Gold Sox face tough league test tonight
Subtract two. Add four.
Western Oregon's hard-throwing pitcher Nick Waechter will be available as the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox begin a two-team, four-game homestand against the San Luis Obispo Blues and Oakland Expos in Marysville today.
Furthermore, Stanford's Logan Ardis, UC Davis' Vince DeCoito and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo's Blake Knabenshue are expected to arrive by Tuesday when the Gold Sox play their first road game of the year in Solano. All of those players have been finishing up classes at their respective colleges.
The two subtractions are outfielder Tom Everidge and Darren Sack, who were picked by the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants, respectively, in Major League Baseball's Amateur Draft on Monday. Seven current or former Gold Sox were among those selected in the draft.
“Obviously, no one can really replace (Sack and Everidge), but we have guys who can take over their positions,” Peek said.
Peek said each is expected to sign, although Sack could be available before he does so this weekend.
Catcher Ricky Bambino was drafted by the Angels in the 31st round but again will be a draft-and-follow player, meaning that Anaheim owns his rights until next year's draft.
Waechter, who with Brennan Garr, could now be the team's hardest thrower with Sack gone.
“He finished with more strikeouts than innings pitched (at Western Oregon),” Peek said. “He should be able to eat up some wood bats this summer.”
The Blues (9-2 heading into Wednesday night) could be a test with a roster that includes several Division I players, including tonight's starting pitcher, Erick Chandler (1-0, 3.00) from Georgetown. Today will be San Luis Obispo's California Collegiate League opener.
“They should be tough,” Peek said. “They always run a good program.”
The Gold Sox (7-1, 4-0) are hitting .297 as a team and have scored nine or more runs three times.
“I would say I'm pleasantly surprised,” Peek said. “We have some good hitters up and down the order. Granted, we haven't seen consistent starting pitching yet, but we're still hitting the ball with the fat part of the bat.”
Catcher Buddy Morales leads the team in average (.476), outfielder Jason Searle in RBIs (eight) and second baseman Frank Jeney in runs scored (11) and hits (11). The Gold Sox are still perfect in stolen bases in 15 attempts, led by four each from Mark Steinbeck and R.C. Dickerson.
Despite 13 errors in eight games, Peek said the were some improvements defensively last weekend during a four-game sweep of the Salinas County Packers.
“I think it's less of a concern. We didn't make any errors on Saturday,” he said. “Our infield defense looked a lot better. I think we had some errors from an outfielder, first baseman and a pitcher.”
Craig Ayers pitches tonight and Searle on Friday, but Peek is undecided about the rotation for the other two.
Appeal-Democrat assistant sports editor Matt O'Donnell can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.