Sox get to forget last loss
The beauty of playing baseball every day is the ability to forget about past transgressions.
Brennan Garr and Blake Knabenshue were certainly two Gold Sox players who wanted to wipe the slate clean after a disturbing collapse against the San Francisco Seals a day earlier.
Garr had three hits and two runs scored, and Knabenshue pitched two spotless innings for the save as Yuba-Sutter rebounded with a 5-2 win over the Solano Thunderbirds with a 1-hour, 57-minute game in Marysville on Thursday.
Even though the Thunderbirds (10-11) and Gold Sox (20-6) are both in the California Collegiate League, the game was a nonleague contest. Yuba-Sutter begins a three-game series with the Maxim Yankees starting today.
Knabenshue took the loss in the 8-7 loss to the Seals when he hit Chris Willammee with the bases loaded in the 10th inning. Garr was on the mound when his team let a four-run lead slip away with two outs in the ninth.
“No one person was to blame yesterday,” Knabenshue said. “Our team's focus just wasn't there. It was a lot better today. That was just a team loss. We weren't in the game.”
Yuba-Sutter starter Eric Thompson (4-1) picked up the win. Thompson worked seven innings, allowing two runs, one of which was earned. He struck out five, allowed six hits and walked two.
“That was his best outing of the year,” said Gold Sox manager Brad Peek. “In the clubhouse, coach (Jack) Johnson told him to be aggressive, and he was. His mechanics were good, and he pitched inside.”
Thompson and Solano's Jeff Wilkerson (Dartmouth) were locked into a pitcher's duel early. Wilkerson only allowed three hits and one run through five innings but was lifted for reliever Craig Eagle in the sixth.
Frank Jeney greeted Eagle by doubling into the gap in right-center and scored on R.C. Dickerson's opposite-field single to left. Dickerson stole second on the next pitch, moved to third on Ben Petralli's passed ball and scored on Cameron Shick's sacrifice fly.
Jeney extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
The Thunderbirds made it a 3-2 game on Petralli's bloop RBI single in the seventh, but the Gold Sox responded with two more in the seventh.
A.J. Valentine and Garr each singled to open the inning. Peek sent the runners with Ryan Angel grounding back to the pitcher. Eagle made a late throw to second, and all three runners were safe.
“That was a straight hit and run,” Peek said. “We want to be aggressive, and Angel is good at handling the bat. I'd rather not bunt and hit and run when we can.”
That set the table as Ricky Bambino's bloop single to right scored Valentine, and Garr scored when Dickerson coaxed a walk from Eagle with the bases loaded.
Garr doubled home Valentine for Yuba-Sutter's first run in the fifth. Garr was thrown out at third, trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
Peek said he wasn't sure if Knabenshue would be available to pitch again but said he was ready.
It was a disappointing year for the former West Valley High football and baseball standout at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo this spring. Knabenshue was on the roster all year but never got into a game.
Knabenshue, who has three wins and a save in six appearances this year, said this summer could be his final season playing baseball. He doesn't want to transfer.
“I'm only two quarters from graduation,” he said. “I'll have a loss of units and I only have one year of eligibility.”