Silver Sox can’t execute in loss to Yuma
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – Although the Reno Silver Sox had managed to put together a modest two-game winning streak, they showed Saturday that they’re not quite back to the form that won them the first-half championship in the Golden Baseball League.
The Sox lost a two-run lead, stranded 10 baserunners and failed to bring the tying runner home from third base two times in the eighth inning along the way to a 5-4 loss to the Yuma Scorpions in front of 2,217 fans at Peccole Park.
The loss dropped the third-place Sox to 12-12 in the second half and 37-27 overall.
“I think we capitalized on some things and they couldn’t get some things done tonight,” said Scorpions manager Benny Castillo. “When it came to sacrifice bunting, they did a poor job.”
With a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Scorpions reliever Jared Bonnelle walked Reno right fielder Phil Grau to open the inning. Grau advanced to third on a throwing error by Bonnelle to first base when D.J. Stacey laid down a sacrifice bunt and advanced to second with no out.
Grau was thrown out at the plate on C.J. Lang’s sacrifice bunt and Castillo pulled Bonnelle in favor of Roger Luque.
Sox second baseman Mike Done followed with a suicide squeeze and Stacey was thrown out at the plate before Luque got catcher Marcus Jensen to fly out to right to end the inning.
“When you can’t get the easiest thing done in professional baseball, the sacrifice bunt…we’ll be getting on that the next few days,” Silver Sox manager Les Lancaster said of Reno’s lack of execution. “It’s not going to be something we’re going to tweak for tomorrow. Until I’m satisfied, it’s going to be something we’ll be working on a lot. When I’m pleased with what I see, we’ll go back to doing our regular stuff.”
With two out in the ninth, Doug Gredvig singled off closer Walt Nolen, but Nolen – who earned his fifth save of the season, got third baseman Bub Madrid to ground to third baseman Henry Calderon, who threw out pinch runner Brandon Carter at second to end the game.
Yuma starter Ryan Amason (4-4) picked up the win for the Scorpions, who improved to 8-16 in the second half, 26-38 overall. Amason gave up four runs and 10 hits over 5-plus innings. Jared Terrabonne and Luque combined for 1 2/3 innings of hitless, shutout ball.
Reno starter James Johnson (2-2) took the loss, giving up five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of work, while striking out four. Chris Marini came on in relief, giving up two hits in 3 2/3 innings and striking out four.
Johnson took a 4-2 lead into the sixth, but left fielder Billy Malone drilled his second consecutive homer – a two-run shot to center – to tie it. Kalen Norton’s sacrifice fly drove in Hector Tena for the 5-4 lead.
Malone finished 3-for-4 with 4 RBI.
Jensen, who went hitless in four at-bats, said it was all a matter of failed execution by the Sox.
“We didn’t capitalize on some opportunities to score on sacrifice bunts,” Jensen said. “Les stressed that. We couldn’t advance runners. We battled though. Marini did a good job coming in to shut them down. That was a positive.”
Lancaster was also happy with Marini’s relief work.
“Marini did an outstanding job. He kept us in the game,” Lancaster said. “James had that one inning (the sixth) where he couldn’t get ahead in the count and was lobbing the ball in.”
Malone put the Scorpions on top in the first, driving in Calderon with a dribbler to third.
Reno came back strong in the second, when center fielder James Shanks legged out a triple, which scored designated hitter Masashi Chikazawa to tie it 1-1. Gredvig, who went 3-for-5, scored Shanks on an infield chopper and Lang made it 3-1 with a sacrifice fly.
Malone’s first homer – another shot to dead center – cut Reno’s lead to 3-2 in the fourth.
Madrid gave Reno a 4-2 lead, driving in Shanks with a single up the middle, but Yuma’s sixth and the Sox’s failed execution doomed any chance for a Reno victory.
Castillo said that in spite of its second-half swoon, Reno is still the same team it was in the first half and that’s because of Lancaster.
“I think Les is doing a good job using his bench,” Castillo said. “I like the fact that although they won the first half, he’s not sitting around. He’s barking at the team and gets in their face. That’s a sign of a good manager.”
Jensen said that it’s high time Reno gets its act together.
“It’s got to be done,” Jensen said. “In the playoffs, every out will count. We don’t have the kind of offense anymore where we can score three runs when we want to. When it comes down to the playoffs, it comes down to execution.”
Reno and Yuma will meet at 5:05 today to decide the winner of the three-game set. Reno will start right-hander Carlos Chavez (6-2, with a 4.50 earned run average), while Yuma counters with Bryan Bunyan (4-5, 5.40).
Notes: Outfielder Steve Booker missed Saturday’s game because of a wedding and is expected to return…Reno Silver Sox director of operations Doug Collyer will leave the team following today’s game to return to law school in Rhode Island. Collyer is in his second year of law school and plans on becoming a sports agent.