Searle's pitching dizzies Legends
Gold Sox pitcher Jason Searle may have looked like he was shutting down the Sacramento Legends with a variety of different pitches.
The truth was, his repertoire consisted primarily of a fastball and breaking ball. It was Searle's multiple arm angles that had the Legends dizzy with co-nfusion.
Searle took a no-hitter in-to the seventh inning and retired 16 in a row at one point as Yuba-Sutter completed a two-game nonleague sweep over the Legends in Marysville on Friday night.
Searle (3-1), from Vanguard University in Southern California, was impeccably sharp, using an effective breaking ball to set up his mid-80s fastball.
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said he doesn't know what to call one of Searle's pitches, although it acts like a sinker.
“Basically, it's a sinking fastball,” explained Searle, who struck out eight and allowed two singles in seven innings. “I'll drop down and throw it to a lot of lefties.”
Shortstop Mark Steinbeck, who had three hits, said Searle was effective because he never became predictable.
“He kept all of their hitters off balance,” Steinbeck said. “We were talking, and he said that he never threw the same sequence of pitches to any hitter. I think that's why he was so tough.”
The Gold Sox (17-4) rocked Sacramento starting and losing pitcher Russell Hocking (2-2) for 12 hits and eight runs, seven earned, in 4 1/3 innings. For the second straight night, Yuba-Sutter scored three times in the first inning.
Frank Jeney lined a double to left to lead off the inning, R.C Dickerson walked and Searle singled to left.
Jeney then scored the first run when the ball skipped past left fielder Ed Gill and Dickerson crossed the plate when Hocking bounced the ball to the backstop. Brennan Garr drove in A.J. Valentine for the third run and extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single up the box.
Yuba-Sutter added single runs in the second and fourth innings and then chased Hocking with a three-run fifth.
Dickerson and Searle each singled to lead off that inning. After one out, Garr singled home Dickerson, and Morales singled in Searle to end Hocking's night. Jeff Woodard replaced Hocking and induced a groundout from Ricky Bambino, but Garr scored on the play.
The Gold Sox finished with 15 hits overall. Jeney, Searle, Garr and Morales all had two hits.
But the night belonged to Searle, whose no-hitter was broken up when Kyle Raulinaitis' clean single to left led off the seventh. Searle actually worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the inning and gave way to relievers Gary Simmons and Wes Porter in the eighth and ninth.
The Legends (7-10) broke up the shutout in the eighth when Ryan Magill doubled and scored on Kevin Magill's groundout.
The Gold Sox made two defensive gems to prolong the no-hitter. Dickerson, the center fielder, made a diving catch to rob Keith Raulinaitis in the second, and Kyle Maunus threw out the sluggish Ed Gill from right field in the fourth.
Searle said it was at that point that he happened to glance back at the scoreboard and knew he hadn't given up a hit. However, he was unaware he had retired 16 in a row until after the game.
The right-hander made his last start June 11. Peek had been resting him a bit because of a sore hamstring but was prepared to let Searle finish the game if he still had the no-hitter still going in the ninth.
“He's not overpowering, and I still think we can get more velocity out of his arm,” Peek said. “But he has great composure and poise. He doesn't get flustered.”
Searle said he and Morales were on the same page all night.
“I didn't shake him off once,” Searle said.
Notes: Steinbeck's run-scoring single in the fourth was his first RBI of the season ... Jeney now has an eight-game hitting streak and has reached base in 19 of 20 games ... Searle picked up his team-leading 16th RBI of the year with a sacrifice fly in the sixth ... Porter (Yuba College) made his team-leading 10th appearance and struck out the side in the ninth despite two singles. Porter has struck out 20 and walked only two in 15 2/3 innings.
Appeal-Democrat assistant sports editor Matt O'Donnell can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.