It feels good to be home
Friday, July 29, 2005 - Yuba-Sutter starter Matt Huff got his seventh win of the season as the Gold Sox snapped a three-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the visiting Suisun City Sultans in Marysville Thursday night.
It was a welcome return home to All Seasons RV Stadium for the Gold Sox after being swept in this week's two-game road series against the Salanis Valley Packers.
The Gold Sox (31-13), who are 30-7 at home and just 1-6 on the road, improved to 27-9 in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings with the win, and are now just a game back of the Aloha Knights (18-18) with seven games remaining.
It wasn't looking good early for the Gold Sox, as the Sultans started the game with three straight singles to load the bases in the top of the first.
But Huff (7-2) got Sultans clean-up man Jesse Camacho to ground into double-play and Greg Thomas came up with a diving catch in the right-center field gap on a liner by Suisun City catcher Ryan Lipkin to keep the Sultans off the board.
Huff went on to pitch 6 2/3 innings, allowing only two more hits after the first for a total of five. He also struck out four as he joined Tyler Pearson as the only Gold Sox pitchers with seven wins on the season.
“I thought he did a good job,” said Gold Sox manager Brad Peek. “It's hot and we just got back from a road trip, but that's part of minor league baseball if he ever wants to make it there.”
Jason Peters allowed a bloop single in the ninth before retiring the next three batters to notch his 11th save. His ERA stands at 0.34 in 26 and a third innings of work.
“He's been consistent for us all year,” said Peek of Peters. “Every once and a while he puts a guy on and makes up think about it, but he came out exceptionally well tonight.”
Thomas backed up that brilliant first-inning catch with a 2-for-4 performance at the plate, including a third inning single that scored Jesse Rodgers for the first run of the game.
The Gold Sox strung together three singles, a walk, and a Rodgers sacrifice fly in the fourth inning that gave Yuba-Sutter a 3-0 cushion that would be enough for the win.
“Rodgers is a great situational hitter,” said Peek. “He knows how to handle the bat and he came up with a big RBI tonight when we needed it.
Also quickly emerging for the Gold Sox is new relief pitcher Justin Souza.
Souza pitched a perfect eighth inning for Yuba-Sutter, striking out the second, third and cleanup batters in the Suisun City lineup in just his second appearance of the year. He has yet to allow a hit in a Gold Sox uniform.
“Eight months ago he had shoulder surgery,” said Peek. “He did not pitch last year in college, but he will pitch this year for Sacramento City College.”
Souza was consistently lighting up the radar gun at 91 mph during, one time even reaching 93 mph on a high fastball that struck out Nic Militano for the second out of the inning.
“He's got a pretty funky arm motion, but he's also got a really good fastball.” Peek said. “He's also got a pretty good slider to go with it.”
It was a win that could, and likely should, have been by a greater margin as the Gold Sox left nine men on base during the game, five of them in scoring position. Greg Thomas was also thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning and Billy Krause got caught trying to steal third with two outs in the fourth.
Still, for the Gold Sox, there's no place like home.
“You always play with a little more energy when your at home,” Peek said.
Yuba-Sutter will play the Sultans three more times in the weekend series. Tonight's and Saturday's games will count in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings, but Sunday's game will not count.
Sports reporter Nathan Collier can be reached at 743-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.