Silver Sox end season with a win
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – The fireworks show started a little early Saturday night courtesy of diminutive Maurice Cole.
Cole went 3-for-4 and drove in a season-best six runs, as the Reno Silver Sox closed out a disappointing 2007 season with a 13-3 win over the Orange County Flyers in the nightcap of a double-header at Peccole Park.
The Flyers won the opening game, 4-0, behind the three-hit pitching of lefty Ben Fox.
After popping out in the first, Cole hit a two-run homer in the second, added a run-scoring single in the fourth and slammed a wind-aided three-run homer in the sixth to close out the scoring.
The 5-foot-9 Cole, who came fresh off a solid NAIA career, went 9-for-19 in his last five games, including two homers and 10 RBI. Certainly not a bad way to end the season.
“Not that I can remember,” Cole said when asked if he’d ever driven in six runs in a game. “Maybe one time in college. The first one (homer) I had a feeling it was out. The second one I thought it was to the left fielder.”
“Mo is a high-ball hitter,” said Reno manager Les Lancaster, whose team was 15-23 in the second half. “If he gets one up there, he can drive it for a small guy. The first one was legit. The second one the wind got a hold of it.”
Cole’s first homer gave Reno a 5-0 lead against starter/loser Mike Woolery.
A two-run homer by Scott Goodman off starter/winner Nick Moran in the top of the third and a bloop single by Alex Entrekin in the top of the fourth closed the deficit to 5-3.
Singles by Sam Walker, Josh McLeod and Victor Hall loaded the bases with no outs. Cole blooped a single to right, scoring Walker. Juan Senreiso hit into a double play, scoring McLeod to make it 7-3.
The Silver Sox put the game away with a six-run outburst in the fifth, as Cole hit his second homer of the game, this one off Ezequiel Ruvalcaba. Adam Amar also homered in the inning, his fourth round-tripper in two days.
Shawn Balteff and Eric Thomas pitched a hitless inning apiece in relief of Moran, who worked the first five innings.
In the opener, the Flyers broke a scoreless tie in the third with two runs off James Johnson.
Garry Templeton II and Dave Bacini hit back-to-back singles with one out, and Bret Levier followed with a two-run double to left field.
Orange County added two more in the fourth when Goodman homered and then Brett Thomas delivered a one-out run-scoring single to make it 4-0.
“The homer, that happens,” Johnson said. “I lost my focus for about two hitters.”
The four-run cushion proved more than enough for Fox, who fanned six and didn’t walk a batter in his route-going performance. Fox had to leave Thursday’s game because of dehydration, but he looked in tip-top shape on Saturday.
The Sox managed just three hits, two coming in the fourth inning, singles by Senreiso and Kane Simmons. Reno’s rally was short-circuited when Adam Amar hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
Fox retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced.
“He (Fox) threw a good game,” Reno infielder Mike Done said. “He was throwing the off-speed pitches for strikes early in the count. When they are doing that, it makes the fastball better.”
“I don’t think he was even throwing 80,” Lancaster said. “They don’t know how to hit a guy like that.”
This was an especially hard season for the Sox, who were 33-41 overall. It was just the second time in Lancaster’s eight-year managerial career that he didn’t make the playoffs and this year was his first losing season.
“It was definitely tough for me,” Lancaster said. “It was a learning experience. These guys gave me everything they had.
“We had 12 rookies on the team, and we got off to such a slow (2-8) start and we struggled offensively and defensively. Then our pitching went south. The last four-plus weeks I was really happy with our offense and defense.”
Notes: Simmons was named the team’s top rookie, ex-CHS star Dusty Bergman was named the top pitcher and Senreiso was named the team MVP. Those honors were passed out between games … The Bill Pearce Ball Toss for 2006 Honda Ridgeline didn’t net a winner, but the Silver Sox let the six finalists do their best imitation of throwing out PA announcer Mike Murray after he played the “Personally I Think We Got Hosed On That Play” sound bite which got him ejected earlier in the season. The winner was Tyler Riley… Amit Patel, the co-founder of the GBL was in attendance. He said that the league turned a small profit this season, and he said that he hopes the league can expand next season by two teams.