiring nine straight at one point.
“I felt good. I wasn't really that nervous and I knew I had to just do my thing,” Pearson said. “I wasn't throwing first-pitch strikes (in the first inning) and letting my defense work. I started doing that later.”
Chris Chavez relieved Pearson in the seventh and allowed just a harmless single, while striking out three in two innings. Josh Roberts was solid again in a save situation, allowing a lead-off walk but then fanning the next three batters to end the game and earn his team-leading eighth save. He has yet to allow an earned run in 20 innings.
Former Gold Sox pitcher Will Krout, who was 2-0 last season in two starts, pitched well despite taking the loss in a complete-game effort.
Krout retired the side in the first inning but then labored through the second, allowing three hits, including an RBI-double from Matt Suleski and an RBI-infield-single by Etienne Materre. Krout also walked A.J. Valentine, who later scored, to start the inning, and walked Alex Zanini.
Krout allowed just four more hits and retired nine straight to finish the game, four on strikeouts.
“Will's great and we love him,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. “He's a great young man. He's not overpowering, but he's a hell of a pitcher. He's smart, a thinking man's pitcher. He mixes it up, throws a fastball when you're thinking off-speed and throws off-speed when you're thinking fastball.”
Dees wasn't fooled by Krout, hitting an infield single in the third inning, then unloading over the left-field wall for his first home run in the sixth, giving the Gold Sox the 3-1 advantage.
“The first two at-bats, he was throwing a two-seem fastball that ran in under my hands,” Dees said. “So, I told hitting coach Chris Terry and he told me to just hit it to the Hilo sign, and sure enough, I did.”
Dees' home run was a no-doubter as it left his bat, soaring high into the sky and into the netting above the Hilo Erectors sign in left field.
“He's come around and has been working hard with coach Terry,” Peek said. “What I liked is that he had a 2-0 count, did a good job of laying off pitches, got himself into a hitter's count and put the right swing on the right pitch.”
Jonny Norfolk continued to hit the ball well, upping his average to .344 with a 2-for-3 night. Materre, who is just starting to break out of a nasty slump - 1-for-23 entering Friday's game - went 2-for-3.
Notes: Ryan Zaft (2-1) will start tonight's third game against the Knicks. Zaft has become increasingly better in each of his eight appearances and has not allowed an earned run. ... Former Gold Sox pitcher Jake McCormick was part of the Oregon State Beavers NCAA Div. I national championship team, though he was not listed on the team's active World Series roster.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org