Huff sends Salinas packin'
If Matt Huff was nervous about what could be his last start for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox, it didn't show.
The 6-foot, 2-inch starting pitcher from Regis University allowed no runs and just one hit while striking out six in five innings as the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox (4-1, 3-1) grabbed a 6-1 win in the first of three games against the Salinas Valley Packers (3-2, 0-1) at All Seasons RV Stadium Thursday night.
All three games with the Packers will count in the Horizon Air Summer Series standings.
Huff is expected to be selected in next week's Major League baseball draft, and several of his Gold Sox teammates could get a call as well.
“A lot of teams have shown interest,” Huff said. “I just don't know the when and where yet.”
Should Huff sign with an MLB organization, Thursday's win will be the last appearance he'll make for the team.
“I think he handled it pretty well,” said Yuba-Sutter manager Brad Peek. “We hope it all works out for him.”
Doug Thennis led the Gold Sox offense in his first appearance this summer, going 3-for-4 with three doubles and three runs scored.
“I know he didn't do so well in junior college this year, but he's just a hitter,” Peek said. “The ball jumps off his bat more than it does with any of the players we have.”
Matt Kavanaugh also had two hits and three RBIs.
Thennis, who hit .238 for Sacramento City College this spring, also could be drafted on Tuesday or Wednesday. Others who could get the call are pitchers Souza and Tyler Pearson, and first baseman A.J. Valentine.
The Gold Sox were consistent in all areas of the game - they collected nine hits, committed no errors, and got solid pitching from Huff, Ryan Zaft and Josh Roberts, who combined to allow just three hits.
Peek called it “the best game we've played all year.”
A.J. Valentine got his first of two RBIs with a ground ball that scored Joél Torres in the first inning for an early 1-0 Gold Sox lead.
Thennis dropped a ball down the right-field line for a double to open the fourth inning.
Valentine then lined out to first and Brett Nightingale popped out to second base, but Matt Kavanaugh came through with a single up the middle to bring home Thennis for a 2-0 lead.
Thennis again doubled to open the sixth, and this time Valentine brought him home with a double to right-center. Brett Nightingale hit a deep fly to right that advanced Valentine to third, and Kavanaugh hit a sacrifice fly to score the run and put the Gold Sox up 4-0.
“Not only was it good hitting, it was also good situational hitting,” Peek said.
Etienne Materre and Thennis added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth for a 6-0 lead, and Josh Roberts struck out three of four in the top of the ninth to close it out.
Roberts had five strikeouts and one walk in two innings of work. Zaft pitched the sixth and seventh, striking out two while allowing two hits and the Packers' only run.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Nathan D. Collier can be reached at 749-4714. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.