Kyle remains undefeated on the hill
Saturday, July 30, 2005 - Two down, two to go.
A first-inning three-run home run off the bat of Doug Thennis lifted the Yuba Sutter Gold Sox (32-13) to a 6-3 win over the Suisun City Sultans Friday night in the second of a four-game weekend series at All Seasons RV Stadium in Marysville.
The win improves the Gold Sox Horizon Air Summer Series record to 28-9, just a half game back of the Aloha Knights (29-9) in the McCullough Division.
Thennis' blast scored Matt Vance and A.J. Valentine and actually went through the Raley's and Bel Air shopping bag handle suspended over the left field fence to earn a fan $500 in free groceries. More than that, though, it gave the Gold Sox some much needed offensive momentum.
“That was a two-strike pitch that (Thennis) was just trying to get wood on,” said Gold Sox manager Brad Peek. “But sometimes that happens when you're as strong as he is.”
Kyle Hill earned his sixth win of the summer, striking out three and walking only one in 52/3 innings of work.
“Kyle gave us everything he had tonight,” said Peek, “and it was enough to win.”
Steve Alverson relieved Hill in the sixth and went 31/3 innings to finish the game and earn his first save.
“He's really saved us a couple of times this season,” said Peek. “Nobody deserves to have success more than Alverson. He works his rear end off.”
A bizarre play in the fifth inning started a merry-go-round that scored two runs for the Gold Sox.
With one out and Jesse Rodgers on second and A.J. Valentine on first, Thennis struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. Rodgers and Valentine had been moving on the pitch and Thennis, seeing the ball squirt away from Suisun City catcher Chris Brown, took off for first base.
Brown retrieved the ball and threw down to first, but his throw pulled first baseman Eric Radford off the bag. By this time, Rodgers was heading for home and Valentine was digging for third.
Radford threw to third after a sliding Valentine, but his throw was wild and Valentine got up and came home to score.
Thennis, now standing on third, was called out by home plate umpire Wayne Neault because he had struck out with first base occupied and less than two outs.
That meant that Brown's throw to first was completely unnecessary since Thennis was out whether he had caught the third strike or not.
“I was surprised that the catcher threw it,” said Peek. “Without that play, it's a whole different ball game.”
Valentine drove in another run in the seventh with a two-strike, two-out single up the middle that scored Billy Krause. Valentine went 2-for-4 on the night and leads the Gold Sox regulars with a .349 batting average. He also has a nine-game hitting streak.
“That was an insurance run we just dearly needed,” said Peek.
Suisun City leadoff man Dan Kody went 2-for-5 with two stolen bases. He also scored in the first and the third innings. The Sultans loaded the bases in the sixth with one out, but were only able to push a run across in the inning.
Notes: Hill is the only regular Yuba-Sutter starter yet to suffer a loss on the year. ... Hill has allowed the most doubles of any starter with 16. ... Vance has now been hit by a pitch 10 times this season to lead the team; he also increased his stolen base total to 15.
Sports Reporter Nathan Collier can be reached at 743-4714. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.