Gold Sox perfectly happy to wait to win
For five-plus innings Thursday, it looked like the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox might fall on the wrong side of a perfect game.
Etienne Materre got Yuba-Sutter's first hit with a one-out single off Solano Thunderbirds (14-15, 12-13) starter Curts Pasma in the sixth, Brett Nightingale blasted a home run in the eighth and the Gold Sox (27-5, 23-4) beat the Thunderbirds 5-1 in a Horizon Air Summer Series game at All Seasons RV Stadium.
“Pasma is a guy I looked into getting,” said Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek. “He doesn't throw that hard, only about 83 or 84 miles per hour, but when he needs to, he can put that extra 2 or 3 miles an hour on it. He did a great job pitching tonight.”
With a 4-1 Gold Sox lead in the eighth, Nightingale went deep off Solano reliever Brian Parker on a 3-1 fastball to become the seventh Yuba-Sutter player with a home run this season.
“I was looking for that one pitch in that one spot,” Nightingale said. “He put it there and I hit it.”
Tyler Pearson (5-1) started for the Gold Sox and struggled early, allowing two hits, a walk and a run in the opening frame.
He settled after that, allowing no runs on three hits in his final six innings of work before giving way to Alberto Rolon (4), who allowed two hits but struck out three in two innings for his fourth save.
The game included a number of unique plays, including two at third base.
After the Gold Sox plated three runs in the seventh, Jonny Norfolk got caught in a rundown between third and home with one out.
Materre, who was a base behind Norfolk, advanced to third while Solano catcher Justin Torento was chasing Norfolk back up the line. Norfolk and Materre were left standing together on third base, and Torento tagged Norfolk.
Norfolk then left the bag and started running home, and Torento then tagged Materre, who was still standing on the base.
Torento hesitated a moment and then threw back home to a covering Parker, who tagged out Norfolk for the second out of the inning.
Zanini, who had started the play with a grounder to second, moved up to second on the play.
That brought Solano manager Phil Swimley charging out of the dugout to argue that the play should have been over at third and not at home, which had allowed Zanini to move into scoring position.
Under the rules, if two runners occupy a base at the same time and both are tagged, the lead runner - Norfolk in this case - has the right to the bag, and the trail runner - Materre - is out.
Norfolk was not out when he was tagged because he had the first right to the base. The moment he left the bag, it became an island of safety for Materre, so he was also safe when tagged.
It didn't hurt the Thunderbirds though. Johnathan Dees popped out to short in the next at-bat to end the inning and strand the two runners.
Norfolk made a heads-up play in the first when he covered third on an infield single with a man on first.
Third-baseman Doug Thennis charged hard after a Michael Hernandez dribbler but couldn't come up with it.
Shortstop Zanini fielded it behind him and found himself in a foot race to third base with lead runner John Santopadre, who had been running on the play.
Zanini was two steps behind, but Norfolk charged up the line, took the throw from Zanini and tagged out Santopadre.
Dees made a sliding catch in the fourth on a dying fly ball to short left, and Zanini started a key double play with a nice play in the hole in the seventh.
Materre was the only player to record two hits. Thennis had a triple and A.J. Valentine had a double.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.