Armada bullies Silver Sox bullpen in win | NevadaAppeal.com
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Armada bullies Silver Sox bullpen in win

Armada bullies Silver Sox bullpen in win

BY THOMAS RANSON

Appeal News Service

RENO – James Johnson didn’t worry after seeing the first pitch of the game sail over the left field fence.

“I just said ‘OK, gather yourself again and move on,’ ” the Reno Silver Sox starter said.

He went back to work and settled down only to see the bullpen blow another lead in the Silver Sox’s 10-6 loss to the Long Beach Armada Saturday on “Election Night” at Peccole Park.

“You always want to (stay in longer),” said Johnson, who pitched six innings, allowed five runs and nine hits while striking out five. “With the game going in the seventh on a one-run lead, it’s the bullpen’s job to close it out.”

Reno (6-10 in the second half of the Golden Baseball League season)) hosts first-place Long Beach (14-3) tonight at 5 p.m. for the third of a four-game series. The two teams square off a final time Monday at 7 p.m.

With the Silver Sox ahead 6-5 after the third inning, both Johnson and Armada starter Ryan Claypool battled in a classic duel over the next three innings. Fortunately for Long Beach, its bullpen came in and shut down the Silver Sox.

“Our bullpen did the job,” Armada manager Darrell Evans said. “He (Claypool) had a couple of bad innings.”

During the middle of the game, both starters had little difficulty retiring the opposition as Claypool sat down 14 of his last 16 batters faced, while Johnson retired 12 of his last 14. Claypool pitched six innings and gave up six runs (five earned) and four hits.

“Both of us sort of realized that enough is enough and buckled down,” Johnson said of the duel. “He did it one inning too soon.”

Sean Buller recorded the win after throwing two shutout innings, and Shawn Balteff took the loss.

“If you don’t throw strikes, you won’t get people out,” Evans stressed with his pitching staff. “He (Claypool) started throwing strikes. This is the second time he’s done that. He gave us a chance.”

Down by a run in the seventh, Gabe Mayorga tied the game on sacrifice fly to right field. With Kirk Gross at the plate, Jason Mooneyham scored on Balteff’s wild pitch to give the Armada a 7-6 lead.

Three more runs in the eighth inning sealed the win for Long Beach. Dan Trumble drove in two runs on a single, and Gross hit a sac fly to left field for the team’s 10th run.

“We have a bunch of guys who swing the bats good,” Evans said of his team who out-hit Reno 14-4. “You have to give their pitcher (Johnson) credit.”

Both teams’ lead-off batters went yard in the first inning with Jonny Kaplan hooking Johnson’s first pitch over left field. Jaime Martinez singled in a run as the Armada plated their first four batters of the game.

“He’s been playing great,” Evans said of Kaplan. “Right now, he’s as good as anybody in the league. He sets the tone.”

Victor Hall put Reno on the scoreboard with a blast to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Juan Senreiso tied the game after Claypool threw wide of second base in trying to turn a double play. Mike Done followed with a RBI single into right field, and Masa Chikazawa gave the Silver Sox a two-run lead with a sac fly to left.

Cole Cicatelli hit Johnson’s first pitch of the second inning over the left field fence, just like Kaplan. Johnson also gave up three consecutive doubles in the third running as the Armada plated two.

Ryan Kowalski hit a two-run, opposite field double into the left-field gap in the second to give Reno a 6-3 lead before Long Beach scored two in the third.