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Still sweet on opening day, barely
Gold Sox start summer off with wild win
They high-fived, bumped chests, threw their fists in the air and went over to the fence to sign autographs.
Yesterday, the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox were a group of players from around the country that had practiced for the first time.
After what they endured in a taxing 6-5 opening day win on Thursday over the Redding Colt .45s, manager Jack Johnson knows that he now has a team.
"Everybody contributed," he said. "As a manager you love to see games like this. Everyone is on the bench cheering for each other. It brings them together."
Yuba College product Adrian Perez was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Dan Brown was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs to lead the Gold Sox, who fell behind twice but climbed back atop the scoreboard thanks to timely clutch hitting.
Down 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth, Brown and Perez delivered. Brown led off with a single and advanced to second on a two-out wild pitch during Perez's at-bat, which would turn into a clutch two-bagger that allowed the tying run to score.
Perez was brought in on a pinch-hit single from Michael Wiseman for the go-ahead run.
"I knew I had to step it up," Perez said. "I tried to hit a double and I did."
But the heroics in the batter's box may have never materialized if it wasn't for a hometown kid -- who played high school baseball less than a mile away — throwing out of his mind in the top of the eighth.
Marysville High grad and Yuba College pitcher Kendyle Blank was put into the game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. His approach was "to try and limit the damage," he said.
He did a lot more than that.
Blank struck out No. 2 hitter Nate Trujillo on three pitches and forced Drew Hedman into a 4-3 ground out to get the Gold Sox out of the jam and pave the way for the comeback.
"It felt good when that happened, you couldn't ask for anything better right there," said Blank, who was a last minute, opening-weekend only edition to the team. "I'm glad they called me."
Before the 1,859 fans in All Season RV Stadium could celebrate the Gold Sox win, they were thrown for one final loop when possible closer candidate Jeff Fisher-Gasper loaded the bases. However, he struck out Jake Savicki to end the game and preserve an opening day winning streak that dates back to 2003.
"In the back of my mind I was thinking about it," Johnson said of the now seven-year run of game-one wins. "But I definitely didn't tell anyone about it."
Down by a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning, the Gold Sox put themselves back into the game by scoring three times in the bottom of the frame.
No. 9 hitter Devan Braden led off the inning with a single to notch the Gold Sox's first hit of the game and
Dan Black followed it up with a base-knock of his own before Chris Steinbeck reached on an error to load the bases.
Yuba City High alumnus Justin Lamb drew a walk to score the teams first run of the season, Brown hit a sacrifice fly to score the second and the third came courtesy of a sharply hit single by Andy Quiring.
"They did a better job the second time around," Johnson said. "We hit the ball hard and put the ball in play."
The .45s would tie the game in the fifth after tallying three consecutive singles off Gold Sox Starter Trent Evans, who gave up three runs off seven hits in 41⁄3 innings.
But in this game an average start proved moot because the team finished.
"It was a great night, a great way to start the summer," Johnson said.