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Honkers can't hang on
Yuba City blows late lead in loss
The only thing Chandler Eden could see on Wednesday night was Cooper Goldby's catcher's glove and Goldby's fingers throwing down the signs behind home plate.
He paid no attention to the more than 20 Major League scouts in attendance as they feverishly scribbled down notes every time he let a pitch fly.
As Eden set up for every pitch under the lights at Winship Field, 20 radar guns and video cameras went up in unison.
The lanky right-hander has already signed with Division-I Oregon State, but that won't stop the best minds in Major League Baseball from courting him all season long — and with good reason.
Eden struck out 10 batters in five innings of work against defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division II champion Woodcreek on Wednesday. He threw 88 pitches and allowed just one hit while averaging about 92 mph on his fastball and topping out at 94 mph.
The only problem for the Honkers was their bullpen couldn't finish the job for their ace.
Yuba City allowed four runs over the final two innings in relief of Eden and blew a 2-0 lead to spoil the season opener as Woodcreek came away with a 4-2 victory.
The Honkers entered the top of the seventh with a 2-1 lead. Junior reliever Camryn Danna came in for the save, but walked two batters and hit two more as the Timberwolves plated three runs in the inning.
Danna had two strikes on two separate hitters with two outs in the top of the seventh.
"When you're in the bullpen, you have to come out and throw strikes," said Yuba City coach Dave Rodriguez. "We didn't execute tonight."
The Honkers also struggled offensively against Woodcreek righty Stephen Nogosek, who like Eden, is heading to the Pacific-12 Conference next year, and was being observed by the scouts in attendance.
Nogosek, a University of Oregon signee, threw 80 pitches in five innings of work with nine strikeouts and a walk, averaging 90 mph on his fastball with good movement.
Yuba City senior Matt Miller was able to get to Nogosek in the bottom of the third with an RBI double down the left field line to knock in Jordan St. Laurent.
Junior shortstop Devin Pettengill added another run in the inning with an RBI single up the middle to plate Miller.
That was about it for the Honkers as they added an infield hit in the bottom of the seventh and nothing else the remainder of the game.
Yuba City struck out 11 times and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning.
"We have a lot of work to do," Rodriguez said. "We're lucky it happened in the first game because now we know we have to take a whole different approach."
Per tradition, the Honkers put together a tough nonconference schedule which continues on Friday night at Division-II Roseville.
Next week, Yuba City will host Division-I Davis and El Camino, the team that knocked the Honkers out of the postseason last year.
"I think our team will definitely learn from this," Eden said. "The pitching is way ahead of the hitting right now, especially at the beginning of the season. I think as the season goes we'll start to get hot."