Valentine leads Gold Sox
Friday June 24, 2005 - In baseball, three-out-of-eight is pretty darn good.
Friday night at All Seasons RV Stadium, the Gold Sox hitters were pretty darn good for three innings and pretty darn quiet for the remaining five and it equaled a 10-7 victory over the Oakland Eagles, avenging a 13-5 loss Tuesday in Oakland.
“They were cocky, talking a lot when they beat us at their place,” said A.J. Valentine, who was 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs. “But we're tough to beat at home with the crowd behind us and they were rocking tonight.”
For three innings the Gold Sox pounded the ball for 13 hits and all 10 of their runs. The other five innings at the plate Yuba-Sutter took it easy on the ball, only notching one hit, which did not leave the infield.
The slapping around of the ball started early. The Gold Sox, down 2-0 after the top of the first, relieved the angst of a two-game losing streak with five straight one-out singles.
“It's contagious,” Gold Sox coach Brad Peek said. “When one guy hits, the other guys want to hit. It helps with the confidence.”
Four of the five singles were shots up the middle. Even with the extra work, Oakland center fielder Aaron Early was not comfortable fielding the ball, bobbling it twice allowing two runs to score.
A Jordan Prado single and a Billy Sinacori ground out plated two more and the Gold Sox led 4-2 after one inning.
“The team has really come together,” Valentine said. “We had some really good team at-bats.”
Two straight hitless innings built up more frustration and the Gold Sox beat the ball like it owed them money. Yuba-Sutter, never mistaken for a power-hitting team, as evidenced by the first inning, smashed three extra-base hits in the fourth inning.
Mike Wilkes began the beat down on the ball with a single to right, Billy Krause followed by blasting a double to right-center and Zach Weidenaar walked to load the bases.
Valentine quickly cleared them with a first-pitch double to left-center.
“I have been seeing the ball really well this season. I just try and clear my mind and hit it hard somewhere. If I hit it hard hopefully somebody will miss it or it will drop,” Valentine said. “Everybody contributed in a great way.”
Jason Searle's triple scored Valentine, Prado's single scored Searle and the Gold Sox led 9-2 after four.
Oakland chipped away at the lead with a run in the next four innings, cutting it to 9-7, before Yuba-Sutter's bats heated up again.
Weidenaar led off the eighth with single to right and Rodgers scorched a single to center. Valentines second double of the night and fourth RBI gave the Gold Sox a 10-7 cushion, but Yuba-Sutter failed to score again.
“That's two consecutive games we hit the ball hard,” Peek said.
The offensive surge overshadowed a solid pitching performance from Kody Keroher, who after giving up a two-run home run settled down to keep Oakland hitless over the next three innings. Keroher pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs.
“Kody did well,” Peek said. “The guys gonna get a lot better. He's good right now. He's a great competitor. He just needs to get more consistent in the zone.”