Scorch pitcher lasts game
Brad Gunter may look like he'd be more suited to be a roadie for Motley Crue than throw a complete game in the middle of a hot summer collegiate season.
But that's exactly where he found himself Saturday night in Marysville, leading the Sacramento Scorch past the Gold Sox 8-4 in a nonleague, two-game split.
Gunter, sporting a long, orange goatee, went the distance as Sacramento broke a 4-all tie in the seventh and never looked back.
“I'm 30 and feeling it,” said Gunter, soaked with sweat while standing in the Scorch dugout after the game. “It's tough keeping up with these college kids.”
A day after playing flawless defensively, Yuba-Sutter made three errors, including one by shortstop Kyle Maunus in the seventh, which helped open the door for the go-ahead run. The Gold Sox bullpen wasn't very effective either, helping cost starting pitcher Tony Biale his first victory of the year.
“I didn't think we played very well offensively or defensively,” said Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek. “You have to give credit to their guy (Gunter), but I still think we're better than that.”
Gunter, a former Sierra College and Liberty University of Virginia standout, allowed nine hits but only one run over the final six innings. He struck out six and walked five.
He is now the baseball coach at Valley Christian Academy High in Roseville.
Asked about if he knew how many pitches he threw, Gunter quipped, “When you're 30 and have no eligibility left, it doesn't matter.”
Yuba-Sutter (32-11) let a 4-2 lead slip away.
The Scorch (23-6) added a run in the fifth and then tied it with two unearned runs in the seventh against losing pitcher Blake Knabenshue (5-4), who lost for the third time in seven days.
“To me, he's got a little bit of a dead arm,” Peek said. “I think he's also fighting the confidence factor a little bit.”
With one out in the seventh, Maunus misplayed Matt Augustine's ground ball. Knabenshue walked Tyler Sabatke, and Dan Vetter singled to load the bases. Ross Elmendorf followed with a sacrifice fly, and Ryan Wulfert followed with a single to tie the game.
Sacramento then went ahead for good in the eighth with three against Knabenshue and Wes Porter.
After getting the first out, Porter walked Augustine and Sabatke to force in two runs. Craig Ayers replaced Porter, and Vetter followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-4. Sacramento added one more in the ninth to make it 8-4.
The Gold Sox were ahead 3-1 when Cameron Shick belted a Gunter offering high and deep over the yellow Sunsweet sign in right-center in the third. Dickerson was on board on Shick's first homer of the year.
Yuba-Sutter added a run in the sixth when Jason Searle doubled to lead off the inning and scored on an errant pickoff throw from Gunter.
Biale allowed two runs, one earned, in his five-inning stint. He struck out three and walked one.
Notes: Searle extended his hitting streak to eight games ... Scorch designated hitter Kyle Cardon was ejected after being called out looking on strikes in the fifth ... Sutter High graduate Zack Zwissig started at catcher for the Scorch for the second straight night. He was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and reached base four times ... Former White Sox manager Jerry Manuel was in town for the second straight night, watching his son, Anthony, play shortstop.