March 31, 2004
Sox gain infielder, but lose another
By Matt O'Donnell/Appeal-Democrat
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek expects Frank Jenney to be a stalwart second baseball for the collegiate wood bat organization this year.
Unfortunately for Yuba-Sutter, Peek won't get to see Jenney with his projected double-play partner Ryan Bethel.
The Gold Sox announced three more National Baseball Congress signings this week, including Jenney, but were dealt some bad news when informed that Bethel won't be able to join the team. Bethel is a shortstop from Grand Canyon University.
“His coach said he has arm problems and wants him to stick around home,” Peek said. “(Bethel) sounded pretty disappointed.”
Peek does have high hopes for Jenney, a junior at Wayne State University in Michigan. Jenney is hitting .339 with two homers and 12 RBIs following a sophomore year when he hit .363 with five homers and 33 RBIs.
“I'm really excited,” Peek said. “He's really a super kid, and he's a captain on the team there.”
The other two signings are both from Northern Colorodo University, a transitional Division I independent in Greeley, Colo. Junior right-handed pitcher Craig Ayers should help anchor the Gold Sox rotation, and freshman third baseman/pitcher Brennan Garr will play multiple roles.
Ayers, a 6-foot, 190-pound junior, is 5-1 with a 4.40 ERA in 45 innings pitched. He has 42 strikeouts and 16 walks and two complete games.
“He throws about 87 to 88 (mph) and he can hit 90,” Peek said. “He throws a knuckle-curve and a change-up, and he's a really good competitor. He got off to a rocky start, but he has pitched exceptionally well since then.”
One of Ayers' wins was a 5-0 gem against Iowa, a Big Ten school. He struck out 11 and only allowed two hits in nine innings.
Garr is hitting .362 with a homer and eight RBIs in 22 games, 13 of those starts.
“He's only pitched about two or three times (at Northern Colorado), but he might eventually be a closer,” Peek said. “He can hit 90, 91, 92 (mph). He has a good, live arm.”
Peek said he envisions a roster of 12 position players and 10 pitchers.
“We should have two or three guys who can pitch and play positions too,” Peek said. “It makes it a little risky with a smaller roster, but it will give everyone a chance to play a lot, so everyone should be happy.”
The Gold Sox' season opener is May 28 against the Cenco Sultans.
Appeal-Democrat assistant sports editor Matt O'Donnell can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.