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Armada completes sweep of Silver Sox

Armada completes sweep of Silver Sox

BY DARRELL MOODY

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – Reno Silver Sox manager Les Lancaster officially waved the white flag of surrender Monday night.

“We can’t win it (the second half), but we can have a say-so in who does,” Lancaster said after the first-place Long Beach Armada completed a four-game sweep of the Silver Sox with a 10-1 win at Peccole Park behind seven-plus strong innings by Dustin Gober, who improved to 4-0.

Long Beach is now 16-3 and Reno, which has lost seven of its last eight, dropped to 6-12 and 9 1/2 games behind the Armada with just 20 days left in the season.

Simply put, what a difference a year makes. A year ago, Reno won the close games because of the bullpen work of Nate Sevier and Scott Schneider, a pair of hard-throwing right-handers.

This year, Golden Baseball League teams have carved up Reno relief pitching like sacrificial lambs. Except for Eric Thomas, and he had one really bad outing, nobody has gotten the job done on a consistent basis.

That alone made for a tough four-game homestand against the Armada.

“It is (tough),” Lancaster said. “We were in every game, and once we turned it over to the bullpen, things blew up.”

That’s an understatement. In the four games against the Armada, Reno relief pitchers gave up 27 runs and 28 hits in 16 innings of work. It was ugly to watch.

This game was rolling along until the ninth.

Trailing 3-1, Jason Martinez and Adam Harendza had each tossed a scoreless inning to sweep the Sox within striking distance.

You don’t bring your closer in when you are behind, so Lancaster went to Brock. In essence, there went the old ballgame.

Seven hits and seven runs later, the stunned Silver Sox went out meekly in the ninth to end the game.

The big blow in the ninth was a grandslam by Dan Trumble, his ninth round-tripper of the season. Chris Klemm, John Kaplan and Jaime Martinez had the other run-scoring hits.

“I’m not going to run Thomas out there every night just to keep it close,” Lancaster said. “We have to be able to get it to Thomas.”

Lancaster said the Sox didn’t execute at the plate or on the bases, and that contributed to the loss.

Trailing 3-1 with runners at first and second in the eighth inning, Ryan Kowalski failed to get the 0-1 pitch down. Long Beach catcher David Ramirez picked off Sam Walker at second base. Kowalski finished a miserable at-bat by taking a called third strike for the second out. Gober walked Juan Senreiso, and left the game in favor of Taylor George, who walked a batter before striking out Adam Amar with the bases loaded.

“When you’re not going anywhere, you don’t go until the ball goes down,” Lancaster said.

Reno wasted another good scoring opportunity in the fifth when Mike Done walked and stole second. Lancaster decided to let Chuck Sindlinger swing away to advance the runner, and possibly sneak one through the infield. Sindlinger struck out looking, and Gober retired the next two hitters.

Gober scattered seven hits and fanned seven in 7 2/3 innings.

“He threw a good game,” said Kane Simmons, whose solo homer was the extent of Reno’s offense. “It’s easy to pitch when you’re always ahead in the count.”

Reno also wasted a strong start by newcomer Chris Saenz, who allowed three runs and six hits over six innings. He fanned nine and walked four, but left with a two-run deficit.

“We’re trying to bring his pitch count up,” Lancaster said. “He had a live fastball tonight. He had a good outing.”

NOTES: Catcher Maza Chikazawa’s Silver Sox career is over. Chikazawa apparently told Lancaster that his knee was bothering him, and he wouldn’t be able to play the rest of the season. Lancaster said prior to the game, he knew nothing about the injury … Lancaster has a new catcher that will join the team in Yuma, and he also plans to add pitcher to the staff.

• Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281