Silver Sox can’t stop clinching party
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – The Silver Sox delayed Long Beach’s second-half pennant-clinching Tuesday night with a thrilling extra-inning win, but couldn’t repeat the effort Wednesday night.
Long Beach scored five early runs off Reno starter Chris Saenz and held off a spirited late charge by Reno to grab an 11-8 win at Peccole Park to advance to next week’s best-of-five playoff series against first-half winner Chico.
Long Beach improved to 25-9 in the second half with four games left. Reno fell to 12-22.
It was another disappointing effort, and Reno manager Les Lancaster has seen far too many of them this season.
“The first two innings errors killed us,” Lancaster said. “Our pitch selection wasn’t good. It’s like they weren’t paying attention to how we were getting people out. There were too many first-pitch fastballs to dead-red hitters. We were doing them a favor.
“It’s tough when you fall behind like that. When your pitchers can’t keep the game close. It puts a lot of pressure on the offense.”
For the second straight night, the Silver Sox fell behind early thanks to a homer by Dan Trumble.
Jonny Kaplan doubled to open the game off Saenz, but was thrown out at third trying to advance on Chris Klemm’s groundball to short. After Chris Wakeland reached on an error by first baseman Adam Amar, Trumble followed with his 11th homer of the season.
The Armada made it 5-0 in the top of the second, as two runs scored on a passed ball and throwing error by catcher Josh McLeod.
The Sox fought back with three runs in the bottom of the inning, as walks to Chuck Sindlinger and Victor Hall plus a single by McLeod loaded the bases. Ryan Kowalski singled up the middle, scoring Sindlinger and McLeod. Hall scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3.
Long Beach padded its lead to 6-3 in the fourth when Jorge Araiza hit a two-out bloop single to score Kirk Gross, who walked and stole second.
Reno closed the gap to 6-4 in the fifth when Mike Done squeezed home Juan Senreiso, who had singled to open the inning.
Saenz, who was ineffective throughout, finally was removed from the game after Jonny Kaplan ripped a two-out double to the right-center field gap to make it 8-3 in the top of the sixth. Matt Parris came on to get the final out of the inning.
Kowalski delivered another run-scoring hit in the last of the sixth to make it 8-5. Kowalski went 2-for-5 with three RBI. Sam Walker and Senreiso also had two hits for the Sox, who managed 13 for the game.
Jaime Martinez slammed his 12th homer of the season to lead off the seventh for a 9-5 lead. The Armada added two more runs in the top of the eighth on a run-scoring infield out by Araiza and a single by Martinez, who went 3-for-5.
Reno didn’t quit, however, scoring two unearned runs in the top of the eighth thanks to a wild pitch and a run-scoring single by Senreiso.
The Silver Sox added one more in the ninth when Amar doubled and scored on Walker’s two-out single before reliever Sean Buller closed out the game.
Notes: The Armada’s post-game celebration was on the quiet side, though it did involve some beer and champagne. The team decided to stay overnight instead of leaving for Chico right after the game … The Orange County Flyers come in for a season-ending four-game series starting tonight at 7.