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Reno falls to Scorpions

MIKE HOUSER
Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – After taking two of three games on the road from first-half Golden Baseball League champion Chico, the Reno Silver Sox had a golden opportunity to get within one game of second-half leader Yuma Tuesday at Peccole Park.

But Reno gave up a two-run seventh-inning lead and fell, 9-8, to the Scorpions and dropped three games back of first place in front of announced crowd of 834.

“We’re the road warriors – we’re never at home,” said Yuma manager Mike Marshall, whose Scorpions won their sixth game in a row and 10th of their last 11. “The ball jumps to left field here – left center and to center.

“We’ve been doing it with our pitching, but tonight that didn’t happen. It was our hitters who got it done. I think (Silver Sox manager) Les (Lancaster) would agree it was a sloppy game for both sides. We just happened to score one more run.”

Lancaster, whose Silver Sox fell to 3-3 in the second half and 21-22 overall, wasn’t in a talkative mood following the loss to Yuma, now 6-0.

“Ask them why we lost,” Lancaster said of his players. “I’m tired of saying. That’s all I can tell you.”

For that matter, all one had to do was look at the statistics to see why Reno lost. Although the Sox managed 13 hits, they stranded 10 runners. Yuma, which had 12 hits, stranded six and overcame an 8-6 deficit in a three-run eighth.

“We battled the whole game,” said Shawn Balteff, who got his first start for Reno and his first in five years, since his high school days. “I understand we had a lot of opportunities. I wish we could’ve won, but it’s all good. Next time we’ll cash in.”

Balteff went six innings, giving up four earned runs and seven hits, striking out two.

Jason Martinez, Adam Nicolic (who is now 1-1 and took the loss) and Eric Thomas combined for three innings, allowing a combined five runs, five hits and five walks.

First baseman and hitting coach Mike Done led the Silver Sox offensively, going 3-for-5, with 2 runs batted in. Done had an RBI single to give Reno a 1-0 lead in the second and hit his third home run in as many games to tie the game 2-2 in the fifth.

Reno left fielder Kane Simmons kick-started the Silver Sox with a mammoth leadoff solo homer over the center-field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Reno a 5-4 lead.

The blast was Simmons’ 10th of the year, tops in the GBL.

Simmons, of Chattanooga, Tenn., who put his personal training career on hold after getting an opportunity to play for the Sox, was 2-for-3. He is hitting over .330 and has 30 RBI in 24 games for Reno.

“I’m just picking their brains, getting all the information I can, the left-handed Simmons said of his teammates. “Mike (Done) has helped me out a lot hitting. I’ve always been an aggressive batter – a free-swinger. I strike out a lot (25 times, so far), but more often than not I hit it.

“This park is great. It always blows out to the left. In college I hit them out (opposite field). Lately I’ve been seeing the ball right and hitting them to right.”

After Simmons’ blast, Maurice Cole and Ryan Kowalski each had RBI doubles to give Reno a 7-4 lead after six.

Yuma starter Steve Soja went 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits. Marco Solis, Matt Saucedo (who got the win and is now 1-2) and Neil Hayes combined for 3 1/3 innings with Solis allowing the only other run. Saucedo gave up two hits in his 1 1/3 innings of work.

The Scorpions struck back in the seventh, with A.J. Valentine contributing an RBI double and Maikel Jova adding another run on a fielder’s choice to cut the lead to 7-6.

After former Nevada star Bub Madrid added an RBI single to give Reno an 8-6 lead in the seventh, Jordan Prado hit an RBI single and Yosvany Almario gave the Scorpions the lead for good with a two-run single.

Reno will try and get back on the winning track today and will start Nick Moran (2-1 with a 4.83 earned run average). Yuma will start Roger Luque (4-2, 1.85 ERA). The game begins at 7 p.m. at Peccole Park.