Anticipated, challenging opponent visits for 3 games
Thursday, June 16, 2005 - The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox will face their most difficult opponent to date when the Aloha Knights of Gresham, Ore., visit for a three-game Horizon Air Summer Series set starting tonight.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 at All Seasons RV Stadium in Marysville.
The Sacramento Legends complete the weekend with a nonseries visit on Sunday.
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek has been looking forward to this series since the schedule was released.
“I'm excited to have them in here,” Peek said. “They are the defending National Baseball Congress champions, and they are obviously not the same team as last year, but they still have outstanding players.”
The Knights, who compete in the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League, were 7-0 at the 70th NBC World Series, becoming the first team to go undefeated in Wichita, Kan. since Team USA in 1995.
They feature former Gold Sox pitcher Nick Waechter, who threw the franchise's first no-hitter on July 7 against Salinas. Waechter was selected the team's most outstanding pitcher.
The Knights are sponsored by Phil and Penny Knight. Phil Knight is the founder of Nike.
Waechter, of Western Oregon University, is 1-1 with a 5.25 ERA. Zach Bird leads the pitching staff with a 1-0 record and 0.69 ERA in two starts. Adam Hackstedt is hitting .400, Darin Holcomb is batting .357, and Zach Barba leads the team with eight RBIs.
The Knights (4-3) are in the middle of a seven-game road trip that began Monday against the Humboldt Crabs.
The Gold Sox (9-4, 7-2) have won six of the their last seven and are coming off a 10-inning loss, 2-1, to the Solano Thunderbirds in Vacaville.
“We are doing pretty well,” Peek said. “We lost a tough one (Tuesday) ... We are starting to hit the ball better overall as a team, our defense has been sound and our starting pitching has been good. We will continue to improve.”
Peek will start staff ace Tyler Pearson tonight. The junior for University of Northern Colorado is 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA in three starts. He has struck out 17 and walked five.
“The one thing about him is, he is very competitive and pitches with a purpose,” Peek said of Pearson. “He throws hard enough that he is not afraid to come inside on guys with the wood bats, and he has a good slider ... He's a guy that has good poise out there.”
The starting rotation will continue with Kody Keroher (1-0, 2.45), Kyle Hill (1-0, 1.62) at Matt Huff (1-1, 3.46).
The Gold Sox are nursing some injuries with infielders Jordan Prado (shin) and Kole Koester (shoulder) listed as day-to-day. Matt Suleski, who has been nursing a strained hamstring, is not 100 percent but has returned to the starting lineup.
Outfielder Billy Krause has been cleared to play after sitting out the first three weeks of the season. He had arthroscopic knee surgery before joining the team. Peek also signed another pitcher, Omar Aguilar, who was a sophomore at Merced College.
Aguilar will play at the University of Oklahoma next year on scholarship and was drafted in the 30th round by the Milwaukee Brewers in major league baseball's amateur draft earlier this month. He was drafted in the eighth round by the Giants in 2004.
“He is coming off an injury, a strained elbow ligament, and we will start him out of the bullpen as a couple inning guy,” Peek said.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org