Silver Sox let one slip away
Appeal Sports Writer
RENO – There was nothing easy about the way the Reno Silver Sox built up a 5-3 lead over the Orange County Flyers over eight innings Saturday at Peccole Park.
And even more difficult for the Silver Sox to take was the way the Flyers rallied for a three-run ninth inning and a 6-5 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,644 fans.
Reno’s 6-foot-8 closer, Eric Thomas, had his first taste of adversity as a member of the Silver Sox, allowing three runs, three walks and a wild pitch as the opportunistic Flyers improved to 5-6 in the second half of the Golden Baseball League season.
Third-place Reno fell to 5-5 and 23-24 overall.
“It was a tough loss,” the recently acquired Thomas (0-1) said. “It was one bad inning and a tough loss. I’ve just got to go out there the next time (and do better).”
Reno starter James Johnson – a McQueen High School graduate – entered the game with a 1-3 record and a 4.21 earned run average, but after seven innings of deliberate work, he left the game with a 5-3 lead after spreading out 10 hits, three walks and six strikeouts.
“I thought he did a good job,” Thomas said of Johnson. “I thought he was aggressive in the right situations.”
Johnson also had some help offensively. Reno designated hitter Juan Senreiso went 3-for-5, with 2 RBI and scored two runs in twice giving the Silver Sox the lead.
Senreiso, who has now hit safely in 13 consecutive games – five away from the GBL’s season best of 18 (by Chico’s Steve Boggs earlier in the season) – had a first-inning RBI single to put the Sox up 1-0 and added an RBI double to give Reno a 3-2 lead in a three-run fifth.
Reno, which added a run on an error to make it 2-0 in the third, got an RBI single from left fielder Kane Simmons, who later scored on one of two Flyers errors in the fifth for a 5-2 lead after Orange County tied the game 2-2 with two fourth-inning runs.
OC starter Michael Natale (who gave up all five runs) and reliever Andrew Soto combined for eight innings of work, allowing a combined 11 hits before closer Nick Casanova (3-0) shut down the Sox in the ninth.
Shawn Balteff had one inning in relief for Reno, allowing one run (making it 5-3) and two hits before Thomas came in to close the show.
OC right fielder Scott Goodman led off the inning, launching a 1-1 Thomas pitch over the left-field wall to draw the Flyers to within one of the lead. Thomas subsequently walked Mark Okano, struck out Buddy Morales and surrendered a single to Johnny Coit.
A wild pitch to Gary Templeton II tied the game at 5 and after Thomas walked Dave Baconi, he gave up a sacrifice fly to Bret Levier to give OC all the runs it would need.
“The big hit was the home run by Goodman,” said Orange County manager and former major leaguer Gary Templeton. “A big hit like that to start the inning off a closer gets everyone going.
“I’ll tell you what, we had a bunch of chances like (the Silver Sox) did. We finally got one hit that got us over the hump.”
Orange County stranded 14 base runners to seven for Reno, which hosts the Flyers in the third game of their home-on-home series today at 5 p.m.
“We got the break we needed on the road,” Templeton said. “It was good pitching on both sides. That sacrifice fly opened it up for us. A lot of times you come to this ballpark and guys try to hit it out of here. Just hit line drives and put the ball in play and let it take care of itself.”
The Flyers will try out that philosophy today with Daniel Arizmendi on the hill. Arizmendi is 1-2 with a 1.93 ERA. At press time, the Silver Sox hadn’t announced its starter.
Notes: Senreiso was named the GBL Player of the Week and the Flyers’ lefty Dan Fox was named its Pitcher of the Week. Senreiso is hitting .368 in 25 games. He has six homers and 32 RBI…The Silver Sox on Saturday released lefty Adam Nikolic. He was 3-1 with a 5.26 ERA in 19 games. Nikolic pitched 52 2/3 innings, allowing 29 runs, 53 hits and 27 walks. He also struck out 39 batters…The Sox signed right-hander Eric Brock. Brock, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., played for UNLV and the recently folded New York State League…Today is “Family Night” at Peccole Park. Families will be charged $14, regardless of how many family members there are. Parents and children will be allowed to play catch on the field before the game and children can run the bases after the game.