A ‘Walker’ off win for Sox
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Quite simply, Reno didn’t deliver offensively in clutch situations late in Tuesday night’s game against the Long Beach Armada.
The Silver Sox left the bases jammed in the sixth, stranded two on in the ninth and one on in the 10th. You could sense the frustration building as the game went on.
Sam Walker ended all that with a single to center off hard-throwing Dane DeLaRosa with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning to score Mike Done with the winning run and give the Silver Sox a thrilling 4-3 win at Peccole Park.
Reno escaped sole possession of the Golden Baseball League cellar with the victory. The Sox and St. George are tied at 12-21.
Done singled to open the 12th and stole second. After Ryan Kowalski grounded out to short, DeLaRosa threw three straight balls to Chuck Sindlinger. The Armada threw an intentional wide ball four, setting the stage for Walker’s first-pitch walk-off single.
“I was thinking that he would come straight at me with the fastball on the first pitch,” said Walker, who failed in an earlier attempt to win the game. “I was able to put a pretty good swing on it.”
“We did have opportunities and stuff in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th,” Reno manager Les Lancaster said. “I take my hat off to their team for making good pitches and good plays.”
This was more about Walker’s game-winning hit, however
The Silver Sox got a spectacular 8 2/3 innings from starter Nick Moran, who fanned 10. Relievers Eric Thomas and Joe Walentin finished up, throwing a combined 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball. Walentin, 1-1, picked up the win.
“I made three mistakes and they hit them all,” said Moran, referring to the homers by Dan Trumble and Gabe Mayorga and a double by Chris Wakeland. “I had really good command all night. The slider was my out pitch.”
Armada starter Dustin Gober, staked to that early 2-0 lead, threw four scoreless innings before running into problems in the fifth.
Walker hit a one-out double and stayed at second when Kirk Gross misplayed Josh McLeod’s groundball. Gober plunked Victor Hall with a pitch to load the bases. Maurice Cole blooped a 2-1 pitch into short right field for a two-run single, tying the game at 2.
Juan Senreiso followed with a groundball to short. Jorge Araiza dropped the throw from shortstop Gabe Mayorga, allowing Hall to score from third with the go-ahead run. Gober retired the next two hitters to end the inning.
Reno threatened in the sixth on walks to Kowalski and Hall plus a single by Sindlinger. However, Cole couldn’t come through in the clutch this time, lofting a fly ball to short right field.
The Silver Sox wasted another good opportunity in the seventh when Senreiso laced a double to right-center field off ex-Silver Sox Adam Nikolic. Adam Amar hit a comebacker to Nikolic, who had Senreiso nailed at third, but his high throw enabled Senreiso to get in safely. Armada catcher David Ramirez picked off Senreiso, and then Nikolic fanned Mike Done and retired Kowalski on a soft liner to short to end the threat.
Moran, who retired 21 of the next 24 batters after Trumble’s homer, was one out away from the win when Mayorga launched a solo homer to left, tying the game at 3.
“I felt good in the ninth,” Moran said. “I just made one bad pitch.”
Moran left the game after the Armada put runners at first and second. Thomas retired Araiza on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Reno had a chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth, but Done grounded out weakly to second with runners at first and third and two outs.
The Silver Sox put a runner at second with two outs in the 10th, but Josh McLeod rolled out to first base for the third out.
Lancaster said he toyed with the idea of swinging Kane Simmons for the light-hitting McLeod, but decided against it.
“McLeod’s wrist was hurting,” Lancaster said. “I’ve seen it before. You pinch-hit for the catcher and put a new catcher back there ….We rolled the dice and took a chance.”
Both teams went out quietly in the 11th, setting the stage for a wild 12th inning.
The Armada had the go-ahead run at second with two outs, but Walentin fanned Chris Klemm to end the threat, setting the stage for Walker’s heroics in the bottom of the inning.
Notes: The three-game series ends tonight at 7 with Reno’s Chris Saenz (0-3, 7.71) opposing Long Beach’s Andrew Layfield (2-1, 4.83)… The Orange County Flyers come in for a season-ending four-game series. The season concludes with a 5 p.m. double-header on Saturday. Both games will be seven innings.