Sox get folded up
Throughout the summer, Gold Sox pitcher Nicolas Waechter hasn't shown many obvious weaknesses.
In fact, Waechter has shown he can downright nasty and dominant.
However, one of Waechter's chinks in the armor - fielding his position - was exposed Thursday night against the Solano Thunderbirds.
Two plays were crucial to the right-hander's downfall, and Yuba-Sutter never recovered, dropping a 12-0 decision in the California Collegiate League finale in Marysville.
The Gold Sox (36-15, 16-10) finish CCL play in second place. The Santa Barbara Foresters, currently playing in the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan., claimed the league crown.
Meanwhile, Solano pitchers Eric Van Slyke (3-3) and Craig Eagle combined on a two-hitter. Van Slyke left the game after five no-hit innings and helped hand Waechter (6-1) his first setback of the season.
The first of Waechter's misplays occured in Solano's three-run second inning.
Anthony Esquer reached on a scwibber to the right side, on a ball second baseman Ryan Angel couldn't handle.
After one out, Johnny Dudoit singled to put runners at first and third. Kris Negron tapped the ball back to the mound. Waechter checked third, then second before throwing to first base too late as everyone was safe.
“He needs some work on his pitching defense,” Gold Sox manager Brad Peek said. “He should have just thrown the ball to second base and just ignored the guy at third. He gets the double play there, and we're out of the inning.”
Drew Gilmore then followed with a two-run single to left. Negron eventually scored on Steve Andres' sacrifice fly.
Gilmore cracked a solo homer in the sixth and finished 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Dudoit was 4-for-5.
Van Slyke, who redshirted at Arizona State before throwing for Chandler Community College last year, mixed in a sharp fastball with two breaking pitches and a slider to stymie Yuba-Sutter's offense.
“I thought we had a chance to get back in it after the two walks in the second inning,” Peek said. “After he got out of that, I think that was a huge boost. In the first inning, I thought he was pretty average, but then he got out of that jam and had a lot of confidence.”
Yuba-Sutter third baseman Brennan Garr broke up the no-hitter in the sixth on a double that center fielder Shawn Shoffit's had to make a long run on but dropped.
Angel had the only other hit, a single to left to lead off the eighth, but Eagle struck out Mark Steinbeck, Frank Jeney and R.C. Dickerson to end that inning. Eagle notched the four-inning save.
The Thunderbirds (29-21, 11-14) won for the first time in Marysville this season, dropping the previous three games by a combined 22-7 count.
“We never brought that up,” Van Slyke said. “We've just had a lot of injuries this year, and we've had to throw a lot of new guys on the field.”
Solano added another three-spot in the fifth to break it open. The Thunderbirds had four hits in the inning, and a throwing error by Waechter helped contribute to the 6-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds capped off the 16-hit onslaught by sending nine hitters to the plate in the ninth against reliever Jason Searle.