The Marysville Gold Sox have been underway for two weekends now, and they haven't lost a game. Not only are they 8-0, but the team has won 28 straight dating back to last season. Even though this year's squad is almost entirely different as the 2011 team (with a few returnees), the 2012 Gold Sox seemed to have picked up where the '11ers left off.
Actually it's more like this year's group, which is just getting to know each other, is trying to one-up last year's Summer Series champions. Sunday night, the Sox won 23-3 over the Sacramento Spikes, setting franchise records for most runs, most hits, and victory margin. In the seventh inning, they batted around with making an out.
But it's not just that this team keeps winning, it's the way they win. Pitcher Nick Hudson, who is transferring from UC San Diego to Cal State East Bay, and had to sit out a year because of grades, took a perfect game into the sixth inning in his first start. He told me before the game that he hadn't pitched competitively in a year-and-a-half. He and two other pitchers ended up combining on a one-hitter, and faced the minimum 27 batters. Seth Harvey of the Oroville Pirates, who broke up the perfecto in the sixth inning, was caught stealing. In Hudson's next start, he took a no-hitter into the seventh. I guess the year-and-a-half off did him some good. He also says his academic situation has made him grow up, and he is re-focused. There was one night where the Gold Sox offense just didn't seem to have it. Friday against the Auburn Wildcats, the Sox could only muster three hits. But Hudson was on the mound, and the Gold Sox won 1-0.
The numbers that this team has put up so far have been staggering. They already have over a hundred hits, a team batting average of .352, and an ERA of only 1.88. They've outscored their opponents 87-21, meaning that the average final score has been 11-3. And there's one other scary thing. The first four games were played with “temporary” players—mostly Junior College guys to fill the spots until the Division I players arrived. Yes, the competition has been weaker in the early going. Most of the players have been either from Junior Colleges, or small schools. The Gold Sox have had the same mix, though, but as one visiting manager told me, with far better players.
So fans in the area may already be wondering. Can the Gold Sox win them all? Of course not, but they may win a lot. The toughest stretch of the Gold Sox' season is coming up two weekends from now when they begin a stretch of ten games in eleven nights—all against their toughest opponents. But don't tell that to the guys. One of the relief pitchers half-jokingly said to me, “We've talked about it and decided that we're not going to lose this year.” Maybe they won't.
One More for the Cup: I waited until after Game Three to finish this, but the Los Angeles Kings have defeated New Jersey 4-0, and are one win away from the first-ever NHL Championship in their 45-year history. Game Four is Wednesday night... If you've been watching, have you noticed virtually no fighting, and even very few whistles in this series? Maybe it's because they didn't play each other much during the regular season... NBC play-by-play man Mike Emrick pointed out that the only time a team has come from 0-3 down to win a Stanley Cup Final was in 1942. The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Detroit Red Wings.
Hornets “win” NBA Draft Lottery: Okay all you conspiracy theorists. You think the lottery was fixed? The league-owned New Orleans Hornets, by bounce of a ping-pong ball, got the number one pick in the upcoming draft. The team is in the process of being sold to Tom Benson, who owns the NFL New Orleans Saints, and the Hornets were denied a trade with the Lakers back in December. I'm not sure that I believe the lottery was rigged, but how about allowing news reporters to witness the actual draw, so the lottery's legitimacy can be proven? This year, the NCAA allowed reporters to watch the selection process for the basketball tournament. The lottery seems fishy and really could use some positive publicity.
Okay he won one: I have been very tired of all the Tiger Woods talk, especially when he hasn't done anything, but I'll admit his winning of the Memorial over the weekend was pretty spectacular. Just calm down the “Tiger is all the way back” talk.
And we're waiting: There is a two-week gap between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but then there's three weeks until the Belmont. I'll Have Another goes for horse racing's triple crown on Saturday.