Valentine, Sox hitters have good Elk hunt
Sunday, June 5, 2005 - The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox survived a scare from the Bend Elks or Oregon in the top of the ninth inning Sunday night, but held off the visitors for a 9-5 Horizon Air Summer Series victory.
The Elks trailed 9-1 heading into the top of the ninth, but Sean Kinney blasted a three-run home run off reliever Steve Alverson, who entered in the inning, to make things interesting. Alverson picked up two quick outs, but then allowed runners to reach first and second before getting a fly out to end the game.
It was a relief for the Gold Sox bullpen, who had blown two leads during a three-game loss skid, which ended with a victory on Saturday.
The Gold Sox (5-3, 4-3) were more selective at the plate, getting seven hits but drawing
eight walks to set runners in scoring position. It's something manager Brad Peek has been looking for from his club.
“We got quite a few walks but walks are good,” Peek said. “The pitchers were a little wild but we were also being patient, fouling off pitches and forcing them to really pitch.”
A.J. Valentine had three hits - including a two-run double in a three-run third - and recorded three RBIs, giving him a team-high 10 on the season. Jason Searle followed an 0-for-4 outing Saturday with a two-RBI single in the Gold Sox four-run fourth.
“I've never seen Searle struggle. His hit was huge and hopefully it will get him going,” Peek said.
The Gold Sox broke open the game with the big fourth inning, taking a 7-0 lead and running starting and losing pitcher Devon Zeller from the game.
Searle hit his RBI-single to left off reliever Zach Falk with Jesse Rodgers and Valentine aboard. Zach Weidenaar, who scored four times and was hit by two pitches, came home on an error, and Rodgers scored when Jordan Prado walked with the bases loaded.
Valentine's double off the wall in right scored Weidenaar - who reached on one of his two singles - and Koester.
“It was huge,” Peek said of Valentine's double. “He wasn't quite as hot this week as he was last week. He swung at a couple poor pitches and then got back in there and did what he should be doing. He is going to have to be a big run producer for us.”
The Gold Sox added a run in the sixth on no hits. Falk plunked Weidenaar, walked Valentine and hit Searle to load the bases. Junior Contreras hit a ground ball to short, which forced out Searle at second but allowed Weidenaar to come home for a 8-2 lead.
Valentine picked up his 10th RBI of the season in the seventh after ripping a double back up the middle to plate Weidenaar.
Will Krout picked up his second win as a Gold Sox player, pitching five effective innings, scattering four hits, while fanning six and walking one. Krout was pulled in the sixth for West Porter after Ben Cooper reached on an error by Rodgers.
“Krout was going to be a five-inning guy, and he only went six because there was a right-handed coming up,” Peek said. “He had a good outing, but I had to get other guys in the game.”
Krout, who graduated from Sonoma this spring, pitched a complete-game two hitters last week. He will be leaving the Gold Sox this week, trying his luck in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, which starts Tuesday.
Porter lasted two innings, giving up an unearned run on two hits, while walking three and fanning two. Jake McKinley pitched a spotless eighth.