Gold Sox hurler returns
Blake Knabenshue was a more than reliable arm for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox last summer.
That hasn't translated into innings for Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo this year, but that didn't stop Gold Sox manager Brad Peek from welcoming the right-handed pitcher back with open arms.
Knabenshue was one of three National Baseball Congress signings announced by the collegiate wood bat organization this week. Knabenshue rejoins former Yuba-Sutter teammates Darren Sack and Vince DeCoito.
San Jose State freshman outfielder Ryan Angel and Vanguard University utility player Jason Searle were also signed.
Knabenshue was 2-1 with a team-leading four saves and 1.96 ERA for the Gold Sox. He's on Cal Poly's 2004 roster but isn't listed among any pitching categories.
Peek said Knabenshue is disappointed to be buried at the end of the depth chart with the Mustangs (30-13-1) but was excited to come back to Marysville.
“He may pitch in short relief for us early in the season,” Peek said. “But when we get some more games in, he may go four or five innings. He had no problem doing that last year. He's pretty valuable out of the pen because he has a resilient arm.”
Angel is hitting .329 with two homers and 11 RBIs for San Jose State, which is 16-17-1 overall. Angel can also play the infield.
“He was their leadoff hitter and starting left fielder,” Peek said. “He went into a little slump and sat for a while, but now he's back in there full time again and his stats are creeping back up.”
Peek is excited about Searle, who's plays for the Lions, an NAIA team in Costa Mesa. Searle came to Bryant Field last year as a member of the Novato Knicks where he lost a 2-0 pitcher's duel.
Searle, a junior, is hitting .282 with seven doubles, four homers and 22 RBIs and is 1-8 with a 4.34 ERA on the mound. As a sophomore, he hit .296 with 41 RBIs.
“He'll be in our starting rotation, and he should be an offensive force,” Peek said.
The Gold Sox are still on the lookout for a shortstop to replace Grand Canyon's Ryan Bethel, who suffered an arm injury and will be unable to join the team. Peek said he's also looking to finalize a deal for an assistant coach to take the place of Chris Perry, who left Yuba-Sutter for family reasons.
Peek said he's waiting to get a contract back from last year's leading hitter, Sonoma State's Tom Everidge, who has 11 homers and 40 RBIs in his collegiate season. Everidge is likely to be drafted, but the Gold Sox could have him for the first two weeks of the year.
Appeal-Democrat assistant sports editor Matt O'Donnell can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.