All-Seasons finally yields runs, but Y-S needed more
Saturday, June 18, 2005 - The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox dropped game two of a three-game series against the Aloha Knights of Oregon Friday, 7-5, falling to 8-3 in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings, still atop the Don MCullough Division.
The Knights jumped ahead early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first and a 3-0 lead in the top of the third when they strung together four singles to score two runs.
The Gold Sox got one back in the bottom half of the third when a Jesse Rodgers grounder to second drove in Cole Koester and moved Matt Vance to third with two outs in the inning.
A.J. Valentine then drew a walk to put runners on the corners, but Jason Searle struck out to end the inning, a trend that continued as the Gold Sox struck out to end the fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth innings, stranding a total of seven men in scoring position on the night.
Kody Keroher, the Gold Sox starter and the game's losing pitcher, lasted only three and a third innings and allowed the lead-off batter to reach in each the four innings he worked.
“We put a lot of lead off batters on base for them,” said Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek. “We gave up a walk, a couple of hits, and an error. That immediately put the defense back on their heels, and allowed them to play more small ball.”
Things looked better for the Gold Sox in the bottom of the fourth as Brandon McKerney, the Knights starter, got himself into a jam.
Matt Suleski and Jordan Prado led off the inning with back-to-back singles to right. McKerney then walked Jonny Norfolk and hit Billy Krause with a pitch to bring in Suleski for the Gold Sox's second run, still without recording an out in the inning.
But Dale Stebbins, the Knights manager, pulled the plug on McKerney and replaced him with Matt Hague, a fireballer from the University of Washington who lit up the radar gun with 91-93 mile-an-hour fastballs for the rest of the night.
“He had pretty good velocity.” said Peek. “We're going to see some other guys like that, but he's one of the harder guys we've seen so far.”
Hague shut down the Gold Sox rally as he induced a comebacker from Koester to force out Jordan Prado at the plate, struck out Matt Vance, and then got Jesse Rodgers to fly-out to left.
The Gold Sox had a stopper of their own though, as Jake McKinley, who also entered in the fourth, allowed only three Aloha base-runners through the seventh inning.
The Gold Sox cut the lead to two in the bottom of the seventh on a Searle single that scored Rodgers from second to make the score 5-3.
But two errors in the top of the eighth led to two unearned runs and made the score 7-3.
The Gold Sox, seemingly to have finally adjusted to Hague's velocity, rallied in the bottom of the eighth after Prado reached on an error and Norfolk drew a four-pitch walk.
Koester then smacked a double to score Prado. Rodgers, after a Vance strikeout, drove home Norfolk with a two-out double to make the score 7-5 with runners Koester on third and Rodgers on second.
But Valentine couldn't deliver, hitting a lazy fly to left that ended the inning.
Hague closed out the Gold Sox in the ninth, getting Searle on a comebacker before striking out both Suleski and Prado to end the game.
Hague struck out 11 Gold Sox in his six innings of work and was awarded the win.
Nathan Collier can be reached at 741-2400. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.