Friday, July 27, 2007

Game Report: Orange County @ Reno (7/27/2007)

Another beautiful day in Reno unfolded with the Orange County Flyers coming in for a three game set and their first meeting of the year with the Silver Sox.

It was sure to be a good game and it did not disappoint...OC (or "The OC" as the scoreboard read) was bringing their A game tonight...their ace Ben Fox (3-0, 0.67 ERA) took the mound with Peanut Williams (.340, 5 HR, 33 RBI), Scott Goodman (.259, 7 HR, 33 RBI), and Rich Pohle (.349, 5 HR, 38 RBIs) providing the heart of a solid line-up.

Of course, the Silver Sox countered with a stacked line-up of their own hurling their #2 starter Matt Parris (4-6, 4.12 ERA) who had Kane Simmons (.354 and league leading 11 HRs), Juan Senreiso (.345, 6 HR, 12 SB), and Carlos Madrid (.321, 4 HR, 25 RBIs) to back him up.

First blood was drawn by Senreiso who launched one over the fence in the bottom of the 1st. Senreiso looks like a ball player in a prototypcial fashion. Now I am not suggesting you judge a book by its cover but when he comes to the plate you can just see by his cuts that something is going to happen.

And speaking of unique styles, the OC's Mark Okano brings one. I thought he was Japanese for sure since he has the high leg kick you see in Japanese leagues but he is actually Hawaiian (of Japanese descent). OC's radio announcer, Jordan Moore, mentioned there was an article on the Orange County register about him and his hitting style but I couldn't find it. In any event, it was good enough for a homerun tonight.

OC's pitcher, Ezequiel Ruvalcaba tempted fate with the Sox and with their stacked line-up, he got burned. He loaded the bases (including one infield hit by Ryan Kowalski that was the best bunt I have seen all year--literally as close to perfect as you can get); and then Victor Hall made him pay with a baseclearing triple.

Parris pitched well though he put a lot of runners on. Balteff came in missing the strike zone but settled down for 1-1/3 solid innings of work before Martinez shut the door. What was a close game (5-4) going into the bottom of the 8th ended up being a blowout 10-4.

As for the park, attendance was 1358 and the energy level was up; 500 happy fans even went home with the night's giveaway of a free t-shirt. Even the mascots have stepped it up a bit. Early in the season, Nugget was pretty tame sticking to the on field promotions and walking around the stadium. Now he is on top of the dugout breakdancing (guess he learned some moves from the chicken!). That is what a mascot is supposed to do and it is great to see. Same goes for Slugger.

The Sox are firing on all cylinders. There may be some rough edges (pitching) but defense is much improved and the offense continues to churn out runs in bunches. Of course, the real test of whether or not the Sox have turned it around will come during their 6 game road trip next week. This blog chronicled their road woes of the first half and I would love to not have to do that again :)

Those six games, in case you were wondering, come during a 15-day consecutive game streak so the guys will have to reach down deep to keep up the pressure as they finish the season with two hungry contenders (LB and OC) as well as the 1st half champion Chico Outlaws.

If you haven't been out to the stadium, now is the time. The championship is around the corner and it is fast becoming "win or go home" time. We are in for a great second half.

See you at the yard.

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