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Kenny LeBeau gets ready to swing before knocking the Gold Sox’s first grand slam of the season during a game in May, 2020. Thursday’s season-opener is open to 1.000 fans – about a 900 spectator jump from a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

There will be a lot of change at Colusa Casino Stadium in Marysville this summer. 

The Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox begin a new season that is 44 games long (40 at home) with a new field manager and fresh permitted fan capacity that is a 900-person increase from a year ago when just 100 masked fans were allowed in the ballpark due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yuba-Sutter’s first test will be today (Thursday), 7 p.m. at home against Lincoln. 

General Manager Tommy Lininger said 1,000 fans will be permitted into the ballpark until further notice. There will also be concessions and beer for sale inside for all ticketed fans. 

“Masks are not required for the public as we are outdoors,” Lininger said Wednesday in a statement. 

That’s a far cry from a year ago at this time when the Gold Sox played fewer games in front of a sparse crowd that was required to be masked up while inside the stadium. 

First-year field manager Brock Ragatz said the new requirements and criteria for attending summer baseball games means that society is slowly returning back to some semblance of normal. 

“Everybody has been waiting for this moment for the last year, it’s a great feeling,” Ragatz said. “It’s great for the players, the community (to give) players a professional atmosphere.” 

Ragatz said he and his predecessor, former big leaguer and Yuba City High product Brock Stassi, knew each very well. 

He said they coached together over the last year at William Jessup University and were roommates on the road. 

He feels honored to take over for such a great friend and colleague. 

Stassi, who will turn 32 later this summer, signed a deal with an independent team in the northeast, the Long Island Ducks. 

Ragatz knows that he has his work cut out for him after Stassi helped guide the Gold Sox to the Sierra Central – Montna Farms Summer Series championship a year ago during the truncated season. 

This summer, Yuba-Sutter will face teams from throughout California including teams from the California Collegiate League, the Bay Area Collegiate League as well as four home games against the Lincoln Potters. 

There are also four road games at Lincoln scheduled for this summer, Ragatz said. 

As a former Lincoln player and coach, he says it is awesome to maintain his relationship with Lincoln on the other side of the dugout. 

“The Gold Sox-Potters rivalry is very big,” Ragatz said. “I’m excited to get going.” 

Yuba-Sutter hosts Lincoln three times between now and July 1. They will also square off against Palo Alto, Bay Area Force, West Coast Kings, Sacramento, just to name a few through the first month of the season. 

Ragatz said the Gold Sox roster is a formidable one with five NCAA Division I players on it, as well as a few stat darlings from a few years ago. 

The team’s starting pitcher Thursday will be lefty Chris Daniels, who Ragatz said was recruited by UCLA out of high school and spent a year in Westwood before transferring up north. 

He currently is with the Sacramento City College Panthers.  Ragatz said there are also a handful of returners, including home run threat Brandon Motheral out of Sierra College. 

Locally, Brad Madison (Yuba City High grad) and Connor Timmons (East Nicolaus) also make up the opening-day roster. 

Lininger said tickets are available the day of the game, at the Yuba-Sutter office and online at goldsox.com.

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