Hey batter, batter...
May 26, 2006 - The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox have never lost a season-opening game and Thursday was no different.
The Gold Sox looked extremely comfortable with the wood bat, pounding out 13 hits and crushing the Seaside Wildcats of Oregon, 10-2, in front of a reported opening-night crowd of 1,842 at All Seasons RV Stadium in Marysville.
All but one batter in the Gold Sox's starting lineup recorded a hit, and Chris Brown led the onslaught after going 3-for-4 and driving in two runs.
It was the largest margin of victory on opening night in the team's history. The second game in the four-game Horizon Air Summer Series game is scheduled for 7 o'clock tonight.
“I was really pleased with the way we hit the ball,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. “(Wednesday) during our intra-squad game, hitting coach Chris Terry and I were talking about how no one we saw swinging would have a problem hitting with the wood bats. It wasn't overpowering pitching (Thursday), but these guys are just starting to use the wood bat, so that was good.”
The Gold Sox were crisp in all aspects of the game and showed a lot of speed at the top of the order with Joél Torres and Etienne Materre stealing a base each and combining for five runs. They each had two hits, including a double from Torres.
Starting pitcher Matt Huff wasn't overpowering and struggled with his control at times. The right-hander out of Regis University allowed just three hits and one run, while fanning four, walking two and hitting two batters.
Huff was showcasing his talents for major league scouts and is looking to get drafted in June's amateur draft.
“Huff was fine but we've seen him better,” Peek said. “I think his rhythm was off a little bit tonight, but I know he'll be better his next time out.”
Jake McKinley, a senior from Bethany, was also showcasing for a scout from the independent Chico Outlaws. He picked up the win in four innings of relief, allowing five hits and one run, while striking out six with no walks.
“McKinley threw well. I think he's closer to his top game than Huff,” Peek said.
Seaside had no chance from the beginning with starting pitcher Dan Terranova allowing four consecutive singles and two runs before recording an out in the first inning. He allowed three more runs in the second, including A.J. Valentine's two-run single up the middle, his second of three hits on the night. He finished with four RBIs.
“I just get excited and I love playing here, with this team and in front of these fans,” said Valentine, who is back for a fourth season.
Seaside pulled Terranova in the fourth for Kyle Corwin, and the Gold Sox lit him up for four more runs. Corwin lasted just a one-third of an inning, allowing five hits, including a two-run triple by Brett Nightingale to the 30-foot wall in deep right-center field.
The huge inning, which included Torres' double, a Chris Brown RBI-single and Valentine's fourth RBI, gave the Gold Sox a commanding 9-0 lead.
“That's what we need (Valentine) to do. He picked up right where he finished his collegiate season, and with us last summer,” Peek said.
“He smoked the ball in the first, absolutely crushed it.”
Seaside kicked the ball around for three errors in the seventh inning that led to the Gold Sox's final run.
Josh Roberts shut down the Wildcats in the ninth, striking out the side to end the game.
Notes: Yuba City High prodcut Alberto Rolon will start tonight's game. Rolon is a junior from Sonoma State University and returning Gold Sox player. He worked his way into Sonoma's starting rotation and became the team's most effective pitcher, finishing the spring with a 6-3 record and 3.68 ERA in 511/3 innings pitched.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Justin Miller can be reached at 749-4796. You may e-mail him at email@example.com